Exclusive #Zenith2014 Speakers’ Preview & Intel, OMG IT’S HERE!


The third annual Zenith Social Media Marketing Conference is just around the corner, and if this year is anything like last year’s conference, we’re in for a real treat. On Thursday, May 22, prepare to be enlightened! Along with the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce, we’re delighted to bring together some of the online marketing industry’s most respected speakers in an intimate setting.

We couldn’t have asked for a better speaker line-up. This year, attendees will get the opportunity to soak in tips and strategies from the likes of Neal Rodriguez, Managing Director of Shovecom; Joanna Lord, CMO of BigDoor; Don Ness, Duluth Mayor and social media connoisseur; Ric Dragon, CEO of DragonSearch, and so many more.

For those of you who haven’t registered yet, there’s still time! For those who have, we wanted to provide a glimpse into what to expect from a few of this year’s talented speakers.

We asked each speaker to answer a few questions (some serious, some fun!) ranging from industry game changers to tools that every marketer needs to hold in their back pocket. In this two-part blog post, we’ll share some of their answers and advice to help you plan out which sessions in each of the three tracks you’ll want to attend at this year’s conference.

AIMCLEAR: What are you most excited for at this year’s Zenith Social Media Marketing Conference?


Lisa Grimm: The real question is, what am I not excited about? 🙂 Zenith is such a great conference with a diverse range of attendees, session topics and networking with fabulous humans — and all in the great city of Duluth, Minnesota. I’ve attended and spoken since the conference started, and each year I walk away smarter and have made new friends. I’m looking forward to that experience again this year.


Neal Rodriguez: I regularly work with the local business community at home with the New York City Small Business Services department, and I have collaborated with the Queens Chamber of Commerce, so it is always an honor to help small business owners and other community leaders grow their organizations and spread their messages using the web. Once Marty told me the venue would be populated with college students, new marketers, and other great people eager to enter the interactive marketing space, I made it a priority to give these future thought leaders real-life accounts on how to put the web to work for them and the entities they’ll represent. The web has afforded me success far beyond anything I have been able to accomplish with street corners, gutters, bricks and mortar; and I always welcome the opportunity to show people how to be just as successful and achieve much more. If a former vacuum cleaner and CD peddler could make millions for clients ranging from the Nielsen Company, AOL and the Trump Organization, anybody could do it.


Joanna Lord: I love connecting with the surrounding community. I’ve met some amazing marketers and business owners in my previous year, and I’m excited to return to hear how things are going! Such a great energy and marketing passion in Duluth.

AIMCLEAR: What will you be speaking about and what actionable tips can attendees expect to walk away with after your session?

Ric Dragon: I’ll be conducting a content marketing master class along with Josh ric-dragonBraaten. In my own presentation, I’ll be focusing on the idea of making extraordinary content – what I call “deep content.” We’ll be reviewing a few case studies that help show how you can put 100 hours of investment into blogs and articles versus working on a larger piece that has real impact. You can also collaborate with others, or even make use of resources that are already in place.

Attendees will acquire some tools for creating deep content, audience segmentation tactics, tools for determining the ROI of the different investments you can make into content, as well as a starter list of ideas to kick of the imaginative process.


Lisa Buyer: Well, for my Twitter-focused session, I am paired with Lisa Grimm, our third year in a row presenting this topic. In the past 12 months, a lot has changed with Twitter. For one, the company has gone public and the social network has gone through an almost rebirth in the past year. We will be talking about all the new and exciting ways to use Twitter for marketing a brand, getting publicity, delivering news, gaining influence and well… how to really break bad with Twitter. We’ll look at the visual side of Twitter, the scary side of Twitter, the fake side of Twitter and the paid side of Twitter.


Dennis Yu: We’re giving a sneak peek into Facebook lead gen campaigns—to see how content turns into traffic, leads,and conversions. We’re logging into campaigns to show real data, not PowerPoint. Attendees can walk away with our checklist of processes for each type of campaign and funnel stage.

Website custom audiences and email custom audiences are mandatory for the modern Facebook marketer. So is marketing automation for any company that has a sales funnel, email list, or website conversion.  We’ll reveal the process for tying these audiences together to drive conversions.

AIMCLEAR: In your opinion, what is the biggest game changer in the industry as it relates to your area of expertise?


Michelle Stinson Ross: The deeper integration of various digital marketing efforts is huge and will continue to be huge for a long time to come. The lines between content, search, and social marketing continue to blur. Each decision in one sphere affects the spheres of the other two. The big winners in this industry will be the ones that can play well with others and see how ripples propagate throughout the entire digital ecosystem. This is one social maven that will keep her blogger and SEO friends very close 🙂

Kevin Jacobson: Social media. Period. News gathering altogether, in fact. Consumers want kevin-jacobsentheir news now. Not just at 5, 6 and 10. We’re publishing news content more often, to more places with the same amount of resources. We’re finding more and more of our website traffic derives from social networking sites, such as Facebook. In some cases, we’re getting more traffic from Facebook mobile than Google.

grant-tilusGrant Tilus: The idea of paid content promotion is the biggest game changer. We previously relied on organic methods for driving traffic to content but now promoting content (not just sales landing pages) can have an amazing impact on a business’s ability to convert visitors.


And that’s not all, folks…

Students, don’t let the opportunity to gain real-life intel from some of the industry’s top-notch leaders pass you by! Rub elbows with marketing professionals who are here to help YOU.

Want tips on how to make your resume stand apart from your peers? Care to rub elbows with online marketing folks who can offer sound career advice? Then register today!

Stay tuned for part two to see what’s on additional Zenith Social Media Conference speakers’ minds. Hope to see you in Duluth soon!

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