Digital Dialogue Cincinnati conference to showcase region's marketing talent

Event to be held Sept. 11, 12

Cincinnati’s digital marketing know-how will take center stage next week at a first-of-its kind conference that’s drawing some of the biggest names in the industry as speakers.

Digital Dialogue Cincinnati, or D squared, bills itself as the nation’s first and only conference focusing specifically on “customer centricity,” or keeping the customer as the focus of any marketing campaign. The event will be held Sept. 11 and 12 at Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati.

Conference organizers say the goal is to show off Cincinnati’s expertise.

“Cincinnati, per capita, has the highest concentration of marketing professionals of any city in the U.S.,” said Matt Nitzberg, executive vice president of communications and media for dunnhumby USA, which has worked with American Advertising Federation Cincinnati to organize the event.

“This is the perfect place to host this conference and also the perfect place to show markets beyond Cincinnati what’s happening here,” he said.

The region has been working for several years to define itself as the “consumer products and branding capital of the world” through the BrandHUB initiative of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. Denyse Ferguson, the chamber executive who has been managing the BrandHUB, recently resigned from the chamber. She was replaced by Matt Davis, who was named Interim Executive Director of the Cincinnati USA Partnership earlier this week.

Ferguson's resignation makes the D2 conference all the more important to show marketers just how much talent and depth the region has, said Rose Wesselman, president of the AAF Cincinnati board and director of client leadership at Empower Media Marketing.

'All One Hub'

“It’s all one hub,” Wesselman said. “I hope it really puts a spotlight on the talent that we have here and the companies that we have here that have far-reaching capabilities.”

The D2 conference builds on the Digital Non-Conference that AAF Cincinnati hosted for the past five years. The previous events were the brainchild of Jack Streitmarter, a former AAF Cincinnati president who is president and creative director of ScreamingBob.com and Sound Images Productions.

Streitmarter and other AAF board members realized several years ago that Cincinnati had lots of digital marketing brain power and launched the non-conference to help showcase it.

“Madison Avenue has its traditional ad agencies, and it will always be on Madison Avenue,” he said. “But I think this kind of niche – the digital advertising – has a lot of relevancy for us.”

Nitzberg said the goal of this year’s event is to help marketers understand the importance of keeping customers first in their efforts and to underscore the idea that Cincinnati has many firms that know how to do just that.

“The customers are becoming their own chief marketing officers,” he said. “Each of us in the future will be able to decide what marketing efforts are going to reach us. Only those marketers who put the customers at the center are going to continue to have a dialogue with their customers. The others will be shut off and shut out.”

And AAF Cincinnati expects this to be the organization’s biggest conference ever – drawing as many as 350 attendees.

“Every organization that touches a customer will be interested in the content of this event,” Wesselman said. “And let’s face it, that’s just about everybody.”

Speakers at the conference will include executives from Macy’s, Facebook, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble Co., Kellogg’s, Pandora and Scripps, among others. Scripps is the company that owns WCPO.

Go to d2cincinnati.com for details about the event and information about how to register.

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