In this week’s episode of Growth Interviews, we invite you to join our podcast conversation with Vasil Azarov, a marketing expert with a personal mission of connecting professionals in growth and start-up marketing and continuously nurture the community with the best international know-how.
Welcome to Growth Interviews!
Welcome to Growth Interviews, the fun, stimulating and engaging series of conversations driven by digital business growth. Our mission is to provide valuable insights from the eCommerce arena, and each episode is a fascinating quest into the best-kept business secrets and money-making strategies of an insightful world-class expert.
Vasil Azarov founded one of the industry-leading growth marketing events – Growth Marketing Conference – and works day-in-day-out to build the world’s most valuable startup community at Startup Socials because he believes that people are, fundamentally, the most important part of this industry. The best way to teach and connect people in growth and startup marketing is by holding best-practice-focused events, led by thought leaders who actually know what they’re doing, and building interactive, dynamic communities of growth and startup marketers from all over the world.
Event marketing is a niche that is ever-changing, evolving and adapting to new interests as well as new tech and our podcast with Vasil Azarov is a wonderful and insightful talk on the latest trends, methodologies and expert knowledge on how to grow a business in event marketing.
Here are the biggest takeaways:
- Growth Marketing. Mission. Vision. Way of Life – 00.00
- Recipe for growing organically in event marketing – 16.00
- Event marketing. A redefined category – 23.57
- Growth ideas for e-Commerce – 34.26
Growth Marketing. Mission. Vision. Way of Life.
Always passionate about building communities and connecting people, Vasil Azarov is the most authentic example when it comes to dedication for a mission and a purpose. Our Growth Interviews guest started his career in event marketing and learned everything there is to know about the industry in the most stressful but most valuable way at the same time, which is by actually organizing them. Everything for Vasil began from his dream of building a community of people who learn from each other, who are in connection to each other and share a common purpose.
Since 2014, Vasil and his team are organizing each December in San Francisco the most important growth marketing conference and their vision is to become the largest and the most valuable community for modern marketers. The event brings together several thousand professionals hungry to learn the best practices when it comes to gross product and account-based marketing. At the same time, they focus on marketing best practices for some niche categories like e-commerce, marketplaces and mobile apps.
The mission of the event is to help start-up companies grow, teach young entrepreneurs and founders about the most important aspects in digital marketing and help them with onboarding their first growth marketer or CMO.
Growing organically in event marketing
Organizing events is not an easy job. On the contrary, in the landscape of marketing, it’s one of the hardest specialties. But no matter how hard, event marketing is a field that constantly attracts professionals and entrepreneurs so we gathered some of the best knowledge and advice from Vasil Azarov, the very founder of Growth Marketing Conference.
When starting new in the event marketing field, the most important thing is to start small, to observe, to learn. Not even the best professionals are going to produce a 300 person conference overnight without getting exhausted and this is not the best way to learn about the specific niche of events every entrepreneur is looking for. Best is to start small by organizing a meetup where the focus should be on the guests and where their attention goes, if the event is right for them and if their expectations have been met. Events are products and, as Vasil Azarov confirms, they should be treated as such. What does an entrepreneur do at the beginning? They test the product-market fit.
Starting with a small event of 20 to 30 persons allows an easier organization and better control of the flow, the timing of the agenda, and where the discussions are leading. No matter how good a theme of an event or its main subjects are, the feedback of the customers is, like in any other industry, the most important. It’s the very guide to what should be kept, what should be improved and what should be tossed away. With events, it’s easier to pick the feedback and small events allow this to happen in real-time as one to one discussions are mandatory and very welcomed by the guests, so it’s also a good time for observations.
Starting small does not mean the event will be superficial, simple or easy. On the contrary. The complexity is not given by the number of attendees but by the theme, agenda, speakers and influencers. Azarov insists on linking the theme of the event with an appropriate venue that emphasizes the industry of the main theme. The right venue, no matter how big or small, is an important and significant layer in building the perception of a 360 experience focused event.
Creating an event is a process where the most important thing is to be as adaptable as possible. From his experience, Azarov highlighted the importance of growing an event that allows the organizer to better understand his target, the interests and focus of the target and with all that information to build a platform with a unique concept that will set the stage for further development.
‘Meet with five, ten people for coffee, gather feedback, take notes and then this would give you a platform to create that event as a product type of concept which from the small meetup you can build on a panel type of event, which can outgrow into a mini-conference, which would be a half-day event. And then, when you’re ready, when you have at least three or four hundreds of engaged people who attended your events, then shoot for the conference.’ – said Azarov
Event Marketing. A Redefined Category
Like any other marketing field, event marketing is also changing and constantly evolving. From the simple promotional attention-grabbing techniques that have been used until a few years ago, to complex digital platforms that are helping brands build themselves through event marketing. As an expert in the field, Vasil Azarov believes event marketing is currently being redefined and the evolution trend should go even further and get adopted by the masses.
The ascension of event marketing is a phenomenon not only linked with the expert know-how that is worth sharing and with the people’s tendency of gathering with a common purpose, but also with education. As technology is heavily influencing and changing all the industries, practitioners who reached expert level are becoming key opinion leaders in their specific field and consequently mass teachers. ‘The industry is somehow more related to education than it has ever been before because of the technology and because of the way you can assimilate and be updated.’
Conferences and events in marketing are not only providing the most up to date and cutting edge strategies, but they are also giving professionals the opportunity to meet with expert practitioner speakers and with other attendees who are in the same space and brainstorm on solutions to specific problems.
Growth Ideas for e-Commerce
Vasil Azarov is not just an expert in event marketing but an e-commerce entrepreneur also, so he shared with us some of his best growth ideas for this niche. The first things he draws attention to are personalization and targeting the right people with the right message using marketing one to one techniques. What Azarov insists on is that, after finding the right market, the next important step is defining the right niche and creating a complete marketing strategy on it. Going for the entire market is a waste of resources, especially in the early stages of an e-commerce business. It’s important to set a clear target and really go for conquering that specific market niche while establishing the brand in the eyes and minds of the consumer.
e-Commerce is an increasingly crowded space and the market is transforming itself while transforming the habits of online shoppers. What Azarov emphasizes is becoming visible to the right people, people that will be genuinely interested in your products, services and offerings and create a relationship with them. A strong believer in word-of-mouth marketing Azarov’s perspective is that, the more the target feels genuinely related to the product and the brand the more it’s likely to become a happy customer that will return and also recommend the online store to others.
‘I think the future of growing your e-commerce or, for the matter of fact event, is really understanding what is that something that separates you from the 90 % of the larger market of your industry. What is that 10 % that you want to focus on? How do you build your brand promise and how do you build the right messaging to dominate that small percentage of your market?’
Event marketing is an emerging marketing category on a global scale, bringing together more professionals than ever. With the rise of technology, event marketing reached a new level of sophistication and its entire structure has been redefined. The future is not a surprise as event marketing is becoming an essential pillar for growth marketing and is actively building entire communities of professionals.
We hope you enjoyed our video interview with Vasil Azarov.
For more valuable insights, make sure you come back to check out our next Growth Interviews episode as well.
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