Getting the budget to attend conferences is not what it was a year ago…or even 6 months ago. So, if you want to come to this year's X Change Conference in San Francisco on September 8-11, you likely need to make a business case to attend. I've already spoken to folks who said they'd like to come, and couldn't get the budget…but perhaps they really weren't making the right pitch…or perhaps they were willing to just take "no" for an answer.
Just like anything else related to analytics, I think there needs to be a return on investment (ROI) story to tell. If you can't tell that story, then I think you'll ultimately fail in your mission.
So, let's do an ROI analysis for your attendance at X Change this year:
- Cost for X Change if you sign up by July 31 with Early bird discount: $1,800
- Cost for Think Tank Sessions: $599
- Hotel if you sign up by August 10: $299/night
- Airfare: Deals to be had - check out Southwest - be creative
- Food: Breakfast, lunch and one dinner…all high quality. It's the freakin' St. Regis after all!!
Ok…so your costs: Probably somewhere between $3,000 to $3,500
Now, let's take a look at what you'll come away with on the knowledge side, and how this will end up in either revenue generation or cost savings for your web analytics initiative.First, there are the "huddles"…
The conference is built around small group discussions called "huddles" that are facilitated by practicing web analysts from top organizations. There are some immediate ROI benefits from this:
We don't sit in a room and listen to "talking heads," or consultants, and we don't feature any vendors or products: Calculate your hourly rate by the amount of time you space out in most other conferences, or spend time emailing or texting.
Hear firsthand what your peers, even your competitors, are experiencing in using analytics to run their web channel: Calculate based on hourly fees charged by consultants.
Test and discuss your own ideas on how to improve the use of analytics within your organization: Calculate based on trying to pull a group of seasoned web analysts like yourself into a room for a serious discussion with no interruptions.
Compare the cost and takeaways to other training: Calculate the training classes you've attended over the past year, and associated measurable benefit. If you're at a management or experienced web analyst level, we would suggest that most of what you've attended you either already knew, or it was not exactly what you were seeking.
Or, take another approach...start by taking a look at the huddles:http://www.semphonic.com/xchangehuddles.aspx
Read through the synopses with an eye towards how you'll apply the learnings of the session to your web analytics goals and objectives. For example, if you attend the Measuring Mobile Internet huddle facilitated by Nokia's Greg Dowling, you will likely come away with a wealth of knowledge on how to choose the right measurement solution, how to develop valid metrics and how to monetize them. Or, you can attend the session on how to build a web measurement capability from Gil Roeder at Barclay's IShares, to really understand how to successfully integrate analytics into the mainstream of your organization…so that both senior and line managers use data to run the business.
I think you could you make the case that the takeaways from these huddles could translate into tens of thousands of dollars in more productivity, or savings on a solution. If you find it a stretch, then get in touch with me and let's talk about it. I'll be happy to help you make the case…firstname.lastname@example.org
These are just some of the reasons we hear that X Change is one of the best values from a cost/learning perspective. To get your own sense for X Change, you can read about the 2008 conference from a few attendees:http://www.semphonic.com/xchangerecap08.aspx
And then there is the Think Tank…the real ROI opportunity
While the emphasis on X Change is on peer learning and dialogue, we are trying something new…running a series of advanced training seminars, called the Think Tank. It's a day of classes, each are 1 ½ hours and will cover advanced topics in data analysis, behavioral segmentation, Excel reporting and implementation, how to advance the influence of analytics on a shoestring, and a lot more.
Coming back to my previous point about web analytics training, I think you'll agree that there just really isn't a lot of educational opportunity for people like yourselves who are at a management or advanced analyst level. The Think Tank sessions will address these…3 master level classes for only $599. I don't want to sound like a car salesman, but this is a screamin' deal!
I think the ROI story for the classes alone is quite strong. The class I'm teaching…is all about how to build out a web analytics presence with limited resources and budget; how to build cross-team alliances, how to create an effective business case…all while expanding the impact of web analytics on your organization. I'll be focusing on a range of strategy and tactics that I've used as a web analytics program manager and with our clients.
The rest of the classes will be taught by the Semphonic team including Gary Angel, Paul Legutko, Jesse Gross, June Dershewitz, as well as by Eric Petersen. Find out more about the Think Tank sessions at: http://www.semphonic.com/xchangethinktank.aspx
By now, you should have your conference ROI calculations all mapped out and ready to go. Just make the case.
We want to see you in San Francisco in September for both X Change and the Think Tanks. Just register at http://www.semphonic.com/xchangeregister.aspx.
Only 63 days left til X Change.