Better late than never…
So we realize that this review post is a little after-the-fact, but we hope that the data and great detail contained within will provide a great wealth of information about WordCamp Phoenix 2014 that will allow other events to learn from our experiences.
Slides, Photos and Videos!
You can check out slides under the Schedule – each session has a link to the slides presented.
There were so many people that took photos at the event, you can check out some of the event photos on our blog.
Videos of sessions are available on WordPress.tv. We currently have 36 of the 41 speakers available on WordPress.tv. Unfortunately, not all session videos were successfully recorded and uploaded. The following sessions were unable to be completed or their uploads are still in progress.
- Cliff Seal
- Heather Hogan
- Cain & Obenland
Videos still to be uploaded:
- Bard Parbs
- Eric Mann (both presentations)
- Andrea Middleton
Thank you to our venues, these amazing places around Phoenix provided us space for our event and our participants, we’re so grateful for your contribution to the WordPress community by providing us space (even though some venue space did come at a cost). Our target number for attendees was 750 this year, and every venue was essential to in providing space in a one way or another that was hard to come by when you drawn our kind of crowd:
- City of Chandler – The City of Chandler has always been great to WordCamp Phoenix, and this year was no exception. Chandler donated WordCamp Phoenix space on Friday at the Chandler City Library to hold our Advanced Developer sessions as well as donated venue space in Chandler City Hall to hold our amazing party on Saturday evening! The City of Chandler also provided our attendees a free wifi boost all weekend to make sure that wifi was easy to use at City facilities on Friday and Chandler Center for the Arts on Saturday of our event. I’ll be eternally grateful for Anna and Heather at the City of Chandler who helped us get through managing so many logistics, especially the food truck approval process for our event!
- Crowne Plaza San Marcos Resort – A majority of Friday classes were held in the meeting spaces of the San Marcos Hotel. This years additional sponsorship money helped provide this venue upgrade so that we were able to accommodate increased attendance (750 target attendance) for Friday classes this year.
- Vintage95 – Vintage95 was a great venue for us to host our Wine and Design happy hour! It was so great to see local WordPress design community showcased – such great work! Super awesome to have partnered with AIGA Arizona to help run the design showcase and awards on the Friday evening of our event.
- Wild Horse Pass Casino – Our speakers and sponsors loved the Speakers, Sponsors and Organizers dinner we held on Friday night at Wild Horse Pass Casino. The food was great, not too much noise to talk over, and then retiring to the casino for games afterwards was fun as well!
- Chandler Center for the Arts – Chandler Center for the Arts was our venue for our Saturday tracks, we love being able to use this amazing space to hold all of our attendees in one space, at least for one day. The staff and everyone involved was so wonderful to work with and responsive.
- Gangplank – Gangplank provided space for our Friday Design sessions as well as space for all of us on Sunday for WordCamp for Kids and our Sunday tracks. Gangplank is also the hub of where we met all year while planning the event, so they’ve been a helpful part to help us collect and store WordCamp items before, during and after the event.
Thank you to all our attendees. As always, it was so great to meet and re-encounter so many amazing people – WordPress as a publishing platform thrives on community, and without you attending, our local community cannot fully engage with other people who use WordPress from all over the world! (More details on our attendee data is collected below for those who are interested!)
Thank you to our sponsors. Without your generous contributions, this event wouldn’t have been nearly as successful! With your support, we were able to secure space to educate more people and have more fun as a community while we do it — we are so glad you could be a part of it! (We have more detail below about sponsor dollars raised and how it was used to help put WordCamp Phoenix 2014 together.)
Thank you to our volunteers. Whose countless hours of work, beads of sweat and love made this event run like a well-oiled machine. When a strong local community comes together united to help educate and learn, it looks like ours. So proud of Phoenix. <3
Breaking on down some volunteer thank yous…
- Thank you to my team of community organizers. We had an amazing team of community organizers in 2014, I can say that, since I’m the one who got them together. ;) These people helped me organize MANY, MANY details leading up to the event and especially during. These organizers dedicated hundreds of hours over the course of eight months leading up to WordCamp Phoenix 2014.
- Thank you to all the amazing speakers who made WordCamp Phoenix 2014 the amazing educational event it was. All the speakers at WordCamp Phoenix 2014 (just like all WordCamps) were unpaid volunteers who are willing to give up their time just to teach our local WordPress community (over half of them also paid their own money for travel costs to come from out of state).
- Thank you to the droves of general volunteers who’s small shift (4 hours) helped register all of our attendees, introduce all the lovely speakers, run the cameras for video content as well as a host of other small, but very important tasks through the weekend of WordCamp Phoenix 2014.
We had 695 people check-in and attend during our three-day event. Ticket sales brought in $23,500 worth of revenue for the event. Comparing registration volume from 2013 to 2014, you can see we had a surge of registrants just days before the event.
Registration Volume – 2013 vs. 2014
There are at least a couple interpretations of this data. One could be that our marketing was very effective since all the peaks correspond to marketing pushes via email. Another interpretation is that people respond well to urgency and special offers — of which we also employed in the latter 30 days of the event. It’s our belief that these graphs are comparable since they offer identical sales “periods” between the time tickets went on sale to the day before WordCamp Phoenix.
