A unique opportunity to learn and share: this year’s Ignite ’17 conference

 Chris Behrens, President and CEO

We’ve been planning it for so many months that it almost seemed unreal that the big day had finally – finally! – arrived. But sitting in the 3M Auditorium on the campus of the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, I looked around at all the expectant faces in the crowd and felt truly gratified that it had all come together in such an impressive way.

Our ambition in sponsoring this conference had been simple: gather some of business and academia’s brightest minds, ask them to speak on some of the most important marketing challenges of our day, and make sure that the content was meaningful, relevant and actionable in the near-term.

Wow, did we ever succeed! Our post-conference survey gave us a 89 percent Net Promoter Score (NPS) for satisfaction and a 91 percent NPS on “likely to recommend.”


Business-to-scholar connections
How did we do it? Each session paired a business scholar with a Fortune 500 business practitioner, which allowed attendees to see both sides of hot issues like using new tools to shape the customer experience, using the right metrics and analytics, howYA’s Chris Berhens speaking at Ignite ’17 marketers can participate in the conversation and the value and practice of integrated marketing.

One of the things that impressed me most was how much information everyone was willing to share. Our scholars and business representatives took deep dives into research and promotional results. The level of detail gave all of us the opportunity to reflect deeply on real-world challenges and come away with usable solutions to help our businesses scale and grow.

Hearing about research projects from scholars at the University of Minnesota, the Wharton School and NYU’s Stern School of Business was a rare treat for those of us who are “in the trenches” of marketing every day. And our business speakers – from Comcast, U.S. Bank, General Mills and ESPN – gave us all an important grounding in how those impressive theories could play out in actual case studies.

Looking forward to next year
YA has made a three-year sponsorship commitment to the Institute for Research in Marketing for this conference, and we’re already looking ahead to possible topics and speakers for next year. We’ve gotten great responses from our follow-up survey that tell us we’re on the right track. If you have a suggestion, I’d love to hear it.

If you’d like to learn more about how YA can use our considerable marketing and tech savvy to turn even first-time customers into loyal brand advocates who take action, buy more and spread the word, please contact me to begin the conversation.

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