Highlights from Widen’s Spring Event Season

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Live events and in-person experiences ignite your spirit in a way that you just can’t get through online meetings and webinars. Widen teams participated in more live marketing and technology events this past spring than ever before...and we LOVED it! Besides the opportunity to learn, support, sponsor, teach, and grow professionally, it was our pleasure meeting with many of our awesome customers across the country. What a delight!

Widen team members - from product to marketing to development - participated in many conferences this spring and we're still looking forward to more to come this year. Here is a snapshot of our experiences at each event!  

March 31-April 1: San Francisco, CA
MARTECH Conference | #MarTech

In our continual quest to immerse ourselves into the world of marketing technology, we attended the MARTECH Conference to connect with industry thought leaders, contribute in the conversations, and learn how we can continue to help our customers tell their stories through the use of our products. 

Widen CEO, Matthew Gonnering, attended MARTECH to represent Widen’s position within the space, meet up for a great customer appreciation dinner, and bring back some ideas to share with the rest of Widen team. A few highlights from the conference were: 

  • Companies rely on the use of technology in their marketing strategy, making the demand of marketing technology expertise high and increasing. At Widen, we are the experts. 
  • Data is the key driver for decisions. We need to help our customers understand and track analytics to help them make informed decisions. 
  • Marketing and technology intersect daily and the lines are blurring as the industries move constantly. Agile is the only way. 

Tweets we liked:


April 29-May 1: Nashville, TN
Marketing United by Emma | #MarketingUnited

When it comes to email strategy, it’s not just about getting clicks, but about getting someone to take action with the email content you are delivering to them. What color text should you use? What words incite action, anxiety, interest, fear or joy? What images tell the story?

As email continues to play a key role in our marketing strategy, attending Marketing United’s inaugural live conference was a must, as our Smartimage brand uses their products to tell their brand story. Nate, the Smartimage marketing army of one, attended the conference and brought many great ideas to take action on. Some of them were:

  • Face-to-face connections can be much stronger than those formed online. Data shows experiences are more powerful than things.
  • UX is a partnership between all - marketing, sales, product development, QA, design - to tell a complete story. UX extends beyond the screen - it’s the full brand experience. 
  • Keeping email marketing fresh and engaging is prioritized. Nate came back with great ideas for tweaking the existing email strategy for Smartimage and added a few new ideas for upcoming email campaigns. 

Tweets we liked: 

May 4-8: Chicago, IL
HOW Design Live | #HOWLive

HOW offered a great line-up of sessions from some of the biggest names in the marketing/creative industry, spanning topics from UX, content strategy, analytics and design to tell your story. While DAM isn’t only for creative marketers, we continue to make it a priority to connect with the creative audience by helping them see how DAM can utterly change their daily workflow, save time, save on oodles of money and sanity.

We also attended HOW to learn the latest industry trends from creative pros, lead a breakout session and to connect with our customers in the Chicago area. We sent a group of Widen staff from the marketing, product, advisor, and Smartimage teams to cover the booth, answer questions, meet up with customers/potential customers, stamp attendee passports, attend sessions, and host a customer appreciation dinner. Jake Athey from the Widen marketing team and Widen customer, Kate Bennewitz from Life Fitness lead breakout session titled “Making Time for the DAM Good Stuff.” The session was a great success as Kate was able to tell her story of how Life Fitness was able to reconstruct their marketing teams by utilizing DAM, automating their process and ultimately, saving a lot of time. Our team had a great experience in Chicago and came back with a few takeaways for all of us:

  • Agile in the marketing world is the future.
  • Utilize your creatives to tell an effective brand story. 
  • Creatives are artists and marketers. 
  • Face-to-face time with customers is totally awesome. Along with the customer appreciation dinner, the group had many individual meetings set up with customers while at HOW and were able to connect 1-on-1, answer questions, and get to know them on a personal level. Widen customers truly are the best!

Tweets we liked:

May 4-6: Madison, WI
Brandworks University | #BrandWorksU

Lindsey, Stone and Briggs, one of our marketing partners in our hometown of Madison, WI, has been hosting Brandworks University for over 25 years. After Nina and Melanie from the Widen Marketing team attended, it was easy to note the reason the TED talk-format conference is such a success. Listening to world-class speakers from many big brands tell their story about how they disrupted their industry with innovative strategy, off the wall concepts, and other out-of-the-box thinking was beyond inspiring. We acquired adequate ideas to share with the team. A few of them were:

  • You must accept the idea of “yes and” instead of “yes but.” All your ideas aren’t perfect to start, but over time you can turn some of them into something great. Don’t give up!
  • The smartest companies disrupt themselves before others can disrupt them.
  • 88% of legacy Fortune 500 companies are gone. You must stay relevant to survive.

Tweets we liked: 

May 7-8: New York, NY
Henry Stewart New York | #DAMNY

As a DAM provider, we wouldn’t miss the opportunity to support Henry Stewart New York by sponsoring the conference and presenting in a technology session. We attended Henry Stewart New York to connect with the DAM industry as a whole, participate in the industry conversations, and meet up with a great group of NYC-based customers for dinner.

