Category Archives: Conference


BlogHer 2016

By | Conference | No Comments

One week out of BlogHer and I’m still soaking it all in, was that real life? In short- yes! A week ago I sat down in a room with hundreds of creative individuals to talk all things content. From getting your content discovered in search all the way to Snapchat best practices, we covered quite a bit. Three days really wasn’t enough time and the hour long panels only scratched the surface of their topics. I could have sat there for hours picking the brains of all of the great speakers. They talked to us about passion projects, their personal trials and failures and of course that “ah-ha!” moment.

A Few Key Moments

  1. First SMG…. nough said. Sarah Michelle Gellar, for those of you who aren’t use to speaking in acronyms, graced us with her presence as our morning keynote speaker. The brilliant mother is on a mission to bring people together through the art of baking… for the modern individual. To all of my toast burners out there, you can do this! She’s joined forces with two other moms and created Foodstirs a company that specializes in quick-from-scratch mixes. With wholesome ingredients and an honest mission SMG is juggling a business, raising two great kids and working on a Cruel Intentions reboot. That last bit was insider info so- shhh. She left us with this lasting bit of advice- “Stop worrying about your legacy, enjoy the moments”- SMG
  2. What was for lunch you ask? Well I’ll tell you this, SheKnows and BlogHer do not disappoint. Lunch started with Sheryl Crow and ended with Kim K… as in Kardashian. Both women are absolutely brilliant there is no denying that, no matter your stance on reality TV or taste in music.
  3. Sheryl talked about how life started over for her after her breast cancer diagnosis. She wanted to remind us to advocate for our own health and really start to look at what we put into our bodies. Sheryl had powerful message she closed with- “For us to have peace in the world we have to manifest peace within ourselves.” I’ll just let that sit there for a while.
  4. Kim reminded us that the haters will always be there no matter what avenue life leads you down. She talked to us about mentorship, entrepreneurship having a sense of humor. Remember Kim isn’t just a reality TV star, she co-owns DASH with her sisters, has a hand in developing a handful of apps and works a ton of projects on the side. She’s a business woman through and through. I’ll leave you with this piece of advice Kim hopes to pass off to her kids- “I hope they see that everyone makes mistakes and as long as you grow from them you’re doing okay.” – Kim K.

The Panel Round Up

The only downfall to attending BlogHer 2016 alone is not being able to sit in on every panel. This was when some hard decisions had to be made. Ultimately as a content marketer for the agency I sat in on the panels that would make for the most effective use of the agency’s time as well as my own. Without further ado…

SEO: Get Your Content Discovered in Search – There was literally so much information given during this panel. We didn’t just talk about basic SEO planning, but dove into creating a content marketing strategy that works for you, your clients and most importantly those you want to target. Our panelists stressed the importance of not being afraid of making changes because you’re worried about messing up your SEO rankings. Remember you can always change it back. The panel also touched on Google answer boxes, increasing your page authority and how to get the most out of evergreen content.

Grow Your Influence with a Social Media Strategy and Plan – You’ve got to start with your community, get to know your audience. The panel couldn’t have stressed more about getting to know your readers, consumers and loyal followers. Yolonda Spinks reminded us that our analytic tools should be doing the hard work for us. Let analytics tell you when your readers are most active and then utilize social planning platforms and schedule out all of your posts in advanced. For the majority of us this should sound pretty familiar. But it doesn’t stop there, you’ve got to find out what medium your audience likes to absorb content in. Is it video? Articles? Tweets? Vlogs? Give the people what they want. This may mean a little more research, but your end results will be worth it.

I left feeling inspired, empowered and excited about how I could take all of this great information and apply it to my daily tasks here at Digital Operative. Needless to say I’m already pumped for BlogHer 2017! As always reach out, get in touch or follow us on social and let us know how we can help you on your journey through content marketing.  

rendezvous - Asheville, NC

Rendezvous 2014

By | Conference, digital campaigns, nonprofit | No Comments

It’s all still a bit of a blur. My brain hurts, my quads are worse and I’m having reoccurring dreams about losing a game of tug-of-war to The Boy Scouts. Let me explain. We had an opportunity to attend the Outdoor Industry Association’s Rendezvous conference tucked away in the dense Appalachian forest just outside of Asheville, NC. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the area, Asheville in October is rightfully considered the most beautiful place on earth, and the Omni Grove Park Inn where we stayed is in my opinion the coolest resort east of the Mississippi. For any millennial reading this blog, imagine a Harry Potter Castle, but with a spa, golf course and unparalleled views of the smoky mountains. You might think that a conference for outdoorsy types would require us to “rough it”, or go “glamping”, but I can assure you that this was nowhere near survival in the wilderness.

