Thoughts on ticketing strategy

Janessa Lantz
3 min readJan 28, 2020


We’re in the process of planning our first annual conference for our open source product, dbt. So I’ve been thinking a lot about ticketing strategy — pricing, promotions, etc.

I wanted to share my thoughts on this on the off chance that it would be valuable to someone else, or (even better) there are folks out there who can bring additional nuance to my current thinking 🤗

What are my grounding prices?

The general admission ticket grounds our pricing at the top. The price point here is an expression of what we think the event is worth as well as our product positioning:

  • Venture backed SaaS companies typically host events for cheaper — the have 💰money in the bank and you’re already paying them for software.
  • Open source projects typically host events at higher price points––the software is free, you pay for events and education.

We released a SaaS version of our product about a year ago, but the majority of the 1200+ companies using dbt are using the open source product. We want to price accordingly.

Then I used an “Average Sale Price” price point to ground pricing at the bottom. This is far from being a profitable event for us, and tickets are central to helping us offset the costs of the event. This is the average price point I need to hit if we’re going to keep the event on budget.

What is my full range of price points?

Once I had my grounding price points, I started to think about the different groups who will be attending the event and the associated price points:

  • We’ll need a certain number of free tickets to give to speakers and sponsors
  • Our sales team will need a handful of deeply discounted tickets
  • Should we give a certain discount to existing customers/clients?
  • Obviously we want to incentivize early-bird pricing

So my full range of price points began to take shape:

  • Free
  • 50% off
  • 30% off
  • 25% off
  • etc.

How many tickets can I afford to