A large portion of closing the digital skills gap in marketing and sales automation takes place at conferences and events.
That's why a few episodes of The Digital Skillscast are focused around them. If you're interested in learning more about these conferences, I've covered Converge Conference and Oracle's Modern Marketing Experience and have plenty more in the books for this year.
As a conference speaker who has spent nearly a decade traveling to events of all shapes and sizes, I absolutely believe that these gatherings are the epicenters of what is driving the marketing and sales industry forward.
It's at these conferences where new ideas and new tools reach the heads and hands of today's top practitioners. The conference circuit has played a huge part in advancing marketing and sales automation technology, providing the platform that has given birth to entire echo systems of software companies that have risen to meet the demands of businesses and rapidly changing research and buying habits they face.
I often tell my students that conferences and events, from small local community lunch and learns to major conferences that draw attendees from all over the world, provide an extension of the classroom experience. As busy working professionals, we get a lot of front line experience. And yet, it can easy to forget to set aside time to learn and advance our knowledge and skills.
Meet Breanna Jacobs, VP of Event Production for the Global Strategic Management Institute
Breanna Jacobs is the Vice President of Event Production for the Global Strategic Management Institute’s (GSMI) marketing conference portfolio. Producing over eight conferences per year, she works directly with senior-level thought leaders and speakers and collaborating with marketing and sales teams to drive event publicity and content marketing initiatives.
Breanna has researched and launched quite a few new and successful programs from scratch across the digital space, including the UX Strategies Summit, Mobile+Web Developer Conference, and the Brand Strategy Conference.
Breanna is now working on the Social Media Strategies Summit, a conference that NR Media Group will actually be a part of. There are four of these events but we are focusing on the one that is positioned specifically for higher education.
Before coming to coming to GSMI, Breanna was an English as a second language (ESL) teacher in Spain. She has shifted her teaching focus from the actual classroom to the figurative classroom that GSMI produces with their conferences and events. Breanna’s experience as a teacher has assisted her in helping to create that classroom experience that they aim for.
The goal of GSMI at each event is to create an interactive and hands-on experience. Whether you are a teacher or a student at a conference, being able to create a peer-to-peer networking experience and making sure the peers are learning from each other, in addition to learning from the speakers helps attendees get the most from attending.
If you'd like to know more about how to get more value and ROI when you attend a conference, Breanna has shared her insights with Social Business Engine. Check out 5 Ways to Get Huge Value from Attending a Social Media Conference.
The Social Media Strategies Summit
The Social Media Strategies Summit will occur three times over the course of the summer. It holds the title of the longest running social media conference in the United States. The Summit began in 2010, around the time that social media was just taking off. The idea was for social media and marketing practitioners to come and learn from brands and the way they address different challenges in social media.
The social media and marketing role has certainly changed over the last couple of years and the Summit aims to address the pain points as they differ with time and the relevant topics. Though “Social Media” is in the name, it is so much more than that. Different digital marketing topics, content, video, paid media, and ROI are among the subjects that are covered. The conference is morphed to be able to stay in tune with the current challenges that marketers are faced with.
According to Breanna, the main attendees range from top-level marketers that are in charge of planning social media to those who are executing the plans. Anyone who has anything to do with social media can learn something from the Summit because they try to keep the speaker roles as diverse as possible. No matter the industry, anyone can connect with speakers within their own in addition to learning from brands outside theirs, applying the lessons to their own industry.
Higher Education Conference 2017
The Social Media Strategies Summit for Higher Education kicks of with pre-summit social media trainings, which is very activity and discussion driven around specific topics. As for the remainder of the conference, there are different tracks for attendees to choose from.
Each track plays to different marketers’ needs, challenges, and their difference roles. It all ties back to creating a strong brand presence for the college or university. Many sessions are dedicated to brand engagement and awareness, content, how to use each social media platform effectively, and paid media, which is relatively new topic to the Summit.
Speakers for this year's conference come from all over, including Ohio State University, West Virginia University, The Geroge Washington University, University of California, Berkeley, Texas A&M University, and more -- even a session from yours truly on Results-Based Storytelling.
Breanna says that the goal of the Summit is for attendees to feel inspired from what they learn and to leave with applicable lessons. Inspiration can also be found just by being in the same room as marketers from the same field. They want attendees to be able to stay relevant in their role, learning new best practices to keep them up to date. There is a mix of inspiration, education, and connection.