From influencers to email marketing, artificial intelligence and beyond, the landscape of digital marketing is always evolving, making it critical for industry professionals to stay on top of trends and practices to zero in on the most effective ways to draw consumers.
The annual Midwest Digital Marketing Conference at the University of Missouri–St. Louis will offer expert insights and industry knowledge. Produced by the College of Business Administration, the conference will be held in person April 17-18 at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center on UMSL’s North Campus.
The two-day conference, focusing on digital, social media, and marketing data and analytics, boasts 54 speakers, 20 sessions and eight preconference sessions that can be accessed with a VIP ticket. Featured speakers come from industry-leading companies and organizations such as Anheuser-Busch, Bayer, Coegi and the National Institute for Social Media.
Chris Phillips, a filmmaker, strategist, brand specialist and owner of Maverick Media Group, will deliver the keynote address and will discuss how to authentically reach African American audiences using storytelling.
Perry Drake, co-chair and associate teaching professor of marketing at UMSL, established the conference in 2013.
“After a successful in-person conference last September, where we had speakers from companies like Tik Tok and Metaverse, we are continuing the comeback from not being able to have the conference in 2020 due to Covid,” he said. “We’re expecting about 500 attendees, who I’m certain will have great educational experiences and networking opportunities. There’s so much to get out of the conference, and we’re really looking forward to welcoming the participants as they share information and resources.”
The inaugural conference was a half day and intended for Drake’s students with a goal of helping them learn from industry professionals who they connected with via Google Hangouts.
By 2017, it had grown to attract professionals from St. Louis and beyond working in digital marketing, and only about 10% of the audience was students. It has continued to grow into the largest digital marketing conference in the Midwest. Before the pandemic interruption, the conference set attendance records by drawing nearly 2,000 marketers and friends and more than 130 with speakers from companies including BuzzFeed, Pandora, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Refinery29, Google and Yahoo.
Today, the mission is to engage, inform, expand conversation and facilitate opportunities in digital and social media marketing and communications with top-tier marketing practitioners and academics. There will be plenty to offer not only industry pros but also those looking to enter the field or further develop their careers.