Friday, December 11, 2009

Program Sponsorship

Each year, our line-up of programs change, reflecting current market demand for our various events. And, while we have a standard set of sponsorship benefits for each program, what excites me the most is when a sponsor comes to me with a unique and exciting idea that we can implement together. Our dinner series, for example, were initiated based on the interest of a sponsor. Similarly, on-site, I'm always open to ideas and suggestions from our sponsors. Here are a few quick facts about our 2010 programs and sponsorship opportunities.

1. Industries and Participants
Our programs cross several industry sectors grouped around specific brands:

Nantucket Conference - brings together an invitation-only group of technology entrepreneurs, executives and investors; what began as a group of New Englanders getting together on Nantucket the first weekend of May each year has now grown to include participants from across the country. In addition to the main conference itself, we'll also host "Mainland Dinners" throughout the year which brings together a smaller, invitation-only group around a specific topic or industry cluster.

Convergence - brings together an invitation-only group of life sciences investors and executives; the annual 2 1/2 day program takes place in late spring each year in the New England year. In 2009, we launched the West Coast edition of Convergence and plan to offer an extended version of this program in the Bay Area next fall.

The Conversation - brings together the creative and technology folks driving the next generation of digital entertainment. Begun with a West Coast version in 2008, the 2010 program will be taking place in New York City and will bring together approximately 200 digerati. This event is open to the public.

Future Forward - brings together an invitation only group of technology entrepreneurs, executives and investors each fall in New England. Similar to its sister program, the Nantucket Conference, over the years the program has gained a reputation as an intense one-day perspective on emerging technology trends and companies in the region.

Momentum Summit - launching in 2010, will bring together a handful of the Boston-area CEOs who have been most successful at developing innovative strategies for customer acquisition. They'll share their insights about what works - and what doesn't. This event is open to the public and is scheduled to take place in Boston in the late spring of 2010.

2. Sponsorship Opportunities

Each program offers different levels of sponsorship packages. Some of these packages start as low as $2,500 and may include hosting a workshop at the event itself. Premier packages include exclusivity in category, premier positioning and the greatest visibility at the event itself. Please contact me for packages related to each of the events noted above.

3. Working with Our Sponsors

Once on board, we work closely with our sponsors to make sure their marketing goals are achieved. We'll make recommendations based upon specifically defined goals and help to fulfill them through pre and post positioning as well as during the event itself. Our goal is to make your job easy so that you can devote your time to building and retaining strong relationships with our participants.

4. Long term Relationships and Multi Program Sponsorships

We take pride in the fact that many of our sponsors have been working with us for many years. Silicon Valley Bank, for example, has been a sponsor of both the Nantucket Conference and Convergence since the beginning and have provided us with great advice over the years as to how our programs can continue to grow and evolve.

5. Working with Us

For more information on how our programs can help you achieve your marketing goals, you can contact me directly or call the office at 617-367-1400.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

How We Choose Speakers for Our Conferences

We get a lot of calls and e-mails asking how we choose speakers for events such as the Nantucket Conference, Convergence, and Future Forward.

Here are three of the most common questions, with answers:

    1. How do I nominate someone to speak?

    Send an e-mail to the contact on any of our agenda pages (here's the page for Nantucket, as an example.) We usually like to see just a bio, a list of topics/themes the person is interested in, and, if you have one, a link to video of them speaking or participating on a panel.

    We very rarely invite anyone to give a keynote talk with slides; that just doesn't work for our audiences. Instead, we have a mix of panels, interactive workshops, debates, and "fireside chats," where a prominent speaker (say Google CEO Eric Schmidt, inventor Dean Kamen, or Genzyme CEO Henri Termeer) will take part in an on-stage interview.

    More and more, we are especially interested in speakers/presenters who can do interactive, workshop-type activities with our participants, as opposed to just sitting on a panel.

    2. How do you select speakers and topics?

    We work with the advisory board of each conference to figure out which speakers and topics would be most interesting to the participants. Often, we're selecting speakers because they are well-known, their companies have been successful (or have endured interesting challenges), we've seen them speak and know they're great, or they've been to the conference in the past and understand the general vibe and what we're trying to achieve. (The best way to describe that is unscripted, candid conversation, without PowerPoint slides.) Most of our agendas are filled by entrepreneurs, executives, and investors -- not consultants or service providers.

    3. How much does it cost to speak at one of your events? Do we have to be a sponsor?

    It has never occurred to us to charge anyone for a speaking slot, as some conferences do. All of our speakers get a full pass to the event, and all the associated meals and tchotchkes. And there's no requirement that you sponsor the event. (In turn, our sponsors are not guaranteed speaking slots or moderator positions.) Our goal is simply to have the most engaging and thoughtful people on stage at our events, and we try not to let anything stand in the way of that.

If you have other questions, feel free to post them here...