“What do I get for that much money?”
I’m reading Gonzo Marketing right now. Each page gets me more amped up about business and reinforces that Tom and I are not wrong. So what does the question above mean? It means: In the conference space, there’s an incredible range of prices for events.
We recently did a survey asking (yeah, asking) our customers what they wanted. You can see the results here.
What did they tell us? For starters they told us that they’d like to see speakers get a little something back. We were already giving a little back by selling videos and giving 1/3 of the price to the speaker, but that wasn’t enough. It wasn’t a land slide at all, but 37% of those who responded, think we should give a little more. Done.
We also asked if the price was right. Was $360 the ‘sweet spot’ or would anything under $500 work? The answer, surprisingly with 53%, was that anything under $500 would be OK. I think what’s important about this question is that, people could have put the screws to us, and said, “$360.00 is the right price, don’t budge it” and we would have had to either decide if $360 would work or close up shop. Instead our customers, the community, acknowledged that a good event costs money (our events being top notch has never been an issue, from what we hear), and that if we have to raise prices a little, that’s cool. Done. We’re thinking that $480 sounds good. We’ve done some math, and with less food budget, and paying for speaker accommodations, $480 makes our company and our conferences viable in the long term.
$480 per attendee whether you show up the day of or buy when we announce. We don’t raise the price on you for showing up last minute. Bring 4 of your team for a mere $1500. We don’t believe in coercing attendees to register “early”. There’s no discount for buying movie tickets 2 weeks out, why should conference pricing change? Is there something different about the post early bird pricing? something ‘extra’? something later registrants don’t get? Nope. Enough about pricing though.
Here’s my main point… “viable in the long term” at $480 bucks, not $600, not $900, certainly not $1200 or $1500. At $480 dollars, and we think we can still pull off an event that sends folks home happy and more knowledgeable than when they arrived. They also leave with a stronger sense of community… for $480 dollars
So back to my question, “what do I get for…?” (taken from actual Conference sites)
What do you get from these events that you don’t get from a 360Conferences, inc. event? Nothing. Great speakers? Check. Lunch? Check. Cool people? Check. Great sponsors with great products to show? Check. Marketing hype about the consulting services or training services of the company putting the event on? Uh, no check, sorry. An Overload of sessions, where you literally have dozens of options, mostly all good in the same hour? Uh no. Crowds so immense that you’re a plankton in a big pond? mmm nope.
What about the free ones? like the *camp style? They rock! But they’re not a business. I ain’t gonna lie; Doing Conferences, and doing them well, is a business AND a passion for Tom and I. If there’s no lunch at a free event, do you complain? if a speaker can’t make it, what then? Free events are ad hoc in nature. They’re pure community and while fun, you can’t guarantee a return on your investment of time. You could see the guy that invented the Furby speak, or maybe you just get the latest schill trying to explain how cool his widget and it’s API are. Both great, but in different ways.
Yes, we went from $100 to $360. Now we’re going to $480. Who’s to say we won’t raise it again? Us. At $100, we were on eBay’s campus and just paid for food. At $360, we paid for an actual venue but gave speakers no cash. Both shows taught us a lot. The first show we learned how to plan and run a conference. The second show taught us how to pay for a conference. The third show is finally all the pieces put together in what you, the customers have told us are the right format, setting, etc.
We’re here strictly to serve you by putting on the best conferences we can, while still keeping them affordable. Don’t think we’re done “tweaking” the numbers. We will keep working them, finding ways to continue to give your more for each dollar at each show. We have ideas to try out, and when they work, you’ll definitely see the benefits. We don’t do shows to make us happy, we do shows to make you happy, which does make us happy, by the way. With over 700+ satisfied attendees (yes, some are duplicates, so sue us! LOL), we think we’ve done a good job so far. We don’t have any plans to stop that now.