The setting allowed plenty of room for two things:

  1.  Getting Inspired
  2.  Meeting Great People.

It’s as simple as that. The OIA picked this magical place, brought together aprox. 400 outdoor professionals and coordinated a series of educational events, activities and seminars that could fill 3 pocket pads from cover to cover with new ideas and action items.

The attendees from Digital Operative, which included myself and BJ Cook (our CEO), decided that the best way to kick-off a long week of brain teasing seminars and intense networking events was to help grow outdoor participation. AKA, we went mountain biking. Our friends at Slyvan Sports sponsored all the outdoor activities for the week, and bombing down single track in the Pisgah National Forest with guides from Bike Farm seemed like the logical choice. By the way, if you want to be a car camping hero, check out the trailers at Slyvan Sport!

After 1,500 feet of climbing, and 15 miles of some of the best, root choked, flowing single track of my life, we were ready to learn and immerse ourselves at the conference. But first we had to give back to the local community.

Timberland sponsored a local river cleanup for the 16th year in a row. A couple hundred outdoor employees dawning garden gloves and trash bags, hit the coastline or hopped in an inflatable raft to clean a few miles of the French Broad River. BJ and I chose to clean with the team of rafts and helped pull out hundreds of pounds of garbage, including some big ticket items like a tractor tire, a wicker dining set, and a container of rotten chicken livers.


I had the proud distinction of being that day’s only “swimmer”, which is short for me plunging backwards over the rails of the raft into icy cold water, and trying to keep a smile on my face for the next hour while my body experienced first stage hypothermia.

The next few days were filled with incredible speakers, educational seminars and more opportunities to network with the variety of brands and employees in attendance. From unique start-up companies like Parks Project to keystone industry brands like The North Face, from Marketing Mgrs to CEO’s, every conversation was filled with enthusiasm, best practices and staying relevant to the ever changing consumer.

At the event, Digital Operative partnered with the Outdoor Foundation to promote a contest built on our Contest Core platform (read more about the platform here), challenging the outdoor industry to Get You(th) Outdoors. When you’re inside the outdoor industry, it’s easy to forget that it took someone, be it a camp counselor, family member or friend, to introduce you to the outdoors. This initiative that launched at Rendezvous will help outdoor industry employees upload and share their inspirational stories, photos, ideas and suggestions for getting more kids outside. Of course there will be great prizes, and 3 $500 grants to local youth based non-profits, as an extra incentive to participate. Being a part of such a great initiative has been a privilege and one that the team members at Digital Operative are proud to support with their time and expertise.

Inspiration Board

Rendezvous culminated in a team building Scottish games festival, where I found myself on the wrong side of an all out tug-of-war battle. OIA employees in kilts, a bag piper, caber tossing fun noodles and of course a bluegrass band and great food made this the highlight of the show. By the time the week was over I felt like I had made real connections with real people. Sometimes (dare I say it coming from a digital agency), e-mail or LinkedIn cannot replace quality face-to-face time.

My brain is still overflowing with new insights into the outdoor industry, conversations with brands facing the real and sometimes scary leap into omni-channel retailing, and ideas for making Digital Operative a better partner in the outdoors. Next year’s Rendezvous in Seattle is already on the calendar, and this time I will choose a non-water activity.



Digital Marketing Strategy Summit: October 21-23

By | Conference, digital marketing, partners | No Comments

Hey, wait a minute! You’re saying I have to make a decision?! It’s like trying to decide what restaurant to go to, there are a lot and they are everywhere. When deciding what conference is best suited for you, you must ask yourself these questions: Do I go to the closest city? Or, do we travel across the world? Do we go with the cheapest? Or, do I need more value? Well, here are 5 reasons why you should attend the Digital Marketing Strategy Summit: October 21-October 23, in sunny San Diego.

1.  It’s In Beautiful Downtown San Diego, Duh!

As if the educational components and networking opportunities aren’t enough, you’ll have the excuse to take a business trip to the best weather in the world. The conference is located downtown at the Westin San Diego. Not only do you have panoramic views of the San Diego Bay, the Coronado Bridge and the downtown skyline, but you can dive right into the Gaslamp Quarter from your hotel. I forgot to mention the networking reception with a free open bar! You will have the education of a lifetime in a beautiful city.

2. Speakers Are Crazy Good!

To be the best you must surround yourself with the best. This star studded line-up includes many industry leaders. Immerse yourself, engage, listen and learn from CEO’s, CMO’s, SVP’s, Directors, authors and experts in their space and prepare for the education for the ultimate edge! Tacks include strategy, analytics and data, customer relationship management and social and technology.