A lesson learned here is that holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s) significantly impact sales and predictability of future sales. This is seasonal and should be expected/anticipated in future iterations of WordCamp. The past few years Phoenix WordCamp has been planned for ANY Saturday that CCA has open early in the year to avoid the hot weather of the summer to make this a destination WordCamp to draw in national talent to teach our local community that shows up for Phoenix WordCamps. Predictability is important to both organizers and attendees. Forecasting attendance is key to ensure we can accommodate attendees and purchase the right amount of goodies, like printed program guides, shirts or other limited-quantity/high-cost assets.
Okay, so what about attendance? We had a massive response to the first day of attendance, especially the morning of. Some of you had commented to us about the rush on Friday morning registration — and now we know to plan for an epic surge of attendance between 7:30 and 10:00 AM. We received accurate numbers on the net-new attendees each day. Out of 695 total attendees, we had 589 appear on Friday, 77 on Saturday and 29 on Sunday. Wow! A special thanks for EventDay for providing their equipment, staff and skills to help check in hundreds of eager WordPress users in the event. We will post templates we used so other WordCamps can benefit from this community-driven solution.
We can’t tell our sponsors thank you enough. Without them, this event wouldn’t have been nearly as amazing. WordCamp Phoenix 2014 was a record-breaking year for sponsorship. Our amazing sponsorship director, Nat Handler, worked hard to negotiate with super supportive sponsors to raise over $66,875 for WordCamp Phoenix 2014! A special thanks to the Multi-Event WordCamp Sponsors, which contributed $31,875 towards our total sponsorship revenue.
We ran the numbers a few times on the revenue and expenses (thanks, Carol). Thanks to these generous sponsors, a ticket for this WordPress conference (an approximate $115 value) was available for attendees for approximately $50 per person! Let me reiterate that — without sponsors, WordCamp Phoenix would have cost $115 per person to attend.
How was this money used?
The money raised in ticket sales and sponsorship went to provide some amazing perks during our weekend event:
- A whole day of learning on Friday at the San Marcos Hotel
- Free drinks at the Wine & Design Happy Hour for all attendees
- An amazing Speakers and Sponsors dinner on Friday evening
- Free food truck lunch for all attendees on Saturday
- Free drinks and food for all attendees at the Saturday party at City Hall
- Free breakfast for Kids WordCamp on Sunday
- Free pizza lunch for all attendees on Sunday
- Free breakfast for all volunteers on all days
- Rapid check-in for all attendees and on-demand badge printing
- Printed agenda programs to navigating the best of WordCamp
- Memorable shirts for attendees and hoodies for all 80+ volunteers
… And then we gave almost $10,000 dollars back to WordPress Foundation to help provide educational WordCamp events all over the world with the help of WordCamp Central!
Are you a numbers geek? Click here to view full budget!
After-Camp Survey Results
As many of you know, we sent out a survey to all attendees soliciting their feedback for how we can improve WordCamp. Sure, it was a bit lengthy, but we gathered some rich data from the 137 detailed responses, so we can act on it for future WordCamps. Here are some highlights from our after-camp survey.
Net Promoter Score
We decided to adopt Net Promoter Score (NPS) methodology to determine, as a whole, what is the likelihood attendees would recommend WordCamp Phoenix to friends. There’s a whole world of research behind this question, but it becomes useful to identify cohorts of responses as to why people loved the event as well as what specific areas should be improved. The question is a familiar one: “How likely is it you would recommend WordCamp Phoenix to a friend?”
How did we fare? 72.2% of respondents were ‘Promoters’; 18.9% were ‘Passives’ 8.7% were ‘Detractors’. Thus, we earned an NPS of 64! For comparison, Apple’s NPS is 67. :D Our attendees love us, almost as much as Apple fans love Apple… that’s some serious love. (The measurable scale of NPS is between -100 and +100, just for context.)
As a general recommendation, it would be suggested that other WordCamps to collect this valuable data point (above anything else) to identify what factors lead to successful camps. It sums up the perception from attendees — and clearly if they had a good time (or not), it would be reflected in responses to this question. Further cohort analysis becomes richer since organizers can identify attributes of lower and higher scores separately.
Okay, so what else did we learn from the survey?
How well versed are our attendees about WordPress? Attendees had a blend of expertise with WordPress fairly evenly distributed between 1-6 years. Also pretty interesting to see that WordCamp was the first experience some people have had with WordPress. WordCamps tend to promote education, development and growth in the technology community and that describes the responses to this question.
Okay, this is Joe Manna’s favorite section. As a marketer himself, he was intrigued by the results. Given that we don’t have access to Google Analytics or other conversion tracking system, we asked attendees twice about how they heard of WordCamp Phoenix. We trust the user responses because we observed they were consistently +/- 2% of each other.
Email was a valuable, proven method for staying in contact with attendees and prospects. We used MailChimp for the promotional marketing activities along with being considerably active on Twitter and Facebook social channels. It’s not email OR social media — we found success in leveraging both of them in an integrated fashion.
