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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Conference Adventures Part Trois - 2 Weeks 'til

It's 1:30 am and after a couple of hours of sleep I woke up only to find I can't stop thinking about what I still need to do. On top of organizing the conference, I still have my full time job and I finally found a 2 bedroom apartment for my daughter and I to upgrade from the little studio we have been sharing here in San Francisco. We're moving in on February 2nd (right after the conference). There is still a lot to do... Though I tend to love when my life gets like this. So many tasks ahead leading up to a big goal that may seem overwhelming - but just take each day one by one and check the items off the list that need to get done, and it will all be ok. Not to mention that all those items checked off at the end of the day make me feel like I really accomplished something.

14 Days Until the Event

Status Update: 
Speakers: 28 out of 29 speakers confirmed
Speaker's Presentations (PPT or other): 0
Agenda: 1 spots left to fill (almost there)
Logistics: Still need to coordinate F&B (meeting with the hotel on the way home today), layout of room, AV (emails back and forth with the Hotel's IT guys), Video Recordings, Meetup event details, Party details, and Photographer.
Marketing/Promotion: Started on Daily Emails but haven't gotten any further - still need to get speaker emails set up as well as the marketing emails; schedule tweets, Facebook updates, get a Google+ event update schedule figured out (can't schedule those - have to do them manually), update Lanyrd,  finish last years videos, print materials for event (signs, schedules, promotion of next events) and oh so much more.
Master of Ceremonies: Still Me
Volunteers: 1 (Lydia is going to check people in - Yay!  Thank you Lydia)

Social Media Encouragement

I saw this tweet come through on Sunday and it reminds me how buzz like this around the conference makes all the hard work worth it.

I know, to you it seems like just a simple question, but to me it's so much more than that. You see, when you market an event, you don't get much feedback on how successful your marketing is until you see registrations come through. The conference purchasing decision is a process, and tracking that process is difficult - especially on a tight budget like mine (that's no budget really). It goes something like this:
  1. The user saw an ad, a post on Facebook, a Tweet, or some form of notification about the event that peaked their interest.
  2. The user visits the website for the event and looks at who is speaking, what the agenda looks likes, and generally reads up on the event.
  3. The user Google's the event to see if there is more about the event or if anyone is saying anything about it. In some cases, the user might Tweet or Facebook and ask their "friends" if they heave heard of the event, or are going.
  4. The user then goes back to work (or just generally goes about their day)
  5. Days, or weeks pass and the user sees another mention of the event (ad, Facebook, Twitter, etc) and then talks to their boss (if they need to get approval) or checks their schedule, with spouse, and.or budget (either way, they need to get some sort of approval).
  6. The user then goes back to work or day again.
  7. Days, or weeks pass and the user remembers the event (or maybe might see another reminder). The user will then ask the boss, or consult their spouse, schedule, etc one more time.
  8. The user then gathers whatever they need to justify the spend. Whether it be their boss, spouse, or own personal budget. This process could include a simple breakdown of costs, or it could involve comparing it to other similar events. It can also include items on the agenda that might help state their case (either to the boss, spouse, or themselves).
  9. Once the event has been approved, the user will go about planning their trip (or if it is local, getting ready to be out of the office for a few days). The flight will get booked, but perhaps not the hotel quite yet, and certainly not registering for the event.
  10. Days, perhaps weeks might pass and the user has let everyone around them know they are going. Facebook posts, Tweets, co-workers, Family, Friends, etc. Everyone knows that the user is going to attend the event... but the event itself...
  11. 1-2 weeks prior to the event the user will realize they haven't booked their hotel, or registered for the event. At this point, the user will go to the website and register for the event, then find the hotel information and book their stay. If they are local and there is no stay to book, they usually register a few days before the event.
So, you see there is a lot from the awareness to the commitment that has to happen, and tracking that process is a very tough thing to do. I have my ways, don't get me wrong - I wouldn't be a marketer if I didn't find ways to track the process as much as possible. But numbers don't say nearly as much as seeing a Tweet come through that your event seems to be THE event to attend.