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Money 20/20 2021

Nov 04, 2021 8 min read

Money20/20… we saw, we came, and we conquered! Here’s a story on Zeta’s biggest event and what transpired to make it happen!

In January 2021, we started on our journey to conquer the US market. We knew we would be debuting in a highly competitive and mature market, and we needed a strategy to help establish our brand amongst our TG. We saw that opportunity with Money 20/20! 

Money20/20 is the largest show for the banking industry, where the who’s who of the payments, banking, fintech, and financial services converge over three days to discuss and shape the industry’s future. With 15,000+ delegates attending, this is the perfect platform for meeting every potential future client in one place.

Our goal was clear – to create brand awareness and visibility for 100% of the Money20/20 delegates and stand out above other sponsors at the show. We now had a clear goal and a target in sight! And thus began the preparation of a ‘nuclear strike’. 

Zeta’s Navy Seals, aka the Marketing team, set up an elaborate on-ground and digital plan to ensure we capture every delegate’s fancy from the minute they walk into the show …or potentially even before!

With Money20/20 being scheduled as an in-person event for October 24-27, we had enough time to plan our strike. But as we prepared for ours, the Covid Delta variant spread in the US.

Strike 1: Covid vs Zeta!  

While Covid was wreaking havoc worldwide, the USA seemed to be recovering well and was on track to return to normalcy. But in August, the Covid caseload started rising again, creating panic. This was a major cause of concern for us. 

Money20/20 was to be an in-person show, for which we had big budgets earmarked out. And if delegates did not show up at the expo, our efforts would be pointless. As we continued to monitor the situation, we worked on a plan B and a plan C, considering various options, from scaling down our participation to withdrawing altogether. As the situation kept getting serious, we continued to put our heads down and work on fortifying our plans and working with the legal team to work on clauses to safeguard our investments should the show be canceled or we decide to pull out. We conducted several surveys amongst folks to understand their travel preferences and sentiment. And after gathering enough data and weighing all our options, on September 13, we decided to go ahead with the show. The goal as always – create an outsized presence and make sure we leave a mark on the largest fintech and banking event globally!

With six weeks in hand, we assembled an entire show, from finalizing our booth design to selecting an A-list artist for a special experience. Around mid-September, Covid cases had also declined, bringing in some relief, although short lived. As our plans were coming together, it was time for Strike 2.

Strike 2: Zeta presents Maroon 5 …..oh wait…what! 

Right from the beginning, we were sure that we wanted to create an outsized presence and to draw in the crowds at the show – and what better way to do that than to sponsor an A-list concert. We conducted  extensive research on our TG demographics with multiple surveys to help us pick the artist that resonated the most with our crowd. Maroon 5 came out as one of the top choices given their appeal to all demographics, with Journey and Aerosmith as the next choices. 

With Maroon 5’s popularity, we knew this would be a good choice. An offer was drafted and sent to the band to book them for our show. Days passed, while we waited with baited breath and continued to prepare our content strategy with Maroon 5 as the main attraction.

But alas as it was getting ‘Harder to breathe’ with the anticipation, Maroon 5 decided to not accept our offer at the last minute citing Covid. We now had less than 4 weeks to go and no artist! Typically A list artists are blocked months in advance and we were already out of time!

Aerosmith and Journey were our next choices. We decided to push ahead with Journey – a legendary American rock-and-roll band and one we knew would appeal strongly to our audience!

Three weeks to the show – a bit of back and forth, more sleepless nights .. and Journey was signed. And they were indeed quite a choice, you will see why soon. (I think, it is from this day onwards that Don’t Stop Believin’ became our anthem, wake up alarm and lullaby too!)

While all this was happening, we carried forward with our digital strike. We launched a heavily targeted digital campaign including – paid, email marketing, customised VIP communication, special landing pages (changed overnight from Maroon 5 to Journey), websites and much more.  

We even reached out to folks who were part of our lead universe but had not yet planned to attend the show. We wanted to ensure we maximise this opportunity to the best of our ability.  From offering VIP experiences to special discount coupons to band signed guitar giveaways, we launched various programs and promotions to create excitement! 

Strike 3: Travel to the USA!

With borders closed, planning travel became a herculean task! No new visas were entertained and so the travel fate for our navy seals (the marketing team) was sealed. After a few ]]tears, we got back into action, putting together our A team – who also had valid US visas and could make it to the other side. 

