Just got an RFP for a technical conference that many of you are familiar with, asking me to bid for the publicity and marketing of the conference over two years. They told me they had sent me the request in August, but couldn't find it anywhere, including the spam filter, but the "good news" was that the deadline had been extended for two weeks and now I could have until mid October to submit a proposal. (Translation: no one has delivered a proposal yet and the original deadline was Sept, 30).
So, I went to my team, showed them the proposal, showed the the proposed budget and everyone said, "Pass."
Not only was the budget inadequate, the organization seems to be under the impression that the world is just waiting on pins and needles for the next conference to happen. They have three problems to overcome.
1. The independent press has abandoned the industry and is doing only high level coverage, so the conference has to create it's own media. That kind of cost in not supported in the budget.
2. The industry corporations will not support any kind of effective marketing program that doesn't specifically help individual corporations. In fact, the most significant companies in this industry are working against the success of the industry and launching their own communication mechanisms.
3. They only want to reach engineers. The people who can help the conference and the industry to succeed are the investment community and no one in the industry has the ability to communicate the value proposition ... because they won't invest in a communications infrastructure.
To make it in the current climate, you need to develop comprehensive communications strategy and mechanism. These guys really need to partner with a significant media organization and be ready to spend what it will take to succeed.