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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  |  December 17, 2013

Tis the Season for Predictions

Tis the season for 2014 predictions.  One of the most passed-around crystal balls is this report about speakers from Velvet Chainsaw Consulting and Tagoras, consulting groups for associations.

Yes, the data pool is relatively small (less then 200 respondents), but the quality (national / international associations with meetings of more than 500 people) make the findings more worthwhile. What caught my attention:

  • Sponsorship is up this year to 27.3 percent, compared to 16.2 percent in 2011. And over 88 percent say they sometimes seek sponsors to underwrite speaker costs. Yes, even Corporate America needs to get noticed and they are using meetings to do it.
  • Less than a third (28.3 percent) of this year’s respondents believe a big name speaker is a major factor in attracting registrants. Good news for us mere mortals.
  • For-profit corporations hire the most professional speakers this year (46.5 percent) with trade associations a distant second at 12.8 percent.  Very clear where the target-rich environments are.
  • Many buyers use speaker bureaus as well as their own research. The common thread: buyers depend on trusted sources for speaker recommendations. The top source: their peers at 84 percent.  Members are a close second at 78.2 percent. The surprise here: these two sources top the “speakers we’ve seen before” category, which came in at only 69.7 percent.

My take: we are no longer in control of the speaker selection process.  We can influence with great video clips but not drive the decision. Take a deep breath and proceed accordingly with great marketing tools and brand awareness campaigns.

Many thanks to alert reader Marilynn T. Mobley for passing along the report.


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.