Hello everyone! As you may already know, event management is a tough business and creating a super unique concept of events which nobody else is doing could be really challenging. But among the people there are a lot of brave ones who have not been afraid of a potential failure and have managed to achieve great success. We made an interview with Louis Tanguay, a Founder and Managing Director of App Growth Summit, who managed to come into the New York market with a unique concept of invite-only events and in two years has achieved a successful expansion into six other metropolises all around the world. Read through his experience and get some inspiration!
Hey Louis. Could you please introduce yourself to the readers?
Hello Nikola, sure! I have been doing marketing pretty much my whole life. I started my own marketing company in 2010. In 2018 I saw an opportunity for an open segment of mobile app conferences that wasn't being fulfilled, so I started to do events which no one else was doing - which were the smaller, exclusive, invite-only limited-vendor events that did not have any sort of interest in sales.
I have heard that you manage most of the work just by yourself. Could you explain how you do that?
Short story is - I don't have a life, don't sleep and do nothing but work and then you do it on yourself. (laugh)
What is the size of these events?
It is about 300 to 400 attendees on average.
Who is usually your target group?
Mobile app growth professionals. Either mobile marketers, brand marketers who work on the part of the mobile app brand, digital marketers or mobile app product experts. As I have a marketing background, it helps me to write content for these people.
What is the difference between you and your competitors? What is the key difference which caused your success?
Actually, there is no one else who is really doing what we are doing, so it is pretty easy to be different. We truly care about the experience that our attendees and our sponsors have with our events, and we focus on providing a VIP experience for everyone who is involved.
What is the usual concept of your event? Is it a one-day-long or more-days-long event?
One-day event - the whole day, usually, sometimes we have smaller events like networking events or symposiums that focus on one particular topic. However, most of our events are a full day of content.
On which social media do you promote your conferences? Can you explain why you choose them?
Facebook because everyone is on it, LinkedIn because everyone does business on it and Instagram because everyone scrolls through it. As for Twitter, it has always had horrible conversion rates so we use it as a publicity tool for awareness, but we are not expecting to get any actual sales conversions through Twitter. However, what is important - the content should be different. People's mindset on different social media is different, even if it's the same person, the way he or she thinks is different. And your content should be adjusted for that.
The speakers at your events are experts from well-known international companies. How do you get them to your event?
High-quality people are attracted to high-quality opportunities. So because we have a good track record and good word of mouth, we're lucky enough to have high-quality speakers.
How do you create content for your event? Do you let the speakers choose what they want to talk about?
Usually, we read a lot of blogs and search for what are the hot topics that people are writing about. And we create the content about that. But if the speakers want to contribute more, they are welcome to.
How do you usually start your conferences? What do you use as an ice-breaker?
We usually have an intro video play and then I show up and introduce the conference. After that, we move right into a very strong opening keynote.
Do you serve food or drinks for the attendees? Do you have some partnerships for that?
We have not done a lot of outreach to do that yet. We did have a Heineken providing free beer for happy hours in our last NY event because our Key Notes speaker on that particular event was from Heineken. But that is definitely something that we are looking at doing in the future, we just don't have the bandwidth to do a promotional task at this point.
How do you manage the events out of the US? Do you have any coordinator? Tell us the secret of how to expand with an event.
Unfortunately, I don't have an international coordinator. We still do it all from the US. We try to find some partners that would help us, from event to event, and the location depends on how much help do we need. For example - Berlin is not too bad, because everything is well to find and order.. very German, right? You know where the apps are, you know where the good sections of a city are, and you can easily find the right people. Moreover, a lot of people speak English. The opposite is Brazil - it is much more difficult because it is a completely different culture, different language and it's a different of style of communication. Generally, events in Russia and China are for us more difficult to manage than events in London, Australia or Singapore where the people speak English fluently. Brazil, for us, will be a major test, and the learning we receive from that event teach us a lot about international event production in non-western cultures.
Do you have one concept of your event or do you differentiate the content according to the different markets?
Mostly it is similar because we are trying to establish our own brand and the way we run our conferences, but of course we are going to make sure that we have some customization. For example, in Europe we will obviously talk more about the GDPR policy as it was almost mandatory last years. On the opposite, in the US it is not necessary because only a few people would have to deal with that. But overall, 80 % of the content will be very similar because we all deal with the same issues - how do you grow, how do you monetize, how do you retain your users and how do you expand into other regions or internationally.
How does Eventee help you with your event? What is the added value of that on your conference?
Eventee is the only app in the entire space of event-conference apps that understands how to do it the right way. Other event-conference apps focus only on helping facilitate sales people, and they don't care about the user experience. Eventee has created a unique app where the attendee experience is number one so more attendees will engage with it and I prove that because our last event had 50 % of the attendees downloaded and used the mobile app. Most apps have only about 15 % of the engagement but when we used Eventee, we had 50 %.
How do you motivate the attendees to download and use the Eventee app?
We send an email with the instructions to download the app and we put there the links to App Store and Google Play. At the event, we have the QR code that goes to the splash page which has the links to both stores. Basically, all of our posters and event signages have a big QR code that says DOWNLOAD THE APP. And we also tell them that that's the way to get the wifi password. We put the signage out there with the wifi password or we tell everyone to download the app and get the wifi password. And it works well.
How do you determine that the event was successful? What are the criteria?
People show up and no one complains. (laugh) Honestly, that's kind of it. We have a low no-show rate and we have a survey that goes out to our sponsors, our speakers and our attendees and we ask them for the feedback and they tell us. And when we have the low no-show rate we know that we've created something that people want.
Do you have any other tips or advice for event managers as a beginner? 🙂
Try to think about why you are starting an event. If you're starting event management because you think it is an easy way to earn money, it is NOT. Event business is really tough and you will constantly feel every single day that your event is going to fail. And you will work really really hard and long hours to make sure it doesn't fail, you enjoy it only for a few hours at the very end of the event and then it's back to the next event. And then you start worrying again.
It's not a great business because there are many moving parts, and there are many little things that can go wrong. I guess my advice for beginners would be just “start simple.” Do the most important things right - make sure the content is good, you have good speakers, and you treat the attendees well. You don't need to have all the crazy stuff like backdrops, signage, crazy lights, huge stage shows or dancing monkeys or anything (although, that would be pretty awesome!). Focus on the good things - the basic things so you're sure you won't fail.
Lastly, if you do it for the right reason, then it doesn't really matter how much stress it is. But make sure you're not doing it just for the money, and you’ll be well-rewarded. And make sure you’re using Eventee! 🤗
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