What we learned from our first #LanyonLive

Posted by Lanyon on 11/19/2015

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Now that our first ever customer conference has come and gone, we’re looking back on our successes — as well as the things we could do even better. Before we archive our “best practices” list until #LanyonLive 2016, we thought we’d share it with you.

Full disclosure — because Lanyon is a software company working in the events industry, putting on our own event came with the pressure of flawless execution in front of the pros.

We learned a TON during our planning and execution stages of Lanyon Live. The best part was that planning for Lanyon Live really put our entire team of Lanyoneers (yes, that’s what we call ourselves!) into the same shoes as our core customer — you.

Here are the top five things we learned from putting on our first customer conference:

1. Have a vision. Own it. Protect it.

On top of the pressure that comes along with putting on any event, there was extra pressure because Lanyon, in its current form, is still pretty new.

In the past two years, Lanyon was bought by Vista Equity Partners, and merged with Active Networks’ Business Solutions Group. We’ve undergone a complete re-vamp — from our office to our employees to the software we create. And we were only 9 months into that process when we started planning for this event.

In fact, we started planning Lanyon Live without a name or a logo. So the growing pains that came along with the planning of Lanyon Live were echoed by the growing pains our company was going through as a whole. We were figuring out our identity, focusing in on our vision, and figuring out who we were as a company — to figure out how we wanted to tell our story.
Lanyon Live felt like our company’s Broadway debut. After 18 months of figuring out who we were, how to tell our story and some immense growth, Lanyon Live was our chance to show what our event management software solutions can really do. And we wanted to tell that story in the most honest way possible.

2. Streamline event staff communications.

Have a plan for how to communicate effectively during the event — and communicate this to your entire event staff. We love SalesForce’s Chatter. It let us communicate on a private, Twitter-like channel — short, sweet, to-the-point communication right at our “too-busy-to-email” fingertips.

3. Get everyone else to believe in your cause.

Whether you need your sales department to drive registrations, the marketing department to drive pipeline, or the executive team to grant you an unlimited budget (Hey, an event planner can dream!), securing your entire team’s buy-in is crucial to your event’s success.
We sent out daily emails to the Lanyoneers on our sales team, detailing our existing registrations and how close we were getting to our goal! Plus, we offered a monthly prize to the salesperson who achieved the most registrations.

4. Focus on the Attendee Journey™.

From the first email they received through the last —  you have to look at your user experience through their eyes. We’ve learned that one of the best ways to foster a positive attendee journey is to lead them on the journey through regular communication.

Adoption of our mobile app was a huge win for our conference. Another success? The Tech Pavilion — where existing customers could dive deeper into our software with our product experts, and prospective customers were shown everything our products can do. Of course, Lanyon Live 2015 was powered entirely by the Lanyon Smart Events Cloud™.

We also sent out live-event emails every morning during the event to communicate further with our attendees — with a recap of the previous day and a “here’s what’s on deck for today” message.

One area where we saw opportunity for improvement was in our Lanyon Live websites. While the actual Lanyon Live website was beautiful and highly functional, there was a disconnect between it, the registration page, and the schedule-building page. The user experience across these web platforms was disjointed and involved one-too-many clicks — something we’ll definitely streamline for Lanyon Live 2016.

5. Invest in carpet for the stage! (Focusing on the little things can make a big difference.)

As our CEO accurately pointed out, that was a miss for us. (We felt bad for him and the other speakers, as the stage wasn’t kind to their feet after giving their talks.) Clearly, the little things matter — no matter how big or small the event!

Every event — from small meetings to huge conferences — requires intense planning, preparation and execution. Managing an event requires you to have extremely focused attention to detail, as well as the ability to look at the broader picture. Event planning is no easy feat, but using our Lanyon Smart Events Cloud solution across all stages of Lanyon Live 2015 made things run much smoother during this historic customer conference.
We look forward to seeing you at Lanyon Live 2016!