Ever the hardcore bunch, 16 event marketers started the day at 6:20 a.m. for an official 5K Team EventTech run along the Vegas strip. Several runners said they spotted a few of their fellow attendees just coming in from a night on the town, but, you know… what happens in Vegas.
Breakfast was served at 7:30 (oh, bacon and eggies, you’re so bad, but how we love you), and Allen Adamson, author of the book BrandDigital, took to the Tower Ballroom stage for the morning’s keynote presentation that answered the challenges of communicating a brand story in a way that cuts through the clutter of today’s marketplace. How can event marketers do that? Precision is key. “Focus on the two percent that distinguishes your brand from the competition,” he said. “That two percent, the ‘what/how, who you are, why you do it,’ is where the differences come to life.”
At 9:45, more than 1,000 attendees descended on the EventTech campus where the first wave of this year’s roster of gurus and experts took to the stage and started the day’s educational programming. Attendees could choose from five Learning Labs inside the campus, and sit in on fast-paced 30-minute sessions. Just a taste of the morning’s 15 topics on offer: Neuromarketing, live streaming, hashtags, Instagrammable content, data visualizations and more.
Next up: the 2015 Event Technology Awards luncheon, the fastest awards program in the west where attendees noshed on short ribs as the year’s best digital + live programs were honored across 12 categories (you can see the full list of winner here.)
The campus was back in full swing by 1:45 and went strong, buzzing with 25 different sessions, until 5:30—also known as Happy Hour. Fueled by cocktails and a killer potato New York Strip steak bar EventTechers got busy taking all of the knowledge they packed in earlier in the day and applying it directly to the 100 technologies on display on the campus. Among the standout hands-on experiences at the show, the Slow Motion Booth and the 70-foot food T.R.U.C.K. exhibit.
Throughout the day, the Event Marketer All Access video studio was in full swing, conducting live interviews with the show’s faculty. (Subscribe to our YouTube channel to check out our full library of All Access interviews and to be the first to catch this year’s interviews when they’re released.)
At 6:45, female attendees headed to Learning Lab #1 for a Women in Events Mixer. Event Marketer Group Editor Jessica Heasley kicked off a short Q&A with Cisco social media guru Kathleen Mudge, and then unleashed the ladies for a speed round of Tabletopics. Some of our favorite ice breakers? “If you could name the street you live on, what would you name it?” And, “If you could hear any animal species’ thoughts, what would it be?” (One woman answered: men.)
More than 100 attendees signed up for the EventTech group networking dinner at Carmine’s, where attendees who came solo could break bread and make new friends. And because it’s Vegas, and event marketers do late nights for a living, the show went on (and on) at the Fresh Wata EventTech Late Night party where, from 9 p.m. to, well, who knows, show goers got their drink and dance on in a warehouse about two miles off the strip
It was a HUGE day, from start to finish, so we’ve compiled a list of notable quotes, tweets and insights from the day’s keynote, learning labs and maybe even a few comments from happy hour and beyond. Enjoy and we’ll see you back here again tomorrow.
“It’s a constant battle we have in brick and mortar retail right now—what’s going to separate you from ecommerce? How are you going to get actual people to come to your store and shop? And what’s going to do that is experiences, and engaging with our customers.” –Christiana DiMattesa, Senior Retail Marketing Manager, Under Armour
“It’s one thing to build a dashboard; you can have your event staff look at it all day long. But the ability to consume and interpret that data at the most stressful time of the year for you is really limited, ultimately, and it’s limited by the human factor. So we’re trying to create more of an actionable AI, if you will, across the event sphere for SXSW 2016.” –Scott Wilcox, Director of Technology, SXSW
“Screens and videos aren’t necessarily compelling in and of themselves. You need to tell a story with them. We’re YouTube and we have all of the video pretty much that exists on the planet. It would have been easy to just throw videos up on screens and make them beautiful and immersive and stopped there, but we said, ‘No we want to go back to what made our product special—we want to tell these different stories.’” –Eric Leiberman, Product Marketing Manager, YouTube
“One of the ‘watch-outs’ is that inherently technology can be a very individual experience and a lot of the time, if not every time, what you’re trying to do at an event is much more about bonding and a community.” –Dan Hilbert, VP-Events, GES
“When you think about building buzz, you want to think about you will seed content, how you will amplify it, and then—how you will refresh it.” –Ben Kaplan, CEO, PR Hacker
