DSE backers plan matchmaker weekend

July 21, 2010 by Dave Haynes

If you are a digital signage vendor with $9,000-$15,000 burning a hole in your undoubtedly deep pockets, you can relieve of yourself of that burden now during a relaxing weekend at a resort and spa in San Diego this fall.

Digital Signage Expo has organized what it is calling an industry forum on the extended weekend of Oct. 7-9 at the Rancho Bernardo Resort and Spa. The deal is quite simple and borrows on similar events held in other corners of the tech industry. Senior people from companies considered attractive  targets – like retailers – are flown in and wined, dined and golfed for a long weekend. In return, they agree to get the living daylights schmoozed out of them by no more than 15 vendors.

It is a little like the pact with the devil I once made to get a 3 bedroom Marriott suite for a week in Orlando – so we weren’t all on top of each other in a hotel during our Disneyworld pilgrimage – by agreeing to a “fractional ownership” orientation session. I got a huge place for $100/night, and they got 90 minutes of me smiling and politely saying, “Thanks, not interested.” They’d forgotten their water board gear that day, so I own no time-share.

The two premium $15K sponsor slots come with mike time. All the slots get speed-dating “getting to know you” sessions, as well as lotsa time to hang out.

Interesting. There are a pile of real companies like Aramark, Target, Wendy’s, Lowes and so on attending. I know a lot of them already have solutions in place, and while they may not all be happy, they may also not be all that interested in the work and cost involved in switching. Then again, they’re willing to put up with the pitches and schmoozing for the sake of a getaway, so maybe they are looking.

I also wonder about the impact given many of these companies have people who are pretty much part of the circuit – people who speak at sector shows, sit on committees and will probably already know many several of the sponsors.

Beats me whether this is money well-spent. If a deal comes out of it, then absolutely. But I doubt any sponsor expects to head for the airport Sunday with a bagged deal.

I do know the ExpoNation people do a polished job when they put things on, and would expect no different with this event.

If you stick around past the weekend they have $3 margaritas and micro-brews on Mondays at the Veranda Bar.

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