What To Do & See at DMA’s 2016 &THEN

Modern Marketing


Beyond its iconic Hollywood sign, the very on-trend, high-end shops of Rodeo Drive, and the allure of its celebrities, Los Angeles is gearing up for an awesome marketing conference—2016 &THEN, the Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) annual event. Described as “a data and marketing event where science and creativity drive increased customer engagement,” it’s no surprise that &THEN will be welcoming the top brands and marketers.

If you’re headed to LA for three days of immersive content, check out this list of can’t-miss sessions and presentations. If you can’t attend, don’t worry, we’ll be doing a recap!

Inspirational Keynotes

Marketing Innovation: The Spark for a New Era of Engagement
Sunday, Oct 16, 2:00 PM – 2:50 PM

General Electric (GE) is a household name, and with Beth Comstock leading its efforts to accelerate new growth as the Vice Chair, there’s no telling what heights it’ll reach next. Beth operates GE Business Innovation, which develops new businesses, markets, and services models and drives brand value and partners to enhance their innovative culture. And she’s the perfect person to present on “Marketing Innovation: The Spark for a New Era of Engagement,” in which she’ll reveal her unique insights and emerging trends.

Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Come Together and Others Don’t
Monday, Oct 17, 8:30AM – 9:20AM

Best-selling author and TED talk speaker Simon Sinek, who’s described as “a visionary thinker with rare intellect,” has devoted his life to sharing his insights on how impactful leaders and companies think, act, and communicate to create environments in which people operate at their natural best. In his session, Simon will explain the importance of building the right conditions to foster trust and cooperation, creating an environment in which people work as they were designed–together.

A Fireside Chat with the CEO, VC Investor, and NBA Legend
Tuesday, Oct 18, 3:30 PM – 4:20 PM

No matter what basketball team you’re loyal to, we can all appreciate the talent of Kobe Bryant, a five-time NBA Champion, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, NBA MVP, two-time NBA Finals MVP, and a 15-time All-NBA player. Outside of his impressive basketball credentials, what you may not know is that Kobe is fresh off the launch of his new venture capital firm, Bryant Stibel, which he founded with his longtime business partner Jeff Stibel, an entrepreneur and the Vice Chairman of Dun & Bradstreet. Kobe will be closing off the Inspiration Sessions by describing his vision for the technology, data, and marketing (TDM) start-up scene—topics that touch almost all marketers today.

Marketing Presentations

There are over 120 educational sessions that will dive into the latest in content and creation, data and analytics, customer engagement, strategy, branding, and marketing technology (and more)—all delivered by experts in the field. This year’s sessions are led by executives from top companies like Hershey’s, Dell, Philips, Farmers Insurance, Expedia, Twitter, Harvard Business School, and Discovery Channel.

Here are some presentations that I’m personally looking forward to:

Adopt and Adapt: Trends in Global Digital Marketing
Sunday, Oct 16, 10:50 AM – 11:34 AM
Room 407

While global brands exemplify the “go big or go home” expression, getting there isn’t always easy. Marketing is becoming increasingly complex as buyers across countries and regions consume information across different, seemingly disconnected channels. Jennifer Stearns, an executive in Accenture Digital’s practice group, will share how brands are addressing and transforming their marketing across the global landscape. Leveraging digital marketing and personalization across multiple channels is key.

How Science Is Getting Personal: How to Marry Content-Driven Relationships with Data Intelligence
Monday, Oct 17, 10:00 AM – 10:45 AM
Room 502A

It’s no longer about art or science, but art and science. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) are playing an important role in marketing today, providing valuable, predictive insights across platforms. Rising with them to the top is content marketing, which is one of the most effective ways to engage information-hungry buyers. The two worlds have collided to form personalized, relevant, and branded stories across channels. Join executives from Content Marketing Institute, Razorfish, Viking Cruises, OneSpot, Twitter, and Anheuser-Busch as they discuss what type of data brands should focus on to serve the storytelling process, how brands can leverage predictive analytics and machine learning to build long-term, content-driven relationships with their buyers, and what a tech stack that incorporates content marketing and machine learning technologies looks like.

Create a Personalized Customer Experience on Mobile
Monday, Oct 17, 1:30 PM – 2:15 PM
Room 515A

Are you reaching your audience on the right channels? According to eMarketer, 62% of US adults report checking their phone 30 times a day and, on average, we spend three hours a day consuming content on our mobile devices. Melissa Yang, Head of Americas Data Partnerships, Global Marketing Solutions, at Facebook, will explain how the shift to mobile has created an unprecedented opportunity for marketers to reach their audiences, and a huge chunk of that potential lies in Facebook, with 1.03 billion mobile daily active users on average. With Facebook’s unique targeting solutions, specifically Custom Audiences, you can deliver relevant messages to segmented audiences based on an imported contact list or remarket to people based on the actions taken on your website or mobile app.

While there’s no denying that mobile is a growing channel, it’s not the only channel your buyers are on. Brian Glover, Principal Product Manager at Marketo, brings it full circle by explaining how a sophisticated marketing automation platform can personalize your communications as your buyers jump from channel to channel to deliver consistent experiences throughout their buyer’s journey. He’ll explain how Marketo’s Ad Bridge gives you a targeted and personalized approach and opens up your ad channel to the entire customer journey. Together, Facebook and Marketo are empowering leading organizations like Apttus to build their contact database, reach them on mobile and other channels, and measure their results. Interested in learning more from Brian? He’ll be presenting again on Tuesday about “Engaging Customers from Acquisition to Advocacy.”

And don’t forget there are activities beyond the conference center—an opening night party at the JW Marriott pool, and a concert from Sugar Ray and Third Eye Blind (throwback!) Suffice to say, I’m excited to get to learn about the latest in MarTech, mingle with marketing experts from around the world, bring back new ideas, and share my inspiration with the team (and you). Are you heading to 2016 &THEN? If you’re not going, is there a session you wish you could see? Let me know in the comments below.