Craig Bollig from the Widen Advisor team presented a Tech Lab titled “How DAM is Mission Critical to Connecting Marketing Content.” It was a success! Josey from the Widen Product team also attended and spent her time in NYC connecting with Widen customers, obtaining valuable product feedback, and getting some quality face time. Josey and Craig learned a lot while in NYC and shared a few things with the team when they got back.

  • DAM directly contributes to the bottom line. Period!
  • Providing good UX in DAM is essential for long-term success as a provider.
  • DAM is essential in positioning visual content to tell a story. 
  • Widen customer Barbara Alexander with Coty presented “DAM as Change Management in the Beauty Industry.” Great job, Barbara. We loved it!!

Tweets we liked:

May 18-21: Las Vegas, NV
Workfront Leap 2015 #2015Leap

Workfront Leap is the user’s conference for Workfront (formerly AtTask), so we decided it would be a valuable experience to attend the conference, see the new Workfront offerings, and get some good ideas to bring back to the office. Nina from the Widen Marketing team attended and came back with many great ideas to share. Some were:

  • Well-executed, deep-dive workshops are beneficial when training customers on your product and showcasing new features. 
  • Storytelling is essential to your marketing operation and also a great way to showcase your product roadmap.  

Tweets we liked:

May 20-22: Minneapolis, MN
Confab Central | #ConfabMN

Confab Central is a content strategy conference that sells out every year, and after attending for the first time this year, the reason behind the success was evident. It was great! Jake and Melanie from the Widen Marketing team and Sam from our Consulting team attended. They learned new nuggets of information and pearls of wisdom to apply right away to our own content marketing strategy, as well as to support Sam, who led a breakout session titled “How to maximize your content strategy with DAM” with Widen customer, Corey Chimko from Cornell University.

After two days of top-notch keynotes and breakout sessions, and a great customer appreciation dinner and networking, we came home with some solid ideas and new friendships.

  • Storytelling is at the heart of all marketing strategy. 
  • While managing projects and campaigns, define success before you start the overall plan. So often we don’t know what success looks like right away!
  • If we don’t create the thing that kills us, someone else will. Move fast and break things. 
  • There is no such thing as a universal content strategy methodology. It is essential to recognize that everyone needs to shift and be agile.

Tweets we liked:

May 26: Madison, WI 
American Family DreamBank

The American Family DreamBank is located in a unique space on the Capitol Square in Madison, WI. Along with an ever-changing interactive exhibit upfront, they have seating areas for local Madisonians looking for a new or different space to quietly work, meet someone for coffee, or attend one of their many educational offerings, which span topics from cooking to learning how to perform family activities, as well as small business topics put across by professional speakers in the community.

Jake Athey, Director of the Widen Marketing team, presented “Evergreen Marketing: The Art of Recycling, Reusing and Repurposing Your Visual Content” as part of the DreamBank’s small business series of workshops. Key takeaways from the workshop were:

  • Ways to identify and create “big rock content,” which can anchor entire programs
  • Learn how to utilize and curate visual content
  • Develop strategies to collect and nurture leads and increase qualified sales opportunities
  • Strategies to produce long-term customer advocates

June 3: Milwaukee, WI
Experience Inbound | #InboundWI

Experience Inbound was a one-day conference held at Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers! Beyond the exciting backdrop of the lush, green baseball field, we took beneficial information about topics focused on the latest trends in sales and marketing. Nate, Danielle, Nina, and Melanie from the Widen Marketing team attended the conference, and since we recently became HubSpot customers, we wanted to check it all out!

Here are a few of the nuggets they brought back:  

  • There are many ways of personalizing your daily communication strategy by the use of simple videos. Using video in your marketing strategy doesn’t have to be complicated.
  • Find easy wins and go for it. Strategies don’t have to take months to implement. Sometimes quick wins are exactly what you need. 
  • Analytics are the key to everything!

Tweets we liked:

June 4: San Francisco, CA
Mind the Product | #mtpcon

Mind the Product was a one-day, back-to-back conference for product managers in the tech space. Libby, Josey, and Kara from the Widen product teams attended the event. The group went to learn, network, and take part in the product conversations, as Widen is always focused on improving our products through new features and services. They were also on the lookout for potential new product ideas. The group hosted a customer appreciation dinner while in San Francisco, which was a huge highlight.

For more information on the Mind the Product conference journey, check out this blog post by Libby and Josey!  

Tweets we liked:

As we close our busiest spring of live events to date, we take a deep breath and reflect on everything we have learned and been a part of in the last few months. We have enjoyed the speakers, customers, hotels, conversations, topics, meals, drinks, strategies, laughs, high-fives, hot-spots, coffee breaks, handshakes, and so much more! 

Having attended all these great conferences and workshops, we're also in the midst of planning one of our own - the Widen Summit! Don't forget to register to attend the 2015 Widen Summit, held October 19-21, in Madison, WI. We can't wait to see you!

Topics: Events

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