2019 Interactive Day Recap

Interactive Day San Diego is one of the top West Coast digital marketing conferences, presented by SDX, a San Diego organization focused on media, marketing and technology. Per SDX, the day consisted of 885 minutes of content, 500 attendees, 42 speakers, 20 sponsors, and 2 Happy Hours, all making for one amazing IDSD 2019!

This year’s event focused on four tracks: Story, Human(ity), Machine and Mastery, which covered emerging AI and tech, success (and failure) stories from local and national brands and insights into building socially-conscious organizations. IMI sent some team members from our Paid Media department to divide and conquer and soak in all the knowledge; here were their favorite parts of the day:

Insights by: Chris Li, Paid Search Strategist

Four main things stuck out to me from individual sessions:

  • Podcasting: this medium is growing for advertising, however when working with talent, it’s best to let them do their show and inject your product organically. Podcast hosts know their audience best and can probably pitch an item using their personality and voice better than reciting a pre-written script.
  • Social Responsibility: Creating sustainable products and giving back to the community is helping companies grow, like Adidas with their recycled shoes and newest rebuildable shoe project. It’s great marketing just by being more socially and environmentally responsible.
  • Do More With Less: Vayner Media was able to save a lot of money on video production by shooting Noosa yogurt product videos in office, just by sticking a spoon in yogurt to demonstrate it’s thickness. Rather than hiring a full production crew, they were given the opportunity to test 10 different takes with the money they saved.
  • Working Agency vs. In-House:  This comparison was eye opening. With agency life you get more exposure to different kinds of clients. You learn really quickly and utilize tools that can translate across multiple products. Working in house, however, you only have one client and if that client fails, you lose your job. You also get to dig deep into that client and get a holistic view of company goals while increasing collaboration across other teams.

Insights by: Kacey McArthur, Associate Director, Display

As many speakers don’t get very technical trying to appeal to a broad audience, my takeaways centered around two common themes from presentations across different tracks: Perspective and Purpose.

As Michael Barber of Godfrey pointed out, it’s our responsibility as organizations to “know thy people” and be empathetic of how our brands, business objectives, systems and user experiences all affect citizens (not just customers). Every organization needs external checks and balances to continually make engaging with their brand better and uncomplicated. This includes making it “too easy” for customers to get in touch with you, keeping UX top of mind and being consistent with the service you provide.

Additionally, with the rise of socially-aware consumers, we need to maintain a consistent, clear purpose for doing what we do… outside of ROI. Afdhel Aziz discussed how plenty of brands have weaved the idea of using their power for good into the fabric of their organization, listening to and acting on what citizens need and in turn, positively affecting their bottom line. Brands like Adidas have restructured their feedback loop and perspective on business. With their recycled ocean plastic shoes, they’ve pivoted their organization’s purpose to benefit the entire world. All in all, a very engaging conference.

Insights by: Kelsey Powell, Associate Director, Paid Social

My biggest takeaway was ‘listen to your audience and adapt your marketing strategy accordingly’. This theme was prevalent across many of the tracks I attended in different ways:

  • Annie Porter, from Facebook Creative Shop, was a panelist during the ‘Welcome to Scary Town’ session who emphasized the importance of partnerships in order to develop the best, most interesting content that will help your brand uncover new ways to tell your story. She’s able to see results quickly and pivot her creative marketing strategy based on audience engagement to find what works best. “Embrace consistent change” was a tip she wanted us all to walk away with.
  • The most anticipated keynote of the day was Oren Aks, Founder of Atomic Milk and former Creative Director of Fyre Festival. He constantly had to reinvigorate content in order to avoid social media backlash and becoming repetitive with the notorious orange square. While his biggest takeaway following #FyreFraud was that while the conversation following the event can be really scary, it’s important to help your clients be authentic and not be forced into a box.
  • Keeping it local with ‘National Hometown Brands’: Todd Ballard, Chief Marketing Officer at GoPro, also emphasized the importance of striving for authenticity. For GoPro, they must understand who their customer is and speak to them in their voice through their creative marketing strategy. They learned that in order to continue growing their business and get existing customers to upgrade,  they would need to move away from focusing on the brand and focus on the features of their products in 2019.

Insights by: Melysa Hawkswell, Associate Director, Paid Search

While the individual tracks were both insightful and informative, the opening keynote to kickoff Interactive Day had the biggest impact on me. Michelle Poler led an engaging talk on how she faced her fears every day for 100 days straight; some big, some small but all life-changing. She expressed the importance of pushing past your comfort zone to reach your goals: “the enemy of success is not failure, but comfort.

While listening to Michelle recount some of the many fears she faced during her 100-day project, I tried to translate how these concepts could not only help me but also my team in our growth and success. Now, I don’t think that I’ll be asking my team to hold tarantulas or go cliff diving like Michelle did, but rather pose a challenge to identify any fears that might be holding us back from reaching our highest potential.

In our industry, we’re faced with ever-changing strategies, ideas, tech, and even client goals and expectations. It can be intimidating to take risks and continually introduce new ways of operating but we have to remind ourselves: that’s where success happens. So as these opportunities for growth come to us, I’ll be challenging my team to embrace the idea of disrupting the status quo and ask, “What’s the best that can happen?”

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