A short post, as I’m out at a conference this week called Agile 2012, out in Grapevine, Texas. It’s here in fact – what a great venue:

Gaylord Texan Hotel

Red Gate spends a lot of time and money attending conferences. We exhibit at, at least, 15-20 per year, varying in size from 500 attendees, to crowds of 10,000 or more. Additionally we run a tour of London and the US called SQL in the City, where we provide training and a great experience to 1000s of customers and prospects.

But this all costs a lot – the perennial question for conference-attendance is: is it valuable? What’s the return on this significant investment? An ex-colleague suggested “If you could ever measure the impact of event-attendance – and you can’t – then you wouldn’t truly know the impact for at least a couple of years. When someone is looking at different options way down the line, remembers chatting to you at a conference and thinks ‘I’ll give those guys a look’ – that’s the value, but you’ll never know it.”.

Slightly depressing. But also slightly defeatist. In the next post I’m going to go in to details about how we’ve tried to measure the impact of event attendance – essentially a problem of marketing attribution. It’s certainly not perfect, but applying a little mathematical rigour to marketing activity is what this blog is all about, so worth a go at least!

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