TargetSummit has become one of the major events in mobile marketing in a year in a half, and now it is held not only in Moscow, but also in Berlin. We spoke to Sergey Yavetsky, TargetSummit founder, and found out how he managed to bring up the project, what he plans to do next, and what he thinks about future of the mobile in general.

TargetSummit grows very fast. The first event was held in Moscow in July 2015, and in the same year speakers from Twitter and SoundCloud spoke at the Berlin summit. How did you manage to make the project grow at such a fast pace?

Sergey Yavetsky

Sergey Yavetsky

It’s not too difficult. It’s about being friends with everyone and knowing lots of interesting people in the industry. The first TargetSummit was conceived as a meeting for friends, we were thinking about going to a bar and speaking about mobile. It worked out kind of this way, it’s just 300 people showed up instead of planned 50. It became clear that we have a high demand for industry events. At that moment, we had only White Nights, MBLT, Devgamm, and “all-inclusive” conferences, such as RIF+KIB, RIW, etc.

And my intention wasn’t to create just another conference or to facilitate business breakfasts, I aimed at building a community of like-minded professionals. Now at each new TargetSummit I know about 40% of people, other 60% are those who came for the first time.

What are the plans for TargetSummit? Do you plan to enter new markets, such as Brazil, India or China?

Of course, we have plans, we’re looking at the USA and Brazil markets. But all these countries have nuances. If we speak of the USA, this is an old and oversaturated market, there are tons of communities like ours. There is yet another challenge in Brazil: not everyone there speaks English or they are not too good in speaking English.

So, of course we want to enter these markets, but it is possible only if we have a local evangelist. Until we find one, we are focused on building up the community in Russia and Europe. We also have a large online community; our database contains about 40 thousand e-mail addresses of people across the world.

Trending mobile video was a hot point at RIW this November, with VR as an example. And what is discussed at TargetSummit? What will be the next stage of the mobile industry development at the opinion of TargetSummit community?

VR is an interesting direction, but it will be Inferior until the time we have a good interface. It’s not convenient to walk around holding a VR set, same goes for wearing it on your head. VR advertising looks very promising, it’s a new thing for the users, they will pay attention, but again, things greatly depend on how convenient the platform is. If the platform isn’t easy to use, there will be no one to see the ads.

I think machine learning and neural networks are the most interesting areas for the mobile, together with big data.

I think machine learning and neural networks are the most interesting areas for the mobile, together with big data.

We can use these technologies to make, for example, personal assistants surpassing all existing similar projects.

I see cross industry synergy as the one big trend for 2017. People discuss specific subjects at all mobile industry conferences: ASO, retargeting, mobile promotion, etc. It’s useful, of course, but only to some professionals. It would be cool to see not only marketing experts at TargetSummit and other events, but also products managers, developers, and other professionals working in mobile.

This is the way for all market players to understand each other. Product managers will have better insight into what developers really can do, and market experts will see the whole app development cycle. Such synergy will bring in new generation of products. Prisma app is a wonderful example. Here we see development, neural networks, and traditional mobile working together.

What would be your advice to those who want to host their own events? What are the most common mistakes?

Actually, we make mistakes at almost every TS, but only those engaged in the event business notice them, other people usually don’t see them. It’s often the case when speakers cancel their speeches at the last moment, and we have to change the program or find a replacement fast. Managing expectations is also a complicated issue. You’re counting on 600 people coming and get a thousand. It’s sure a good thing, but selected venues aren’t always fit for such number of people. It can be the other way, 500 registered attendees and only 200-300 people show up, so the venue looks half-empty.

In the general sense, event facilitation is a useful and interesting business. You help to develop the industry, but it can become a problem one day. For example, the markets in the USA and United Kingdom are very developed, and such events are held all the time, so the market is oversaturated. It’s possible that the same will happen in Russia; I think it’s better to integrate into existing communities and grow exponentially.

The main question, which the event hosts must ask themselves, ‘Will that be a good thing for the market players?” We will get the answer to this question from those who will come to the conference in Digital October on 29th of March. Register, and we will see you at TargetSummit.

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