Inbox-Outbox Conference Review

Inbox-Outbox, an email expo and conference, was held June 19/20, 2007 in London. Here’s a quick review.

General Structure:

  • Conventional mix of exhibition and conference sessions.
  • Targeted at IT staff supporting email, and people using direct email services.
  • Designed so that attendees only attend one day — most sessions repeated.
  • Located in central London — easier to get to than last year.

Attendees:

  • Around 400 participants attended the first day, about 300 the second. The great majority were prospective technology buyers, rather than vendors. So a total of around 700 attendees over both days.
  • Around half of attendees were direct marketing buyers, around half were IT support staff in medium and large organizations
  • Exhibitors were mostly speaking to buyers, not other vendors — unlike some other email-related events.
  • Significantly from the aesthetic-cum-demographic point of view, the email marketing contingent was more appealing than the IT contingent.

Sessions:

  • Most of the time there were four concurrent sessions. Many non-keynote sessions had 15 to 35 attendees, well attended ones had 80 to 150 attendees. Popular keynotes had 200 attendees.
  • Our own Richi Jennings gave the opening keynote and a talk about sender authentication on both days, plus he spoke on the spam panel. David Ferris took notes, got the coffee, and tried to be helpful.

Exhibition:

  • Exhibiting vendors were ArcMail, Barracuda, Business Systems Group, C2C, CA, CommuniGator, CreatorMail, Dacoll, DME, Double-Take, EMC, Essential, Etelligent, Exclaimer, FaceTime, GFI, Google, H2, Lightspeed, Marshal, messagehub, Messaging Architects, Mimecast Online, Neolane, Network Computing, PixAlert, Plasmon, RIM, Rocketseed.
  • Lots of good information at the booths, although not a good place to meet with vendor product management.
  • During non-session slots, most vendors were busy, so it was best to have at least two staff available.
  • Vendor packages included a mix of stand, speaking in sessions, and leads, and typically cost around 6,500 pounds/$13,000.
  • Show needed to have free Wi-Fi available. You could buy it for 5 pound/$100 per hour or 50 pounds/$100 daily. Unsurprisingly, there weren’t many takers.

Overall, the event appears to have provided a satisfying experience for most delegates and exhibitors alike. The next event is November 27 and 28, 2007, also in London — more information here.

David Ferris and Richi Jennings

One Comment

  1. Nadeem (Azam.biz)
    Posted July 2, 2007 at 5:36 PM | Permalink

    “Overall, the event appears to have provided a satisfying experience for most delegates and exhibitors alike”

    Based on what analysis do you report that? As a journalist, I carry out emperical research and, of 9 out of 10 people I spoke to, they said it was a waste of time.

    Very few ‘buyers’ were there. The exhibitors was just standing around twiddling their thumbs for hours. Or was my eyesight letting me down AND each person I spoke to unrepresentative?

  2. Posted July 3, 2007 at 1:28 AM | Permalink

    Nadeem, there were two Ferris Research analysts present. We talk to people too.

    And your description of exhibitors twiddling their thumbs absolutely does not square with what we saw. Are you sure you were at the same event? We hear that a similarly-named event in California in early June was more like your description — perhaps you’re confusing Inbox-Outbox with that one?

    I’m also not clear how your self-description as a “journalist” squares with the affiliate-marketing nature of your website (hence, I’ve removed your link).

  3. Nadeem
    Posted July 3, 2007 at 4:41 AM | Permalink

    Thank you for your feedback.

    I know you have a vested interest and so will not saying anything negative about Inbox/Outbox.

    Whatever your “analysts” may say, me and my colleagues had the best laugh of the year at the event. One of my colleagues saw all the exhibitors sitting there twiddling their thumbs with very little footfall and said “this is the worst attended event I have ever been to – God knows how many hundreds these guys paid to exhibit!” We couldn’t stop cracking up.

    Highly-paid “analysts” also came to the conclusion that the British public would take the 2012 London Olympics logo to their hearts.

    The proof of the pudding is in the figures and your own blog mentions 700 attendees in two days. If that is classified as a success – other exhibitions we go to get those figures in an hour – then Britain is going through a heatwave.

  4. Posted July 3, 2007 at 5:44 AM | Permalink

    Let me first state for the record that there’s zero financial relationship between Ferris Research and Revolution Events (the organizers of Inbox-Outbox).

    David Ferris and I attended in our capacity as analysts. I also gave the opening keynote, a talk about SPF/DKIM, and sat on the Spamhaus panel.

    You may conclude that a 700 attendee show is a waste of time, but messaging is an important niche, which is being well served by this event.

    I still suspect that your colleague attended a different event. Or perhaps he glanced in at the expo while most attendees were at a keynote or the breakout sessions.

    Your characterization of “exhibitors sitting there twiddling their thumbs with very little footfall” makes no sense to me at all.

    Indeed, we’re told by Revolution that the show is switching to twice a year, due to its success. See you again in November…

  5. Posted July 3, 2007 at 6:47 AM | Permalink

    The last time we received such negative comments from a supposedly unbiased attendee was from a worried competitor!

    I almost resisted posting a comment as I certainly do not feel the need to defend this year’s event. Common sense dictates that we would not be running the event twice a year if it was not an overwhelming success.

    However, I will confirm the fact that Ferris are by no way obliged to endorse the event and that some 12 sponsors and 300+ delegates have already re-booked for November’s event – so I think that speaks for itself!

    Over 700 email management and marketing decision makers in a room with less than 30 exhibitors is a pretty good ratio for doing business. As testified by the number of re-bookings we have received.

    We have organised over 200 international business conferences, so have some experience as to what constitutes a successful event.

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