Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love Our Sponsors
What do you think about SESUG sponsors? You see them on the website, in e-mails, and with tables at the conference. We might get e-mails from sponsors before or after the conference. Why do we have sponsors and what does it mean to you when you see “SESUG Williamsburg is brought to you by …”
You, the reader, make up two critical components of SESUG. You are the teachers and the learners. You are the whole reason for the conference.
The third critical component is sponsorships. These conferences are expensive. If you’ve ever worked with a hotel / conference center, you know how much they charge for everything, and I do mean everything. Pitchers of water, those may be free of charge. Cookies, electrical power, lunch, projectors, you name it, if we get it from the hotel, it costs money and a lot.
One way we can cover the expenses of SESUG is to charge more for registration. We do not like that idea. (Do you? If you think it’s fine, then let us know in the comments.) We’ve been trying very hard to keep the costs down and the registration fee low. For example, we do not have printed programs anymore. Instead we have the app and online program. We also may not have bags or t-shirts, especially since many people bring backpacks or other bags already, and some people have a lot of t-shirts already. (Is that thinking right or not? Let us know in the comments.) We are also not including lunch, which would be between $30 and $45 per person. We make those choices not because we are mean, but because we want to keep the conference affordable for you.
The other way we cover expenses is by having sponsors. When we get more sponsors, we can do more things. We can have lunch for everyone. We can have dedicated Wi-Fi for everyone. (Do you know what Wi-Fi is short for? Let us know in the comments.) We can bring in better keynote speakers, not like the one we had in 2016. (Yes, that was me.)
But even if we don’t have all of those amenities we still need sponsors. The current plan and fee structure already assume a certain amount of sponsorship just to break even. Sponsors are very important.
So why do companies sponsor? The two main reasons companies sponsor are relationship building / brand recognition, and lead generation. They are there to meet you and for you to learn more about them. And, frankly, they want to sell their products and services. If you are an influencer or decision-maker, then they want to see if you are a potential client. This is how it works everywhere. We either pay for an app directly or we pay with our attention on ads.
What does it mean for you?
First, you will see ads from sponsors before, during and after the conference. We, and they, do not deluge you with the ads. Everyone knows that’s counterproductive. Our goal is that the ads are relevant to you, or at least as relevant as we can make it without digging into your privacy! (What do you think about ads? Good, bad, indifferent? Give us your feedback.)
Second, you will have the opportunity to learn about schools, employers, products and services. Some of it won’t be relevant at this time, but understanding the broader analytics ecosystem is very helpful to your career.
Third, you will have a greater conference experience. If you’ve been to the SAS Global Forum, you know the potential. We know we’re not going that big, but, with sponsors, we have room to grow.
Also, it’s important to remember that SAS has been our biggest sponsor from the very beginning and still is today. They help us with speakers, events, Grants and technology. Thank you, SAS, for all you do!
Speakers, attendees and sponsors are the three legs that make the conference possible. So, whether you are attending the conference or not (and we hope you are!) please learn about our sponsors and show them your appreciation.
Finally, if your company would like to be a sponsor, please reach out to us. The Prospectus can be found here.