Resources  >> Why event planners spend more on AV than on the speakers who use it

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  |  September 01, 2015

Why event planners spend more on AV than on the speakers who use it

Heads up: prepare to be upset. According to this recent study by meetings magazine M&C, more money is spent on AV and technology (10%) than on the speakers (and entertainment) who use that equipment (8%). Good news: we beat out ground transportation and miscellaneous expenses.

Given the attention on programming and meeting content, it sounds like all talk and no budget. Two things to keep in mind here:

  1. Over a third (38%) of respondents are association planners, who are notorious for using free or low-cost speakers.
  2. A majority either set the budget themselves or are very involved in the budget setting, both annual (60%) and by specific event (65%). This isn’t a case of “hey, the powers-that-be decided to shortchange the program, not me.” Not paying speakers is a very deliberate decision.

My observation: speaker fees have not caught up with the recovery due to too many speakers negotiating their fees to get the invite. These decision makers have known for years that they can get a “good enough” speaker at any fee they want.

Can you get decent speaking fees anymore? Yes, but only if you are worth the precious dollars in the already small budget. And being “worth it” is challenging at best in a sea of low-cost, willing to negotiate options. This is another reason why thought leaders need strategic branding and market direction. A must-have if you want to get paid.

 

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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.