The business practice is very straightforward: it's cheaper to sell tickets to my Conference if I find people or organizations with a mature network to sell them for me in-exchange for a fee and call them "Media, Marketing, or Community Partners". Let's call it "leveraging". And all I have to do is give them a custom discount code (let's say 10% off). The benefit to you is some extra income and looking good for helping out. For years organizers of Seminars, Symposiums, Workshops, and Conferences have been complacent and continue to operate under the false premise that Discount Codes are profitable. They are not.
But they seem to work so well, what can go wrong? First, it discourages this business offering the codes to work hard like everyone else and adapt to changing times. Second, the practice discourages this business to be creative and pay for other forms of marketing and advertising. Third, the practice does not require the organizer to guarantee anything. The truth is they can canel the discount at anytime and are not required to give you advance notice, no matter the risk to you or your organization's reputation. It's all about them and their goals. And guess what! You are not special unless you are given the only discount code.
Now some organizers feel as though they are impervious to change, especially when there are so many gullible young professionals. And frankly why should they change if there really are so many gullible young professionals to convince to work for you for free. I think it's time to give them reason a change and now.
So, if you're 22 to 40 years, I think we should stop being so guillible and dropping our pants and giving away our hard earned (newly acquired) networks. If someone emails, calls, FB, or Tweets you offering a discount code, say "Do you have anything better?" I for one am a 32, young professional in San Diego, California who spent a lot of time and money paying for my transportation and waredobe to attend the 48 networking events I attended just last year (not to mention cellphone minutes, emails, coffee and lunch meetings just to maintain that network). I must say no working for free and no to handing it over to someone who did'nt work for it. And I refuse to support anyone or anything with a Discount Code to market the sale of tickets. You can be the most Sustainable Conference in town, but if that's your angle then I know you don't care about true cost.
I'd rather support the following to earn a discount:
- Hosting an Instagram contest
- Developing an app where I have to play a game and win
- Clicking on or just seeing a damn good advertisement
- Having an Influencer I respect tell me I should attend
But what do I know? I'm just an agent of disruption and make talk worthy ads.