Notes on Marketing PASS at Non-PASS Events

This is a follow up to my previous post about Orlando Code Camp. The event team offered oPASS/MagicPASS a free sponsor table and we took them up on it. I wrote a bunch of notes about what worked and what didn’t (below), but the bigger point I want to make is that there are so many people interested in SQL at these events. Some know about us, some don’t. If we will go to these events, present material relevant to them, and really put on our marketing hats to explain what we’re about, there is an audience that is waiting to be reached and served and they fit very well into the world of PASS. It has and still disappoints me that there is so little crossover between the .Net and PASS world, and as far as I can tell there is no official PASS marketing plan to reach out and participate in these events. Regional mentors may participate, but the strategy should be originated at the top. Worth more and longer discussion, but the rest of this is a focus on the tactical stuff of attending to represent PASS and the local chapter:

  • We didn’t have a table cover. Karla (who happens to live in Orlando) has a PASS one, but she was out of town. oPASS/MagicPASS need one (and so should your chapter). I’d like to see the chapter logos large on it, and the PASS logo too.
  • Kendal brought two sign up sheets, one for oPASS and one for MagicPASS. We spent a lot of time explaining the difference. I think we need a sign/map showing the areas served, but we could also change the sign up so that there were columns for oPASS/MagicPASS, plus Tampa and Jacksonville, and even one for PASS. Then they can write info once, pick the ones they want.
  • That said, sign up sheets are a pain. I’d much rather have sign up cards that can go in a box and be used for a raffle, it reduces the queue for the sign up list, and we can put them away – easy to lose a sign up list (wind kept blowing ours off the table, bring a clipboard or paper weight!)
  • We didn’t have business cards or brochures, though we did have a few flyers for an upcoming seminar. We didn’t have the date set for SQLSaturday Orlando and so it was a less than perfect discussion of “sometime in October”. We need a landing page where we can get them to sign up for the list, or we have to just drive them to the chapter pages (easier perhaps).
  • I wish we had all had a PASS shirt, or same kind of shirt
  • We need a PASS stamp for the bingo card
  • We should have put the SQL room number on  big sign
  • We should have duplicated all the marketing stuff in the SQL Room
  • We need signage
  • Part of our problem was not having someone with time to focus on the prep. We should be able to fix that.
  • Another problem was not having logos that could be printed larger and still look good. We need to update logos so we have high resolution ones.
  • We didn’t have a raffle item (we forgot/we should have asked PASS for one)
  • Need a box for raffle tickets, just in case the event doesn’t provide one
  • We didn’t get any/many photos of attendees/sessions
  • We need something that says largely “SQL Server” because PASS, oPASS, MagicPASS doesn’t get their attention. Who are we and what are we selling? I feel like we’re far too passive (here in Orlando, can’t speak to other locations). Why aren’t we asking them to answer five questions on a card to get a sticker or a cup cake or a chance to win? Posters of SQL tips and how to think like a DBA and etc, etc. Why don’t we talk about #sqlfamily?

I can’t blame that on PASS, we (me) just haven’t put the time into it yet. I hope we can fix that. All of that (minus shirts) should be a kit we can readily deploy. Right now our target is Orlando Code Camp next year, but we’ll have others – joint chapter meetings is one case, perhaps other technical events in Orlando.