Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Digital Marketing Workshop, Friday, November 11

We’re excited to invite you to the sixth annual Digital Marketing Workshop to be held Friday, November 11, from 8 AM to 2 PM (with registration opening at 7:30 AM). Please be our guest at the early bird registration rate of just $28 (valid through October 31 with discount code Early, $40 without code).

We're honored to have Douglas Mott, CEO of as our opening keynote. Using a Digital First strategy, Repair Clinic has grown to $80 million in sales, with over 97% coming from the web. The key to's strategy: Using YouTube hosted how-to videos to draw in home repair wannabes and turn them into dedicated, returning customers.'s strategy is well suited to many Michigan companies, and we're extremely happy that Douglas has agreed to share it first hand with our audience.

In addition, this year's workshop will be stocked with speakers from digital leaders such as  GoogleFaceBookFox TV (National)WXYZ DetroitiProspectDaniel Brian Advertising, and many others. We will have tracks on integrated digital marketing as well as the new face of media. We will close the workshop with a lunch panel discussion entitled "Digital Strategies on a Budget: Lessons from Small Business Owners and Their Marketing Ninjas".

All sessions are designed with the beginning to intermediate practitioner in mind. You can see the program here and almost complete list of speaker bios here. In our six years of doing the now rebranded Digital Marketing Workshop, we believe this is our best program yet, and we are excited to invite you to come to this year's event.

The $28 early bird ticket covers a delicious breakfast and lunch in addition to many chances to interact with industry experts, faculty, and advanced digital marketing students during and between sessions. As always, we're happy to answer any questions you may have regarding The Workshop. Please address all questions to me, Bud Gibson (
PS You may be surprised by the name, The Digital Marketing Workshop. Last year, given the evolution in content, we decided to rebrand The Search Marketing Workshop. We still hold to the same high level of content. The name now just reflects our coverage of the last few years.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Selling Your Brand by Example, 9/23, SPARK Central

Please join us for the kickoff of our Fall summit series with Bob Chunn from ContentOro (registration link) at SPARK Central, 330 East Liberty, September 23 at 9 AM. Over the past year, ContentOro has gone from seed investment to developing a substantial international client base. In recognition of this success, ContentOro won Michigan's Small Business Innovator of the Year Award in January 2016. The summit will focus on a lynchpin of ContentOro's success, using web-based prototypes as a selling tool.

Significantly, ContentOro executed this strategy using interns from local universities, a number of whom have joined as full time employees after graduating. We are targeting this Fall's summit series, and this summit in particular, at those seeking to establish careers in high tech entrepreneurial companies. Bob and his (now full time) team will describe how they conceived and executed their growth strategy as well as future directions.

This Fall, we are pleased to welcome Duo Security as our Gold sponsor. Over the past few years, Duo has developed a strong reputation of community support, and we are grateful for their sponsorship.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Fall Digital Marketing Summits

Digital Marketing Summit Series
We are excited to announce a new chapter in our event programming, the Digital Marketing Summit series. Material for the summits comes from the Center for Digital Engagement’s digital marketing clinic, operated in conjunction with Ann Arbor SPARK's high tech incubator.

We are targeting these summits at marketers looking for digital solutions at the cutting edge of practice, at students seeking to enter Southeast Michigan’s high tech ecosystem, and other members of the university community.

Please register in advance to assure your seat.
This Fall, we are pleased to welcome Duo as our Gold sponsor. Over the past few years, Duo has developed a strong reputation of community support, and we are grateful for their sponsorship.

Follow us on Social Media:
Facebook: @CenterForDigitalEngagement
Twitter: @DigitalEngager

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Scott Monty Says This Is The Biggest Social Media Blunder Businesses Make

What does classical civilization have to do with social media? As it turns out, a lot.  We sat down with social media pioneer Scott Monty, CEO and Founder of Scott Monty Strategies, to hear about this, what he thinks is the biggest social media blunder businesses make, and more. Scott was ranked by The Economist as #1 atop the list of 25 Social Media Business Leaders and by Forbes as one of the top 10 influencers in social media. 

Tell us a little about yourself and Scott Monty Strategies. 

I'm intrigued by classical civilization and the great works of western literature. I was a classics major as an undergrad and it gave me a chance to read and write widely on history, philosophy, drama, politics, and more. And I've found that the farther I get from my education, the more valuable it becomes.

My speeches and consulting are focused on embracing the fundamentals of human communication through the lens of human nature, history, literature and common sense. The technologies that we're experiencing now are new and fresh, but human behavior remains steadfastly constant, and there is much to learn from the past masters.

What digital or social media metrics should businesses measure to determine the success of their efforts? 

This is a favorite topic of mine, because it's one that can't be completely answered. There is no silver bullet, no single answer that manages to address this broad-ranging question. The issue is this: before you've even set out on a digital journey, you need to know what you want to accomplish. Doing digital and social for the sake of being cute or to jump on a trend isn't helpful unless it's somehow tied to your business objectives. Figure out what you want to achieve and determine the steps along the way that are meaningful and measurable. And then measure for outputs and outcomes, not likes, comments or clicks.

