Notes From the August 14, 2014 ONETUG Meeting

  • ONETUG team graciously gave me time at the beginning of the meeting to talk about the upcoming SQLSaturday Orlando
  • Asked them to attend – I think people like to be asked, and we really do want them to attend!
  • Mentioned our paid seminars
  • Asked them to mention the event to colleagues
  • Handed out flyers
  • Teased them that our lunch was better (it is!) than Code Camp, and Brian from ONETUG hit me back with their lunch is free (it is!)
  • Watched 2 different 15 minute presentations, both were interesting, and I like the format, but 15 minutes goes by fast and any AV issue can be a killer. Hope we try it at oPASS/MagicPASS

SQLSaturday Orlando Marketing Plan-Part 34

Tuesday we sent our metronomic email of the week. No huge call to action this week. My schedule called for a BI focus and I struggled to write it, so I changed to something I could write! We added in the reminder about oPASS/MagicPASS meetings, trying to reinforce the SQLSaturday <—> Chapter connection. Remember that they won’t read every email we send. As long as the message contains the basics, then we’re waiting/hoping for them to open at least one. More than anything I want every message to have a subject line that conveys a lot of reasons to open the message.




Next we have an update on our new LinkedIN campaign. Took a few days for the ad to be approved and it doesn’t seem to be generating a lot of impressions, but I’m ok with that – it’s targeted at SQL titles, so we may be spending more effectively. We’ll let this run into next week.




Other notes:

  • I’m working on our mystery speaker plan. Slow going due to logistics planning.
  • We’re close to break even on seminars and still tracking ahead of previous years. Next week I think we’ll return to “ask the boss” as the theme
  • We’re discussing selling SQLSaturday Orlando polo’s online for pickup at the event. It would be about a break even effort, but I think worth it to get our brand distributed more widely. Basically no risk if we do it this way, they’ll get added to the speaker shirt order
  • I don’t have an updated graph handy, but we’re at 282 registered, so we’re still tracking ahead of all previous years and if we can hold the trend Kendal is forecasting 456 registered and 350 on site. My goal was 500 way back on April 29th and I’m still focused on that. Excel forecast..bah!

Tableau Conference Is Bigger Than PASS Summit

I was reading and, no disrespect intended at all to the Tableau universe,  I was astounded to see that the Tableau Conference is bigger than the PASS Summit. Both are in Seattle (different dates), and the prices look to be similar ($1495 is the number I saw for TC, but registration is closed/sold out). Looking at the Tableau event, I like what I see:

  • 220 sessions
  • Some “real” keynoters – by which I mean not Tableau (or in our case, SQL) people and some other featured speakers
  • Paul cites 5200 attendees (I believe him, I just don’t have a supporting link)

Good for Tableau!

Does it mean anything for PASS? Is bigger better? Many would argue not. If you’ve ever been to TechEd (10k attendees) you spend a lot of time walking. It’s just big. Yet I can’t help wonder what are they doing that has grown the event to this size in 7 years or so? Are they doing things (or not doing them) that PASS should be doing? Someone should – officially – go take a look. I don’t care about number for the sake of numbers, I care about serving the people in my craft. If we’re not doing that as well as can be done, we should be trying to do better, quickly.

Building The SQLSaturday Orlando Marketing Plan-Part 33

More notes, hopefully not repeating any from previous posts!

  • Karla has used the chart showing registration growth as a way to reinforce to sponsors that we’re on track for solid attendance. I suspect it also carries with it the impression that we’re engaged in trying to drive the number up, which is always good for a sponsor. The other part of it is that silver and higher sponsors that sign up now get their logo included in every email we send out to about 2000 addresses. Emails sent aren’t magic of course, but someone signing up as a sponsor in July will end up having their logo in twelve email messages. Or they can wait until September and be in a handful. From the event perspective we’re glad to help sponsors be more successful, and getting commitments early helps us make decisions on the budget.
  • We’ve set up a half day seminar co-located with us for students. We’re using EventBrite for registration so we can clearly measure sign ups. I’m hoping for 25. If we get more we’ll be space constrained, but it would be a nice problem to have. I sent all the IT instructors a message about the event, plus powerpoint slides, plus an email message to send to their students, along with a soft ask to make it a class assignment or extra credit opportunity.  Rodney Landrum will be doing most of the SQL part of the seminar, I’ll do the intro and maybe a bit on career paths, we’ll have a recruiter, and someone yet to be picked to talk about networking, community, blogs, user groups, and some more odds and ends. We don’t know if it will work, but it’s worth trying.
  • This past week our message was focused on our Dimensional Modeling seminar, with a mention in the close (and in the right hand pane) about event registration. The reg numbers barely moved the next two days, making me nervous about my strategy of alternating messages each week (registration, seminar, registration, etc). I need 30 a week to register. We’ll see. The good news is that we did see more signups for the seminars (I’ll share more on that later).
  • We’ve added ONETUG, our local .Net group, as a sponsor. No cash, but we’ll be a sponsor at the next Code Camp. Good for both teams.
  • I’ve been sending out my ad copy to the group for comments, which are often helpful but make me feel like I can’t aim sometimes. It’s not easy, for me anyway, to write something and critique it too. I put a lot of effort into the subject line (so they’ll open it) and a lot of effort into making the first sentence and the first paragraph the most important and useful to the reader. It’s a bonus if they read further or scan the right hand pane with the ‘calendar’ section.
  • I took my ‘how to ask’ for the seminar message and sent it off to someone to see if they will pay, and also made a pitch for a local employer to sponsor with the idea being they could do on the spot first interviews.  Walking the walk is good. If it doesn’t work, I’ll still learn something.
  • I’m scheduling 3-5 tweets a day in Hootsuite. I’m using the free version so I have to schedule one at a time, but at 3-5 a day it’s not a lot of effort. I also loaded all the speaker handles into a table and generated three different tweets for each based on name, session title, and handle. They are mechanical, but I hope that they catch an eye here or there, and it’s a way to try to get speakers to engage – many will retweet it.
  • I looked at Twitter cards, but it requires access to the header section of the page and I can only get tags into the body. Something for PASS to look at.
  • Not quite marketing, I’m handling the few unsubscribe requests that come in. There is an unsubscribe link in each email, but it requires logging in. Aggravating if you don’t want the email AND you don’t know your password, a lot of work to unsubscribe. Only 3 or 4 manually processed.
  • Also not quite marketing we’ve had a handful of dupe registrations. The system emails if it detects someone registering with the same first/last name, but doesn’t change their status. We have to go look and decide/investigate. Good to do to try to keep to the reg count accurate. There is a status of “not attending – continue to email” that is perfect for someone who wants to get the messages at work and home, but will use one of the two as the “paid for” reg.
  • Thinking about next year we really, really need a way to add source codes to registration links, and it would also be nice if the system captured the referring url too.
  • 49 days out as I write this, and still two big things to work on – “bring someone” (our BS campaign!) and using our “mystery guest in October” to try to increase reg/decrease the standard Saturday drop, hoping to finish one of those this week

