By: Samantha Stallard, Director of Marketing & Business Development
The Concierge.com Product Team works closely with our clients on event solutions. With a need to understand both the constantly changing event industry and the constantly changing software industry, there's never a calm, errr, dull, day with our product building teams. I sat down with Nicole Keser and Adam Lifshitz to learn more about their backgrounds, pick their brains about the industry and product decisions, and hear about the most rewarding events they've ever worked on (and they chose the same one!).
1. How did you get into this industry?
Nicole Keser: I stumbled upon this industry (and role) by chance — it was a bit of being in the right place at the right time! With a degree in Interactive Digital Design, I was initially looking for a designed-focused role (UX, UI Designer).
However, I ended up landing an Event Coordinator position where I was using Concierge.com to manage VIP clients at the 2013 iHeartRadio Festival. Being a user of the software, I became hyper-aware of its intricacies (good and bad) and was extremely interested in finding ways to improve the user experience and help expand the feature set. Then in 2015, I had the opportunity to transition into a Product role when we started rebuilding the software into the platform we all know and love today!
Adam Lifshitz: Pretty unexpectedly and organically. My career naturally took me to where my skills were best suited and needed at any given time. Straight out of college, I started working at a creative agency in Cape Town, South Africa, as a social media manager working on a number of accounts. Soon enough, I realized that there was much more work to be done for the accounts I managed outside of their social media needs and naturally wanted to help manage those as well, which led me to take on more responsibilities as a project manager.
That role required me to unite the agency's various production departments, including that of our technology unit, so I got more and more exposed to those processes and resources. I’ve always been drawn to technology and after working on a few projects with that team, I found myself very attracted to the idea of working more closely with them. The primary reason at the time was that those people were natural problem solvers and enjoyed working in a methodical way, traits that defined my work ethic as well. So I refined my role to that of a software project lead, and over the course of a few years, led the formation of that department to a standalone company that had its own processes, clients, and now a larger team of agile framework resources.
Suffice to say, my knowledge and experience was very much based on a ‘learn as you go’ model, which allowed me to mix my own personally acquired knowledge and skills together with that which was acquired through continuously collaborating with my own team and other industry people. In other words, my journey then, and even to this day, has been a dynamic learning curve rather than applying a rigid skill set and knowledge from the get go; a unique fluidity that I believe is a core ingredient of my ongoing success on this path.
2. What's the most interesting and/or rewarding part of your job? Why?
NK: Clients have problems and our software provides solutions — most of the time — and when we don’t have a native solution, that’s where I come in! I’ve had the rewarding experience of working with clients to provide custom solutions for their unique event needs. I’ve learned a TON about other software that we integrate with such as Typeform (for providing a conditional registration experience) and Shopify (for selling a ticket or product). I love using my creativity to find unique solutions because, after all, no two events are the same.
AL: There are so many rewarding factors, it’s tricky to pick just one! But I’d say that most of them boil down to collaborating with other people with various skill sets. Software development, through agile methodology, is founded upon teamwork and the seamless culmination of various skills towards a unified purpose of product building. My role specifically leads these efforts and It’s immensely rewarding once you have a working system in place that brings it all together to build meaningful outcomes.
3. Why do you think there is such a demand for our product/service?
NK: Events are fast-paced, ever-changing, and full of little details that often get overlooked. Our software allows event professionals to manage all those details in one place. In addition to our robust feature offerings — including travel management, personalized itinerary creation, and unique communication for each type of guest — our Client Service team drives success and efficiency with their expertise. Being “event people,” we know how demanding the planning process can be and we are always there to lead a hand and help support your team.
AL: In an era where we have an abundance of choice, almost to an overwhelming extent, industry professionals are looking for ways and tools to centralize their processes. It’s increasingly difficult to manage your daily work efforts through a number of various tools for different purposes in a decentralized and non-integrated manner. The concept of a ‘one-stop-shop’, much like our product, is attractive for those that want to manage everything in a single place through a unified engagement.
