Lisa Schulteis (00:09):
Hi everybody. It is Lisa Schulteis with YourEventMarketplace and I am super excited to be joined today by Connie Cay-Santos of Engamio. I got both names, correct, so that’s always a win for me. You never know, but super excited that you’re here today. Super excited to have this conversation with you. I actually know Engamio pretty well. I’ve had a chance to play with the system a bit, which is always fun. Anytime I can beta anything, I’m always in. It’s the geek and the nerd in me. Right. I always wanna be able to, to go and play with things. But tell me a little bit about Engamio what you guys do and what you’re all about.
Connie Cay-Santos (00:50):
For sure. So first of all, thank you Lisa so much for your time today and you know, this interview. So Engamio, if you think about our name, it’s really about gamification and adding that in terms of engagement itself. So the core solutions behind Engamio is really taking the effective gaming mechanics that Adam and also Dimash and our product team has really done a great job in and putting that into customizing the ability for our event professionals to create a content rich experience. So you’re thinking about, you know, it’s not just games, it’s really a experience that could be customized to the content of the brand or the event itself, creating a story behind it and then having that fun moment of playing the games like you’ve experienced and then at the end, there’s also the call to action or the special offer that really drives that sponsorship ROI, and also just overall experience for the brand itself, because they always, when you’re going to events, you wanna have activations that engages people and you want to avoid those sinkholes. When I first joined Dimash’s team, these like sinkhole, what’s sinkhole, I’m like, you know, when people have those breaks, they’re always disappearing afterwards, because it’s a sinkhole. Like you lose them when there’s no activations in between those little break times. So, Engamio’s basically helping to provide engagement for our event professionals that we avoid sinkholes and keep people throughout the event experience.
Lisa Schulteis (02:16):
Great. And are you primarily focused with adding that, that gamification on with sponsors or for the event in whole?
Connie Cay-Santos (02:27):
I think the broader picture is the event as a whole, because when you think about sponsors, they’re a stakeholder and that stakeholder could be a sponsor, it could be the corporate company themself. At the end of the day, there is a reason why they are hosting an event and throughout the event, it’s, I would say it’s not just during the break time that you could leverage Engamio solution, you can embed it throughout the experience. And the beautiful thing is, one of the tips I hear help share with our clients is think of it as not just as a game and think of it not just as for virtual, because you can really make it accessible, whether it is a in-person event or you’re trying to pre do pre-registration you can use your new map and promote that and really create a bigger picture and say, wow, there’s this many people from so many different places coming to your event. Now I want to go because our map allows that feature to happen. So I think there’s a lot of potential that not everyone really understands like Engamio, it’s a game and that’s it. I’m like, no, it’s so much more.
Lisa Schulteis (03:28):
Right. Yeah. I think you guys really focus on the engagement side of it. Right. And it is, it is those activations and that activity and I actually love the map. That’s actually one of my favorite ones. I know that I, I love the idea of you using it for marketing purposes. I actually hadn’t thought of that before. I love using it at the beginning of a session, so I love having my audience… So I also speak, right? So I love having my audience interact with me and having that pop up on stage at the beginning of a presentation to see where everybody is there from. It’s really interesting… People want to know, right? We’re all nosy in a good sense. Right. And so it’s just a really great kind of engagement piece to get things going at the beginning. So I, I, I think focusing on that engagement is huge for you all. And you know, you kind of touched on it a little bit, but how do you all support, you know, live events or, hybrid or virtual. I’m assuming all three, but how do you support, you know, the events, the different types of events.
Connie Cay-Santos (04:32):
So I think the support is really looking at and being very creative with our event planners. That’s using our solutions from a virtual perspective. I think the biggest support is a showing them how it works and then giving them the opportunity to think beyond just a break time and embed it in different areas of it. So when you think about what we just talked about is the map, and there’s a brand new feature, Lisa, I want you to test this as well… And the map itself before it used to be just a little pin that you can put a little drop to say where you’re dialing from and you can see the number of countries, the cities and the number of people. Now, the new map actually has the ability to provide your profile picture. So when you think about being nosy, it’s not just nosy anymore.
Connie Cay-Santos (05:15):
You’re like you’re building in an excitement and built up of like, wow, there’s this speaker and I can see their profile, what city they’re dialing from, there’s this other person, this other you can, when you visually see the impact on the people itself, it creates that FOMO moment. It’s not just the number of people. It’s like who it is now that you can physically see. So I think that just adds in the extra excitement. So I think helping our clients see that in terms of the features is really exciting. And when we think about, let’s say jumping into our photo booth or our selfie booth, we have four different formats. And when you think about the speakers that are going to the event or your upcoming into, it’s like, Hey, check this out. Connie’s gonna be here. And you, if you really love Connie, and you wanna support her, take a selfie.
