Last week, NextPage marketing director Joel Hornbostel and I attended the 2018 Digital Summit in Overland Park, Kansas. The two-day event at the Overland Park Convention Center was crowded with marketing professionals from around the region, gathered to learn about the latest marketing trends, strategy, and best practices.
The ballroom on the second floor of the convention center was divided into three sections for seminars. The seminars each lasted 30 minutes and we were free to move between them as we pleased. Representatives from the event’s numerous sponsors were networking at their booths in the lobby, including Emfluence, one of NextPage’s loyal clients. Since NextPage is my first job out of college, Digital Summit was a new experience for me. I had never been to a large conference like this and my expectations were exceeded on all counts.
Most of the lectures I attended were about email marketing, content creation, and lead nurturing. I particularly enjoyed Quinn Tempest’s seminar about Instagram marketing. Instagram has changed how brands interact with their audience and influencers because it’s entirely visual. She enthusiastically explained the difference between art and strategy on Instagram. Art is the visual style and creativity of your profile and strategy involves the timeliness and relevancy. I was also intrigued by the presentation about influencers from Michelle Stinson Ross of Apogee Results. Big-name brands often use celebrity spokespeople to gain some PR, but any brand can have its own kind of celebrity if it knows who has similar interests. Find people are talking about the same things your brand cares about and warm up to them by following and interacting with them on social media. Then you can invite them to join your squad.
The summit also featured a keynote address from Liza Dunning, the brand writer and content lead at Airbnb. She discussed the time when several Airbnb customers faced racial discrimination from their hosts, which prompted the hashtag #AirbnbWhileBlack. The company acknowledged this and responded by redefining its brand image to emphasize community and inclusion, especially with today’s social unrest. They have since had the slogan “Belong Anywhere.” It was a great story about the large role culture plays in branding.
I have to say one of my favorite parts of the summit was the charging station. Everyone had a computer or phone they had to charge and the banquet hall had very few power outlets, so they set up a booth in the lobby where you could turn in your device so they could charge it for you and give you a ticket with an assigned number, like a coat check for electronics. Consequently, this was a popular place to network. What a brilliant idea!
Kudos to the people at Digital Summit and the Overland Park Convention Center for presenting such an informative and well-organized event.