Three Positive Impacts Sponsors Have on You

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 …”

Obverse and reverse of a three pence note of paper currency issued by the Province of Pennsylvania and printed by Benjamin Franklin in 1764.

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.

Leonardo DiCaprio from Wolf of Wall Street

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.

Stay up to date about SESUG Williamsburg. Follow us on Twitter. Like us on Facebook. Connect with us on LinkedIn. Stop by the local barbershop and catch all the news.

The three most important words for SESUG: CONTENT! CONTENT! CONTENT!

Was this the first SESUG conference?

Good content can really make an attendee’s experience. We come to learn and there is no better place than SESUG with Academic Sessions, Demos, Hands-on-Workshops, Pre- and Post-Conference Workshops and Peer-to-Peer learning. But how does that content get there and how are we doing so far? Let us see…

As Academic Chair for the SESUG 2019 conference, one of my responsibilities is managing the content of paper proposals that you submit for the conference in October. By no means do I do this alone – I get a lot of help from the Section Chairs who oversee their individual academic sections. It is very much a team effort. As paper submissions roll in they are on the front lines reviewing content and eventually they will be the ones who guide final authors to the final stage in Williamsburg. A quick shout out to my Section Chairs – you all are the best and you make this conference great!

Thank you, Section Chairs!

I have shared how Chuck and I identified the tracks for this year’s conference. Now I want to take some time to reflect on the responses and provide a sneak preview of some of the topics we may see this year. Unfortunately, it is too early to announce the final roll call since the submissions will still be accepted until June 13th (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). But hopefully this teaser will pique your interest on attending or even submitting a proposal of your own.

Submission Hot Topics

We have had many great submissions so far across all of our academic sections. Keywords were collected on the submission applications this year to help with organizing conference content. Here are the popular keyword topics people have submitted content for, some of which we will see and hear about in October. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Words may show a man’s wit, but actions his meaning.” Keep those submissions coming… there is still time! 

Keywords from SESUG 2019 paper submissions

Tried and True

For as long as I have been involved with SESUG, the most popular sections that get the most submissions are the instructional how-to sections (this year called Know your SAS: Foundations and  Know your SAS: Advanced Techniques), Statistics and Data Analysis, Reporting and Visualization and Coder’s Corner. This year has been no different – over 60% of the paper proposals we have thus far were submitted to one of these sections. Many of these submissions propose papers on topics like the use of SAS Macros, tips for efficient programming, and commonly used SAS procedures that an analyst should always have handy in their analytics toolbox.  

Welcomed Surprises

I have heard somewhere that if you build it, they will come. We decided on an Open Analytics section this year in the hopes that SAS users who integrate their analytics with open source platforms would have a designated place. To be honest, Chuck and I really were not sure how it would go. However, this section has seen strong paper abstract submissions. It seems a lot of people are excited and enthusiastic about having a focused track on these topics and I can’t wait to see how it will all unfold in October.  

If you build it, they will come. Field of Dreams
If you build it, they will come.

Can We Get a Little TLC?

I understand it is still a bit early, but as of now there are a few sections that need a bit of love – Data Management and Big Data, Planning and Administration, Industry Specific Topics (Education/Institutional Research, Pharmaceuticals, Government), Analytics Leadership, Hands on Workshops and E-Posters.  These are great sections that I anticipate will get plenty of content in the coming weeks. If you have an idea for sharing installation, deployment, and migration tips – submit a proposal to the Planning and Administration section. Instructions for submitting can be found here.

If you are concerned that you don’t have anything exciting, remember that a large diversity of people come to SESUG with a wide variety of backgrounds. Believe it or not, there will be things you know that many people don’t! What did you learn this year? Teach others. Have a case study for your industry? People love that! Do you integrate SAS with open source analytics? Show us how! Presenting to others is a great way to not only share your knowledge but build it up even stronger for yourself.

If it is your first time presenting at a conference and just want to get your feet wet – give E-Posters a shot. Hands on Workshops is a great way to dive deep on a topic. HOW instructors will have 1.5-2 hour instruction time, which is plenty to cover several examples on a topic of your choice. Last but not least, our new Analytics Leadership track is for the leaders and champions of analytics who wish to share experiences and highlight effective approaches to promoting analytics in their organizations. 

Conference Pre- and Post-Workshops are Available

We have talented, recognized, and experienced instructors prepared to share their knowledge in 4-hour sessions before and after the conference. You can sign up for a conference workshop when you register for the conference for an additional cost that is well worth the price! You can find the list of workshops available this year on the SESUG website for more details.

There is still time to Contribute your Ideas!

If you have an idea for a paper, submit your abstract by following this link here. The SESUG 2019 Call for Papers is open until June 13th!