Connie Cay-Santos (06:01):
So you can have those selfie moments with that speaker and really amplify again, another FOMO moment where they can download that final selfie and share it on social. So I think when we help our event professionals really think about our solutions and in their events, it’s like, what are the tools? How can we leverage it and make it very creative and unique for that specific experience and game an event and then reapply it potentially for different formats as well. So more we’re thinking about also for hybrid events. I think the biggest challenge, and this question keeps coming up is how do you bridge your virtual audience and your in person audience? How do you make them connect? Because often in person, where they’re in person, especially such a long time of this isolation and virtual events, people are just gravitated to people they can see and talk to, but there’s still that virtual audience that’s there waiting and wanting to connect as well.
Connie Cay-Santos (06:56):
So I think with our games, it allows that interaction to happen, self time base. And we have those leader boards that says, Lisa, you’re gonna have a contest with me. We’re gonna do the puzzle game and let’s see who can do it better. And it, and this is beautiful because it allows the participants to play no matter where they are physically or virtually. And then they can see that leaderboard. And at the end, they can all have a chance to win that wonderful prize that could be sponsored or just, you know, have fun together. So I think it’s just at the end of the day, regardless of the format of the event is being creative with the solutions and looking at how we can implement it. And more importantly is how do we make it accessible? And one more tip, I’ll share Lisa is how do we make sure it’s part of our communication plan? Because often there’s so many tools out there whether it’s networking or selfie booth or games itself. But if we don’t communicate that, Hey, we have some really cool activations and games for you, people are not gonna know where to find it or that it’s available.
Lisa Schulteis (07:53):
Yeah. And you know, I think you, you touched on a couple of different, really important parts too. You know, one of the things that you said is, is really connecting and bridging that in person and virtual audience. You know, when we’re producing events and we’re working with our clients on hybrids, that’s really important. We’re always looking for a way to do that. You know, obviously you can’t replicate that live experience for your virtual people, but you can do things to bring the two groups together and, you know, create that sense of community that’s so important right now. And, and, you know, we all have global audiences now that we have access to and, that’s really important too. So, you know, I think that is a really great bonus of, being able to bring those two groups together. The other thing that you kind of, you mentioned too, was, you know, talking about your photo booth and talking about the, the map with the pin drops with the, the profile pictures on it, you know, as we’re getting back to live events, it’s interesting because, you know, I was just at an event in Vegas a couple of weeks ago and everybody was masked.
Lisa Schulteis (08:57):
It was a requirement for this particular event. And the thing that I noticed is you can’t see faces right. When you can only see from here up you know, I’m horrible with names. I’m really good with faces. I know that I know you if I can see your face. And so as we’re getting back into even live or hybrid having some way to see that person’s face, if we are in a situation where we’re still in a masked environment or things like that, I think that’s really important too. And so it’s, it’s providing that visual cue for your attendees that they can get excited about pre-event to see who’s coming. But then I think also at the event, as people are in engaging with your, you know, different apps, then, you know, that’s a bonus for them as well. So that was, you know, that’s, that’s something that’s been in my mind since we were at the event. And I think that visual cue is really important as we continue to move forward too. Now there’s a lot of companies out there offering engagement and offering gamification there’s virtual event platforms that have some gamification built into it. What makes your company different? What makes you stand out from any other company that is doing, you know, kind of this engagement piece?
Connie Cay-Santos (10:14):
It’s a really great question. I often and get asked that. And I think my response is also the reason why I joined Engamio. They’re most powerful I think the way they’ve structured their games is that it allows three things. One you’re able to actually create and create an experience that’s about content. So it’s not just a game because everyone looks at games and it’s fun. It’s kind of like a one time thing and you forget about it, but the way that it’s structured, you’re able to create a story behind every game. And that story ties back to the experience to the event and why you’re there. So I think that piece on its own is very powerful in terms of how that is integrated into the overall experience and then the game itself. Again, it ties back it’s for example, if you have speakers, you have moments where you can do a selfie with that speaker. Again, you’re tying that experience back to the speaker, you’re highlighting the event. Or even if you’re looking at the word search, all of the keywords are customized and designed to kind of match back to help you retain the content that you just absorbed from that webinar. So again, content story, it matches back to everything. So if anything, I think Engamio enables a very powerful tool that helps amplify the overall experience and have fun at the same time.
Lisa Schulteis (11:29):
Perfect. Yeah. It’s a lot of fun and, and bringing that experience is really, you know, into an event is really, really important. So that’s great. Right. So we’ve got a little bit of time to go and throw a bonus question here. Okay. So as we are, you know, we’re, we’re pretty early in 2022 yet. We’re still looking at what’s coming this year. It’s still a little bit of a roller coaster ride for the events industry. So as we’re approaching 2022 and, and people are planning their events, what do you see as, as kind of the really important trend or, or thing that they need to be paying attention to and not necessarily shiny object syndrome, but you know, something that people really need to pay attention to in 2022 and really, you know, plan for with their events.
