Learn the secrets behind Twilio's most creative events with these 12 real-life examples and actionable takeaways.
Twilio is a cloud communications platform that was originally founded in 2008. Since that time, the company has achieved unicorn status and become the unquestioned leader in the CPaaS (communications platform as a service) industry.
Besides just technology, Twilio is also known for hosting some pretty imaginative events. We'll explore 12 of them in this article and unearth what makes each so special.
Sound like a plan? Then keep reading!
SIGNAL is one of Twilio's most anticipated annual events. Every year 5,000+ developers, business leaders, and startup founders come together to learn how to "unlock the power of a single communications platform" and "engage with customers anywhere, on any channel." The event features expert speaker sessions, hands-on workshops, product deep dives, and more. Their corporate event management team makes their programming so value-packed, in fact, that 83% of past attendees plan to return in 2020 and 91% rate the general session as either good or excellent. Not bad!
Key Takeaway: One thing that SIGNAL does really well is showcase Twilio's products. You should do the same thing with your events. Make sure that each gathering you plan features product demonstrations and training. You're working hard to build a recognizable platform with your events. You might as well use it, right?
2. Twilio Talks
Twilio Talks are designed to bring the brightest minds together in order to discuss ways in which to build better customer engagement experiences via APIs. These events happen at various locations around the world and are specifically aimed at developers, product managers, technologists, and other digital innovators.
Key Takeaway: There are many benefits to hosting events in different cities. First, you'll be able to reach people who are only able to attend your gatherings when they're located near their home town. Second, you'll ensure your company is seen as a worldwide organization. Talk about killer event branding! And third, hosting similar events in multiple cities can improve event ROI. After all, much of the details for each stop only have to be planned once.
3. DEV DAY 2019
DEV DAY 2019 took place in Berlin, Germany and was a joint effort between Twilio and Turbine Kreuzberg. At the gathering, attendees learned about the future of software development via topics such as machine learning, decentralized apps, and time-series data analytics. Networking was also a priority at DEV DAY 2019 and event-goers were given the opportunity to connect with their peers and advance their careers by building long-lasting relationships.
Key Takeaway: Here's the truth: your company doesn't have to single-handedly plan, promote, and host every event it participates in. By partnering with other like-minded brands, you'll be able to split event duties and relieve stress from your events team. You'll also have the opportunity to promote your company and its products to each of your partners’ followings, thus extending your reach farther than ever before. So do yourself a favor and look for event partners to team up within 2020! Pro tip: tools like event software help you both communicate and streamline decision-making.
Twilio calls its After Hours events the "place to be your full self." That sounds pretty great to us! Each of these gatherings — which happen on a regular basis in different cities around the world — are specifically designed to serve diverse communities, i.e. those who are often forgotten when it comes to live events. After Hours get-togethers are known for tasty food, live music, and great conversations where true relationships can blossom.
Key Takeaway: Organizational diversity has never been more important. Your company probably serves people of different genders, ethnicities, and beliefs. So doesn't it make sense to cater to each of them with your events? We definitely think so. When planning your next conference, training seminar, or trade expo, remember that your audience is diverse.
Thank you @Twilio for meeting our community where they're at in the #EastBay! It was an electric evening exploring the Twilio product, job pathways like the Hatch #apprenticeship, and networking with your incredibly dedicated engineers. @KaporCenter #oakland #diversityintech pic.twitter.com/BGndnUwt4U— TechHireOakland (@TechHireOakland) November 14, 2018
Inside Twilio: A TechHire Oakland Career Workshop was another partnership event that Twilio participated in. This gathering was held in conjunction with TechHire Oakland and gave attendees the chance to apply for Twilio's paid apprenticeship program (called Hatch), learn about Twilio products, and network with peers. While the event was open to all, it was specifically aimed at underrepresented East Bay residents of color.
Key Takeaway: Inside Twilio: A TechHire Oakland Career Workshop is a great example of a company targeting a specific demographic with an event. Like we mentioned earlier, your organization's customer base probably includes a myriad of different people. Rather than trying to cater to each of them with every event you host, try hosting different events for different groups. This will allow you to better serve each demographic.
Twilio's Smart Communication Award event gave developers, product managers, and digital innovators the opportunity to "discuss what the future of customer engagement looks like, show live demos, and highlight our customers who are building innovative communication experiences." The 2018 event was held in Tokyo and featured even more great content than the previous four gatherings had.
Key Takeaway: It's important to improve your events year after year. Nobody will want to attend your annual gatherings multiple times if they receive the same experience at each. So do your best to level up your conferences and training seminars on a yearly basis. For example, you could work to secure bigger, better speakers in 2020 than you did in 2019. Or host your next conference in a flashier location. Whatever you decide to do, make sure it's better than in previous years and you'll see your conferences grow in popularity.
