It’s back to the grind after enjoying two days out of the office at the Denver Digital Summit 2018 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House on July 17th and 18th. Being fairly new to the industry, the Digital Summit (DS) acted as both a welcome into the network of local digital marketing companies as well as an opportunity to learn from professionals other than my own boss (for once). There’s nothing like getting together with hundreds of other sharp-minded individuals and seeing what great things come out of it, beyond the SEO jokes.
My time at the summit kicked off with Chelsea Handler’s keynote interview, which veered away from digital marketing topics and into a politically-charged discussion. I’ll admit, I expected the keynote to be more relevant to the reason we were all congregated, but it was still a delight hearing Chelsea speak. Jason and I also got to meet her afterwards. I tried to crack a joke, but she didn’t think I was funny, probably because I was joking about not reading her book. On to the next!
Next, we checked out the VIP Lounge, which equipped attendees with an open bar, light snacks, a masseuse, and the most incredible brownies I’ve ever had in my life. We had a minute to sit down and network before our first session of the day, “Technology’s Impact on Visual Storytelling through Pre-visualization” by DreamWorks Animation’s Chris Stover. Having the opportunity to hear from companies like DreamWorks, and later Netflix and Amazon, was definitely the highlight of the DS.
One of my favorite speakers was Content Marketing Institute‘s Robert Rose, who presented “Business Storytelling: The Architecture of Why People Will Care About Your Content.” Talk about leaving with a complete change of perspective! I walked away from that stage with a new way of thinking about the role content plays in today’s business world.
Robert tore apart the standard case study and pointed out that the general, positive outcomes companies focus on don’t tell the same story as talking about the journey each specific customer takes to overcoming their challenges, some of which continue to exist even after they’ve been helped. The takeaway from a case study should be how the story of a particular client fits into the story of your brand. Mind-opening moments like this are exactly what I was hoping to encounter at the DS.
Right at the top with Robert was Scott Dikkers, a cofounder of The Onion. Scott outdid himself during the lunch keynote on day two; what an inspiring story about not only his life but also the lives he touched! He cleverly described “outrageous marketing” and how we all can implement the most over-the-top strategies to really leave our mark on this world (in a good way, of course).
Dave Isbitski of Amazon closed out the summit with a few words about Alexa and Echo. It was truly fascinating to learn about how this voice technology works and the vision for the role of these devices in the future. While I think the current capabilities of the devices are amazing, I’m still not ready to treat Alexa like one of my human friends. Technology has increasingly gotten in the way of healthy face-to-face communication (pun intended), and I can’t help but wonder what voice technology will mean for the future of human relationships.
Over the course of the two days, I gained insight into video content creation, Amazon advertising, email marketing optimization, B2B influencer marketing, and a big buzzword in 2018: storytelling. For someone who hasn’t yet had the chance to dabble in all areas of digital marketing, the summit provided excellent topic diversity and value. Even for those who have been working in the industry for years, the beauty of digital marketing lies in its constant change. There will always be a new trend or best practice to uncover and learn, and the challenge of continuously adapting to stay at the top and play amongst the best is what excites me about my job. Until next year, DS Denver!