IMPACT17 Truly Rises Above the Noise – Conference Summary

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IMPACT17 was a resounding success once again, showing why this conference is called the best marketing conference anywhere. Marketing professionals from around the globe descended on Las Vegas to interact and celebrate the state of digital marketing. This year, the event was hosted by Wynn/Encore and held at Enclave. Every year, IMPACT works with the best resorts and conference facilities to execute a top-notch conference.

The event kicked off with a session at the beautiful Intrigue nightclub at Wynn. In this setting anchored by a five-story waterfall, a series of presentations and fascinating perspectives were shared with conference attendees. Marcie Merriman, Executive Director for Ernst & Young, started the festivities with an overview of Gen Z, the newest and most interesting cohort of like-minded consumers. If we aren’t seeing this group already as a marketing target, we soon will.IMG_8812

Jason Neubauer, founder of The Santa Claus Affect, then discussed his company’s work with influencers to spur viral awareness. Once again, reaching Gen Z with content was his focus. Alex Grey of Skylight Global brought the focus back to the world of the IMA.

Claudio Ludovisi, Head of Strategy for Disney ABC Television Group, discussed making “fans” of every generation with specific content via television and shared several clips from ABC shows. He was followed by John Costello from Microsemi, who just wrote a book about his experiences with his father being part of the Chicago Outfit. John’s story was fascinating and scary at the same time.

Dr. Bruce Hensel, formerly with NBC-TV and now Chief Medical Officer of Cloudbreak, brought us up to date on his company. He also moderated a panel that included Ian Kalin, Chief Data Officer of eHealth, and Charlotte Doepker, VP of Marketing for Keenan. The evening’s program ended with a send-off from Sinan Kanatsiz, Chairman of the IMA.IMG_0398

IMPACT’s second day started in fine fashion. The honor guard from Welcome Home Troops kicked off the full day’s activities, complete with bagpipes. Sue Rebar, Founder and President of Welcome Home Troops, showed an emotional video about the WHT Post 9-11 Memorial.

Andrea Ward, Chief Marketing Officer of Magento, gave an awesome keynote on using data and technology. She shared a case study of a customer that is using virtual reality to replicate the in-office eyeglasses purchase. Kevin Maloney was on stage next, covering the IMA International Execute Council, of which Kevin is CEO. He shared the vision for IEC and went over the benefits of the program that is gaining traction very quickly.IMG_0356

The “Rock Star CMO” panel was next, focusing on digital transformation. Moderated by Tim Moran, CEO of the CMO100 Network, the panel including Andrea Ward, CMO of Magento; Jeanniey Mullen, CMO of Mercer; David McKillips, SVP In-Park Services for Six Flags; and Akbar Jaffer, CMO of ZorroSign Inc. When you get this many high-powered CMOs together on one panel, ideas and creativity abound. And this panel did not disappoint!

The conference then turned to cybersecurity. Eric Lundbohm, IMA CMO Lead and cybersecurity CMO, discussed a set of concerns and tips for improving marketing department cybersecurity. He was followed by Peter Lopez, Cloud Solutions Architect for Microsoft, who went through various issues and concerns the digital movement has created. Perry Viscounty from Latham and Watkins, LLP then presented 10 tips important for digital marketers who work with influencers and particularly paid endorsers, a very on-point topic.IMG_0468

An excellent panel on MarTech focusing on “Global Customer Experience” followed. Bryan Rand from TransPerfect moderated the panel which included Michelle Frank, Senior Manager of Global E-Commerce for Harmon; Jeff Hassemer, Chief Strategy Officer for Alterian; and Michael Aburas, Integrated Media Director for MGM Resorts International. Panel participants shared their road to building out consumer experiences on a global basis. One of the common themes was “mass personalization” of the website experience by delivering content based on who the user is.

Cammie Croft from FWD.us shared the background and goals of that advocacy organization, with a focus on DACA and the coming changes to that law.

