First of all, please tell our readers about Attendify - what is the company all about?
Attendify is about taking action, we give event planners tools to create and manage apps that boost attendee engagement. In a matter of days Attendify can deliver a branded, private social networking app complete with photo sharing, messaging, likes, comments, live polls, attendee profiles, and more. Attendees enjoy a richer networking experience and planners remain in full control of the app with instant social moderation, analytics, and content updates for integrated event guide features like the schedule, speaker profiles, maps and more.
What were the 3 keys to getting the company off the ground - where did you invest your time?
Staying laser focused on product development was absolutely the key to growing Attendify. To this day we don’t have a sales team and rely on the word of mouth recommendations. Focusing the company on product development was risky, but with so much noise in the market we knew we would never succeed without a great product that people love and recommend. That’s why we chose to focus on building a powerful self-service platform that’s unlike anything in the market. Since launching our new Social App few months ago we’ve seen our vision start to take shape and its very exciting to take the next steps.
This series is dedicated to learning from event experts on various topics. We cover event technology, meeting design, and much, more more! Today, we are pleased to interview MICHAEL BALYASNY, CEO | Attendify
What kind of clients do you serve?
We serve a wide range of clients; from large enterprises like Bloomberg, Google, AstraZeneca, Philips and Cisco to independent planners who manage just a few events per year. That’s the power of the platform; organizations of any size can leverage our technology and build dynamic, engaging apps in a fraction of the time and cost typically associated with event apps.
How do you use events to expand the reach of your brand?
Whenever Attendify exhibits at an event we treat the experience like a learning opportunity. Event planners are our customers, but the product is used most by attendees, we get to see both in action and have lots of face-to-face demos. The observations we make drive insights that go right into product development. We try to exhibit at and sponsor as many events as we can, its always a lot of fun and the feedback we get is vital.
What is the coolest use of technology you've ever done for your brand or events?
We’ve seen really strong engagement at events using our social platform, but a few cases really blew us away…
AOL used Attendify for their annual sales conference in December and turned the app into what can only be described as a private Instagram. AOL employees shared nearly 1000 photos over the course of a 3 day event, and the app saw an average of 59 sessions per user. That means attendees used the app an average of nearly 20 times a day! The app also saw over 3,300 likes & comments, so not only was a lot of content created, but attendees joined the discussion and engaged very actively. AOL was one of the first clients to use our new Social App, so it was great to see how much they liked it. Since AOL’s event we’ve seen hundreds of clients leverage the Social App with similar results. Engagement has been phenomenal and we’re very proud to help planners achieve that kind of impact.
Now I've heard that you are making a shift perhaps away from traditional mobile apps and into something a bit more private. Can you elaborate?
We’re trying to do away with traditional event apps and move towards private networking apps. Networking is at the heart of every event, but we haven’t seen an app that helps boost engagement without resorting to giveaways and awkward games. We’re working to change that, every app we deliver is a private social network complete with photo-sharing, messaging, likes, comments, live polling, attendee profiles, and much more.
The app is like having a private version of Facebook just for your event. Attendees intuitively know how to use the app and start engaging right away. The privacy the app offers makes attendees feel comfortable sharing content that they might not otherwise put out on their personal accounts, after all, do your high-school friends want to see pictures from a conference you're attending? Probably not. That realization stunts the amount of content attendees share on their every day social networks.
The other big piece of the puzzle is creating easy to use management tools for event planners that allow them to moderate the conversation in real time, and keep the app updated with the latest event information. Attendify delivers a complete platform that drives engagement while keeping planners in full control.
What is your favorite app?
I love productivity apps like Evernote and Wunderlist, but being perfectly honest I probably use Instagram more than any other app on my phone. I can’t get enough of those filters! 🙂