One of the conferences atop many investment professionals’ list is the annual Morningstar Investment Conference in Chicago, IL. This year’s event took place June 13-15 at McCormick Place and featured presentations from Vanguard, Franklin Templeton Investments, AQR Capital Management and others, including a comedic performance from SNL legend Darrell Hammond.

Several of SunStar Strategic’s clients were in attendance, and we caught up with a few of them to share their takeaways from this year’s event from both an exhibiting and attending perspective.

As a whole, the conference is still a worthwhile endeavor for our clients. “This year was better than the last few; PR is always a primary reason we go, and this year was no exception,” explained a long-time SunStar client. “Our SunStar executive did a great job securing interviews for us on site, and we supplemented with advisor meetings.”

In terms of strategy, our clients’ focus was on marketing and PR. As one client points out, giveaways are a clever way to direct visitors to your booth. “This year our strategy involved delivering coffee tumblers to attendees’ hotel rooms with a sticker on top encouraging them to stop by our booth to enter an Apple Watch raffle,” said Richard Clark, Director of Sales & Marketing for Jensen Investment Management. “Our goal was accomplished—we got our portfolio manager in front of larger, local advisors and good prospects,” said one client.

So, what stood out? Our clients’ reactions came from both sides of the spectrum.

“For us, it seems that the Morningstar conference is getting smaller each year. This seems to be indicative of the conference circuit as a whole. If this trend continues, it would be nice if they’d move the conference to a downtown venue,” one client noted. “However, the PR opportunities afforded to us by SunStar stood out for us.”

“The quality of the advisors that stopped by our booth to thank us for the tumbler or ask questions really stood out,” said Clark. “I was very impressed by the types of questions we were asked. Not only do we get to see a number of clients and meet lots of new prospects, but we also believe in supporting Morningstar and their mission of providing investors with the best information possible,” he added.

SunStar’s clients seem ready to employ the same strategies going into next year’s event. By focusing on marketing and PR opportunities, the Morningstar Investment Conference is still proving to be a worthwhile event.

Are you planning any conference trips this year? Get in touch to see how SunStar Strategic can create a customized strategy for your firm to make the most out of your investment.

Be sure to check out our conference series for valuable tips from planning and budgeting through execution.

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