After an awesome lunch prepared by the Enclave staff, the group was treated to a stunning presentation from mentalist Kevin Viner. Most attendees left completely amazed by what they saw from Kevin.IMG_0755

The conference continued its momentum after lunch with Victor Cho, CEO of Evite, covering how his company has dealt with diversity in the workplace. He was followed by Hope Frank and Jeanniey Mullen from Mercer, sharing the results of programs they have executed including an internal marketing campaign for engaging the company’s 20,000 employees.

Jeanniey also moderated an impressive panel of women leaders that included Alma Derricks, CMO, El Rey Network; Lindsey Germono, President, Germono Advertising Company; Ruth Brajevich, VP of Strategic Initiatives, Ware Malcomb; Lindsey Carnett, CEO, Marketing Maven; Isabelle Bart, Marketing Communications Director, American Association of Critical-Care Nurses; and Mariam Ayoade, Product Team Lead, Digital Services, digitXplus. They shared myriad stories on the challenges and triumphs of being women executives in today’s world.IMG_1086

Alma Derricks shared a bit more of her story launching El Rey and showed a great video reel from the network. She was able to tie it all in to marketing and the impact of diverse ethnic groups on American culture.

Amazon is well-recognized as a highly innovative company, and Jay Symonds, Senior Account Executive, shared an overview of that innovation a day after Amazon introduced six new Echo devices. Jay then moderated a fascinating panel of innovators in data and analysis. Included on the panel were Perry Evoniuk, CTO, Evite; Tracy Morgan, Senior Director, Engineering & Data Science, nContext; Tamara Gaffney, Principal Analyst, Adobe; Ryan Miyaki, Founder, Comped Marketing; and Vitaly Pecharsky, Head of IT Operations, Slickdeals. This panel shared some very innovative and forward-looking accomplishments, largely using big data and machine learning techniques.

Yves Le Sieur, Senior Director, VDS, lead the group through the next section of IMPACT, setting the stage for a discussion on innovation in education. His panelists included Helen Norris, VP, CIO, Chapman University; David May, VP, Web & Digital Media, Chapman University; and Dr. Stephane Muller, Business Programs Department Director, University of California, Irvine. This esteemed panel discussed the leadership qualities needed to innovate, including how to avoid organizational silos and apply new technologies.

Justin Andresen, Head of Sales for Drips, shared his presentation titled “Conversations Matter.” His company has deeply looked at the conversations that happen throughout the marketing process and determined the differing forms and timing on which communication takes place. They seek to talk to users, not at them.

Aaron Hillegass, CEO, Big Nerd Ranch, moderated a panel on “Technologies and Modern Day Tools” with a look at the myriad of tools marketers can use to execute campaigns and get detailed feedback. The panel included Josh Decker, CEO, Tagboard; Susan Akbarpour, CEO, Mavatar; Adam Hua, VP Partnerships, CitizenNet; Thomas Bartke, Ecom Convert; and Tyler Holliday, Director of Marketing, Ytel. The tools discussed tended to be social media related, and the panel offered several case studies on the topic.

Johnathan McGowan, CEO of Takenote Global, shared his company’s experience competing at a past start-up battlefield at IMPACT. They won that competition, which helped them reach out and gather more advisors to help fuel growth.

His remarks were followed by this year’s edition of the IMA Startup and Pitch Challenge. Three companies competed for this honor: Hykso, dubbed the Pelton for boxing, showing a great video about their product; Blue Matador, a predictive analytics company focused on reducing downtime; and Bob’s Repair, a service that connects skilled contractors with customers in need of those skills. Each company shared its plans and products and answered questions from a panel of judges. When the judging was completed, the prize went to Blue Matador in the form of a $25,000 package of marketing and PR support.IMG_1376

IMPAQ CEO Mark Samuel was next, and he focused on “Rising Above the Noise – Transforming Your Organization and Yourself.” His State Transformation Process is an excellent model for understanding transformation from an organizational perspective. The capstone of the day’s speakers fell to Bill Eldien, CEO of Ketel One Vodka. Bob shared the fascinating story of Ketel One, and his presentation was followed by a vodka tasting session.

The conference ended with a gala celebration at the amazing XS Nightclub at Encore with recording artist, DJ and producer David Guetta. The celebration went far into the night, and what happened there must stay in Vegas. IMPACT17 was a great success, and we all look forward to next year!

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