By: Gabrielle Sealey and Daniel Klevorn
On April 12-13, 2017, UMSL hosted the Midwest Digital Marketing Conference (MDMC17), for the 5th year in a row. From Under Armor to Pinterest, speakers from companies all over the US gave their insights on the digital and social media marketing world as they see it. The conference was open for both professionals working in this sphere, as well as students making their first steps in marketing.
Day 1 was full of activities from the Networking and Professional Development Fair, where attendees could talk face to face with some of the companies that were presenting later that day, to various sessions and MDMC Opening Keynotes. As the evening approached, Momentum Worldwide held an opening night party, where attendees were invited to come to chat with each other and try out new widgets in a relaxing environment. Day 2 offered 52 concurrent sessions for the public to choose. UMSL Business had the opportunity to speak with some of the students who were able to attend this year’s MDMC, and get their impressions.
Learn about the real-world marketing beyond the textbook
Even though students might think that they can feel overwhelmed, especially with all of the tables and important presenters walking around, University of Dallas student Christian Bender felt otherwise. As a marketing major, Christian felt the conference would be beneficial to attend in order to understand the type of thinking beyond textbooks. After hearing about the conference through another student, Christian decided to take a road trip for the week to attend MDMC17.
Find a speaker or topic to resonate with
Before leaving Dallas, Christian picked which presentations to attend and then concluded that was mostly impressed by the speaker Finola Austin from Refinery 29. Christian states, “I wasn’t aware that Refinery 29 markets so much towards women, but I love the way they subtlety do so. They market by showing the empowerment of women, and that made me become more aware of the pressures on womanhood. It also made me understand that I don’t have to take on these pressures.” Being a St. Louis native and attending college out of state, Christian overall loved the fact that there was such a conference as MDMC located in St. Louis for students to attend on the same level as professionals.
Get hands-on experience
Running from table to table gathering information from speakers, UMSL student Curtis Hoffman had the chance to view the conference from a different angle. As part of the UMSL Business Podcasting Team, Curtis didn’t have very much time to listen to the presentations he wanted to. Yet he was able to interview presenters, and still made the best of his time there.
Take a chance to talk to a potential employer
From the very beginning of the conference Curtis realized that it was “a really cool event” that opened his opportunities to network with some amazing companies! Curtis says, “My overall thought was that this was an amazing experience. I had so much fun talking to a lot of great people, and being able to get my name out to some of these companies. I definitely recommend students to go to this event because it could be your in to some very high end companies.”
Get new ideas for your own business
The MDMC attendees also included business owners like Lareina Hembrock. She graduated from UMSL in December 2016 and just started Self Care for Life LLC. After hearing about the conference when taking classes with UMSL professor and MDMC founder Perry Drake, Lareina was excited to see what it was all about. When asked about what she learned at the conference, Lareina said, “As a new business owner I learned refreshing new ways to help consumers discover my brand and how to interact with them”. The personal brand is becoming an important part of an individual and also the brands they work for and create.
Network with speakers and participants
Lareina continued, “The conference really jumpstarted many ideas I had for my business and everyone at the MDMC was very friendly, professional, and open to networking for a great learning experience”. The information Lareina got from this conference will help her and many others see what has been working for companies around the world. Business owners can incorporate these ideas in their businesses to take them to the next level.
Use the information for your professional and personal development
Among MDMC17 attendees were also students from different universities in the region like Katie Lorenz, a student from Lindenwood. She heard about the conference in one of her marketing classes and knew it would be a great opportunity for her professional growth and personal development. She explained in an interview that “MDMC17 was full of networking opportunities and great learning experiences from top level brands and professionals.” MDMC17 was her first conference but she said that she wouldn’t miss any other MDMC.
As the food trucks drove away and the microphones were turned off, MDCM17 concluded on its 5th year. After being moved from UMSL campus to Union Station, the conference has become a great place for over 1,400 people to meet and network. The momentum keeps growing year after year. Can’t wait to see you all at MDMC18!