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iMedia Brand Summit 2015 Main Stage
iMedia Brand Summit 2015 Main Stage

iMedia Brand Summit 2015 was held last week in Coronado, California at the beautiful Loews Coronado Bay Resort, and I was fortunate enough to be able to attend.  The theme of this iMedia Brand Summit was “Delighting Customers at Every Touchpoint”. Sessions and speakers revolved around how marketers can address the changing consumer behaviors, attitudes, and habits in order to meet customers’ ever-growing expectations. We looked externally at these consumer trends — their needs, wants, and desires — and how marketers can use the tools and tactics at their disposal in order to address emerging trends. Below are some of the highlights, takeaways and entertaining quotes from the event.

Key iMedia Brand Summit 2015 takeaways from sessions and conference chatter:

  • Transparency is front and center for almost everyone that I spoke with. Marketers are tired of the black box approach, especially when it comes to programmatic. They want to know where their ads are serving, and who they’re reaching with every campaign.
  • Millenials are a huge curve ball, as marketers try to understand how to engage and attract this growing segment. This is particularly driven by many marketers’ quests to better understand all of their customer segments and how they interact with the brands they love. Morley Winograd from Mike and Morley LLC. gave a great presentation that can be found here.
  • Brands that are separating themselves from the competition are doing so by finding new and unique ways to engage their target audiences. It is especially clear that Paid Media is good for supporting commerce and branding, but the real connections tend to come in person or when brands get creative. For example, Zappo’s got a ton of press when they worked with a VIP customer to surprise her husband on Father’s Day. They brought in a full team for a day to knock out all of the things on his “honey-do” list, everything from painting to yard work. There’s a great video on YouTube.
  • Above all, Relationships continue to drive our business. With so much competition and noise in the marketplace, brands want to work with people and companies that they can trust, that deliver on what they say, and that are fun to work with. This isn’t news to anyone, but watching the sales feeding frenzy certainly drove the point home. Your current customers are being pitched and called every single day, and you’ve got to differentiate yourself and your company when prospecting.

Some good quotes from iMedia Brand Summit 2015:

  • 4 million new households were created in 2014, yet there were only 140,000 new cable subscribers.
  • Since millennials entered the consumer marketplace, perceptions of brand quality eroded 24%, trust in brands declined 50%.
  • “I’m convinced that modern media planning is beyond human comprehension!” – Brian Monihan from Walmart.com
  • “Ad blocking is a “crisis” for ad exchanges. For brands it’s an opportunity to think different in order to get your message out”
  • Content isn’t king—distribution is. Content is nothing if you don’t get it in front of the right people.

You can find more quotes and highlights on Twitter with by searching for #imediasummit, and many of the presentations are available for download on the iMedia event page. Overall, iMedia Brand Summit 2015 was an excellent event, and I met a ridiculous amount of smart, talented and unique people who all seemed to share my passion for marketing and digital advertising. It was a combination of great content, engaged attendees and a well-oiled iMedia team who assembled a great event with lots to do.

iMedia Brand Summit 2015 Catamaran
The view from the iMedia Brand Summit 2015 catamaran around the San Diego Bay.

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