“Turn on Twitch TV… I guarantee you, tune in on a Tuesday morning like this and it’s in the six figures of people watching people play [e-sports] right now.” –Austin Bryan, Group Director-Social, Digital and Content, ignition
“With beacons, you want to deliver the right message at the right time, that’s hyper relevant to where consumers are at that moment.” –Jeff Sinclair, Cofounder, Eventbase
“Uber, owns no vehicles; Facebook, creates no content; Airbnb, owns no real estate; Alibaba, owns no inventory—think about that for a second, and the assumptions we make in business about what it means to have value and what it means to have something that consumers and attendees are interested in.” –Scott Burns, Executive Creative Director, George P. Johnson
“When it comes to super fans, you have to realize that you are dealing with an audience that is kind of peculiar, they are very specific, they’re not necessarily the broader audience you’ve been dealing with. They think of themselves as co-owners of your brand.” –Mike Standish, VP, Creative Strategy, at PBJS
“Everyone is used to digital. Physical computing, though, brings something back to this tangible state that I think has this level of magic you often miss with other technologies.” –Jake Lee-High, Creative Director, Future Colossal
“Twitter has changed a lot from what it was in 2006. Back then there were only a few brands on it and those that were, were using very little strategy. They were posting occasionally and just kind of hoped for the best. That strategy probably never worked then and definitely doesn’t work now; the very best brands are using analytics and a much more strategic approach today not only in their editorial calendars but in their event marketing campaigns.” –Matt Brown, Director of Digital, Legacy Marketing Partners
“80 to 90 percent of having a video go viral revolves around making an emotional response in the viewer. The emotional response is what triggers sharing.” –Rob Bliss, President, Rob Bliss Creative
“Technology has gone past the touch screen to having attendees touch a tangible object with their hands that is custom-designed for the experience. Feeling the pressure of something in your hands is richer than a screen-based interaction and makes the experience more memorable and creates a sense of wonder.” –James Patten, Principal, Patten Studio
“Data is king. It is the driver of budgets and success determinations. Metrics and data are no longer after-thoughts. We should be designing experiences with data and metrics gathering from the beginning.” –Tyler Gates, Principal, Brightline Interactive
“Money won’t solve the problems that you have. You have to have a really good strategy. Be focused and choose an activity that aligns with your brand and resonates with the audience.” –Kathleen Mudge, Social Media Manager, Cisco
“The idea is to grab the audience’s attention and make them in as active participants, create a space that immerses. Once they come in, you need to give them a show that keeps them there.” –Rob Troy, Chief Creative Officer, Ant Farm
“When I want to get something amazing, I call in a maker.” –Mark Harrison, President and CEO, T1
“Wake up everyday wondering what you are dead wrong about. Don’t just keep moving forward like you always have been.” –Mark Stewart, Director of Innovation, wonderMakr
“Use technology to break down social barriers at an event, rather than a mobile phone that puts those barriers up. The possibilities are limitless when you introduce kinetic elements into experiences.” –James Patten, Principal, Patten Studio
[Describing the platform KNOW, a partnership between TBA Global and PathSight Predictive Science, that integrates neuroscience and behavioral science to reach people the way they want to be spoken to] “One size does not fit all. There is no best way of doing anything. In our industry it will always be what’s best for the audience.” —Christine Kiesling, VP-Client Engagement and Strategy at TBA Global
Tips for using technology to enhance the effectiveness of your B-to-B meetings:
1. Engage: Know your message and find the right technology to help you deliver it
2. Influence: Use technology to identify influencers.
3. Enhance: Technology should support your live experience, not take attention away from it.
—Gilda Benedetti, VP-Global Sales Effectiveness, MasterCard
“You need to be on Instagram. To really get the most results out of it you need to have a consumer-centric approach so that they’ll generate the content for you and get the word out there for you.” —Jean-Sebastien Lessard, CEO, Nomad Logic
“Our business would be nothing without our fans and we must keep them a priority in everything we do. By putting fans first, we remain true to our brand.” —Jessica Roosli, VP-Global Brand Marketing, Fan Experience, UFC
“Once you start to do the same activation year after year, [if you don’t change it] you’re not going to see great results. It’s going to be flat… We don’t want to just become a social content creator because that’s going to get stale.” —Farrah Corley Cox, Executive Director, Golin