Posts Tagged ‘imc conference’

Integrated Experiences

June 15, 2017

Kelsey-Berg

After a long anticipated wait, the day had finally arrived. I was headed down to the small town of Huntington, WV to attend INTEGRATE West Virginia. As I drove into town, I got butterflies and was so excited to attend my first INTEGRATE conference. You hear from everyone who has ever gone that the conference is outstanding, but you don’t quite believe it until you’ve experienced it. Now, I am one of those people saying just how outstanding the conference was.

From my first step into the door, the team welcomed me and introduced themselves. Finally being able to put names to faces was a relief and comforting in a way. It was special to know I had been working with some of these individuals for over two years and I finally was presented with the opportunity to get to know them on a more personal level rather than through our digital exchanges.

From that moment on, I was hooked. Networking opportunities left and right surrounded by captivating breakout sessions just made the whole experience memorable.

With each and every session I was in, I was able to walk away with a minimum of at least three ideas or concepts that could help me in my professional life today. Whether it was a trick with content or an idea with creative, each piece built up a pretty impressive puzzle by the end of the weekend.

The speakers proved to be some of the best in the industry. With the numerous awards to their names and countless nationally recognized campaigns, I was engulfed with every story and piece of information they told. Not only were they great to listen to, they all had wonderful senses of humor making the hour sessions fly by!

To me, however, the most rewarding aspect of the conference – networking. As you walk in, you instantly look around to put some names to some faces. You recognize a few professors and maybe a student or two you have had class with but once things get moving, you become the fastest friends with so many of these classmates and alumni. Getting to know more about conference attendees’ careers and how they are intertwined in the marketing communications web is so interesting and you truly learn so much. In addition to that, you make lifelong friends both personally and professionally.

If you haven’t been to INTEGRATE yet, I would highly suggest it. One of the best conferences I have literally ever been too given the quality of content and the opportunities to build your skill set and relationships with other marketing communications professionals.


Kelsey Berg is a current student in the WVU IMC Program. She is the marketing content coordinator for FootJoy. 

Why You Should Attend the INTEGRATE Conference

June 13, 2017

Bailee-Miller.jpg

After attending the recent 2017 INTEGRATE West Virginia Conference in Huntington, West Virginia, I started thinking about the many benefits of attending industry conferences, specifically those in marketing and communications. If you think about it, you get to visit a new town (if it’s held outside of your area), meet industry leaders, receive great content and network with a bunch of other folks in your field.

Presented by West Virginia University’s Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) graduate program, the INTEGRATE West Virginia Conference was designed to offer strategic communicators and marketing professionals access to the latest IMC techniques and strategies. Through the presentations and chats led by inspiring industry leaders, INTEGRATE is designed to be a “learn it today, apply it tomorrow” type of conference.

An additional bonus for those of us currently enrolled in the IMC graduate program was the opportunity to meet some of the program’s professors at the conference. Since the IMC program is all online, meeting some of the professors in person really helped further personalize the program experience for me.

In addition to the bonuses I mentioned above, here are some of the reasons I encourage everyone in the marketing industry to consider attending the INTEGRATE conference.

Networking opportunities. Whether you’re new to the professional realm or a seasoned veteran, networking is very important to continued growth in your field. The world of marketing communications is an ever-changing one, so conferences like INTEGRATE are a perfect place for marketing minds to come together and learn from one another. Making and maintaining these connections is now easier than ever with the INTEGRATE conference’s use of the event management mobile app, Bizzabo, which has a built-in LinkedIn feature to allow the possibility of connection of all the registered attendees of the conference. So even if you didn’t get that business card from someone you met at INTEGRATE, you can go back into the app and find their LinkedIn profile.

Opportunity to see old friends, colleagues and classmates. I won’t pretend I’m not biased for saying this, but I do truly believe that the WVU Reed College of Media, formerly P.I. Reed School of Journalism, is one of the best schools for connecting its students, graduates and professionals in the industry. The INTEGRATE conference attracts people much like the ones I had the privilege of meeting or studying with the few short years ago during my undergraduate experience. Case in point: running into my former classmate and soon-to-be Data Marketing Communications graduate program grad, Alex McPherson. Getting to catch up with a fellow alum was just part of the awesome experience I had at INTEGRATE. So, definitely check it out. You might run into some of your old classmates there!

Great content and recommendations. During the first day, Amanda Todorovich, director of content marketing at the Cleveland Clinic, gave a great presentation titled “How to Build a Killer Content Marketing Strategy” that covered anything and everything from metrics and how to use them effectively, to the importance of knowing exactly who your audience is. She talked about how content creation should be pleasurable, like eating ice cream. She went on to say that it shouldn’t be a chore, like sweeping your floor, but rather like the act of preparing (toppings, toppings, toppings!) and eating ice cream. She credited this clever analogy to the podcast “Unthinkable: Exploring How to Use Intuition to do Better Work” and recommended we all go listen to a few episodes. Host Jay Acunzo shares his weekly narrative of how to break from the conventional way of thinking and start trusting your intuition. He interviews bloggers, small business owners, and many other creatives who are really successful at thinking outside of the box. I’ve already listened to three episodes, so major shout out to Amanda for helping make my morning commute more productive!

Motivation and inspiration. I walked out of the INTEGRATE conference with a notebook full of bold and underlined words and phrases that are still pinging around in my head a week later. Here are a few of the insights I picked up from the amazing industry leaders.

  • Define a strategy and stick to it. Cleveland Clinic’s Amanda Todorovich spoke to this during her presentation about building a strong content marketing strategy. She went on to talk about how sticking to a strategy makes it easier to see what not to post, share and spend wasted time on. The simple act of creating a strategy isn’t nearly as important as sticking to it.
  • Ask “What’s next?” In her presentation about the reinvention of the digital video model, Teads.tv’s Head of Client Solutions Jen Sangrid spoke specifically to the constantly changing way we view videos and how important it is to always be looking forward. She talked about the importance of understanding what people want and how they want to view it. By paying attention to certain viewing metrics, marketers should always be asking, “What’s next?”
  • Don’t just be a marketing person; be a marketing and data person. While not a direct quote, I really liked Coca-Cola Freestyle Global Marketing Director and West Virginia native Scott Cuppari’s point about the importance of understanding your company or organization’s metrics. Make the effort to fully understand what the metrics can mean to your day-to-day and let them help you forecast your next marketing move.
  • To be a leader, you must be real and vulnerable. Verizon Senior Executive Communications Manager Lauren Tilstra spoke about the importance of delivering an authentic message. Today’s audience is looking for the genuine truth. They have instant access to the personal lives of executives, CEOs, celebrities and pretty much anyone willing to share their life on social media. This access means that what the company or organization does and how it’s senior leadership and members portray themselves on social media should jive. If they don’t marry up, audiences will immediately pick up on that. Tilstra emphasized the importance of owning up to mistakes. This shows vulnerability and realness and can really help the perception of the audience.

I highly encourage anyone in the marketing communications industry to consider attending the next INTEGRATE conference to be held in Houston, Texas on October 19-21. I can guarantee this conference will provide invaluable experience and content to help you continue to grow in your career.


Bailee Miller is a current student in the WVU IMC program, and she earned her bachelor’s degree from the WVU Reed College of Media.