Although, this was not your usual exciting trip to Vegas. With no direct flights from India, the travelling team had to go through a 14-day exile (almost) via Dubai and 5 RT-PCR tests to meet US entry requirements. We sailed through this strike and our A team now safely made it to the US.

On ground we planned several experiences that would touch every attendee at the show. Although Money20/20 is a 3-day show, the first two days are the most critical. Here is what our first day looked like

Day 1 was the main expo show floor and an evening networking party 

The Expo Showfloor: Spread over several acres with 300+ sponsors – this was the centre of all the action. Given the massive area, it is easy for folks to miss booths. 

We anticipated this, and blocked our booth location in January! The Zeta booth was possibly the ⇩only booth on the show floor that every single delegate just had to see.   Situated right at the entry of the floor, in clear sight for everyone walking in, we had a fabulous looking 30×30 sized Zeta booth dressed in our beloved purple. With a massive LED screen, playing eye-catching Zeta videos, lots of branded giveaways, coffee, snacks, and constant engagement from the folks at the stall – one could not miss us at all. 

Our newly on-boarded US sales team were kept super busy throughout the day with a never ending stream of visitors as they provided more information about our products and tech-stack and offerings.

We were off to a great start, till it was time for the poolside party…. Strike 4! 

Strike 4: The poolside party minus the pool! 

Money20/20’s networking party is their annual poolside party open for all delegates, with Zeta as a headline sponsor in 2021. We had an elaborate plan for this evening with the best of Vegas entertainment (think aquatic gymnasts, champagne chandeliers, celebrity impersonators, and more!) When everything in an event goes as planned, you know something is wrong! 

Twenty four hours before the poolside evening, we received word that the venue had to be shifted indoors due to rain and inclement weather – which almost never happens in Vegas.  The new venue was a very premium nightclub in Vegas – Omnia. With just a little over 12 hours in hand, we had to pivot quickly, which meant rethinking the branding and experience to suit this vibe of Omnia! 

It turns out, the new venue worked really well for us! The Zeta branding at the club, complete with our branded digital photo booth, celebrity impersonators (Elvis, Lady Gaga, and the likes) and a special VIP zone for Zeta guests created a fabulous vibe. Thanks to the amazing visibility we got at the club, many folks walked out thinking this was a “Zeta party” as opposed to Money 20/20’s! 

Day 2 was an even bigger day for us! 

Along with another busy day at the booth we had a Tailgate party, the VIP Hour for our select audience of senior bankers and CXOs, a keynote address by our CEO, Bhavin Turakhia on the main Money20/20 stage and the Journey concert – all in 3 hours!

The Tailgate party was a pre-party to the Journey concert. We painted the expo floor purple with Zeta-branded oversized games such as Pool, Jenga, Cornholes, and more for delegates to enjoy and unwind over drinks before the concert.

While the Tailgate was open to all, the Zeta VIP Hour was a private party for select VIPs. The Tailgate Party and the VIP Hour finally led to the main show – Zeta Presents Journey – Live In Concert!

The concert venue was the main keynote stage that was used by Money20/20 for their speaker sessions. We transformed this 3500+ theatre-style seating conference room to a 100% open floor concert venue with a special Zeta VIP Box, F&B, our branding across the entire floor and of course the necessary stuff on stage barricading, sound checks and security!  All this was done in just 60 minutes – that was all the time we had for set up! 

As the gates opened at 6.30, this conference room was transformed into a stunning show space with purple lights and massive Zeta branding on the main screen. We had hawkers give out Zeta + Journey branded tee shirts and glow-in-the-dark masks, LED masks, and other concert paraphernalia. 

The high octane concert after Bhavin showcased Zeta’s next-gen stack for credit cards to practically all attendees at the show. Post his address, Journey took the stage and delivered an electrifying 75-minute set to a mesmerized audience! 

The concert concluded with the band singing “Don’t Stop Believin” and a shower of glittering confetti blasting on the awestruck audience, making it a perfect sign-off for Zeta.

Post the show and on the trip back home – the Zeta team was inundated with congratulations and wishes – including being fist-bumped on the flights back home and for our amazing visibility at the show!

With Money 20/20, we achieved many firsts  

Our first launch event in the US 

Our biggest show in history to date

Our first concert 🙂 

Overall, our first time at Money20/20 has been exhilarating!  And in the USA, we are only getting started! 🙂


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Zetanaut
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