Amazon is a leader in the event space. Read on to discover 12 of their most innovative get-togethers and how you can plan something similar.
The numbers are in: live, in-person events are critical to company success, according to 84% of Vice President and C-Level executives. Amazon, the online retail behemoth, clearly agrees and understands the power of event marketing. In this article, we’ll take a look at 12 imaginative events and conferences from Amazon and how the company is able to host such amazing get-togethers.
The Rise of Amazon
Founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos, Amazon originally began as an online bookstore. Things took off rather quickly for the Seattle-based startup and the company went public just three years later. Since that time, Amazon has grown by leaps and bounds, selling products of all types, and becoming one of the most valuable organizations on the planet. In short, they’ve changed the retail landscape forever.
Today, Amazon employs over 600,000 people and owns other well-known business entities such as Whole Foods and Twitch. But did you know that the company is also a leader in the event space? It’s true! Let’s explore 12 of their most imaginative event types and conferences.
Ready for the list? Here are the top 12 imaginative events and conferences from Amazon.
Source: Network World
re:Invent by Amazon Web Services (AWS) hosts over 40,000 people on an annual basis, making it one of the company’s biggest bashes of the year. Held in Las Vega, NV, the conference is a massive collection of keynote speakers, technical presentations, and fun.
The re:Play after parties are also legendary and have featured appearances from the likes of Martin Garrix and DJ Snake in previous years. For those in the cloud computing game, it doesn’t get much better than AWS re:Invent.
Key Takeaway: Go all out. What can you do to make your event bigger, better, and more fun than last year? Do what you can to bring in top-tier keynote speakers. Offer hands-on training workshops. And don’t forget to add play into your event agenda. Corporate event management doesn’t have to be boring. Hosting concerts or dance parties can really elevate the attendee experience.
— TwitchCon (@TwitchCon) March 23, 2018
If you’re not familiar with Twitch, it’s an immensely popular live streaming platform for gamers and it’s owned by Amazon. Every year the brand hosts TwitchCon, a collection of live stream training, streamer meet and greets, and opportunities to test out the latest and greatest video games.
The U.S. based conference is hosted annually in sunny San Diego, CA while the European get-together takes place in Berlin, Germany. No matter which event attendees go to, they’re treated to amazing experiences.
Key Takeaway: Twitch understands that not all of its audience has tons of money to spare. That’s why they work hard to make their get-togethers affordable. From offering early bird tickets to working out hotel deals for attendees, how can your event take a page out of TwitchCon’s book and reduce expenses for your audience?
3. AWS Summits
AWS Summits are a series of free events that bring “technologists together to connect, collaborate, and learn about AWS.” Attendees discover how to choose and modernize databases and drive digital transformation using AI. If you work in cloud computing, you know what those terms are and are probably getting excited.
But we haven’t even told you the best part yet. AWS Summits are held throughout the year in major cities around the world. Meaning you don’t necessarily have to travel far to attend. Check the schedule for when the series will be in or near your area.
Key Takeaway: Try bringing your events to your audience instead of the other way around. Not everyone will be able to attend your conference because of travel and/or budgetary constraints. BUT, were you to offer some kind of event roadshow, your company’s biggest fans will be more likely to attend.
re:Inforce is a “hands-on learning experience created by builders for builders” hosted in Boston, MA. It’s all about cloud security and those who attend will be treated to two full days of keynote speeches, learning workshops, and networking opportunities.
2019 marks the first year of this particular event but based on Amazon’s winning event history, this conference is sure to delight attendees and leave them clamoring to buy next year’s tickets as soon as possible.
Key Takeaway: If possible, consider following industry trends. In the digital world, has there been a more talked-about topic than security? Probably not. Amazon understands the importance of users keeping their online information secure. So they created a whole conference dedicated to it.
Innovate is another AWS conference, but it’s unlike the others on this list because it’s hosted entirely online. This event is completely free to attendees and teaches them how to build AI apps and machine learning models and more. Whether you’re new to the world of cloud computing or a seasoned cloud all-star, Innovate has the information you need.
Key Takeaway: Take your event to the digital streets and host it online! While in-person events offer plenty of business-building advantages, they can also be expensive — for both the company’s hosting them and the audience members hoping to attend. Online events solve this problem while also allowing for other benefits such as simple check-ins and easier communication.
The Selling Partner Summit is another event series hosted by Amazon. It teaches attendees (all of whom are Amazon sellers with professional selling accounts) how to better leverage the platform’s tools, increase product discovery and conversions, develop a business growth plan, and more.
This two-day conference provides opportunities for Amazon sellers to meet and network with each other and has scheduled stops in Washington, California, Illinois, and Florida in 2019.
Key Takeaway: Host events that help your customers better use your products. This will help them be more successful in their endeavors and increase the likelihood that they keep using your company’s solutions. It will also build goodwill between your brand and its audience.