Furthermore, as the technology industry evolves, we as a society of professionals and consumers alike move further and further away from the human touch, a connection that is now deemed a luxury rather than a norm. Adding the layer of personalized services and outcomes atop the technology backing and efficiencies is our unique advantage that assures our customers get the white glove experience they strive for.
4. How can event marketers use our software to improve the guest experience?
NK: Concierge.com allows event marketers to seamlessly and dynamically communicate with their guests, from invite emails to personalized digital itineraries with travel details, to onsite SMS messages, to programming change alerts. These communication points allows guests to enjoy all aspects of an event without having to worry about logistics. The platform also allows marketers to communicate differently to different types of guests- so each interaction feels personal and direct.
AL: One word: personalization. Everyone that your event reaches out to wants to feel special, not just the ones you deem VIP. Everyone wants to feel heard and personally catered for irrespective of their status relative to your brand. Our platform, through its customizable and granular functionality, allows you to create that experience for your guests. Anything from the first ‘save the date’ email to the final itinerary, tickets and on-the-day experience is an opportunity to personalize for all guests, and it’s for those opportunities we’ve built our tools for.
5. What firsthand success stories have you seen with our clients? Is there an event that stands out the most?
NK: I love using the 2018 New Yorker Festival as a prime example of how powerful the platform is. Taking place each October, the New Yorker Festival brings together thousands of guests for a weekend of insightful conversations, thrilling performances, and cultural experiences. Using Concierge.com, The New Yorker facilitates ticket sales, fulfillment, and provides guests with the opportunity to engage with premium experiences like “Preferred Entry” passes. Our team manages weekend itineraries and travel for talent, accommodations for staff, and ticket scanning at the 65+ sessions. It is an event with many different needs, however our software and service allows the team to manage all the details in one place!
AL: Events that are typically complex due to many intricacies are the ones that stand out as the comprehensive success stories. The New Yorker Festival in 2018 is a great example, as it’s a full weekend festival that takes place in various venues around NYC with over 50 smaller events. We managed everything from their event website, their ticket sales, and on-site check in, seeing to thousands of guests attending at key touch-points across the city. A crazy and rewarding rollercoaster!
6. What predictions do you have for the event software industry? Any trends you think are going to blow up in the back half of 2019?
NK: I am extremely interested to see how facial recognition will impact the events industry and the onsite guest experience. With Apple jumping into the facial recognition space late last year with the release of their latest products, I believe this technology will continue to grow and become a key player in other industries.
With the inclusion of facial recognition at an event, check-in and registration will become much quicker and more secure. With security being a high priority, facial recognition will allow us to know more about our guests, in ways we have never been able to before. I am also interested to see how facial recognition at events will change social media marketing strategies. Think, being able to recognize and tag people in photos from your event across all social media platforms.
AL: Rather than any new trends, it will be the continuous evolvement of what is already happening. Ensuring personalization and customized experiences don’t get lost as technology evolves. Providing consumers with centralized solutions that handle all of their needs, and evolving with them as their needs shift. Software builders will need to be adaptive to the fast-paced nature of the event industry and provide solutions quickly and affordably to their current and new clients alike. On the guests experience front, technology will continue to innovate to make their whole experience more and more seamless, quicker, and as you may have guessed, more personalized. The ongoing effort to maintain the human connection trait as it becomes increasingly rarer will be the key factor to success.
|Nicole Keser is our Executive Director of Product + Client Solutions at Concierge.com. Nicole was the first New York based Concierge.com employee and has been involved in evolving our software for the past five years. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Interactive Digital Design from Quinnipiac University and resides in Hoboken with her husband, Andrew.|
|Adam Lifshitz is our Executive Director of Product at Concierge.com. Originally hailing from Cape Town South Africa, he moved to New York in 2017 to continue his career in leading teams to build successful software products. He carries over seven years of experience in the digital industry, and holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Management Studies. He’s particularly meticulous about process and efficient ways of collaborating with people to achieve goals, in business and otherwise.|