Burton Group's Craig Roth reflects on a meeting we had a couple of weeks ago during the Chicago edition of Lotusphere Comes to You:

It seems to me that one of the ironies of the success of Lotusphere is that Lotusphere is not the best place to make game-changing announcements about Lotus.  The people that go to Lotusphere - a sea of yellow shirts (and sometimes hair) that IBM says broke attendance records this year - are the Lotus faithful. They already like Notes/Domino and have dedicated years of their life to it.  If they weren't interested in Lotus, they wouldn't be there.
This is definitely a big challenge.  There are four distinct audiences for the Lotusphere opening general session -- installed clients, prospects, partners, and press/analysts.  In recent years bloggers have overlapped a few of those.  Running the Lotusphere general session and hitting all of these targets with something to take home takes a ton of choreography -- for 2009, I think we did an especially good job of this.

As Craig notes, this isn't uniquely our challenge:
This isn't an IBM issue - it is the same for any vendor that holds conferences and needs to prioritize messages for current customers against those that attract new ones.  But some other vendors have the advantage of broader conferences that allow for more cross-selling, such as OracleWorld where a database faithful can get pounded with a portal and collaboration or business process management message at 120db and possibly walk away with something new to think about.

Accordingly, IBM made a great move when they spoke at MacWorld, speaking to a huge audience of prospects that offer a real chance to steal marketshare.  Bob also recited several other non-IBM events they had spoken at.  I think this is the right path for hitting a new set of ears.
Link: Craig Roth: Vendor Conferences: Preaching to the Faithful (and the Press) >

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