Source: Yodel Blog
Similar to other event series in this article, Twilio Engage is hosted in multiple cities around the world. Each experiential marketing event aims to better educate developers, product managers, and technologists on how to build the future of communications. But it's not all about education at Engage events. Networking opportunities are also prioritized.
Key Takeaway: Twilio Engage can be attended free of charge, which is a great event marketing idea! By removing the price barrier for some of your company's events, you'll be able to reach more people — people who might have otherwise been inaccessible. If you're looking to explore new event types, try hosting a free gathering.
The Twilio Leadership Series was "an afternoon of networking and inspiration." Attendees arrived around 4:00 pm, participated in networking sessions, and listened to panelists answer questions regarding how to build a diverse and inclusive company culture, before returning home that evening. Since Twilio always strives to make communication more accessible for all, this event was right in line with its B2C and B2B event marketing initiatives.
Key Takeaway: The importance of your events' speakers can't be overlooked. One of the reasons that the Twilio Leadership Series was so successful was because Twilio was able to secure respected speakers for its Q&A panel. You need to do the same. But notice that we said respected speakers, not just famous ones. You don't need to hire celebrities. Instead, find folks that your audience will know and want to hear from. Then ask them to deliver a keynote speech at your next conference or seminar.
Twilio's Superclass gatherings are exactly what they sound like: hands-on training events that teach developers how to use all things Twilio. Certified Twilio engineers run these seminars (which are held in many different cities around the world) and assist attendees as they attempt to work through code challenges in TwilioQuest, the tech company's self-paced training video game. How cool is that?
Key Takeaway: Training seminars are often overlooked by companies. While industry conferences are important, don't forget to host events that are completely dedicated to teaching your customers how to use your products. When your customers become competent with your company's offerings, they become much less likely to switch to a competitor. Why would they want to learn a completely new tool if the one your organization provides already suits their needs? The answer is, they probably won't! So do your best to train your customers at every event you host and hold special training seminars on a regular basis.
Four times per year Twilio hosts a quarterly earnings report for investors. These digital gatherings are designed to keep those in the Twilio family apprised of company progress and notify them of both financial successes and failures. Each meeting is recorded and made available after the live meeting has taken place, ensuring everyone has access to the content, even if they were unable to attend the meeting in real-time.
Key Takeaway: The quarterly earnings reports by Twilio remind us to always put our attendees first — no matter what kind of event we're hosting. What can you do to better serve your audience? Perhaps you can work to secure better speakers. Or maybe you need to engage event sponsors so that you can lower ticket prices. Whatever you decide to do, always ask yourself if your decisions are hurting or helping your attendees. Then, only do the things that profit your audience. This philosophy will benefit your company and help your events team to host better conferences, seminars, and expos in the future.
Source: Barcelona Check-in
Mobile World Congress (MWC to all the cool kids), is the largest mobile event in the world. The 2020 gathering, which Twilio will be presenting at, will bring together the world's leading visionaries and the latest, cutting-edge technology for one truly spectacular event. If you want to learn about customer engagement, security, and privacy, 5G connectivity, or any of the other topics that will be discussed, we encourage you to attend the Barcelona-area conference.
Key Takeaway: We want to be really clear: Twilio does NOT host Mobile World Congress. But it will be presenting at the 2020 gathering. This is an excellent event strategy and perfect for any company that's looking for new corporate event ideas. Don't plan another conference or training seminar. You're too busy for that. Instead, tap into some of the other events in your industry and see about presenting at them. This will give you access to your target audience without you having to plan every detail of the gathering.
Last but not least, we have TwilioCon, a popular event that Twilio used to host on an annual basis. Attendees went to TwilioCon for many different reasons. Some wanted to learn how to improve customer experiences. Others wanted to be educated regarding the empowerment of people in developing countries. Still, others wanted to know more about APIs. TwilioCon delivered on all fronts and many more! The event was always educational and fun so it’s no surprise it’s well-remembered by those who had an opportunity to attend.
Key Takeaway: One of the highlights of TwilioCon was the Hacker Olympics. Participants had to complete fun challenges like stack dozens of red cups into a tower or compete in a friendly game of charades. The winning teams were awarded fun prizes. What can your company learn from the Hacker Olympics? Friendly competition is good and a great addition to any conference. Whether you host a series of random challenges or the baddest hackathon this side of the Mississippi, consider including a fun competition in your next event.
Main Takeaways: Host a Twilio Level Event
As we've just seen, Twilio knows how to host a stellar event. If you want to raise your company's event-hosting game, keep these three main takeaways in mind:
- Get the Little Details Right: Standard details like the speakers you secure for your events matter. Don't overlook these seemingly boring particulars.
- Host Different Kinds of Events: A well-rounded event strategy will feature various kinds of events. Don't be afraid to host a roadshow, training session, or conference aimed at specific demographics of people.
- Think Outside the Box: Finally, let your creativity fly and host one-of-a-kind gatherings whenever possible. Things like friendly competitions, free events, and partnership opportunities will help you take your events game to the next level.