Two years in a row we (the sponsors) have put together a dynamic conference with refreshing and new discussions, huge personalities and a crisp agenda. Then we email, and call, and email some more... but no ground swell of excitement, and nothing at the box office.
I am certain many of you reading this are already imagining a hundred ways to change, adjust, or alter the message, the conference, the outreach, etc. You're right -- we are missing "it" somewhere in the mix. And yet we are not rookies in this game either. We have fiddled and adjusted, tested our ideas and sought advise from "outside the forest".
Our choices at this point are:
- Abandon the conference. We tried, it didn't work and we should move on. But the hardest half DID work -- quality companies wanted to present and industry icons wanted to be speak. We really ARE onto something here!
- Aim the conference at the venture space or upstream at small-cap. With EVERYONE else in the Country doing these conferences why would we want to go head-to-head in such crowded space? Besides, our (the sponsors) prospect sweet-spot is smack in the center of middle-market private companies.
- Gain a better understanding of what middle-market private company executives would show up to see. Yeah, I think this is where we hurting. We've put too much faith in our own understanding of the market and did not do the block-and-tackle of asking our audience what they want.
My counsel is to be serious and considering after every event. Determination, in the right instance, may provide a future for a conference series that is almost great.