Starting months ahead of time, the email marketing was in process. The marketing was communicating to the speakers what was going on, and reaching out to the potential attendees. The email marketing talked about the raffle prizes, Guidebook, Twitter, SpeedPASS, the calendar of events for the Orlando PASS and MagicPASS user groups.
It was very informative, not overbearing and not rapid fire which leads to the attendees and speakers to stop reading them.
I know I'm not even coming close to all of the marketing efforts used to entice the attendees to come out for the event, but here is the best place to go to find out more details from Andy Warren from his blog that has up to 48 different parts for Building the SQLSaturday Orlando Marketing Plan–Part 1. If you are a SQLSaturday organizer you must read Andy's blog. Thanks Andy!
The amount of effort that goes into an event the size of the Orlando SQLSaturday is super human. The teams start meeting many months ahead of the event to start planning for every facet of the event to make sure registration goes smoothly, the speakers make it to their sessions and can get setup in time, ensure the sponsors are where they need to be an are happy, attendees are able to easily find where they need to be for the sessions they want to attend, plenty of caffeine and water (boy was it hot), so there aren't speakers and attendees dropping like flies from dehydration or lack of caffeine. The organizer's kids were doing a great job making sure we had what we needed when we were parched.
Who better to learn from than the originators of SQLSaturday? We had Andy Warren, Karla Landrum, Rodney Landrum, Kendal Van Dyke, Shawn McGehee, even Tammy Clark who came down from Nashville to help out (keeping things flowing). I know there are many more that I've missed, please forgive me as every single job was immensely important to the success of the event. The volunteers were everywhere running around doing the odd jobs to make sure nothing got missed.
One of the coolest things about the event is the speakers served lunch to the attendees. The SQLSaturday organizers purchased chef coats for the speakers serving lunch, and we all fed excellent BBQ brisket and chicken to the attendees. It was really fun to talk to the attendees as we served them.
With speakers at the level of Bradley Ball, Louis Davidson, Argenis Fernandez, Allen White, Andy Warren, Janis Griffin, Randy Knight, Jack Corbett, Geoff Hiten, Rob Volk, Ed Watson, David Klee...and many many more...you just can't see them all. I spent many hours with my fellow speakers talking about their sessions and what they were doing. I've built a close friendship with many of these speakers and love pulling knowledge from them. I even got to attend a few sessions after mine was completed.
We're all exhausted, the organizers are beyond exhausted but it is an opportunity to talk with the attendees and fellow speakers. Attendees have the chance to drain a little more knowledge from the speakers, share a beer and dinner. BTW, the food was awesome especially the egg rolls and wings.
All in all, we drove 488 miles to spend time with friends old and new and we can't wait until next year. The event was well organized, the lunch was phenomenal, the attendees, speakers and sponsors all seemed to be very satisfied (and sufficiently exhausted).
We walked away with more ideas for our own SQLSaturday in Atlanta for next year.
Thanks MagicPASS, OrlandoPASS, the organizers and volunteers! Hopefully we'll see you all in Atlanta next year.