After doing some local exploring of the idea of delivering certificates of completion I don’t think it’s enough of a win for marketing to pursue right now. I think it would be worth doing, especially if a cross-PASS transcript was maintained, but it doesn’t seem like it will be the carrot I need to drive increased registrations. Off the list for now.
Yesterday I posted about our free SQLSaturday Orlando vans. I ran across the idea on Fiverr and thought I’d try it. What would we do with it? There are two cases where something like this is useful; one is to put something fun in the attendee bag, the other is to give someone that is registered something fun and compelling that they will take out and do/put up at work. My interest is the latter – at some point, maybe D-30 days, I want to really work on getting those that registered to spread the word at the office. I can’t afford (or even handle the logistics) of mailing them something, so it has to be something I can email them. Something they can print isn’t bad and that’s why we’re doing the event flyer, something they print and do something with is an alternate path. It seems like this might be the kind of thing you can drop on a colleagues desk to inform them of the event, maybe with a sticky note attached inviting them to go with you. Is the van the right device? I don’t know. I’ve started looking at origami and that led met to paper airplanes as a form of that, and I’m still looking. What would be fairly easy and intriguing if you saw on a desk, or on top of a cube wall, or on a break room table? There’s some potential for fun in the doing of it, maybe more fun if we ask for people to post photos, maybe even a mini-contest. Casting a wider net I’d be open to anything they could do with readily available office supplies. Some plan for building something SQLSaturday out of paperclips, I don’t know! I just want to spark some conversations and we may try more than one device to do it.
Reminder: Something for the kids to color would be an easy and fun project we can email out and drop in the event bag
I’m very conscious that most events rely heavily on email marketing. It works and it’s cheap, at least when you have a list to use, and most of us do. I’m very interested in growing that list of course and we’ll work on that. but I’d like to get started on a different channel this year – top down. If you think of this as sales, we’re selling to the end user. That makes a lot of sense. But I think there could be a longer term win if we could also sell from the top, from the CIO/VP/Director level. People that are apt to stay in one place for a while and might see value in encouraging (and supporting) training, especially free training. It’s a tough path because everyone wants to do top down sales. CIO’s have gatekeepers and a short attention span for email, it’s going to take a special effort and a lot of networking to see if this is possible. Where it gets interesting is if – if – we could get a pool of say 20 CIO’s in Orlando that we could contact and that understand what we were doing, they could help open a lot of other doors. I’m going to be talking with our contacts at the college that hosts our event and see how we might take our partnership to new places, potentially a win for all. So much so that I’ve included ONETUG (Orlando .net) in that because they do the same thing we do, just a different audience.
I’ve got one more flyer design I’m waiting on and I’ve started to crayon what a seminar flyer looks like. The design I’ll leave to others with better skills, but I have to tell them what to put on the flyer. Hopefully I’ll get the first couple submitted for a design this weekend.
Kendal is now sending out a weekly registration report to the team that shows by week where the reg count is side by side with all the previous years. I could and so wish for more information, but just having that is very nice. Right now we’re ahead of our pace from earlier years (haven’t dug into why). I’ll see if he’ll post more on that, and maybe share the counts each week too.
I’ve asked the team to try to create two developer tracks this year. It’s a place where I wish we had started earlier with surveys of the developer community here in Orlando. My hope is that when I visit ONETUG in July I’ll be handing out flyers, maybe some “vans”, and talking about why they will find value at our event. There’s some interesting potential there.
Trying to look ahead, we need our schedule done no later than July 27th (D-60), and ideally done first week of July. Good for our speakers, good for us to have it done. We’ll start the main marketing push right at D-60, and talking about the content and the speakers will be a big part of that. That gives me another 30 days or so to churn some more on ideas and finish up the things we want to have in place, and from D-60 on it will be a lot more focus on writing the messages and accelerating the pace as we get closer to the event. That’s my plan anyway.
More next week. Lots more to do.