After analyzing our research results, we came to the conclusion that large events, often international ones with a range of renowned speakers and representatives of authorities or big business, sell tickets on a 'take it or leave it' basis. They often explain this by saying that their event is iconic and requires no advertising, and seats sell out half a year in advance. Our research showed that these are events in large and quite closed-off industries, high-profile conferences in which there are few newcomers to the industry.
There is an emphasis on the fact that there are no other conferences like this in Russia, and they're right about that. This means that the sales team calculates the rate of return, and instead of selling tickets, they assess companies to figure out whether they'll be of interest to other attendees. There was no talk of networking, and if networking was available, then only as an extra option organized in an outdated way. Overall, it's a case of 'our way or the highway.'
Others sell events on a smaller scale; these identify needs and know what networking is. The problems start when you want to organize target meetings at conferences. Salespeople offer you run-of-the-mill coffee breaks where communication happens by accident, uncontrolled and even purposeless. Meeting rooms are also in favor, or even call center services for organizing meetings, in which trained people assess the requirements of one company or another in the meeting. There are also printed lists, email lists, and offers to stroll among the stands and cover 20 thousand square meters in four days without a specific plan for the walk.
Still others promote networking as the primary value of the event, actively work through concerns and show flexibility in selling sponsorship packages. They offer stalls at their events and talk about all the activities available and the afterparty. They respond evasively to questions about matchmaking (setting up a target meeting with specific people), sometimes asking for clarification on the term.