Yaguara recently sponsored a conference. Generally this wouldn’t warrant a public recap or story, but we couldn’t resist.
The conference, eCommercFuel Live, was the annual summit of the eCommerceFuel community. We had been introduced to eCommerceFuel founder, Andrew Youderian, and as time and conversations went on we felt this would be an incredible opportunity to further understand and impact the growing eCommerce movement.
Over the four day event we experienced too many great conversations and too much jazz music, so we wanted to share our thoughts as an official sponsor of the event:
The Big Difference
Collectively we have seen about everything on the conference front. And the same could be said for most that have completed the conference circuit:
Thousands flock to a major city.
Thousands are quarantined in select hotels.
The majority of the conference is held in hotel breakout rooms or the vendor trade show.
The trade show has hundreds of vendors with gimmicks, knick knacks, and elevator pitches.
There are badge scans, irrelevant keynote speakers, and unhealthy routines formed.
You leave the conference in a whirlwind, and somehow have multiple branded chapsticks.
It all has a strange mix of impersonal interactions, commercialization, and corporatism to it. True connections and insights are difficult to make.
But eCommerceFuel Live was different. Since the total attendee list was small (>200) it felt as if everyone was recognized and impacting the success of the event. So elevator pitches were thrown out into the bayou, and emphasis on real understanding into an eCommerce teams life and business took center stage.
This is best summarized by Andrew:
"What makes eCommerceFuel Live different than other events? That's easy - it's the people. We intentionally keep the event small to maintain a tight-knit, intimate environment. There's simply no other place to connect with such a high concentration of highly experienced eCommerce entrepreneurs in an intimate setting."
Somehow in a few days the content covered every aspect of running a successful eCommerce business. A sample of topics:
- Video marketing
- Shipping rates
- Email strategy
- Copywriting and content
- Amazon breakdowns
- Bootstrapping vs. Fundraising
- Social media techniques
The eCommerceFuel team gave the floor to both peers and related industry leaders to keep attendees engaged with inside and outside perspectives.
N’awlins. NOLA. The Crescent City. The Big Easy. Paris of the South. Birthplace of Jazz. Who Datville.
Whatever you prefer to call the city, New Orleans provided a special mix of activity and camaraderie. Most of the conference operated just five minutes west of the French Quarter, which allowed for the attendees to quickly caravan towards the history and action of famous district. We found this to be a pleasant surprise. The walkability not allowed for events to move outside the conference headquarters, but it gave a sense of freedom instead of being isolated in a midtown or conference center desert.
I won’t do a guide of the city justice, but New Orleans is as electrifying as advertised. The wide range of art, culture, food, and music could keep anyone stimulated. Kudos on the location choice.
It is worth discussing the activities that were carefully mixed in to break up any monotony. Typical conference activities are centered around traditional happy hours and bar venues, but Andrew and the team led attendees to events that tastefully incorporated New Orleans style of play. We won’t share all the fun but here are a few highlights:
Mardi Gras World, a 300,000 square foot working warehouse where floats are made for Mardi Gras parades, was rented out for one evening. The conference was split up into teams in a competitions to build and design their best version of Mardi Gras floats, with an eCommerce twist of course.
In an exciting twist on the last day, the entire conference formed into a parade led by a brass band and police escort and marched throughout the city. For a brief moment, the city was ours.
A few brave souls fought off the urge to consume more gumbo and took part in a private pickup-up basketball outing at Tulane University. Let’s just say the conversion rates could have been higher if this was on the first day...
And there were crab boils, whiskey tastings, World War II museums, swamp tours, and much more. The conference kept a upbeat vibe and pace as attendees were increasingly intrigued on what would be the next New Orleans surprise.
Sponsoring a conference can be a stressful process. There are monetary and physical investments, not to mention precious time that must be allocated towards pre-event preparation and post-event follow-up. There also must be a result your team is looking to achieve by being a sponsor, whether that be ROI, brand exposure, leads, etc.
However we never felt any barriers as we immersed ourselves into the conference. And our perspective never turned into a sales transaction between teams. eCommerceFuel Live truly was an event where people came together over a common bond to better each other’s businesses, lives, and futures. If you are a serious eCommerce team we highly recommend joining this band of charming merchants.
Feel free to reach out to our team if you want more insight on the event or are curious about the eCommerceFuel community. And for those part of the community, we will see you next year.