Conferences are, and have always been, a mainstay of developer outreach and marketing. Developers like conferences, especially those with a lot of meaty technical sessions by the engineers that build the technology. Key benefits for attending developer conferences include the technical sessions by developers who know great tips and techniques. Developers attending conferences also mention the social aspects of a conference: the networking, social interaction, and discussion with other developers. Sometimes developers need to send their manager a “Conference Approval Letter”.
Most conferences are put on by vendors and concentrate on that vendor’s technology, platform, service, device, etc. You might think that conferences would only be put on by very large companies with breadth and depth to provide a full schedule of keynotes and sessions. Smaller companies might put on conferences that are shorter and with less sessions. Some companies will partner with a non-competing company to put on a conference. Other companies will piggy-back a conference on a larger industry event. In any case, developers attend conferences, and most attend more than two per year.
One of the conference to-do items that I’ve used in the past is to provide potential attendees with a template letter they can customize to convince their manager to allow them to attend the conference. The letter includes information about the event, what attendees will learn, what best practices and ideas will be brought back, what contacts will be made, and how attending will help their company, employees, products and customers.
As an example of what a request to attend a conference template letter might look like, I have created a sample email/letter/memo for our upcoming 13th Annual Evans Data Developer Relations Conference.
Template Email/Letter/Memo Requesting Approval to Attend a Conference
Here is a draft email/letter/memo you can use to request approval to attend the 13th Annual Evans Data Developer Relations Conference, March 27 & 28, 2017 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Palo Alto, California
Subject: Request for Authorization to attend the 13th Annual Evans Data Developer Relations Conference
I would like your approval for me to attend the 13th Annual Evans Data Developer Relations Conference, March 27 & 28, 2017 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Palo Alto, California. The conference features two days of keynotes and sessions by leading executives and directors of Developer Relations and Advocacy programs for top technology companies in the world. This is a conference unlike any other, developer relations experts from leading companies in the software, telecom and web markets will come together to discuss best practices and reveal the techniques behind their success!
At the conference I will learn developer outreach best practices, tips & advice, and other aspects of running a world class developer relations program from the business side (program ROI, the connection between developer programs and company revenue, budgeting for/costs of developer programs, how to get an organization’s commitment of internal resources, etc.) to the marketing side (techniques for recruitment, awareness tactics, community loyalty building programs, legal/privacy and global privacy considerations, conducting a privacy audit, internationalizing a US-based developer program, etc.), and much more.
During the conference I will have ample opportunity to network with top developer relations program managers, ask specific questions that can help our developer outreach plans and learn “The Art of Evangelism” from Guy Kawasaki, the chief evangelist of Canva, board of trustees member of the Wikimedia Foundation, a brand ambassador for Mercedes Benz USA, executive fellow of the Haas School of Business (UC Berkeley) and former chief evangelist of Apple.
Who will be attend:
- VPs, CTOs, and CEOs
- Business Development Managers & Directors
- Managers & Directors of Developer Programs
- Product Marketing Managers & Directors
- Marketing Managers
- Technology & Developer Evangelists
- Products Managers
- Research Managers
- Corporate Communications Managers
- Heads of Developer Marketing
If you approve my attendance before December 31, 2016 I can take advantage of the super early bird pricing and save our company $400. If you approve before January 31, 2017 I can save $300 on the full conference price of $1295.
Thank you in advance for considering this opportunity for me to attend this unique conference. Please let me know if you need additional information about the conference. You can find additional information, conference schedule, speaker list and companies planning to attend on the conference web site at https://evansdata.com/drc/2017/
I look forward to your reply.
[Your Name Here]
PS: There is also a pre-conference Developer Relations Boot Camp that can additionally prepare me for the two day conference. The Evans Data Corporation’s Developer Relations Boot Camp provides a solid foundation on which I can build or enhance our developer program. Concentrated sessions in this one-day instructional program provide the insight and actionable information I can use to build our brand and establish strong relationships with our developer community.
The combination of an experienced boot camp faculty and Evans Data developer research will guide:
- Careful consideration regarding the reasons why developers seek out and participate in developer programs
- The most effective means of reaching out to them
- How you can leverage social media to greatest effect.
At the end of the day I will leave with a certificate of completion as well as the knowledge and confidence to create, enhance and run a world class developer program.
Other “need to convince your boss?” example conference template letters
Here are a few additional examples of template letters that conferences have provided for their target attendees.
- IBM Watson Developer Conference 2016 – https://www.ibm.com/watson/developer-conference/files/letter.pdf
- Cloud Foundry Summit Silicon Valley 2017 – https://www.cloudfoundry.org/convince-your-boss/
- STC Technical Communication Summit 2017 – http://summit.stc.org/convince-your-boss/
- LinuxCon + ContainerCon North America 2016 – http://events.linuxfoundation.org/events/containercon/attend/convince-your-boss
- Convincing Your Boss to Fund Your Trip to Grace Hopper Celebration Conference – http://anitaborg.org/news/convincing-your-boss-to-fund-your-trip-to-ghc/
Do you have developer conference manager approval template letters?
If you have your own template manager approval letters that you provide to your program members, send me an email with the link or text.
David Intersimone “David I”
Vice President of Developer Communities
Evans Data Corporation