#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!

A Chat with MDMC Speakers: Jered Schneider

Jered Schneider
Jered Schneider is the Executive Market Director at SnapShot Interactive. Snapshot is a digital marketing agency that focuses on video-centric web design and development in all of their products.  SnapShot Interactive currently holds offices in St. Louis and Nashville.
Prior to joining SnapShot, Jered started and grew his company, Pounds Media, into a full service video production company that helped the likes of GE, Emerson, Caterpillar, and the St. Louis Cardinals tell their stories.
Now with Snapshot, Jered continues to help companies large and small tell their stories using video, animation, web, graphic design, and more.  He focuses on delivering great experiences and results to his current clients, and seeks to find new clients who need a great experience with great results.
We had the opportunity to speak with Jered Schneider about content and digital marketing.  Here are some of his thoughts on what we had to ask:

Q: What are some of the worst mistakes a business could make when it comes to content marketing? JS (Jered Schneider): One of the biggest mistakes we see businesses make is assuming that all content is good content. It’s common to see companies putting out poor quality photos and videos on social media just for the sake of getting content out. Not everything needs to be completely professional, but understanding that every piece of content is a reflection of the quality of your product or services, and investing in producing quality content is an investment we have seen pay off time and again.
Q: What do you think is next for content marketing? How will it evolve in the coming years? JS: Many folks will be distracted by trying to be all things to all people. I think savvy businesses will begin to create more robust content strategies on fewer channels, investing in quality content on proven platforms rather than chasing fads.
Q: Social media marketing is free, right? JS: Bad social media is free, good social media is an investment. While the account is free, it requires time at the least. And beyond that, an investment in quality strategy and content. But the return on this investment is easy to track, and the companies that really get it know that social is a revenue generator.
Q: A small business owner has to wear many hats and time is always tight. What are some social media time management tips you have to help them stick with their social media campaign without losing a lot of time? JS: Because social media is something that we all do when we are sitting on the couch, it is easy to get sucked into aimlessly using social for business purposes as well. I always like to plan out time to use social each day with specific goals in mind so I don’t get sucked into the trap of aimlessly browsing.
Q: According to you, what are the top three mistakes committed by organizations today in leveraging digital marketing? JS: Chasing the new thing is often painful to see. Many companies get anxiety about not being on the hot new platform, so they just jump on without much of a plan, or an understanding of the return on that investment. We all know that Snapchat is popular, but does your insurance agent really need to be on Snapchat? If done right, it could be really fun and could be valuable, but most likely, someone signs up for an account, posts a few times, and then never again.
Q: Which are your three favorite digital marketing tools? JS: Twitter, Facebook, Vimeo
Q: What are the top 3-5 skills you look for when hiring a candidate for digital marketing profile? JS:
Social Media understanding – do they actually “get it”
Self motivated
Lifetime Learner
Who are three people you respect when it comes to digital marketing? JS:
Mike Spakowski – Atomicdust
The whole Almanac team

You can come see Jered Schneider speak at a panel session on How Not to Be Obsolete: Everyday Social & Digital Strategies for Everyday Businesses at MDMC17 on April 13th, 2017.  This panel session will be held from 3:00pm – 3:40pm in the Centro room.

A Chat with MDMC17 Speaker: David Deck

By: Brittany Lloyd
David Deck
David Deck is the owner at Built to Lead. A former professional soccer player and successful executive with progressive experience building, growing, running, and evolving businesses from $1M (5 employees) to $100M (+200 employees). David is an educator by degree, a teacher and coach at heart, who is uniquely equipped to partner with CEO’s and business owners with the aim of: building them into leaders, transforming their teams, and growing their business. Born in 1973, David is the middle brother of 5 left-handed boys. He was married in 2001 to a tenderhearted spitfire and his soul mate. He is a father to 3 great kids. Self-described as a beautiful ruin and passionate fool, as well as a strategic idealist who is unreasonably aspirational and perpetuates improvement.
While working at his business, Built to Lead, David’s focus is small to medium, family owned, privately held companies that want to take things to the next level or need to change / evolve but might not know how. He challenges the leader of the organization (first and most) to more clearly define who they are, what they believe, and why it matters. Then they systematically transform every aspect of the company in alignment with what was (re)discovered. Thus, creating a more successful, thriving company.
I was able to catch up with David for a sit down. Check out some of the Q&A below.
Question: What are some of the worst mistakes a business could make when it comes to content marketing?
– Lacks authenticity
– Not a clear overarching content strategy / purpose
– Inconsistent brand ethos
Question: What do you think is next for content marketing? How will it evolve in the coming years?
Authentic influencer endorsements.
Individuals with a good personal following / brand will hold the most marketing power if they stay authentic individuals who only “promote” things they really believe in.
I can see a day in the future when influencers are able to select the companies they want to work with verses just work for companies who will pay them.  If influencers truly understand their power and hold true to this, this will be a marketing channel unlike any we’ve seen to date.
Question: Social media marketing is free, right
A: No.  It takes time and resources to develop a point of view, a purpose and position.  It takes time and resources to develop a strategy to communicate authentically and consistently.  It takes time and resources to test, learn, listen and respond.
Question: A small business owner has to wear many hats and time is always tight. What are some social media time management tips you have to help them stick with their social media campaign without losing a lot of time?
Answer: Be real, be transparent, be authentic.  Just talk about the things you are doing and don’t try to be something you aren’t.
Question: Share your favorite digital marketing case study. What did you like most it?
A: I tested this “authentic influencer endorsement” concept while at New Balance.  I helped influencers define their own voice and personal brand.  Then had them talk about their everyday life and New Balance in their own way.  The results (engagement and sales) were significantly higher via the influencer’s social channels compared to New Balance’s.
Question: According to you, what are the top three mistakes committed by organizations today in leveraging digital marketing?
A: 1) Not taking the time to define who you are, what you do and why it matters.  This should be the anchor to align all marketing and creative decisions.
2) Speaking to themselves, not their customer.  After you’ve developed your brand ethos, you have to test / rinse / refine your message until it resonates with the target customer.
3) They over complicate it.
Question: Which are your three favorite digital marketing tools?
A: N/A… trial and error are the best teacher.
Question: What are the top 3-5 skills you look for when hiring a candidate for digital marketing profile?
– loves all things digital in and out of work
– loves learning
– not afraid of failing
– always wants more
– believes in this channel
Question: Who are three people you respect when it comes to digital marketing?
1) Judy John from Leo Burnett – created the “like a girl” campaign and delivered the message in such a powerful way.
2) Pete Frates, Pat Quinn and Corey Griffin – started the ALS Icebucket Challenge
3) The Kardashians – don’t respect them in any way other than how they have built a marketing empire where they are the brand and decide what they want to endorse.
I hope you enjoyed this interview as much as I did.
Join us on April 13th at the MDMC17. David Deck will be inspiring us all in the Perficient room from 12:15pm.-12:45pm. during a special Lunch time Pop Up session. David will be speaking on the power of “OPUS”. This word means “work” in Latin. David will be there to encourage and help you clarify your passion and align it with your work.

Learn How to Become Social Media Savvy From #MDMC17 Speaker Raashi Rosenberger From Pinterest

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By: TJ Sheffer
The Midwest Digital Marketing Conference or MDMC is an upcoming event that will be hosted in St. Louis, Missouri. The event will be taking place on April 12th & 13th at Union Station. In preparation for the conference UMSL Digital had a Twitter chat with Raashi Rosenberger of Pinterest. Continue reading “Learn How to Become Social Media Savvy From #MDMC17 Speaker Raashi Rosenberger From Pinterest”