Lisbon is no doubt a wonderful city, history, wine, architecture. On the other hand, Web Summit is horrible, an overhyped event with crowds of students, omnipotent sponsors, and off-target audience for a whole lot of money.
Yes, people love those trips to the coastal city financed by their employers. But what if you are too busy or, what’s even more aggravating, cannot afford to attend the conference?
If you have time and money but having second thoughts about using those effectively, then let me assure you that Web Summit isn’t for you.
Maybe you are a fledgling startup or a service company from India or the Philippines. You were interested in the event but couldn’t attend it and now blame yourself for losing the opportunity. Here is a life hack for you how to get advantage of such an overpriced event.
1. Sign up. Buy tickets early at a discounted price such as Women in Tech or find someone who’s going to attend. Receive a registration code. The most difficult step is over and WS is now in your pocket.
2. Shortly before Web Summit you will get a code to activate in a mobile app.
3. Launch Web Summit app in an Android emulator on your PC to parse data conveniently.
4. Log in.
5. Get a list of companies and people who go to Web Summit.
6. Analyze industries, positions in detail and choose what you need.
7. Create your custom Ideal Customer Profile – read this guide for more details.
8. Segmentation of visitors based on ICP
9. Generate a business email template.
10. Generate participants’ emails using tools, or better manually.
11. Validate all emails to avoid spam filters.
12. Set up an email campaign, possibly an A/B test on small audiences.
13. At this point, Web Summit is over, everyone’s going home.
14. Set up a custom email chain (of 3-4 emails).
Then respond, communicate and close the deals. Contact in LinkedIn those who didn’t respond.
Sounds like a tedious job, but it’s a budget-friendly way. Essentially, you get hundreds of validated leads which you can hardly contact during the conference.
May the force of lead generation be with you!
P.S. I have tried this last year during Web Summit 2018, and it works. Here’s a real screenshot of one of my email campaigns. An open rate of 73.5% is a good result, but far from great. This is because we skipped A/B testing. Back then it was just a guess, we wanted to validate the idea.
Go for it!
P.s. My last year article
Summit is the most crowded event in Europe — this year it has brought
together 70,000 attendees, including clients, leaders, students and
hundreds of client engagement and lead generation agency.
The number alone sounds impressive. High expectations and excessive
advertising. But does Web Summit live up to its popularity? Let’s break
Reality: A lot of talks appeared to be sponsored and generally mediocre. Take for example speakers who came on stage in leopard pajamas trying to rub in some marketing bullshit. Too many crowd-pleasers like robot Sophia and sponsored talks from market leaders like Microsoft, Samsung, and others. A few local big cheeses, politicians, bloggers and a couple of forgettable representatives of global brands.
Reality: Web Summit indeed is the place to meet and network with people from all walks of life. Everyone seemed open-minded: You could start a
conversation with anyone and easily find company to go out for drinks during Night Summit.
Reality: No way. Too many students and young professionals. A great deal of attendees came to visit Portugal and Lisbon. On average, the level of
audience is extremely low. If we divide the crowd into layers, there
will be employees of the Giant companies such as IBM who had nothing new to tell, except for regurgitating their guidelines. Then come students
and aspiring professionals. The likelihood to meet a classic CTO or at
least a decision maker is around 3% to 5%. Like at any other conference, the attendees were busy collecting gifts and free water bottles.
Reality: Basically, advertising stands and concealed service companies that sell developers but try to pass for a startup. As soon as you dig deeper, it appears that the founders established their idea as Alpha, while in
reality, they operate as a service company. Nevertheless, there were a
lot of legitimate startups. Beta startups were also well-represented
providing the opportunity to learn a plenty of new things.
One more thing to mention — an abundance of companies from Russia that have renamed themselves into UK startups. Ukrainian companies on the other hand decently and proudly represented their country.
Reality. Web Summit gives away too many tickets, for example, tickets for female attendees for only €40 compared to the standard price of €425. Lots of local companies. Some bought Alpha for three, which is much cheaper.
All in all, the pricing policy is far from being transparent and gender
neutral. It’s sad that such a noticeable event as Web Summit provides
unequal opportunities for men and women. I’m not sure what such policy
promotes but definitely not equal rights.
Reality: The first two days were the most attended with the quality of talks on par. The third day was much weaker in terms of attendance and speakers.
Reality: The event is just too big to offer a perfect service. That’s why the
service level can be best described as merely good.
Reality: There are exceptions for sure, but the statistics tells otherwise. If
we take service companies from Ukraine for example — Softserve brought
80 employees. Another service company ELEKS brought 20. Ask them about avarage digital marketing specialist salary.
A great deal of companies at the stands were service companies. Add an
influx of local companies and attendees from Eastern Europe. Western
companies were underrepresented. There were indeed a few professionals
who could attract potential clients, but Web Summit is a more of an
inspirational kind of event than a specialized conference.
The upside of Web Summit is Lisbon itself and a number of new, interesting startups. The downside, unfortunately, is a broad audience, hosts, and obviously sponsored talks.
A word of advice to the hosts: Do not schedule obviously sponsored talks in the first half of the day. No matter how much they are paying you. If I wanted to look at people in weird suits and slippers, I would watch a TV show.
What I wanted was to learn how to make the Internet available to all of
mankind and to listen to people who desire to change the world. To see
something different. Robot Sophia is nowadays a frequent visitor at any
event but not anymore an innovation or pièce de résistance.
What I witnessed was a huge number of people being herd into the shackles of advertising for the sake of making money. I don’t want to be a sheep in that flock. So the choice I make is not to support mass events like Web Summit.
Goodbye Web Summit — you have once been great!