Appi Camper is an interview series that shines a spotlight on today's mobile elite, showcasing their expertise and knowledge. In this special edition, focusing on the mobile event space, growth leader Louis will share trends, strategies to navigate the current market, tips to overcome present challenges, and how he approaches these impacts to successfully emerge as an Appi Camper.
Events Spotlight with Louis Tanguay
Louis Tanguay is the Founder & Managing Director of App Growth Summit. Founded in 2018, App Growth Summit is an invite-only global conference series aimed at attendee experience in a VIP setting, rather than the larger, crowded sales conferences or trade shows. App Growth Summit events are currently being produced virtually until it is safe to return to in-person events. Louis currently lives in Austin, TX with his English Bulldog, Palu.
How have events adapted in this virtual environment?
We looked at the other event series which were out there, and realized we had to completely rethink the event experience for the online environment if we were going to be different, and give people something they would enjoy…just like our in-person events.
We looked at the virtual event platforms that were available for white labeling and saw some other event series that tried to use them. There are two mistakes everyone made, and still make when it comes to live events.
First, they assume the Users’ attention spans are equal to that of in-person events, so they have really long sessions. Second, they essentially mimic the style and arrangement of webinars. So, most people basically have NOT adapted to the virtual environment very well, because they have these really long full-day or multi-day events packed with what is essentially long webinar after long webinar.
People will not sit at their computers all day, or for multiple days, and watch these sessions. This means the Sponsors are not getting the engagement they hoped (or were promised), and these events are unattended ghost towns.
Not wanting to suffer the same fate as other conferences forced to go online, we completely deconstructed, then reconstructed, the virtual event experience from the ground up. My original background was in building web-based businesses so this world essentially pivoted right into my wheelhouse, and we knew in order to be better, we had to give people something completely unique and different.
So, since we didn’t like what other people were offering, and all the other conferences looked the same since they used these same cookie-cutter white-labeled “solutions,” we created an entire platform that has everything on ONE page, the content is shorter and to-the-point, and we have engaging Slack-style Networking Chat and Q&A chats right around the video stream, complete with quote-replies, emojis, DM capabilities, and threaded topical chats, to keep our Users engaged for a few hours, then we all get on with our day and feel good about everything.
The other thing we’re doing is giving everyone who attends a free coffee. If you go to a conference and get free coffee and lunch…why should virtual events be any different? So everyone attending gets a Starbucks gift card, and the first 100 people attending also receive an Uber Eats code for a free lunch/dinner. If we are going to say we provide a VIP experience, we better back it up!
Are virtual events here to stay?
NO. haha. They are barely even here right NOW! There are a few event brands that are holding on, tooth and nail until in-person events return. That said, if people were smart, they would turn their webinars into virtual events in the future, so they’re more interactive and engaging.
I feel bad for the investors who dumped hundreds of millions of dollars in 2021 into online event platforms. That money will be burned up, and probably could have funded companies with a better-projected outcome or gone to charities. For one of these platforms to be valuated at over $5 Billion is complete insanity
Since we have our own custom-built platform that we own outright, that did not cost us hundreds of millions to create, we never have to stop using it since there’s no additional cost to us. This means whenever we have our events return to being in-person, we can still stream the event via our platform, and people from all over the world can still watch the content, and chat live with others at the event or also online. So, in that sense, we can have virtual events for everyone, anywhere, to enjoy the App Growth Summit experience!
When do you think we’ll go back to live events? Will we ever?
As soon as we are able to produce events safely and confidently, we will. The quick and easy answer is “once everyone is vaccinated.” I believe that even if the virus appears to be almost gone or gone, there will be many people who will still not feel safe to attend an event until they (and everyone/most) are vaccinated AND the numbers have gone all the way down.
We will absolutely go back to live events. The question is will people just jump back in and pack the venues once they’re vaccinated, or will there have to be a smaller crowd at first?
App Growth Summit actually has a major advantage here, either way, because our events are specifically designed for being invite-only and limited audiences. So, we’ll be good either way, once we return.
We are looking at returning to in-person events for our September 1st App Growth Summit SF and our November 10th App Growth Summit Austin events! We will only have about 30-40% capacity and will adhere to all CDC guidelines for public gatherings, but we look forward to being the first ones to safely return to in-person events, as we were the last to safely produce an in-person event with App Growth Summit LA in March 2020, just before the lockdowns were initiated.
But…until then, we will keep producing our invite-only events on our custom-build AGS Event Platform and continue to enjoy producing these events for our audience and community!