A week ago, we kicked off our second annual Widen User Summit. Now, we’re a digital media solutions company, and we’ve been pretty DAM good (will those ever get old?) at supporting the media needs of our customers for decades. So we’re a smart, capable bunch. But stepping outside your wheelhouse always brings some uncertainty. Could we pull off a second, bigger, bolder User Summit? Could we even manage to top our first?
We’re happy to report the three-day Summit was everything we’d hoped it would be and a whole lot more. Attendance was up significantly, from 71 guests last year to 103 this year. I consulted my calculator and found that’s 43 percent! We had a whole bunch of new entertainment — from boat rides and cheese tastings to piano bars and fine dining. Most importantly, though, the Summit crowd got a chance to dive deeper than ever into marketing technology, their own use of digital asset management, and the ways they can take their creative workflows to the next level.
The Widen crew did an incredible job, but the success of the Summit depends just as much on our brilliant customers, who not only fill the seats in the audience, but also provide most of the educational content throughout the week. After all, you can talk to us any time! The User Summit has proven an invaluable resource not only for our customers looking to learn from their peers, but also for us. We go to lots of events and listen to lots of panel discussions. The talent, insight and experience we’ve seen at the Widen User Summit over the last two years is absolutely beyond compare.
Here’s the stellar roster of speakers we had at this year’s event. It’s a long list, but that’s kinda the point. These people are great examples of the community that’s formed around Media Collective and they deserve a shout-out.
- Lisa Gauvin of Yankee Candle
- Valerie DeCleene of Brady Corporation
- Kimberlee Hemmer of Brady Corporation
- Will Johnson of Messer Construction
- Mark Ciske of CDesign
- Jason Sims of Intergraph
- Michael Gilday of Beam Interactive
- Dana Henke of CUNA Mutual
- Danielle Bauer of Cree
- Michael San Fillipo of IIE
- EJ Flammer of New Era Cap
- Diane White of Sub-Zero and Wolf
- Susan Gieselman of Red Gold
- Horst Schulze of Carl Zeiss Microscopy
- Frankie Buckle of Carl Zeiss Microscopy
- Barbara Alexander of COTY
- Sarah Sarow of Promega
- Ann Childs of Childs Company
- Corey Chimko of Cornell University
- Michel Bryson of Mercury Marine
- Ellen Maly of Covidien
- Bill Preller of Case IH
- Scott Brinker of ion Interactive
“I enjoyed hearing about marketing technologists (from keynote speaker Scott Brinker) because I really feel that our company is kind of in that older state where there’s an IT department and then there’s marketing and there’s very little communication between the two. I’ve been in a little bit of a blend between IT and marketing myself, so I really try to foster that communication and bring some of those things together so that we work together,” said DJ Lein, brand manager at American Woodmark. “I’ve also really enjoyed hearing about the Dropbox integration and the way some brands are using that. It opens up doors in your mind to ways you can leverage that.”
Feedback from those who were attending the User Summit for the second time suggested that the content was fresh, rich and useful. From “DAM in Marketing and Creative Workflows” to “Brand Creation and Curation,” the more serious side of the Summit provided valuable insights to brands ranging from apparel to advertising. All attendees had opportunities to contribute their ideas in specialized breakout sessions like “Connecting with Other Systems,” “Metadata Deep Dive,” and “User Adoption and Engagement.” See the full agenda here.
“The whole event has been very outstanding. Very nice people. The opinion that there is very good service at Widen is something that I can fully agree with. It’s been a great experience, great networking and I hope I can come back (next year),” said Horst Schulze of Zeiss Microscopy, who was among the two-year veterans of the User Summit.
Ultimately, Widen Enterprises’ solutions are about supporting brands in telling their stories and communicating their identities. Harmony requires that those brands be able to dig deeper than their products to find that message.
“In my business, we sell tractors and combines and hay tools and planters and seeders and tillage tools. All the things that help a producer produce a crop or an animal for consumption somewhere,” said Bill Preller of Case IH in a special presentation he gave to Summit attendees. “It isn’t about farm machinery; it’s about feeding people.”
Over the coming days and weeks, we’ll be posting valuable material from the Summit, from video of panel discussions to attendee testimonials and outlines of our most instructive sessions. Thanks to our customers and the Widen team, these three days have yielded a veritable treasure trove of useful information, and we’ll be making it all available to our customers and the DAM community at large.
Of course, we earned the trust of all these Summit guests by providing industry-leading DAM software solutions and the best customer service around. If you want a taste of that for yourself, get in touch with us about Widen Media Collective. Who knows? If things go well, we might be sharing cheese and beer in Lake Monona this time next year!
While you’re at it,, ask about what’s new in the upcoming version 7.0 release of Media Collective and version 1.0 of the brand-spanking new Widen DAM mobile app for iOS devices (and the mobile site, which is accessible to iOS and Android users). Stay tuned!