old and new

Customers are engaging in multiple platforms — sometimes at the same time — and figuring out how to market to new technologies and capture that audience has never been more complex. Moreover, customers are constantly bombarded with content.

So how do you get their attention?

That was one of the questions raised at Impact15 in Las Vegas last week, a three-day global conference sponsored by the Internet Marketing Association (IMA).

The conference drew marketing professionals, business owners and corporate executives from 20 countries to the Aria Hotel and Casino Conference Center.

Sinan Kanatsiz
Sinan Kanatsiz, IMA’s founder and chairman, highlighted the program’s theme, “Accelerating Innovation.”

“This year, we’re breaking the mold and delving into virtual reality, robotics and drones, to name a few intriguing topics,” he said in his welcome. “We want to lead a transformation into the future of marketing, take risks, explore together, and define what the modern marketer’s needs are.”

The event was planned to help participants leverage technology and use best practices to help grow their businesses and expand opportunities, Kanatsiz noted.

Broad Industry Representation

Keynote presenters and guest speakers included Michael Huseby, executive chair of Barnes & Noble Education; Omar Tawakol, general manager of Oracle Data Cloud; Bryant Quan and Vitaly Pecharsky, co-founders of Slickdeals, Tom McDonald, SVP of Marketing for the San Francisco Giants; Darren Herman, VP of Content Services at Mozilla; Frederick Vallaeys, Google evangelist and founder of Optmyzer; Victor Cho, CEO of Evite; and Brian Bacino and Jack Boland from Baker Street Advertising.

Breakout sessions covered everything from accelerating global excellence to what marketers need to know about predictive intelligence and winning over Generation Z. Executives representing companies including Six Flags, Microsoft, Radius, Fibernetics, DroneDeploy, NOOK by Barnes & Noble, Sociomantic Labs, Adobe, Ernst & Young, Curalate, Pop Media Brands, ZinePak and 3M Company facilitated the sessions.

The association also handed out several awards, including Progressive Company of the Year, Curalate, a visual marketing platform for Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr and Facebook; Innovator of the Year, ConnectedYard, a company that aims to reinvent the pool industry through smart technology and the Internet of Things (IoT); Agency of the Year, Baker Street Advertising; Brand of the Year, Radius; and Internet Marketer of the Year, Christoph Trappe.

Kicking A$$

Cynthia Nelson
One of the most popular breakout sessions featured panel of women who are doing things differently in music, entertainment, digital publishing, health care and TV production. Cynthia Nelson, managing partner and executive producer, Filtr LIVE at Sony Music Entertainment, moderated the “Women Who Kick Ass Entertainment Panel.”

Panelists included Sherry Gunther Shugerman, CEO of Pop Media Brands; Karissa Price, CMO, Care Innovations, an Intel-GE company; Kate Rolston, co-founder, Real Savvy Media and Mana HQ; Shark Tank Winners Kim Kaupe and Brittany Hodak, co-founders of ZinePak; and Diane Rankin, who handles brand partnerships at Skyword, a marketing and advertising company.

The women emphasized the a seismic shift in marketing — and urged companies that want to be successful going forward to embrace that reality.

As an example, they noted, it used to be simple to advertise to children. Marketers simply bought time in the Saturday morning cartoon block, Sugarman, a two-time Emmy award-winning producer, noted.

“With the onset of cable, that shifted to Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Network. Now, young children are going right to a device, they’re immediately attached and they’re not watching ads on YouTube,” she said. In fact, Nickelodeon’s advertising is down 50 percent.

Customers Take Control

Moreover, consumers are taking back control. They opt-in for ad blockers and many are even paying for sophisticated software to stop the flow of online marketing.

That’s why it’s critical for content to be creative, innovative and consumer engaging, the panelists said. While all of the women recognized the role of technology, they stressed that people were equally important elements of success.

They shared that they had learned a lot from other leaders in the industry and encouraged audience members to find a mentor, socialize, network and meet new faces.

So how have these women succeeded in reaching today’s technically savvy and fragmented audiences? They all agreed that it’s critical to understand your market and your story — and to keep the content real and authentic.

“We are human beings first,” Rolston said. “Put the human first and that’s how you will tap into their hearts.”