Yext aimed to deliver an impactful and high-touch tech conference that brought new technology to the forefront of people's minds. Planning to make ONWARD the preeminent technology conference in New York City, Yext delivered a promotional campaign designed to increase both event and brand awareness. With many tech giants based in Silicon Valley, creating a flagship technology conference in New York is an important growth moment for the New York technology community.
Yext aimed to obtain the most important and largest national and international brands in one place. The goals of the conference were to explore intelligent technology (AI, voice, and intelligent services such as Alexa and Siri) and to educate brands on how to prepare for the future in a transforming business world. Many of the world's leading companies from across industries, including Marriott, McDonald's, Farmers Insurance, Toyota, and Michael Kors, as well as global tech leaders including Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Yelp, attended and played prominent roles (keynoters, moderators).
To ensure Yext met objectives, the company set goals, many of which focused on social and digital media. Yext aimed to increase its average social media engagement rate and to inspire individuals to use the ONWARD17 hashtag (#ONWARD17) at least 1,000 times across Twitter and Instagram. To promote the event and the industry influencers, sponsors, speakers, and brands, in attendance, Yext worked to spark conversation on all social media platforms.
Pre-Event: ONWARD17 was truly a global technology conference. As Yext's second annual user conference, the company's pre-event marketing strategy was to promote the event and its speakers across all media channels with an emphasis on digital and social media promotion.
Yext created a website (ONWARD2017.com) for the event and registration, released 25+ pre-event blog posts highlighting speakers, talk tracks, and reasons to attend, socialized these posts on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, and tweeted 10-20 times per week. The tweets highlighted the speakers and their topics, as well as garnered engagements and set the tone for the upcoming conference. Accompanying social, Yext published cohesive digital ads on well-known sites like TechCrunch, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. Yext placed out-of-home ads in international airport hubs so that attendees traveling to ONWARD17 were immersed in the experience even before taking off. Yext published print newspaper ads in The New York Times,The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, and USA Today.
Yext tagged speakers in relevant tweets to promote the event's sessions, and increase the number of followers for ONWARD17 speakers, panelists, and influencers. As ONWARD17 approached, Yext Snapchatted and Instagrammed sneak-peek videos and images to pique attendee excitement. Additionally, Yext released an "ONWARD17" app, which attendees could download for event information and push notifications.
Event Days 1, 2, 3: Yext filled the conference with impactful programming about the intelligent future and how new technology is changing business. Content ranged from keynotes with high-level ideas to vertical-specific information, such as "the future of the patient experience" in the healthcare industry. Presenters from large global companies, including Snap Inc., Microsoft, T-Mobile, and Hilton shared insights with businesses facing similar issues.
ONWARD17 featured interactive and on-the-ground social media engagement that included:
Post-Event: Yext opted for a "Heard at ONWARD17" strategy, which continues today. Yext tweeted branded images of speakers with powerful quotes that were said at the event. These posts amplified ONWARD17 content and engaged speakers, industry influencers, and their followers. Along with the Tweets, Yext wrote more than 25 blog posts highlighting each session's key takeaways.
These tweets and blog posts culminated in a downloadable whitepaper, Insights From the Intelligent Future: 15 Big Ideas from ONWARD17. Yext then created imagery to highlight each speaker who was included in the whitepaper to further promote their participation in the event and their thought leadership.
ONWARD17 was a transformative event for Yext as a technology leader. It moved along deals with Yext customers and prospects who were able to come to easily understand Yext and how the software could benefit their businesses.
There were 97 speakers from well-known companies such as Google, Amazon, and Snap, Inc. Keynotes with famed actor, producer, director, and creator Mark Hamill, and Former CTO of the United State Megan Smith, anchored the conference. There were 30 breakout sessions, panels, and onstage interviews.
There were 600 attendees and more than 350 Yexters who volunteered. The ONWARD17 app was downloaded 739 times, 408 profiles were created, and the app was opened 17,444 times.
Event demand was so high that Yext added a livestream to accommodate people who couldn't attend. In total, there were 5,476 unique livestream viewers for a total watch time of 193,378 minutes viewed throughout the event. The average watchtime was 30:41 minutes -- the approximate length of one breakout session. The livestreams and keynotes were recorded and shared on Yext's YouTube page and on post-event blog posts for promotion and brand amplification.
To capture event momentum before, during, and after the event, Yext measured its social media reach and engagement from Sunday, 10/29 to Sunday, 11/5. Overall, the company saw an approximate 20% increase in engagement on Twitter and Instagram compared to 2016. There was a total of 1,163 uses of #ONWARD17 across Twitter and Instagram.
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