3. Get More Bang For Your Buck At The 3 Day Conference

Have you ever signed up for that conference that just never seemed to end? You know, the one that lasted for twelve hours a day with minimal breaks. Yeah, this one isn’t that! You will have three days to mix, mingle and rub shoulders with those who are well respected in the industry. By the way, none of the days will have more than eight hours of speaking time.

4. Build Relationships and Measure the Results

There is no better time than now to learn how to manage your corporate character in the digital space. Not only will you be creating a seamless customer journey, but you will be able to restructure your organization for the evolving digital customer. The agenda offers more than 20 leading case studies. With the skill set you acquire here, you will enhance your customer relationships through the online brand communities.

5. The Agenda

The agenda offers more than 20 leading case studies. With the skill set you acquire here, you will enhance your customer relationships through the online brand communities. There are topics that cover how marketing and IT can work together to create and execute a digital strategy, how to turn your employees into social media ambassadors, how to restructure your organization for the digital age, how to mine analytics and data and much more!

And because you are a part of the DO friends and family circle: If you’re interested in this event then click here to register and receive a 15% discount. Do not miss out – this event will sell out! We will be there and we hope to see you there, too!


Valio Con 2014 – Day 1

By | Conference, design | No Comments

Image is from the website

This week our designers had the opportunity to attend Valio Con 2014 right in our backyard at the Catamaran Resort in San Diego. Valio Con is an annual conference aimed to inspire designers to create and build greatness both in the workplace and out. Exceptional speakers from across the country gather to share their insight and knowledge with others.

Day one at Valio Con was a hit. Everyone from the speakers to the attendees were full of excitement and energy. They became acquainted with the other guests through ‘drink night’ and welcome activities throughout the day. All the speakers blew them away with their messages and gave them tons of information to bring back to our office. Here’s a few highlights.

Geoff Teehan from Teehan + Lax kicked off the speaker series with a powerful presentation about what he’s learned from his successful career in the design field. He stressed the added value of sharing the gift of design with the community and not always working for profit. It’s crucial to discover what’s important and embrace inevitable changes in the job and in life.

Keiran Flannigan, creator of the Heed application, shared her experiences building the app. Her important message about creating a quality product rather than taking shortcuts resonated strongly with the group.

Chuck Longanecker from Digital Telepathy emphasised originality. He talked about the benefits of taking risks in business and the cruciality of putting everything on the line for what you love.

From Pure Fix, Jennet Liaw shared her evolution in the design field and stressed how vital taking the unconventional approach was to her career path. She also conveyed how passion, self-discovery, and standing up for yourself translated into business.

Ryan Hudson-Peralta from Quicken Loans gave an inspiring speech about determination. He implied that you are responsible for your own fate, no matter how large the obstacles are that you must overcome.

Lee Rubenstien focused on his side projects EatSleepDraw and ArtSnacks. Within those two projects he shared his experience discovering the importance of the user experience and how to convert your passion into user passion.

Michael Flarup from Robocat taught attendees the importance of fun. Be detailed oriented, but remember to enjoy the journey of creating a project. He also noted the benefits in letting people hear your ideas to improve them.

All the speakers had a strong message to bring home, and since this was only day one, we know there are a lot more great ideas to come. Follow us and one of our desingers Evan as we tweet our way through Valio Con. And as always, don’t hesitate to contact us for any of your design needs.


DO Runs Test at Opticon, Gets Damn Good Results

By | awards, Conference, optimizely | No Comments

Optimizely, our go-to partner for everything A/B testing, hosted their first annual customer conference in San Francisco last month. Opticon gave us a ton of attractive reasons to attend — Our Director of Strategy & Planning, Eric Hanser, was nominated for Testing Hero of the Year, we were asked to be sponsors as well and we got to be in one of the greatest cities ever. Unfortunately, Eric didn’t win (although we still consider him to be our Testing Hero). Instead, our agency did! No, we didn’t win an Optie, but we did get some damn good results from the custom test we ran at the conference.

In the test, we asked people to take a minute to answer a few questions based on actual tests we ran for one of our clients. Click here to test your knowledge on A/B optimization and check out the results for our test below:I know some of you are probably reading this and thinking, “I didn’t get to take the test” – don’t you worry, we are still running live data. So sit back and test your A/B knowledge here!

Of course, our test results weren’t the only thing we took from Opticon. Below are a couple of more takeaways that we’ve been trying to implement more often here in the office.

Test, test, test!