Building The SQLSaturday Orlando Marketing Plan-Part 32

I just paused our first LinkedIn campaign, the one that was based on a functional area of IT in the Orlando area. We had one registration that had “LinkedIn” as the source, so we’ll say we converted 1 click to a registration for certain, possibly a few more.  If all nine converted – unlikely – we’re at $4.55 per click. At $5/click I’d think spending $500 to add a 100 registrations would be worth doing. At $40/click, well, probably not. The first two images below show the first campaign. The third image shows the new campaign, this one based on job titles. The number of “dba-ish” titles was less than a 1000, so I added some developer titles to get the count up for 2500. I’ve set it for impressions with a $5 per 1000 bid and a $10/day cap. We’ll run this through Monday and decide if we should continue. One more note; I hacked at the job titles using their suggestions, but events have job titles for this year and previous years, probably worth doing a distinct on those and seeing if any interesting variations turn up.

Even if we stop later this week we may turn it back on about 10 days out when we can push the ‘register now’ message with a little more urgency and realism.







SSC Editorial: Titles Matter

Few things have more impact on our career than job titles. The job titles we’ve held tell future employers a lot about us, and job titles on positions we’re considering are the first visual filter we apply. Titles are the most abbreviated way there is of saying “I do this” or “I want do that”. Read more and follow the discussion at

Apply Now for the PASS Board of Directors

One of the better graphics I’ve seen in a Connector that shows the timeline:



My thoughts:


I’m on the Nominating Committee this year so I won’t endorsing or coaching any candidates. I’ll miss that part, but I do look forward to reviewing the applications and asking a tough question or two during the interview stage!

Building The SQLSaturday Marketing Plan-Part 31

  • No viewed on LinkedIn yesterday. Increased the bid to $5 and now seeing views. Not sure it correlates, but probably. We’re up to two clicks now! I also added two ad variations that haven’t been approved yet. (chart below)
  • The image with “Dimensional Modeling Seminar” went as our “email of the week” today.
  • Finally, the weekly tracking chart still looks decent
  • Lots of work to do tonight, more notes tomorrow








Building The SQLSaturday Orlando Marketing Plan–Part 30

First, a quick update on the LinkedIn advetising campaign. One click so far, no registrations. More views than I expected for a Sunday.




I drafted the next message to be emailed out this weekend and sent out for feedback. Good feedback on the first draft, made those changes and more, waiting on next round of feedback. We added a sponsor over the weekend so I may have to update the footer. Sending the weekly message out at about 10 am on Tuesday works well, it’s a good for email (better than Monday anyway) and we have our weekly call at 1130 so we can launch directly into the next message.

Here’s what I have in mind for the remaining weeks, subject to change:

  • 8/12. Focus on BI topics
  • 8/19. Bring a Colleague
  • 8/26. Make It 3 Days (seminars + Sat)
  • 9/3. (Labor Day week) Open for now
  • 9/16. Attend SQLSaturday to Get a Guaranteed Seat to see ***** on October 15th!
  • 9/18. Highlight the speakers/last call for reg
  • 9/23. Sponsor email (reg list only)
  • 9/24. Last chance for seminars
  • 9/25. Sponsor email (reg list only)
  • 9/26. Event reminder/logistics/Guaranteed seat for Oct special event
  • 9/27. Final reminder about the event/is ok to arrive late or only do half of the day

Still not getting much traction on Twitter. Not unexpected, we’ll keep at it.

I wrote three abstracts for a half day “From Student to IT Professional” that will cover networking, staffing firms, SQL community, and a very basic introduction to SQL Server/SSIS/RS. We’ll be talking about those tomorrow and tweaking, plus identifying who will do the presentations. I have to get the email message and flyer to the college by Friday, so not much time. We’re also working on a beginner/career changer half day in the afternoon.

We had a great meeting last week with the ONETUG leadership team and started work on a reciprocal support agreement to really work at promoting each others events. Different focus, yet very similar approaches, and yet plenty of differences to explore too! I’ll be at the August ONETUG meeting to hand out flyers.

Still a lot to do.