Next Friday, September 26, Agents of Change (AOC): The Digital Marketing Conference will be held from 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the Abromson Center, on the University of Southern Maine campus. It’s a fantastic conference and I highly recommend attending. This will be my third year in attendance. Registrations are still available although the event is nearly sold out. So get busy and register now while you still can! You can register for the event here. And, I promise not to embarrass you by saying hello if you attend. How’s that for incentive?
Tell me some of the history of AOC. How and when did it start? How has it evolved?
FTW was perfect for it’s time, as it introduced Maine businesses to the potential of social media for marketing and communications. Heck, the first year we actually set up kiosks to help people sign up for Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn at the conference! That’s one big change.
But I didn’t feel FTW told the whole story. Social media is just one part of a bigger endeavor called digital marketing. If you want your business or non-profit to succeed online, you need to master search, social, and mobile marketing. You need to drive traffic with search and social, and understand how mobile is changing everything. These are the “Agents of Change.”
We also now talk about email marketing, list building, lead generation, online advertising and more. Everything a business needs to succeed online.
Who would benefit from attending and why?
If we’re talking job titles, we get a lot of people in marketing, communications, and a lot of people who run their own businesses or are involved with non-profits. But if it’s mindset, it’s people who are entrepreneurial and looking to get a better understanding of all the changes going on now, and how they can take advantage of them.
What will be different about this year’s conference?
This year we’re going to be running the conference like a late night talk show. It’s going to be a single track, meaning no breakout sessions and nothing to miss. We’ve got conference DJ spinning tunes, a special musical guest, and more surprises. We’re still going to have an amazing lineup of speakers…eleven marketing experts from around the world sharing their best strategies and tactics with the audience.
Where would you like to see the conference go in the future?
Well, we’re already live streaming the conference around the globe, so I’m not sure where else we could ‘go’, but I would like to see more colleges — especially in Maine — send some of their marketing, communications, and advertising students to the conference. Both USM and SMCC are sending some students, and I’d like to get some other colleges and universities involved. That could mean sending more students or live streaming the event into a classroom or auditorium. Our speakers are going to be sharing from the stage is what’s going on right now in marketing and it will give the students a leg up when they graduate.
How do you feel the conference is an asset to Portland and Maine?
Huh. I never really thought of it in those terms. In fact, I’ve more often thought about what an asset Portland and Maine are to the conference. When I speak at marketing conferences like Social Media Marketing World in San Diego, or New Media Expo in Vegas, people are always excited when I mention I’m from Maine.
For many of them it’s this mystical place. Either they’ve always wanted to come here or their parents had a camp here and they haven’t been back in years. In fact, the location is one of the reason I’ve been able to bring in such well respected speakers over the years. For many of them they’ve never been to Maine and have always wanted to come. Agents of Change provides that opportunity.
And for me, I’ve been going to these big conference for years. I know the excitement and empowerment you feel when you’re surrounded by a room full of people who are equally passionate about the same things you are. How you feel like you can go out and take on the world.
I wanted to bring some of that energy back to Maine. I feel that we have an amazing community here full of creative people…any opportunity to bring them all together and make some introductions, make some connections, would be a positive step for the city and the state.
What have you learned from hosting the conference?
That I need help! Putting on a conference like this is a huge undertaking, and I couldn’t do it without my team at flyte. Everyone’s pitched in, from helping with the marketing, to meeting with sponsors, to doing the creative. It’s been a real team effort, but the lynchpin has been my project manager, Lindsay Babayan. So a big thanks to her. GO LINDSAY! – that’s from Rob.
We decided to put this all on ourselves, not hiring an outside event planning company, and it’s been a great learning experience.
If you had to use only three words to describe the conference what would they be?
Only three words? I can’t decide! You can choose. “This Changes Everything?” “Best Conference Ever?” “Search, Social, Mobile?” “Maine’s Marketing Conference?” “Open Bar Networking?”
I want to thank Rich for taking the time to talk with me about AOC. For more information about the conference check out the links below. Hope to see you there!