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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.

Written by: Vickie Sullivan  |  March 24, 2016

How This Association Trend Can Impact Speaker Selection

If SPIN eliminates registration fees, how do speakers get paid?

I didn’t see this coming: Senior Planners Industry Network (SPIN) has eliminated not only membership dues but also registration fees until the end of 2016. Their strategy: to build a more engaged community and be supported solely by sponsors. It appears they are already funded through this year.

Why we care: if registration fees are gone, how do speakers get paid? Does this change speaker selection for organizations that have qualified buyers? My thinking is there will be more free speakers on this agenda, either from the sponsors or celebrities underwritten by the sponsors. Speakers in midranges will definitely get squeezed.


Related: Build More Value for Your Speaker Sponsorship


The impact is subtle but significant: the “qualified-buyer” groups will get more sponsorship dollars, leaving associations with less-powerful members to fight over a smaller pie. That means the latter will have smaller budgets for speakers. That budget cut combined with the powerful associations using free speakers creates a perfect storm of fewer opportunities for the pros to get paid. Bummer.

Don’t fret just yet, though. This model works only if there’s a high concentration of buyers. Most associations don’t have that kind of community. (They also don’t have the low overhead that SPIN has.) And if sponsors can’t show activation or other ROI for underwriting an entire association, this experiment will definitely be short-lived.

Let’s put this development on our radar and see what happens next.


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Comments:

  • Author : Vickie Sullivan

    Published: 2016-04-05 19:44:25

    Excellent point Randy. Not all associations are created equal. There are so many ways to engage. And thought leaders can play a pivotal role if they are willing to get away from cookie cutter solutions.

  • Author : Randy Pennington

    Published: 2016-04-05 08:05:49

    Vickie, SPIN is a very unique group and not the typical association. You are correct that their overhead is exceptionally low. They operate as more of a networking peer group that is organized as an association, and virtually all of their members are also part of one of the larger industry groups. Here is the important message I take away from SPIN: Creating member engagement and value is critical for every association's survival. SPIN came about because a significant group felt that they were not being served by the large associations that had to program for the masses. Every association is facing the challenge of engaging members at every level of their career. There is an opportunity for thought leaders to help them do that if we are willing to think differently about how we deliver our expertise. Great material as always.

About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.