We didn’t go to the moon. We went much further. We went to IEG 2015, IEG’s annual conference in Chicago. Off the windswept, St. Patrick’s addled streets we found ourselves exhibiting Festivee Technology in the warm, hospitable confines of the Sheraton Hotel & Towers.
Spread out over four floors, the conference was equal parts expansive and intimate and as exhibitors on the ballroom floor we had ample opportunities to engage, collide and get inspired by other IEG attendees who included sponsors, rightsholders, agencies and pivotal stakeholders in this space.
As Exhibitors, we showcased our technology assets alongside industry suppliers such as GameFace, TagKast, Power Tower, and Thuzio. It was excellent company and at Festivee we were impressed with IEG’s hospitality and tremendous service at this time.
After David Lassanske, our lead programmer, set up all of our display devices for our turn-key technology on tablets and OTT (we stream festivals and events on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Google Nexus), he downloaded our native App onto my iPhone and I was set to stream festivals in the palm of my hand and go mobile throughout the conference. So into the top notch workshops and presentations and round tables that IEG offers I went.
What do you love?
As Jim Andrews, Senior VP of IEG and the programmer of the conference, pointed out early on, “if we had a drinking game and you had to drink for every time you heard the word “Data” this weekend you’d be pretty wasted…”
And so it was. But by weekend’s end, we weren’t wasted at all because as Kristen Pelachyk Senior Director, Research and Analytics, IEG, pointed out in her premier workshop with Jim, “Data unlocks opportunity.”
And this is when the magic of the conference began to emerge for me as Jim Andrews advised us to go beyond the demographic numbers to the passion points. He looked into the crowd and point blank asked us to find the love: “What do you love?,” Jim asked. And then he suggested that we build our strategies around love. It felt like the plot turning first act twist that spins you into the second act. The love story had appeared.
Speaking of storytelling, in an incredibly engaging presentation Dan Griffis, VP of Experiential Marketing and Alliances at Target, revealed that his brand’s commitment to storytelling includes hiring the best scriptwriters, songwriters and poets they can find to improve their storytelling skills. Dan wants his marketing to be warm (emotional) and cool (on trend) and he’s devoted himself to having Target be a cultural leader. Dan is a cool and warm gentlemen himself and he inspired us to no end. Thanks, Dan.
One can almost feel Jed Pearsall, President of Performance Research, energetically seeking the latest tech and intel to reach his company’s goal of unearthing the truth for sponsors and properties. While focusing on technology, Jed and his business partner Bill Doyle showed us the edgier marketing fields that are now exploding such as wearables and auto-follow drones. Jed sharply noted that we are now in a time where technology allows for the experience and the data to coexist.
As we broke into our Special Interest Group meetings in the morning (our team attended the Events and Festivals group so we could learn how to showcase Festivee, our Festival Technology and Cinevee, our Distribution Platform) we were placed in a think tank where the attendees were empowered to break the ice and begin vital, uplifting conversations.
Some of our members in the Festival group were searching for concrete answers to concrete questions regarding pricing and opportunity. It was inspiring to hear other members offer experience, strength and hope and solutions that included “focus on your assets” and “be proactive”.
Personally, here is where the conference’s theme of “makers not marketers” began to take shape for me. As a group, we began to see that our solutions might be within ourselves rather than “out there in the ether.” And as rightsholders, we need to be proactive in our leadership while creating and offering insightful solutions and comprehensive services. The anxious wrestling of “what can I get?” transformed into the more mindful offering of “how can we give?” in one hour’s time. A shout out to Tracy Watchorn of Thinkflash.AE for providing us with her leadership that morning.
With that message in our hearts and minds, we were ready for more.