What I’ve learnt is that potential sponsors judge the value of our conference on the value of the attendees. Specifically, they want decision makers in the room. Ideally, they’d like CEOs and CIOs of national companies. If not C-Suite members, then Senior Communication Managers / Directors or IT Managers.
If you’re a comms channel manager or intranet manager (as I have been in my career) then your participation in the conference is deemed less valuable.
My job, when speaking with potential sponsors, has been to ‘sell’ you as much as the marketing potential of the conference. This has not sat right with me.
I did hit on a great phrase the other week that made me feel a little better. When explaining who I imagined would make up the audience, I had to admit that I did not expect Multinational CIOs. I said that I expected people from Comms, HR, KM and Info Man backgrounds, and intranet managers and digital team members from every level. I went on to say that Senior Comms Managers would not make intranet platform or agency decisions without consulting their intranet manager. Even if IT has the budget and remit to improve or replace the intranet, it’s the intranet manager who has to translate the IT-speak into Business-speak. The intranet manager builds bridges between so many silos – the intranet manager has to be the trusted advisor to senior managers and budget holders.
And this is why I’m under pressure to increase ticket prices – if we double our prices, we’ll ‘naturally’ exclude intranet managers and comms / HR people from small organisations. If we triple our prices, we’ll naturally position ourselves as a ‘serious’ event for ‘serious decision makers’.
I’ve told potential sponsors that the Intranet Now conference will only exist if companies think it’s useful. Intranet Now does not have to be a success. We absolutely rely on sponsors – we cannot, cannot, put on such a large, swish event on ticket prices alone. Not without charging you, the community member a rather more ‘serious’ amount. While Intranet Now must become financially sustainable, Brian and I strongly believe that it must serve the intranet community and so we mean to keep our ticket prices low.
So here’s the ‘call to action’ – get involved: Your participation validates our event, and demonstrates the networking, community, and educational value of our conference. Consider bringing a colleague – to get the maximum out of the day you’ll want to talk with other participants, but when it comes to putting ideas into action, there’s something amazing about having a colleague to digest points and make concrete plans with.