Marketing Workshop Takeaways

Marketing workshops, seminars, and conferences are quite frankly the best. I love the energy that comes from them. The room is generally filled with people who are yearning to connect and help each other out. There are always new trends, best practices, and innovations – I thrive off of learning how to do things better from professionals who are truly passionate about what they are doing.

marketing program for the spring AMA workshop
The Reno-Tahoe AMA Spring Marketing Workshop had a great schedule of events for the day-long session.

Today I got to attend the day long Reno-Tahoe American Marketing Association (AMA) Spring Workshop. It’s the 7th year the organization has put it together and it did not disappoint. I want to share some of the valuable takeaways that I learned today…maybe they can help inspire you too!

Tom Duffy – Keynote Speaker on Digital Marketing: Chess not Checkers

Tom is the Digital Director at Foundry, a Reno-based marketing firm that excels in all areas of marketing! Tom’s engaging talk focused on content and the importance of creating really valuable content that keeps your end-users in mind.

“Something is not always better than nothing. If people don’t want and need your content as much as they want and need your product, then don’t post it.”

Tom Duffy

He makes an excellent point that goes against the traditional idea that posting something is always better than not posting anything. If it takes you a bit longer to create really awesome, useful content, that is infinitely better than posting content that turns the people who are looking at what you’re producing off. Post less frequently but more helpfully. Keep it interesting. Keep it engaging. Don’t post something just to have your name out there (then people will start to tune you and your brand out).

Tom Duffy presents to the reno-tahoe ama spring marketing workshop.
Tom Duffy captivated the audience of marketers at the Reno-Tahoe AMA

Tom emphasized what marketers tend to forget – bring the humanity back into your content. Don’t forget that what you’re creating is for PEOPLE, not a demographic. Thinking of your “audience segmentation” in terms of things like age range, sex, and industry can easily run you off track and dehumanize your community. Make sure your content is built to be useful for individual humans.

“The lions share of your marketing is going on without you” says Tom.

The truth of today is that most of the marketing for your company is happening in conversation that you’re not necessarily part of. You need to tune into conversations and engage with them.

He went over how important it is for brands to stand for something real. “Everyone believes in ‘honesty,’ so that’s not a great value.” Tom encourages us to find what our brand truly stands for that people can connect with. Find that value, align with the right customers, and you can build warriors for your brand. But you have to stand for something first. That’s how people will connect with you. Most of all, he advocated for actively helping the local community. When done with sincerity and out of a desire to truly be of service, it’s the quickest and easiest way to demonstrate a brand’s humanity.

Tom had so many insights that I decide to create a quick infographic using a free tool (that you can use too) called Canva.

I really enjoyed Tom’s presentation and suggest you check out Foundry and contact Tom for further information!

Doug Erwin – Keynote Speaker from EDAWN “Marketing Our City”

Doug Erwin is the Vice President, Entrepreneurial Investment, of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN). His presentation focused on branding (or re-branding) Reno.

Reno, Nevada has had a real renaissance in recent years with new companies coming in and revitalizing the city. A lot of this has to do with EDAWN and their efforts to market Reno to entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and angel investors.

Doug Erwin from EDAWN is a fantastic speaker and gave a very engaging talk about branding Reno for venture capitalists.

Doug’s presentation was especially interesting in that Reno has had to overcome a reputation that has been around a long time. Reno has traditionally been known for quickie divorces and gambling. However, EDAWN has been able to effectively leverage marketing to showcase the wonderful things about Reno and western Nevada that make it an ideal location for many companies, especially those in the Bay area in California.

“What’s really valuable about our community is the people” says Doug. He talked about how here in Reno we have the talent that many Bay area companies are struggling to find and that we are growing and developing our talent.

The main takeaway I got from Doug’s presentation was that you want to showcase the values of the ecosystem that you are trying to create. That seems like a very effective way to rebrand – and it’s working! Due in large part to EDAWN, over 150 companies have relocated to Reno in the past 5 years.

Creative Marketing Idea – Playing Cards

These “Start Up Deck” of playing cards from EDAWN showcases valuable business information and is a creative and engaging way to inform potential consumers!

One technique that I especially enjoyed seeing during Doug’s presentation was the EDAWN Start Up Deck. It’s a deck of playing cards that have businesses in the community with contact information on them. When EDAWN is participating in tabling events, they take the decks of cards and engage with people at the event, usually in games of Blackjack. It creates an opportunity for fun, discussion, and is a quick way to give visitors who want to get involved a way to become integrated into the community.

Loud Table Discussions

The Reno-Tahoe AMA Marketing Workshop also included four break out sessions called “Loud Tables.” These were small group sessions that encouraged discussion among participants based around four different topics. Each of the table discussion leaders started out by giving their value and insights around the topic and then prompting participants with questions. In my next blog post, I’ll be covering the insights I gained through discussion with fellow marketing professionals during these loud tables!


Thank you for reading! I hope you also found value and have actionable advice you can work with from this post!

I love attending marketing conferences, do you know of any I should consider attending?

Workshops? Conferences? Webinars?

Have you attended a marketing or communications conference or workshop? I’m currently looking for more opportunities and would love to know which ones you think are worth a visit! Please let me know in the comments.

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