To the Vendors, to Make Much of Time

Vendors: if you are investing in the sponsorship of a conference, then you must want to market to these customers, right? So when you get a “sponsor slot” to speak to the attendees, don’t waste it!  

Disclaimer: All of the ideas expressed in this article are my personal statements and opinions, and do not reflect the opinions/statements of the City of Urbana.

I attended a conference recently of IT Directors from cities, counties, and villages around Illinois.  What did we hear about (from a vendor who I won’t name here?): mining social media posts, augmented reality, and NASCAR performance measurement.   None of which mean anything to our problems.   For that you paid several thousand dollars?  (Plus travel costs for your representative?)

We appreciate the sponsorships, we really do.  And I’m absolutely fine with the quid pro quo of listening to your sales pitch.  Just make it relevant, that’s all I ask.  Send someone who knows the market, and knows the audience – and can speak to them to properly tell your story.

And if you don’t have someone to send who can be meaningful, how about getting creative?  You could donate the time back to the conference for an impromptu session.   Or invite a local person to come and speak on a topic that resonates.  (Even if there’s a speaker fee, that’s GOT to cost less than sending someone, right?)  You can still brand the session – and don’t you think that we’ll appreciate it ten times more than a standard boring pitch?

And now I'll climb down from my soapbox.

I feel that I need to explain the title and image of this post.  The title is from a poem that I remember from 11th grade, and the image is both a reference to the poem’s first line (“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may”) and my peace offering to the vendors.