In your opinion, what is the biggest blunder you see businesses make when getting started with social media and digital campaigns? 

Frankly, I would have hoped that we were beyond this now, but it's a function of social and digital falling under the umbrella of marketing. And that is that social and digital platforms are viewed as a place to shout at people and advertise, while what we should be doing is building relationships. There's nothing wrong with brands being on social media, but the way they go about telling stories and sharing things is fundamentally stuck in a "look at me" mentality. Brand storytelling is fine, but don't make yourself the hero every single time; make the customer the hero and your product a minor player. But being completely self-centered won't win you many friends.

How would you advise a business with limited time and resources in creating a more successful online presence? 

You need to have some presence, but you don't need to be everywhere and chasing the latest trends. Limit yourself to the places where your target audience is and where you know you can make a meaningful contribution and impact. Ultimately, it has to map to the culture of your business. For smaller businesses, there's no reason that all employees can't get involved in the effort; it shouldn't fall to a single person to do everything. The more personality you can put behind it, the more excited people will be.

What advice do you have for people looking to enter the profession? 
Be relentlessly curious. Dorothy Parker once said, "Curiosity is the cure for boredom. There is no cure for curiosity." The more you can soak up and understand about all aspects of business - not just digital, not just marketing, not just customer service - the more you can put everything into perspective. It takes time to build a strategic understanding of an industry, but the good news is that there are endless resources out there to help you discover and learn more.

Scott is speaking at a sold-out event as part of The Center for Digital Engagement monthly breakfast series. If you want to hear and meet other industry thought leaders, see our list of upcoming events. And if you have a question for Scott, connect with him at Twitter at @ScottMonty

Friday, March 4, 2016

Digital Summer Clinic Internships with Ann Arbor SPARK and the Center for Digital Engagement

The Center for Digital Engagement and Ann Arbor SPARK are offering up to 20 part-time, paid digital clinic internships this summer for EMU students. As described on our application page, we are seeking students from a variety of majors including CIS, Marketing, SCM, and PR. All clinic projects are multidisciplinary, requiring a mix of talents.

We encourage all of those who may be interested in applying to attend our information session March 16 at 5 PM in Owen 109. Presenting at this session will be Bill Mayer, SPARK’s VP of Entrepreneurial Services, and three startup CEOs who worked with student teams in Summer 2015, the first year the we offered the clinic:

  • Bill Crane, CEO of Industry Star, a rapidly growing software as a service approach to supply chain management.
  • Bob Chunn, CEO of ContentOro, a software as a service approach to content marketing.
  • Grace Hsia, CEO of Warmilu, an advanced materials science approach to warming products.

We are currently taking applications for this year’s clinic internships here with a deadline of May 8. You can read more about last year’s experience here.

We look forward to seeing you March 16 to talk about these internships.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Students: Here Are 3 Reasons To Attend Digital Summit Detroit [Plus, Win Free Tickets!]

For the first time ever, Digital Summit is coming to Detroit. See how you can win free tickets to attend, compliments of the Michigan Film Office.

But first, why do I attend conferences?

#1. Professional Development
Digital marketing trends and best practices are constantly changing. It’s important now more than ever to stay abreast of the latest trends and get ideas and inspiration.

#2. Networking
Smart digital practitioners are solving some of the most perplexing problems at companies, and attending conferences is your chance to hear from them.

#3. To Share and Learn
I attend a lot of conferences. Most of the times I am a speaker. But even if I’m presenting, I’m still learning. The digital industry changes so fast, no one has everything figured out. I’m always learning, and some of the best ideas come from people new to the field as well as from seasoned professionals.

Digital Summit Detroit will be held at the Fisher Theater on September 22 and 23. The conference will feature dozens of highly-respected digital marketing leaders from AOL, IBM, Microsoft, NBC, Salesforce, Virgin America, Zappos and more from around the U.S. who will be sharing current trends, best practices, the latest strategies, case studies, new solutions, and more.

Topics and conference tracks include:
  •          Social media
  •          Content marketing
  •           Digital strategies
  •           Paid search
  •           SEO
  •          Email marketing
  •          Mobile
  •          Web analytics
  •           Web design and usability

You’ll learn the latest digital strategies, social media, SEO, email marketing, web analytics and more. Some of the best digital and social ideas come from conferences like this. If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out the Search Marketing Workshop on November 13 (which, by the way, you should register if you haven’t already).

The Michigan Film Office is inviting students to share why they’d like to attend the Digital Summit for a chance to win a free ticket. Visit the Michigan Film Office website to fill out an online form before September 11 with your reasons for wanting to attend the conference. Fifteen students will be selected.

And don’t forget, the Center for Digital Engagement’s monthly speaker series kicks off again on September 11 with Bob Chunn, CEO of ContentOro and former Director of Online Marketing at Pet Supplies Plus. Bob will talk about how to find online content for your marketing efforts. You’ll won’t want to miss this. 

I hope you join me in attending!
Chad Wiebesick

Author: Chad Wiebesick is the Executive in Residence at The Center for Digital Engagement. He serves as the head of social media for Pure Michigan at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015