Encompass and HP are turning up the marketing machine for their September HP Technology Forum, putting postcards in mailboxes, sending e-mail to prospects, extending discounts and announcing speakers. An early-bird discount rate runs out at the end of next week for the Forum registration. Meanwhile, the GHRUG conference which opens six weeks after the HP Tech Forum closes is not making a direct play for training and networking expenditures. At least not yet.
The GHRUG three-day event, billed as the only 3000-specific conference for 2006, will be soliciting a formal call for speakers by the end of the summer, according to one report we received this week. The dates are set (Nov. 10-12), as is the venue (U. of Houston Clear Lake), so the travel and "I'll be out of the office" plans can proceed. All that remains is a reason to attend: The content, most important to a 3000 manager looking for help to homestead or begin a migration. The homestead talks will be the most exclusive part of the GHRUG event.
Last year the Tech Forum marketed straight up against Interex and its HP World show. Some Interex veterans said that Smith Bucklin, the conference company that sold the show floor space, used all the leverage HP could provide the Tech Forum as the vendor's official venue. Laying back until the same Smith Bucklin team and Encompass has done its marketing — say, September — might be a strategy to pick up attendees who can't afford the Tech Forum's rates (still more than $900 even with all the available discounts.)
Okay, I admit it; I'm eager to see what the 3000-specific effort will bring to the market. It looks like the customer base may have wait awhile longer to find out, while supporters from the vendor community do, too.