Colorado Ad Day: Recap

Owner/Creative Director
Molly’s extensive background in marketing, print and design allows her to bring an interesting, creative perspective to her writing. She loves sharing her knowledge on topics such as business, design trends, and marketing tactics.

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Without knowing too much of what to expect in our first year attending, Colorado Ad Day delivered.

If you didn’t get a chance to read our preview post, Colorado Ad Day is a full-day event (put on by the Colorado Ad Club) surrounding many topics in marketing with a diverse array of speakers and sessions to leave you feeling inspired.

It was held at the SEEC Building on the CU Campus in Boulder, CO—a prime location for an event requiring many breakout sessions. It was conducive to vendors, which lined the hallway as you traveled from session to session and the keynote room was large enough to fit everyone.

We arrived fairly early, got checked in, and began to familiarize ourselves with the companies that attended. Talent acquisition companies such as Creative Circle, Vitamin T, and The Creative Group were eager to help companies place high rising talent within their networks. Printing vendors such as Vision Graphics were also there, while the rest of the vendors covered the gamut of startups and small-to-large tech companies ready to give their best pitch.

Transformative Storytelling

Jeremy Duhon, Founder and Curator, TEDxMileHigh. Source: TED.com

At 9:30am sharp, the day started out with a keynote session given by Denver’s own, Jeremy Duhon, Curator & Founder of TEDxMileHigh. The session was about “Transformative Storytelling”, a hot topic within business today. He discussed how storytelling has allowed him to have a healthy, present outlook on life and that the power of what we tell ourselves everyday affects how we see the world, our work, our friendships, our families—all of it. It was a great way to start the day and to help those attending get into the right frame of mind to absorb all they could throughout the day.

He also shared the method in which he approaches his own storytelling in his life. He called it the “CUBE” method:

C: CLEAR – The story needs to have a clear message.
U: UNIVERSAL – The story needs to resonate with your listeners.
B: BOLD – The story needs to be bold and filled with vunerability and courage.
E: ENGAGING – The story needs to be interesting and engaging. Take your listener for a ride.

One of the most powerful messages I think he shared was: “Solitude is crucial to creativity.” That statement was extremely validating for Jackie and I who require time together to brainstorm on the larger ideas, but like to reflect and sit in silence to fully tap into our full creative side when working on individual projects. I loved that message.

Now, although there were many different sessions, I can only speak to the ones that Jackie and I chose to attend. If you’d like to see a full schedule of the sessions, go here.

The Future of Advertising Agencies

The next session we attended was a panel of impressive marketers discussing the challenges agencies face today and where they see the industry going in the future. They discussed important topics such as what value agencies bring to clients and how most companies are looking for agencies to bring fresh, new ideas to their marketing. Specifically, here are a few takeaways from that session that we thought useful:
 
Agencies should be bringing the “WHY” back to marketing.
If there is no why, then there is no purpose to the message, yours or your clients.
 
Agencies should have a deeper understanding of their client’s verticals.
Becoming an expert in your client’s industry is only going to provide your agency more value to the client. Become a partner with your client versus a vendor.
 
Agencies should be keeping in front of the curve as much as possible by adding more skills to their repertoire.
Technology and marketing is moving fast. Agencies should try to keep up with the pace by adding more skills to their services list.

With that said, agencies should stick to what they’re good at.
Know what your company (and team) excel at and stick to that as much as possible. It doesn’t make sense to wear all hats if your company can’t back up the work.

Agencies should focus on providing a healthy work-life balance for their employees to help keep them happy.
Most employees leave companies because of leadership, fogginess around their role, or because of terrible work environments. Agencies should retain talent by being in tune with what their employees need. Focus on providing a healthy work culture and environment in order to retain top talent. Reward their wins and celebrate them.

The Corner Office Ain’t Always Comfy

This was one of my favorite breakout sessions. This session was also a panel and was centered around what it’s like to be an owner of a company, agency or otherwise.

The panelists focused on topics such as when they thought it was time to make the leap into ownership, making hard business decisions, being responsible for your team, etc. and all the feelings that come with each of those situations.

If anything, this session was the most validating for Jackie and I. It was full of honesty, humor, and true feelings. When you’re starting out, it’s always comforting to know people have gone through the same thing—and have made it despite all of the tough (or easy) decisions.

Brand Building on Social Platforms

This session was standing room only at Colorado Ad Day and probably the most hard hitting session of the day. Narrated by Pam Scheideler, Chief Digital Officer at Deutsch, she discussed building brand empowerment NOT brand persuasion. Customers aren’t looking to be sold to, they’re looking to be empowered. They’re completely exhausted and worn out with product promotion and there is a need to shift the way you market to them by giving them back space and time.

An example she used to explain this idea was TacoBot. Deutsch partnered with TacoBell and Slack to allow customers to order their full TacoBell orders using the full benefits of AI. Customers could be themselves and order in real-time without the hassle of using an app. It was a true trial of the ownership customers crave when making purchases.

One thing that she shared that was a bit surprising to me was the concept of smartphone growth. The group that is most aggressively adopting smartphone growth is actually U.S. adults, ages 45-80, pictured below.

Pam Schneideler also referenced the “Hulu Has Live Sports” Ad campaigns, which was a brilliant way to personalize sport celebrities for its customers. The called them “Hulu Sellouts” and a great example of why this ad campaign was so powerful can be viewed below.

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Conclusion

Overall, Colorado Ad day was extremely informative and worth every penny. If you have a chance to go, please do. There’s something for every marketer and the networking aspect alone is worthwhile. The Colorado Ad Club did an amazing job organizing and running the event and provided effective and relevant sessions for attendees. I can confidently say that Jackie and I will be attending this event again.

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