7. AWS re:MARS
Source: Business Insider
This conference is inspired by a similar, invite-only conference named MARS that’s hosted every year by Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos. Both MARS and re: MARS focus on machine learning, automation, robotics, space, and how to move from theory to practice in each of these fields. But this time, re:MARS is open to the general public.
The 2019 event will feature keynotes from Jeff Bezos, Andrew Ng, and Robert Downey Jr., but that’s not all. Event-goers will also have the chance to attend hands-on workshops, view tech showcases, and network with their peers.
Key Takeaway: You can never go wrong with big name speakers. Your event may not have the resources to bring in a megastar like Robert Downey Jr., but if you’re able to secure well-known names in your unique industry, you’ll have a much easier time selling tickets.
Alexa, an Amazon Company, periodically hosts various workshops and hackathons throughout the year. Each event is aimed at training developers in new technologies and helping them create new projects. Amazon held both a workshop and hackathon in San Francisco in April 2019. The events focused on how to build games using the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) and they even held a competition to see who could build the best one.
Key Takeaway: Hands-on workshops and activities are always a hit with event attendees. They like to get “down and dirty” with new tools and learn, first-hand, how to use them. One of the best ways to incorporate this event strategy is to host a competition, like a hackathon. Just try to keep the atmosphere light and offer fun prizes.
9. AWSome Day
Source: Cute Programming
AWSome day is a free event designed for all business leaders, developers, and IT professionals that teaches them about cloud computing. Since these mini one-day conferences are taught by AWS technical instructors, attendees can be assured that they’re learning quality information. And, once attendees finish each event module, they’ll receive a certificate of attendance — a small but potentially useful, career-building perk!
Key Takeaway: Remove the price barrier and allow attendees to go to your event free of charge. This B2B event marketing tactic works especially well if your gathering is centered around teaching attendees how to better use your products. Also, to offset costs, try to secure event sponsorships.
Source: Cloud Computers Guide
Amazon’s Financial Services Cloud Symposium is aimed at – you guessed it – finance professionals. C-Suite execs, vice presidents, and department directors who work for banks, insurance companies, and other institutions in the financial sector will find this conference beneficial. Amazon offers different event tracks to really ensure that each attendee receives information that can be used in their individual careers.
Key Takeaway: By offering multiple event tracks, you’re giving attendees control over their event experience. They now have the option to learn exactly what they need to, thus improving their overall perception of your event and increasing the probability that they’ll attend again in the future. It’s one of those win-win corporate event ideas everyone can appreciate.
11. Startup Day
Being the founder of a startup is exciting! It can also be lonely and terrifying. That’s why Amazon hosts Startup Day, a one-day conference dedicated to educating startup founders and giving them the opportunity to meet with their peers. Attendees learn about emerging trends, how to accelerate company growth, and ways to inspire action — all from the personal experience of other founders who have been in the attendees’ shoes.
Key Takeaway: Try targeting a very narrow demographic for your events. While attendance will likely be lower, the attendee experience and your company’s conversion rate (should it attempt to sell products at the conference) will be much higher.
12. Dev Day
Source: AIM Consulting
Finally, we have Dev Day. At this conference for developers, attendees are able to participate in hands-on workshops, live demos, and networking sessions. They’ll also learn about the latest trends in cloud computing from top professionals in the field. And since this is another event series, multiple conferences are held throughout the year in different cities, making it easy for those interested to attend a gathering that fits their personal time table and budget.
Key Takeaway: Yes, attendees go to events to learn. But they also appreciate the chance to meet new people and network with their peers. All great conferences develop creative ways to facilitate networking opportunities. How can your event get attendees talking to each other?
There’s no denying it, Amazon knows how to put on a stellar event. From their major re:Invent conference to each free AWEsome day that they host, it’s clear that Amazon succeeds at event branding and experiential marketing strategies. Here are the main takeaways you can use to up your event game, just like the major online retailer:
- Do what you can to make attending your event as convenient as possible for each of your attendees. That could mean going the roadshow route and hosting multiple events in different cities around the globe. Or it could mean going the digital route and making your event available to anyone with an internet connection.
- Pay attention to the cost your event represents to attendees. By offering free conferences, you’ll likely get more people to come. Assess your event strategy and choose a ticketing model that works for your company’s goals. Remember, if you do decide to go the free route, event sponsorships can help offset costs.
- Know your audience and what they care about. Will your company be better served by narrowing the topic of your event? Or should you go broader? Will your attendees appreciate afterparty concerts or are they really just there for business purposes? You need to know the answers to these types of questions.
- Give attendees more control over their event experience. Let them choose their event track, participate in competitions, and network with peers. These are the things that make good conferences great.
Keep these things in mind when planning your own events and they’re sure to be amazing — especially if you take advantage of event software as well! This kind of tool will keep you organized, improve the attendee experience, and help you produce better event ROI.