Connie Cay-Santos (12:16):
For sure. So if I could tie in two things for you, I would say according to the event MB, they published their top 10 trends. One of them was engagement year round. I know that’s gonna be really important, but I think as I mentioned earlier, regardless of the engagement and all these fun shiny things that’s out there event professionals needs to stick to the core is communication. If we don’t have great communication and flow for the journey, no matter what you do, people are not gonna know that you have certain tools. So I think if anything, in my tip and trend is communication is key in how you bridge those experiences with the hybrid audience, with virtual and in person. I think those are really important. So I, I think just call it three things there for you.
Lisa Schulteis (13:01):
No, and I, I, I think you’re right, you know, that, that sense of community that we all get at a live event, you know, I think people are craving that now even more than ever. Right and, and having that engagement, having that community and having it over the long term, I think is really important because you know, so many, so many companies, they have the event and the event’s done and that’s the end of it, right? Like they, they put all this energy into the front end events done… That’s the last time you hear from them. And I think that’s the piece that a lot of companies are missing, that if you can provide that value and you can provide that engagement throughout the year in different ways. I think that that is gonna be a win for anybody who’s hosting an event.
Connie Cay-Santos (13:50):
I 100% agree. And I think just going back to that new map feature with the profile, so not only do I
Lisa Schulteis (13:56):
Can’t wait to see it,
Connie Cay-Santos (13:57):
I’m gonna, I’m gonna send you the links. You can test it out yourself too. But what I think is really beautiful going back to the year long engagement and that connection. So you’re not just at an event and you said hi, and maybe trying to recognize whether the eyes and the face matches or not, but the profile map allows you to see who’s there, but you also have this connect button and that connect button could be linked into your LinkedIn account. So your connection now from a professional level is not just stuck within a platform with a chat or a little conversation here, or even in person in a small timeframe, but it’s year long or as long as you want to stay connected for through LinkedIn in a professional cuz often with engagement as well. And unfortunately with COVID, it’s impacted a lot of event professionals where if you connected with them through their email address at work and things has changed, you’ve lost that contact. But if you connected with them through their LinkedIn professional account, it’s a lifelong experience and, and relationship that you’ve just built as well. So again, our map enables that as well.
Lisa Schulteis (14:58):
Yeah. And that’s a really great point. I know a lot of people whose email lists have shrunk dramatically because people have, you know, we have the great resignation going on, right. So people are, you know, moving from one company to another and you may not have that connection. So yeah, having that through LinkedIn is a great thing. So I know you have the map which again is one of my favorites. I know that you have the photo booth as well. What other features are your, are, do you currently have, and, and are there any, you know, kind of cool features coming down the road,
Connie Cay-Santos (15:32):
There is lots of cool things coming down the road. So just to recap, so Engamio has the map, there’s the pin one and there’s the new profile one. We have the photo booth that allows four different templates for you, whether you wanna focus on just the, the banner of the event or the speakers… One or two, or just having an actual selfie of that individual. So, so there’s the selfie. There is the word search as well, so that can really help provide retention to the content of the webinars or the conversations with the speaker. And then we all, we also have this really fun jigsaw puzzle, which you might have played as well. And that’s a lot of fun because it engages people for up to at least three minutes on average for them to kind of like put the pieces together.
Connie Cay-Santos (16:13):
So I think from a team building perspective and trying to put the big picture, it really symbolizes from a corporate perspectives. Like, Hey, we want you to see the vision, but in order to see the vision, you have all these little pieces that can now put together. And then when you finish, you have this wow moment, hopefully. So we have that. And then coming down the road, we are planning for every two months. We’re gonna be co-innovating with our partners to see what’s out there that they really want, that we don’t have yet. And we’ll be adding some more games. So every two months expect to have a new announcement of what’s coming.
Lisa Schulteis (16:45):
Very exciting. Yeah. I can’t wait to find out. It’s, it’s always fun to see what’s gonna be released and being able to play with some of those new features and things like that too. So, Connie, thank you so much. I appreciate you taking time out of your very busy schedule to come in and, and tell us a little bit more about Engamio. For anybody who is curious about learning more. I encourage you to reach out to Connie. You can definitely find their profile here on YourEventMarketplace, and ask questions. You know, that’s what this is all about. It’s asking questions to make sure that whatever you’re choosing for your event is a good fit for your event. So I encourage you to reach out to her, ask those questions see if you can play with it too. You will definitely love it. I love playing with the different features and, you know, see if that’s something that makes sense for your upcoming event. So Connie, thank you again, everybody. We will see you on the next video and have a great day.
Connie Cay-Santos (17:43):
Perfect. Thank you so much, Lisa. Bye everyone.