MediaPost Pivots To Virtual; Search & Performance Insider Summit Set For Next Week

In a first of its kind, MediaPost is presenting two virtual summits, while maintaining the core elements of its traditional events so much anticipated by sell-out crowds over the past 16 years. The virtual version of the very popular round tables offers more substantial content with interviews of VIPs followed by all attendees sharing best practices.

As Steve Smith, editorial director of events, said, "The hope is that we will capture what a lot of attendees have come to expect. We're trying to keep it light and fun, including activities such as a scavenger hunt with those in attendance sharing their best swag from any event." There will also be a lively trivia quiz to keep people entertained. 

The Search & Performance Insider Summit takes place June 8 - 9. As usual, there will be panel discussions, Q&As and presentations. "We're looking forward to this opportunity to see how our summit experience, which always depended on face-to-face contact, evokes the same spirit in our first virtual experience," said Smith.

Kevin Scholl, director of marketing technology at Red Roof Inn, will share how the brand set its sights on strategic voice opportunities by engagingwith consumers in their homes and cars via Alexa. Instead of trying to connect withcustomers at the front desk, Red Roof turned to Alexa Skills, where consumers can learn about loyalty programs or amuse kids in their cars on a road trip.

As Lisa Singer, event editorial manager at MediaPost, put it, "They are putting themselves in a good position so that when people are ready to book a room, they'll be top of mind. Like so many brands in the pandemic, they quickly learned to shift focus to survive." For example, she said they are offering day rates to truckers and first responders. They are also well-suited for social distancing by having separate entrances to eachroom.

Another brand that quickly learned to pivot is ThirdLove, which markets women's underwear. Megan Seman, senior growth marketing manager, will be part of a panel discussion on performance video. As COVID-19 loomed large in March, the brand saw a two-week dip in sales so it immediately went back into efficiency mode. It had been planning to diversify into other areas like TV and OTT but then turned back to social and is now doing well with creative messaging that stays positive and shows that the brand is listening to people.

A panel discussion on adjusting to the consumer's need will include Eric Moretti, performance digital marketing manager at Scotts Miracle-Gro Company. That brand saw people buying more volume, which in turn lead to day-to-day monitoring to try to scale ad spend. There was also an uptick around gardening conversations online. They adjusted their social messaging to speak to this, while mindful not to come across as taking advantage. Moretti admits to some early hiccups on volume, but says they adjusted quickly in part due to better communication among departments.

Also on that panel is Natalie Barreda, senior manager of media at T-Mobile, which has brought search in-house. They’re trying to mitigate customer care by pushing self-service messaging since their stores had closed due to COVID-19. The brand also discovered that reallocating the budget to heavy up on customer care was something it could do very quickly. And, like other brands involved in next week's summit, T-Mobile is considering continuing with newly discovered strategies.

MediaPost's Publishing Insider Summit takes place June 11 - 12.

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