2013 Speaker-Industry Report

Speaker-report-thumbnail2A new report on The Use of Professional and Industry Speakers in the Meetings Market was just released.  The authors  Jeff Cobb, Jeff Hurt, Dave Lutz, Sarah Michel, and Celisa Steele and it’s published by Tagoras and Velvet Chainsaw Consulting

The authors offer this short list below of their key findings  to whet your appetite.  But you will definitely want to read the full Tagoras-Velvet-Chainsaw-Speaker-Report-2013

1. Organizations use professional speakers more and spend more. In 2011, the average number of professional speakers used per year was 11.2. In 2013, the average is 14.6. The 2013 survey respondents are also spending more for their professional speakers. In 2011, under half of respondents  (45.7 percent) had an annual speaker budget over $30,000. In 2013, over half (53.5 percent)  have a budget over $30,000. These increases are accompanied by an increase in sponsorship support—27.3 percent of organizations report using sponsorship more in the past two years, up from 16.2 percent in 2011.

2. Speaker bureaus are one option for do-it-yourselfers, not a sole source. While only 7.3 percent of 2013 respondents say they always use a speaker bureau for recommending and hiring  professional speakers, 74.2 percent use bureaus frequently or sometimes. Many meeting and education professionals are opting for a blended approach to finding and hiring professional speakers that combines a speaker bureau with their own independent research or sources—of nine named idea sources for new professional speakers,
speaker bureaus ranked right in the middle, after the more DIY options of recommendations from peers, members, and staff.

3. Hiring decisions are shifting from the Csuite to the education department.  In 2011, the VP or director of education or professional development decided which professional speakers to hire only 13.5 percent of the time. Among 2013 respondents, this jumped to 22.7 percent. In 2011, the C-suite ranked first among
decision-makers; in 2013, the top dogs have dropped to third, behind the board or a volunteer committee and the VP of education.

4. Organizers expect more from their professional speakers. In 2013, 66.1 of the survey respondents who hire professional speakers are looking for them to put in more than just their time on stage. This is up from 56.6 percent two years ago. Conference organizers want to get more value from their speaker investment, especially when it comes to leveraging content marketing and maximizing sponsors’ return on investment.

5. What’s in a name? Maybe not that much. Under a third (28.3 percent) of 2013 respondents believe a “big name” speaker is very or extremely important for attracting registrants.

6. Proposal review is too nice. A third (33.3 percent) of 2013 respondents indicate they accept 60 percent or more of submissions that come in through their call for proposals, and almost another third (29.0 percent) accept between 40 and 59 percent of submissions. Organizations that want to lead their industry and differentiate with the highest-quality education probably need better filters.

Be sure to read the full 58-page Tagoras-Velvet-Chainsaw-Speaker-Report-2013