As Dan Siroker, CEO and co-founder of Optimizely, said during his keynote, “Just run an experiment.” Taking Google’s formula of utilizing data over the HIPO (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion) to make decisions couldn’t have resonated with us more. Today, there are just way too many tools, Optimizely just to name one, to not go with side with data to make efficient business decisions. The more you test, and the smaller you test, the more it will pay off.

Structure of Tests

When it comes to individual tests, we realized that whether or not your test passes or fails, you will still learn about your site visitors. Like with an experiment, simply start with a theory or hypothesis and expect to build knowledge after testing, regardless of the results.

For those unfamiliar with Optimizely, it is an intricate platform that conducts A/B testing, multipage/multivariate testing with targeting/segmentation all while using influential real-time data to meet the needs of businesses looking to deliver unique web experiences to their visitors. More than 6,000 companies have adopted the Optimizely CRO software, including Starbucks, Disney, Salesforce and of course, Digital Operative.

Do you have anything else you want to add or know about A/B testing? You can let us know in the comments section, or as always, if you need any help with your web optimization needs, don’t hesitate to contact us!

Digital Operative Does Fashion Digital New York

By | Conference, ecommerce | One Comment

This Week I was in New York City for Fashion Digital. DO has gone to Fashion Digital before in Los Angeles, but this was the first Fashion Digital we have attended in the “Big Apple.”

As one of the sponsors of the event DO had a booth set up in the networking area. Along with having a booth, I sat through all of the sessions, live tweeting and collecting as much knowledge and information on eCommerce as humanly possible. Here are just a few things that I learned from the different panels and speakers:

Keynote Speaker: Craig Leavitt, CEO of Kate Spade New York

He touched on 3D printing and most importantly how people in their 20s live online. In order to be a competitor in the industry, you have to grow with the changes and be at the forefront of what is happening.

In order to be a competitor and be successful, you have to “Think differently and Challenge your Superiors”

Panel: Customer Acquisition

This was my favorite panel session at FDNY. For many reasons…..

Did you know?!? 30% of all eCommerce searches are done via mobile and of that 30%, 70% of searches are done on an iOS platform. This statistic is not surprising, I can’t tell you the last time I (or my roommates) used a computer to shop online, we typically do it from our cell phones, and we all have iPhones.

You should always think about the cost at which you are willing to lose your margin in order to gain a specific client. Moreover, “you shouldn’t have a specific CPA goal, you should base it on each client.” This is very true – sometimes you will have to lose a little more of your margin, to build your portfolio and make a relationship. But, hopefully it will be worth it.

Panel: Social Media

Social Media is huge right now, “You should be in the forums (platforms) in which your customers want to interact.” If your consumers are on yelp and instagram – that’s where you should be as well. There is no point in posting for the hell of posting. But, you should be interacting with your consumers if they are trying to interact through these platforms.

On social media it’s a way to be a game changer, you should “Listen to your user and their passion, understand your user and create a social solution.” Any feedback is great feedback, never ignore consumers who are placing negative comments on your Facebook or your Twitter. Use this as a place to rise above and take your services to the next level.

Speaker: Ben Pressley, Magento

Ben Pressley mostly discussed Magento as a platform and why it is important to make sure you are using a platform which makes the shopping process seamless since “58% of consumers use phones as part of the shopping process.”

He also stated that you should “Understand customers before you get started and understand who you are targeting and why.”

Speaker: Uri Minkoff CEO of Rebecca Minkoff

The main point of Uris’s talk was to know what separates you and makes you different from everyone else in the industry. The Rebecca Minkoff Brand, just like DO is very passionate about what they do….we both want to be industry leaders and be great. We both work for companies where creative ideas are not only welcomed but, strongly encouraged.

My favorite quote from Uri Minkoff – “Talent over genius…..find people who are just as passionate as you – to work with you and for you.” His point was, education isn’t everything…..but the heart you put into it is!

Panel: Mobile Customers

This panel spent most of the time discussing responsive web design vs. adaptive. Because of the way the younger generations are shopping not only in stores, but on computers they are also shopping on iPads and tablets and their smart phones – because of this “Millennials are changing the way mobile is being used in fashion eCommerce.”

Staying ahead of the curve is what matters with mobile customers and in the eCommerce industry.

Those are just a few of the things we learned at Fashion digital New York – Follow us on twitter @digitaloperativ and see our tweets from all the sessions at Fashion Digital.

If you didn’t have a chance to attend or missed speaking with us, please feel free to drop us a line or visit our website. We want to help you take your brand to the next level and “Be Visible, Be Smart, Be Scalable”

Like what you see? Contact us for a quote. Get Quote