Just for fun (or rather a costly experiment donated by Joe), we used paid media on Facebook and Twitter. For what it’s worth, given similar target audiences and geographic areas, Facebook outperformed Twitter for driving ticket sales, by almost 5:1. Paid media does work to drive sales. in our experiment at about a $1.80 Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC).
We found that the gender ratio was pretty even, and probably higher than other conferences in the tech industry. We collected this data point at both registration and in the survey. We did observe a discrepancy in the survey response, which is likely means we had a higher survey response rate from women. It’s probably more accurate to rely on registration data for this question.
We had a considerably wide range of ages attend WordCamp Phoenix. Contrary to popular belief, WordPress doesn’t only an interest among people younger than 30 years old.
We also asked about whether attendees were local or traveled to Arizona.
In Arizona: 73.92%
Out of State: 26.08%
There are a couple interpretations of this metric. Basically, it’s a good thing to see that locals are benefiting from WordCamp. It can also be a good thing that Arizona is a destination that others are willing to travel to. We’re not totally sure how we compare to other WordCamps, but it’s something that is relevant to consider since nearly 30% of our audience resides out of state and benefits from community information, transportation, directions/maps and other common knowledge that residents might already possess.
As we mentioned above, attendees received a great value for their investment. But, perception matters, too. It turns out that 98% felt the price ($45-50) was fair, if not would have paid more. This is good — it means the event was worth every penny. We won’t ignore the two percent who indicated it was too high, as it’s a good opportunity for us to offer more community-pooled complimentary tickets (scholarships).
Feedback on Multiple Venues
At WordCamp Phoenix 2014, we had the event take place at different venues throughout Downtown Chandler. It appears attendees have mixed opinions on this, preferring to keep the event at one venue continuously during the weekend. Overall, you were supportive of it, but it does make for a strategic question to solve for next year.
We asked attendees to rate their top sessions. It was a long list, but the numbers are in! By popular vote and allowing people to rate their top five, results were cumulative.
- Escaping the Imposter Syndrome by Chris Lema
- Content to Cash: Leverage content to attract clients, streamline workflow, and increase profits by Jennifer Bourn
- 101 Ways to Elevate Yourself and Demand Higher Fees by Troy Dean
- Blogging & Social Media Horror Stories from the Legal Trenches and how to avoid the same fate by Ruth Carter
- Building Websites that Visitors Actually Want to Use: Google Analytics & The Sticky Factor by Ken Granger
Rockstar Bar Attendance
We had a Rockstar Bar where users can casually come up, share their question or problem with WordPress and receive counsel from trusted experts on WordPress. Surprisingly, we didn’t receive much attendance on this. This could be a sign that people were not aware of it (likely) or that they had no pressing WordPress matters to discuss (plausible, but not likely). The qualifying feedback on the survey responses indicate that people weren’t aware of it and its intended purpose. But, for the people who did use it – they got help and were very satisfied.
It’s vital that we attract sponsors that matter to attendees. Without a doubt, a majority of attendees indicated they thought the sponsors were relevant to their needs and interests. Additional responses also suggest that sentiment towards brands that sponsor WordCamp Phoenix leave attendees with a positive feeling afterward.
It’s also worth mentioning that sponsors are somewhat restricted from engaging in lead-generation activities. As a business, it is a bit more challenging for them to justify their expenses. With awesome attendees and brands that know the power of the WordPress community, they helped us raise a significant amount of funds to benefit the community.
Food Truck Reviews
This year, we wanted to share a bit more of the Phoenix community with attendees and rallied six food trucks to provide lunch for attendees. When asked whether attendees liked the food trucks for lunch, they responded favorably. But some feedback indicated that it frustrated some attendees resulting in longer lines than expected.
In selection of our venues around Chandler, we aimed to also support nearby local businesses. Many of those businesses offered special deals for those with a WordCamp badge and were appreciative of attendees spending their dollars locally. So, how many times did attendees patronize local establishments?
The relevance of this question helps us add a dimension of commercial benefit to nearby establishments. As the WordPress community grows, so should its economic impact.
Next Year Attendance
We had hoped that WordCamp Phoenix had a lasting impression on attendees so they look forward to next year. According to the survey responses, you might just want to grab your tickets at the earliest opportunity. Nearly 80% said they would ‘Absolutely’ attend WordCamp in 2015.
Looking ahead to 2015 …
So, our community wants another WordCamp, but we need a leader. And also organizing team to help that leader. But it all starts with with one person, are you ready to step up and lead this amazing community to new heights? If you are involved in our local WordPress community and are interested, please review the organizer guidelines and the organizer agreement. Get involved as an organizer of WordCamp Phoenix.
We hope you enjoyed our recap. If you have questions or feedback, please share it in the comments.
WordCamp Phoenix 2014 Recaps & Takeaways
… So, that’s our meaty recap. Now is the time to check out what others had to say about the Weekend of WordPress Awesomeness. Here’s a nifty list of blog posts that contain tons of insights, takeaways and tips that were shared during WordCamp Phoenix 2014.
Thank you so much, everyone, for sharing your perspectives and takeaways from WordCamp Phoenix! Did we miss yours? Let us know in the comments and we’ll add it to the list.