#MDMC17: The Opening Night Party Recap

By: Gabrielle Sealey
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After a long day of activities, guests of the Midwest Digital Marketing Conference (MDMC17) were invited to continue the fun at Momentum Worldwide for the opening night party. Not only was it a celebration of the conference, but it was also the opening of Momentum’s new office space, located downtown St. Louis.  In one of the rooms attendees could virtually play tennis with Maria Sharapova, in other rooms there were video game controllers set up for guests to play against one another and try various VR widgets. During this event, UMSL Business sat down with Momentum’s leadership represented by Elena Klau, Mike Clark, Melissa Hamilton, Donnalyn Smith, and Chris Weil to discuss the world of gaming and their newly released paper “We Know Gamers”, as well as their general insights about business, leadership, and technology. The interviews were later released as part of the podcasting series “In Your Business With UMSL Business”.
UMSL Business first had the chance to talk to Chris Weil, Momentum WW’s Chairman and CEO. As an optimistic leader of the company, Chris Weil explained to UMSL Business how important the role of a leader is and what the three key areas of a company’s leader are. The first area of importance, as Chris Weil highlighted, is strategic vision and leadership on the strategy side. The second key area is the company’s clients, new and old: it is crucial for any business to maintain mutually beneficial relations with its clients and keep them happy to ensure successful partnerships. The third area of importance according to the CEO is HR, i.e. making sure the right people are on the right places throughout the company.
The second person interviewed by UMSL Business was Donnalyn Smith, President of North America at Momentum WW. Donnalyn’s interview shifted gears in regards of questions, which revolved around her role as a leader, and what she looks for in potential team members. According to Donnalyn, when you have great ideas you have happy clients. With that being said, she values smart strategic thinkers, because when you start with a super solid strategy it is almost impossible not to land with an idea that is appealing to a client.
Mike Clark, the current VP/Director of Creative Technology, and Melissa Hamilton, VP/Director of Integrated Productions, were interviewed in a tandem. Having worked for Momentum WW for a number of years, they both have been involved in the release of the company’s recent paper “We Know Gamers”. During the interview, Mike explained what type of technology Momentum WW uses to enhance its brand to clients and partners. Melissa, in her turn, highlighted the relevance of their recent study to the industry and spoke about her personal take-away from the series.
Elena Klau, Senior VP and Director of Strategies and Insights, NA at Momentum WW, was the last person interviewed by UMSL Business. Elena is known for her many accomplishments. She is a strategy lead in the company responsible for working with high profile clients. Elena’s main reason for attending the MDMC17 was to speak about the recent paper “We Know Gamers”. During the interview, she gave a brief summary of the paper, and explained what the goal of the research was. Elena highlighted that the company believed that there was more to the gamers’ universe than what meets the eye, and that was what drove them to research more on this topic.
Those who attended the opening night party can agree that not only does Momentum WW have an amazing new office space, but that this is a company that is very intuitive about the future of technology and marketing. Listen here to the whole interviews with the company’s leaders https://tinyurl.com/umslbusinesspodcast

