Given the current state of the economy and its accompanying credit crisis, it was interesting to see the hype at this year’s Channel Partners Conference and Expo in Las Vegas. The conference is held twice a year and is designed to help companies promote their products through agents and partners. The spring conference was held at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino from March 1st – 3rd . There were about 300 booths and more than 3,000 attendees.
In the past, Atlantic.Net’s business has consistently grown by word of mouth and referrals, but we saw the launching of our Channel Program as an excellent opportunity to accelerate our growth. Fortunately, we have been cash flow positive and had little or no debt since inception. This has enabled us to market new programs and services while others are struggling to pay the bills. Interestingly enough, this turned out to be what set us apart from our debt burdened competition at the event.
Companies put on big shows at this event, creating the illusion of success. They put up humongous booths, offered expensive giveaways such as flat screen TVs, $3,500 American Express gift cards, and held private parties. Sam was curious what kind of rate of return these companies were seeing and decided to chat some of them up. Many of their stories were the same. The only reason they spent so much on giveaways was to portray they were successful. Oddly enough, most of them said they were anything but successful lately and fearful that they would not receive the credit lines they needed to keep operating. The scariest part of all this is that most of these companies were household names! With the economy on everyone’s mind, it seemed like every other person on the floor was asking the exhibitors about their financial stability and that was a question we certainly welcomed :).
On the same note, I saw an interesting character on the floor who was wearing a printed shirt that stated that one of the companies did not pay him commissions in excess of $50k. The pictures explains it all.
The opulence at the conference was a stark contrast to the day-to-day life I saw in Vegas. I spoke with waitresses, cab drivers, and others who all seemed concerned about the economy. They said that if it were not for the conventions, Vegas would be dead.
I left Vegas feeling even prouder of the company I work for and the way it has always operated responsibly. Our strong cash flow position allows us to spend on research, development, and innovation while others are struggling to pay the bills. We returned with a lot of leads and opportunities. I also returned with a few new and creative marketing ideas and tricks that attracted a lot of traffic to other booths. One idea that seemed to work very well for others were the hired models who gave away drinks and popcorn…although I wonder if this would have worked as well if I was handing out the drinks and popcorn .
I also want to Congratulate Mr. Ken Lautzeheiser from Total Carrier Solutions, Inc. for winning the Cannon Digital Camera!