The Ontario Empoblog on the Demise of Interex

“Marketing Free Doesn't Pay”

From the Ontario Empoblog
Posted by Ontario Emperor : 7/18/2005 05:01:00 PM

Remember Interex? The people who had the marketing free seminars?

Marketing Free

If you’ve ever been frustrated when a technical training session turns into a sales or marketing pitch then HP World 2005 is for you! This year Interex will offer a complete line-up of “Marketing Free” sessions so that attendees can be sure that they will get only the purest technical information directly from highly respected industry experts. Attendees can look for the “Marketing Free” symbol in the conference catalog to easily identify these sessions.

Plus, now you can take matters into your own hands! Every conference attendee will receive a “No Marketing” sign in their conference tote bags. If sales or marketing information begins to intrude into a “Marketing Free” session, attendees can fight back by hold up their “No Marketing” signs to let the speaker know that he/she has veered off course. Power to the people!

Well, after I commented on that strategy on May 5, I coincidentally had to do some business with Interex...some marketing business (a listing in one of their publications).

Because of this, I received an invoice from Interex for $350.

Knowing that I still had to pay the bill, I noticed this morning that I got a Blogpatrol hit on my blog with the search terms “Interex bankrupt.”

Well, I don’t have to pay the bill:

Dear members:

It is with great sadness, that after 31 years, we have found it financially necessary to close the doors at Interex. Unfortunately our publications, newsletters, services and conference (HPWorld 2005) will be terminated immediately. We are grateful to the 100,000 members and volunteers of Interex for their contributions, advocacy and support. We dearly wish that we could have continued supporting your needs but it was unavoidable.


C/NET has more:

HP World, an industry trade conference that focuses on Hewlett-Packard and its partners, has been canceled.

The show was scheduled to run between Aug. 14 and Aug. 18 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco....

Interex, the company that has managed the show for the past 10 years, is apparently pulling the plug because the company is preparing for bankruptcy and has decided not to compete with similar conference shows that HP itself is producing....

The show cancellation comes as HP is expected to announce layoffs of about 15,000 employees. Officials worked during the weekend to finalize the details of the layoffs, according to a source close to the company....

HP itself has been trying to combine several of the technology forums and conferences during the past few years in hopes of unifying three major HP user groups. Interex has apparently been resistant to the change....

How could Interex fail after this ringing endorsement from HP?

Parsons said HP will continue to support other HP users groups. He added that HP considers the independent Interex HP users group to be valuable and that the firm will support its meetings.

Oh, maybe I should read earlier in the article:

In an unprecedented move, Hewlett-Packard will work so closely with Encompass, an HP user Group, that both HP employees and Encompass’ user membership will receive important strategic insider training on the firm’s products and services at the HP Technology Forum in September.

In interviews, Kristi Browder, Encompass president, and David Parsons, HP’s vice president of enterprise marketing, spelled out the ways and means the two groups will cooperate. “HP was a sponsor in the past,” said Browder. “Now HP is a partner.”

Browder noted that Parsons had sent invitations to all HP user groups aimed at developing a close cooperative exchange and partnership with the firm. She said Encompass welcomed the offer, because the user group believes the partnership represents “the best technical exchange” of information. Encompass agreed to participate in the company’s HP Technology Forum, scheduled to take place in New Orleans on September 12-15....

So who is Encompass?

Encompass is a community of IT professionals who deliver information technology solutions for complex and multi-system computing environments....

We understand enterprise computing; we make this stuff work for our companies and organizations. And as we define it, “enterprise” is not a indicator of “size” of an organization, but an attitude and style of computing. Through networking, information, education, and member benefits, we’re here to provide solutions to the real IT problems and challenges your business faces every day....

Encompass is your voice to HP. The swiftly turning tide of our industry compels us to stay connected; to quickly leverage our aggregated concerns and needs; to communicate. Your commitment to membership will keep our voice strong....

And look for the Encompass label and all that stuff. But Encompass and Interex have worked together in the past:

CHICAGO, April 13, 2004 – Encompass and Interex, leading independent associations of HP computing professionals, today announced that HP World 2004 Solutions and Technology Conference & Expo will be held at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois, on August 16 - 20....

HP World 2004 marks the second consecutive year that Interex and Encompass have partnered to deliver a comprehensive technical training event and product showcase tailored to the needs of IT professionals that use and rely on HP technologies.

“Interex is delighted to be able to continue our 30-year tradition of delivering industry-leading technical training to our members, and to the entire HP-centric IT market, at HP World,” said Denys Beauchemin, Interex Chairman. “Our partnership with Encompass will truly make this year’s event the only one you need for all your HP enterprise needs.”

“By joining forces to deliver HP World 2004, Encompass and Interex will create the most in-depth and resourceful educational event for HP technology users,” said Kristi Browder, President of Encompass. “We are extremely pleased to lend our user-driven, user-focused expertise to ensure the conference program meets the demanding needs of today’s HP enterprise customer.”...

By 2005, however, Encompass cast its lot with HP rather than Interex. Someone will need to fill me in on the sordid details. Here’s what I found:

Q: Why is HP producing the HP Technology Forum?
A: The HP Technology Forum 2005 will unite the education and training needs across HP’s broad customer and partner base including user groups, with the goal to provide both HP- and user group-driven technical training that goes beyond any single technology area to reflect the real-world data centers of our customers....HP has encouraged all its major user groups in the Americas to participate in the fall 2005 conference.

Q: What about Encompass?
A: Encompass has enthusiastically embraced this opportunity to deliver quality technical training to their membership and will be a major partner with HP in the conference, sharing management responsibilities with HP.

Q: What about OpenView Forum?
A: OpenView Forum International has committed to participate in the HP Technology Forum and work collaboratively with Encompass, while continuing to host the HP Software Forum in June 2005 in Denver.

Q: What about Interex?
A: The Interex User Group has indicated its intention to continue producing HP World in 2005 as a parallel, independent conference for its membership.

Q: What about ITUG?
A: ITUG, the International NonStop User Group, will continue to host its user group events in 2005, and is also looking at ways to take part in the 2005 HP Technology Forum.

Q: Why is Encompass choosing to participate in the HP Technology Forum instead of other conferences?
A: Encompass’ charter is to deliver knowledge exchange opportunities for its members and to provide the level of technical information and training that an “in-the-trenches” and seasoned IT technologist needs. Encompass decided that the HP Technology Forum was the best opportunity for members and attendees to obtain the vast amount of in-depth training and user-focused education that the Encompass community requires....

I guess some people could call this corporate domination of small user groups. But apparently there isn’t a sufficient market for a voice independent of HP.