#MDMC17 Through Students’ Eyes

By: Gabrielle Sealey and Daniel Klevorn

On April 12-13, 2017, UMSL hosted the Midwest Digital Marketing Conference (MDMC17), for the 5th year in a row. From Under Armor to Pinterest, speakers from companies all over the US gave their insights on the digital and social media marketing world as they see it. The conference was open for both professionals working in this sphere, as well as students making their first steps in marketing.
Day 1 was full of activities from the Networking and Professional Development Fair, where attendees could talk face to face with some of the companies that were presenting later that day, to various sessions and MDMC Opening Keynotes. As the evening approached, Momentum Worldwide held an opening night party, where attendees were invited to come to chat with each other and try out new widgets in a relaxing environment. Day 2 offered 52 concurrent sessions for the public to choose. UMSL Business had the opportunity to speak with some of the students who were able to attend this year’s MDMC, and get their impressions.
Learn about the real-world marketing beyond the textbook
Even though students might think that they can feel overwhelmed, especially with all of the tables and important presenters walking around, University of Dallas student Christian Bender felt otherwise. As a marketing major, Christian felt the conference would be beneficial to attend in order to understand the type of thinking beyond textbooks. After hearing about the conference through another student, Christian decided to take a road trip for the week to attend MDMC17.
Find a speaker or topic to resonate with
Before leaving Dallas, Christian picked which presentations to attend and then concluded that was mostly impressed by the speaker Finola Austin from Refinery 29. Christian states, “I wasn’t aware that Refinery 29 markets so much towards women, but I love the way they subtlety do so. They market by showing the empowerment of women, and that made me become more aware of the pressures on womanhood.  It also made me understand that I don’t have to take on these pressures.” Being a St. Louis native and attending college out of state, Christian overall loved the fact that there was such a conference as MDMC located in St. Louis for students to attend on the same level as professionals.
Get hands-on experience
Running from table to table gathering information from speakers, UMSL student Curtis Hoffman had the chance to view the conference from a different angle. As part of the UMSL Business Podcasting Team, Curtis didn’t have very much time to listen to the presentations he wanted to. Yet he was able to interview presenters, and still made the best of his time there.
Take a chance to talk to a potential employer
From the very beginning of the conference Curtis realized that it was “a really cool event” that opened his opportunities to network with some amazing companies! Curtis says, “My overall thought was that this was an amazing experience. I had so much fun talking to a lot of great people, and being able to get my name out to some of these companies. I definitely recommend students to go to this event because it could be your in to some very high end companies.”
Get new ideas for your own business
The MDMC attendees also included business owners like Lareina Hembrock. She graduated from UMSL in December 2016 and just started Self Care for Life LLC. After hearing about the conference when taking classes with UMSL professor and MDMC founder Perry Drake, Lareina was excited to see what it was all about. When asked about what she learned at the conference, Lareina said, “As a new business owner I learned refreshing new ways to help consumers discover my brand and how to interact with them”. The personal brand is becoming an important part of an individual and also the brands they work for and create.
Network with speakers and participants
Lareina continued, “The conference really jumpstarted many ideas I had for my business and everyone at the MDMC was very friendly, professional, and open to networking for a great learning experience”. The information Lareina got from this conference will help her and many others see what has been working for companies around the world. Business owners can incorporate these ideas in their businesses to take them to the next level.
Use the information for your professional and personal development
Among MDMC17 attendees were also students from different universities in the region like Katie Lorenz, a student from Lindenwood. She heard about the conference in one of her marketing classes and knew it would be a great opportunity for her professional growth and personal development. She explained in an interview that “MDMC17 was full of networking opportunities and great learning experiences from top level brands and professionals.” MDMC17 was her first conference but she said that she wouldn’t miss any other MDMC.
As the food trucks drove away and the microphones were turned off, MDCM17 concluded on its 5th year. After being moved from UMSL campus to Union Station, the conference has become a great place for over 1,400 people to meet and network. The momentum keeps growing year after year. Can’t wait to see you all at MDMC18!

MDMC17 Executive Roundtable Recap

By: Andrew Strotheide

This year’s Midwest Digital Marketing Conference (MDMC17) offered its attendees plenty of opportunities for networking. Those who are on the executive level had a chance to attend the Executive Roundtable moderated by Forrester. Among the panelists were Rich Spiekermann from Nestle Purina, Steve Bauer from FleishmanHillard, James Whittaker from Microsoft, Maya Mikati from IBM, Jessica Liu from Forester, Yahoo, Dennis Dayman from Return Path, Matt Cotter from Oracle, Michael Becker from mCordis, Inc., and Alberto Brea from OgilvyOne Worldwide.
At the start of the session the panelists gave an insight into the challenges big businesses face today on a daily basis as they continue to persuade consumers to purchase more of their products. The discussion was focused on “big data”, which is made up of tons of information about consumer online behavior. Everyone who uses the Internet today has a profile, so what these companies are focusing on is just setting up the infrastructure to be able to access the data available and use it to influence consumers’ purchase decisions and make them buy more. In the past few months, a lot has been discussed in terms of access to the personal browsing data by big businesses and whether companies should be allowed to sell it or use it for their own purposes.
There are certain benefits offered to those marketers who have access to Big Data. Since it allows to track consumer online behavior, targeting becomes more precise, which helps to reduce advertising costs and increase ROI. Nevertheless, there are certain downsides present, with one of them being the complex character of the data on hand, which requires complex algorithms that would need to be put into place to take the full advantage of the data available. Companies like IBM have dedicated whole teams to collecting, organizing, processing, and utilizing big data for years, and they still are not even close enough to completing the programming. Speaking of programming, bots will slowly but surely help us make up our minds, and aid in the decision-making process, which once again ties into the “big data schema”.
Right now, with the way technology is being developed, society is on the fringe of expanding digital marketing to a completely different level which will allow us to deliver the right message to the right customer, and result in a sale even more frequently.