Next week I will be in Austin for ITEXPO from Sunday till Thursday. It starts the fall conference caravan. There are so many conferences in October it is crazy: TelcoTV, COMPTEL, WISPA, FISPA, MUMS, Broadsoft Connections, Metaswitch User Forum, STC and a cloud thingy or two. I can't wait for November!
I do more than 15 conferences a year. Many do not have an actual return on the investment dollars (show pass, hotel, airfare, expenses and meals). I have to consider them branding opportunities or important networking occasions. One show that many of my clients attend is the Broadsoft Connection show in Phoenix. I have been debating this for a while and I'm going to skip it this year.
One reason is the ROI. There has not been real ROI in the two years that I have attended. Many of my clients already bought their softwswitch - Broadsoft in most cases - and have gone to market with a Hosted PBX offering. Most of the big carriers have too, including XO, TDS, Comcast, Cox, Windstream and C-Link. Doesn't really leave anyone to consult with on go-to-market.
I have to attend as a Channel Partner (with a $2500 price tag), but the actual value for that investment is questionable. A logo on a member portal isn't exactly worth it. There hasn't been clear benefit for that money demonstrated or expressed. It seems very telco to call it "Channel Partner", when it seems the real meaning is "help us sell our stuff".
Another reason is the current state of my relationship with Broadsoft. The VP of Marketing has not been cordial since I broke the story of BSFT acquiring Casabi last year. In fact, she told me at CPExpo in Vegas that she doesn't like me. That's fine. There are people I don't like, too. I still do my job though. Pulling two consecutive no-shows for conference calls with clients that we share (that run Broadsoft) leads me again to wonder about the Channel Partnership that I paid for last year.
In addition, this conference will increase travel in October to 21 days on the road. It would be nice to cut that down.
Without clear expressed value for the Channel Partner ticket, I have no grounds to go other than to hang out with clients, which is a good reason until you factor in the $4K price tag. The alternative is to do what is so common today: just show up and hang around. (You can buy a lot of drinks for $2500!) Many vendors do it at conferences, including Broadsoft.
Want to have coffee? You can see me in Vegas the week before Connections or at ITEXPO next week or at other shows in October. Ping me to meet up.