Marketing Refresh Attends a Houston Marketing Conference: IS17

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Digital marketing is constantly changing, and it is important to stay ahead of the curve.

To maintain our standing as a successful digital marketing company, our team attends and speaks at various industry-related conferences throughout the year to network and absorb knowledge from industry experts.

Our newest team member, Katy Katz, was the M.C. of the Houston Interactive Marketing Association (H/IMA) Interactive Strategies Conference, ‘Not A Robot,’ and our Director of Search Marketing and Account Manager were also in attendance. We would love to tell you more about this amazing Houston marketing conference and we encourage you to definitely check it out next year!

The Conference

H/IMA is a local marketing association that strives to motivate Houston marketers to grow, learn and stay on top of relevant trends. Annually, they host the Interactive Strategies Conference, where they bring in a full lineup of inspiring keynote speakers along with presenters from several Houston-based businesses.

The conference was held at the Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston and covered a wide range of topics including search engine optimization (SEO), video marketing, chatbots, influencer marketing, content marketing and many others!

The Industry Experts

Each speaker at this year’s Interactive Strategies Conference brought something unique to the table. The lineup of speakers ranged from company founder to marketing experts, and even a social scientist. Here are just a few of our favorite speakers from the event along with some of the knowledge bombs that they dropped on us.

Our Favorites

Allie Danziger

Allie Danziger, the President/Founder of Integrate Agency, discussed how marketing professionals can build lasting relationships with online influencers. Here are a few of the strong points that Allie made about influencer marketing

  • With influencer marketing, you need to find your brand’s “soulmate”. Be very careful when selecting influencers to work with. It is important that their posts and audience match with your brand.
  • When working with an online influencer, it is always a good practice to have a set contract of expectations for both parties.
  • Maintain relationships with your influencers after the partnership has ended. You never know when you might want to work with them again!


Ronell Smith, Content Editor for Moz, talked about how having more targeted content can have a greater impact. Ronell shared new data from a recent Moz study along with their insights on how to refresh a content marketing strategy for more views:

  • Most blog traffic will drop off a cliff a few days after posting it. Resharing your content over a more extended period of time will expand your reach.
  • When starting a blog, create targeted content for your audience from the start. Don’t just create content to have content.
  • TEST! Put your foot in the water first with content marketing. It is better to test things thoroughly before just jumping in.



Kristi Jackson, the Founder of WKristi Jacksonomen CEO Project, spoke about the opportunities for video marketing. Here are a few of the strong points that she made about utilizing video marketing to the fullest:

  • Your brand story can be told in one minute. A video is much stronger than text.
  • As a brand, consider showing your audience what your everyday obstacles are. People want to know what is happening behind the scenes. It makes it more personal!
  • A brand should not only use professionally made videos. If everything is perfect all the time, your viewers won’t think that you are real. Add personal videos to the mix, even if they are taken with an iPhone.


Joe Youngblood, the Founder of Winner Winner Chicken Dinner, shared some theoretical and really thought-provoking ideas on how to be successful in the age of automation. Joe made a lot of interesting points and references! Here are some of our favorites:

  • There are two universal truths: you will die and everything will change.
  • We are in an era of walled gardens. Once you enter, you cannot leave.
  • Build your “Batman”. Define what your Batman looks like and define what components you need to create it, even if they are simply fictional at the moment. (Batman = a business that effectively harnesses the power of technology)


Michelle Stinson Ross, the VP of Marketing and Sales at the Gruen Agency, talked about human-cyborg relations. Michelle entertained us with her Star Wars references and here are our favorites insights from her fun topic:

  • There is no one clear path to purchase.
  • SEO isn’t the silver bullet it once was.
  • Control is an illusion. What we do have is a significant influence.



Sean DolanSean Dolan, the President and COO of PushFire, spoke about the power of story. Here are a few of our favorite points that he made about using stories to connect with your audience:

  • If your audience feels, they care. If they care, they act (and that translates into more revenue for your business).
  • Stories are one of the best ways to hit your audience in the feels.
  • Story is how you market to humans.

P.S. Sean’s presentation made at least half of the audience cry. He really hit us in the feels!


Keith Goode, the SEO Manager for IBM, spoke about how SEO has evolved. He made a lot of interesting points that we wanted to share:

  • AI is still in the clumsy toddler stage. Bots cannot connect emotionally with humans.
  • Marketers should focus on topics, not keywords.
  • Content isn’t King. The User is King. Content is more of a royal advisor.

Keith was also the comedian of the conference. We thoroughly enjoyed his jokes! Thank you for making your speech fun AND informative, Keith!


Ashley Ward, the Corporate Speaker for SEMRush, shared insight on the best digital marketing practices, including:

  • Find ways to make your content seasonal and fun.
  • If you can, play on FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out), when you write copy for Facebook Ads. No one will want to miss out on your deal, product, etc.
  • View your demographic as a community. Connect with that community. Speak in the way that they speak. Know the ins and outs of the demographics before trying to create ads for them.

Key Takeaways

Our team had a blast at this one-of-a-kind Houston marketing conference, and we left feeling inspired! We learned something new from every professional that spoke and made several connections through networking at the event. We are going to take the knowledge that we absorbed from all of the amazing speakers and apply these new insights to our work to ensure that our clients are marketed in the best way possible. If you would like to work with a digital marketing agency that is strongly dedicated to staying ahead of the curve, contact us today!

*Image Credit: Sean Dolan, Founder, and COO, PushFire

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