Balancing User Needs & Business Goals

I'm starting to plan next year's Lift Off Summit so I've been talking to customers as well as looking at what other summits are doing. And what's interesting is that they paint two different stories. So I thought I'd take you through my though process as I decide how I can make this summit valuable for attendees and myself.

The Customer Perception

One customer said this:

Most of the content is still sitting in my “comb through this and take notes” list […] basically, I'm stuck in that not-enough-hours-in-the-day trap. 🙁

And someone else said this:

I, too, felt an element of “participation fatigue” over the course of the week. The truth is, I'm finding the sessions to be valuable but there is a great deal to take in.

And it isn't just these comments. There are plenty of other comments that say similar things. Essentially the content is useful but it's overwhelming.

The Market

When I look at other summits I see that they have even more experts than I had (20). And the number of experts is a big selling point.

* Social Ads School has 30 experts

* Masters of Fundraising Summit has 30 experts

* Business Systems Virtual Summit has 50 experts

It seems like the name of the game is to have as many experts as possible.

Mismatched Incentives

What I find so interesting about this is that it's due to different incentives. For the organizer every time they add a speaker:

  • They increase the reach of the summit. Each speaker shares with their audience and you get more customers – so there's a financial incentive here.
  • Your summit looks more “jam packed” and therefore more valuable. Customers see that they're getting 50 expert interviews for $100. It makes it look like a better deal

But with just 20 speakers I was already overwhelming attendees. And when you add more you muddy your message. More than likely you're going to add some mediocre speakers instead of just the best speakers. And not every viewer is going to watch the best content. So the value the customer receives actually goes down. There's too much content and you have no idea what's important.

As an attendee you want only the sessions that are most relevant for you. And you want it to be just enough content to consume so you are right in between bored & overwhelmed.

My Content

So there are a couple options here:

  • I could create focused content with fewer speakers. This will make sure all of the content is high quality and it's not enough to overwhelm the attendees
  • I could make the content more digestible. If there's 30 sessions but they're labeled well enough so each attendee knows which 15 they should watch that's another way to keep it manageable.

I'm likely going to do the latter. I'm planning on 15 main talks that cover big topic areas (how do you write so much, Facebook ads, selling on Amazon, etc). And then I'm going to have bonus videos that help with specific pieces of software. Ex. ConvertKit or Buffer

Here's a rough plan:

  • Monday
    • Where are you customers?
    • Write everyday
    • Can you make money selling your product?
  • Tuesday
    • Facebook
    • Instagram
    • Pinterest
  • Wednesday
    • Content marketing
    • SEO
    • Video marketing
  • Thursday
    • Google AdWords
    • Amazon
    • TBD
  • Friday
    • Tracking your progress
    • Email Marketing
    • Scaling your website

This looks like a manageable schedule. Three talks a day all around a similar theme. You can pick and choose what you watch. And there will be plenty of bonus content to watch if particular tactics or pieces of software matter to you.

I'm trying to marry customer goals with my own goals. Because if I just do one or the other eventually this will fall apart. And I want this to be beneficial to both parties so it continues to provide value to new store owners.

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