At SPM, a large part of what helps keep our work fresh is getting out of the office and immersing ourselves in the latest trends of the industry. It turns out Social Media Week Chicago (#SMWChicago) is the perfect chance to do just that: talk face-to-face with some of the leading minds in marketing and advertising, and discuss how we as an agency—and a community—can grow together to keep doing what we do best.

So a few of us packed up and headed downtown to Venue SIX10 for a busy three days of speeches, strategy, and plenty of social. In our own words, check out some of our favorite sessions—and how we hit the ground running by infusing what we learned into our clients’ goals since then.

Paid Media for the Socially Awkward: Planning, Producing and Executing with Confidence – Linda Johnson, President, SOCIALDEVIANT

“There are so many elements involved in paid social that we often get overwhelmed in the immense possibility and constant updates. What we need to do is focus on the true elements of the campaign that we believe will drive success, and let the other parts run their course…. we’ll ultimately make our paid social more efficient and effective.”

-Morgan Lees, Assistant Digital Project Manager

“While we were in this session, we couldn’t help but notice the similarities between this and SPM’s American Health and Life Study. We take the target in each of our different client markets into consideration as a whole in regards to their psychographic characteristics and their healthcare decisions. This allows us to get to know them both as healthcare decision makers AND as people. Better understanding them as consumers can help us to reach them in even more relevant ways – ultimately serving our respective clients in the most optimal fashion.”

–Corine Deutsch, Business Development Manager

The Golden Age of On-Demand Audio – Nazanin Rafsanjani, Creative Director, Gimlet Creative

“I enjoyed hearing the ways they’re using advertising to interact and engage with their listeners. They’re taking online audio advertising to the next level by serving fresh ads delivered by the hosts of their shows in ways that don’t interrupt the listener’s experience.”

–Mary Fisher, Assistant Account Manager

No BS Brands: How to Use Authenticity to Build Loyalty & Drive the Bottom Line – Toby Daniels, Founder & Executive Director, Social Media Week; Greg Auer, Executive Creative Director, Wunderman; Charlie Hart, Director of Digital Marketing, RXBAR

“The ease of Airbnb clearly disrupted the category with a unique and valuable experience. But when the experience isn’t perfect (like not the cleanest sheets), there is an opportunity for a trusted brand (like The Ritz-Carlton) to offer a seal of approval and combine the power of experience and brand.”

–Bill Tourlas, SVP, Innovation & Engagement

Your Social Sucks (Probably) – Jason M Peterson, Chairman & Chief Creative Officer, Havas

“The point is that “social media isn’t advertising, it’s social.” We need to be talking with the audience and not talking at the audience. Often there is too much emphasis on what to tell the crowd rather than considering what the crowd will want to hear and engage with – if we hit that nail on the head, it’ll in turn play into the client needs.”

–Lauren Hummel, Account Manager

Straight from the CMOs: Evolving Your Brand in the Content Era – Marta Cyhan, Head of Marketing, Catalina; Marc Landsberg, CEO/Founder, SOCIALDEVIANT; John Rood, SVP, Marketing, Disney Channels Worldwide; Dave Schneider, VP/CMO, Red Wing Shoe Company

I enjoyed how the panel spoke about how consumer loyalty is more than just a momentary rating—it’s continuous engagement over time, engagement that will ideally develop into a strong relationship, but only if it’s nurtured by the brand. Establishing that relationship can certainly start through social content, but one positive interaction is just a piece of the puzzle.”

–Annie Lambesis, Assistant Communications & Content Manager

As healthcare marketing professionals, we have the privilege of attending these conferences through a special lens. Working to create meaningful relationships for our clients is something we do everyday. Human connection is the very essence of healthcare – and in a time when consumers are craving a deeper relationship with these brands, our jobs are as important as ever.

Curiosity peaked? Check out some of the brand experiences we’ve brought to life, or follow us on Twitter for some more takes from the week!

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