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Why we’re hosting Marketing United

Go behind the scenes of our first-ever marketing conference

If you haven’t heard, we’re hosting the first annual Marketing United conference April 29 – May 1, 2015 in the beautiful city of Nashville.

It’s a huge leap to go from the idea of “Wouldn’t it be cool if we hosted our own conference?” to the reality of  “We’re hosting our own conference this April, and you all should totally come.”

So I caught up with our VP of Marketing Grey Garner to talk about how we got here, why we decided to host Marketing United and what sets it apart from all the other marketing conferences out there.

This is Grey. He likes great marketing, hot chicken and lumberjack flannels.

First thing’s first, why are we hosting a marketing conference?

In everyday life at Emma, there’s this amazing convergence of talking to marketers about their world, building tools to help them do more and sharing the best thinking we can create and curate about our industry. We're also marketers ourselves, so we're learning alongside our customers and partners every day – and it's a really fun place to be.

So the idea behind Marketing United is to re-create that conversation with a supercharged event that captures all of that stuff we see everyday. Only this time it's live and in person, with all of our friends and colleagues, in an amazing venue. It's literally “Uniting” all the things we’re excited about and sharing that with over 500 people at once. It’s going to be awesome.

There are obviously a ton of established marketing conferences that already exist. What makes ours any different?

We’ve been to a lot of conferences over the years. I mean, A LOT.  And we really love some of them, but others, well, not so much. So we joined the best parts of the ones we loved with our own ideas for what a conference should be, always putting it through the filter of “Is this something I would want to attend?” Combine all that with a killer lineup of speakers, and we’ve built a conference that I personally can’t wait to attend. We think you’ll love it, too.

Speaking of the lineup, how did we pick who we wanted to speak?

It’s always been a part of our DNA as a company that great marketing is about being genuinely helpful and useful to your audience – with a focus on the needs of the customer rather than the company. So we’ve brought in some brands that reflect that point of view and use it as a backdrop to dive into some of the more innovative ways that brands are connecting with prospects and customers.

We’re obviously excited to have leading experts like Ann Handley and Jay Baer be a part of it, but there are also a bunch of brands I’m excited to hear from.

Click to see the full lineup!

Like Warby Parker, a brand that truly does some cutting-edge marketing while making the world a better place at the same time. And Life is good, a brand that was built on word-of-mouth long before word-of-mouth was an actual marketing thing. Plus, you’ll hear from Porter Gale, who was charged with the mind-boggling challenge of building a new airline brand from scratch (Virgin America).

Have I dropped enough names yet? I could seriously go on forever about our speakers.

What can attendees expect to learn?

Sessions will cover a full range of marketing topics, from email automation to e-commerce to event marketing, SEO and more. We’re leaning on our friends and partners in the technology world, like KISSmetrics, Moz and Eventbrite, to share the latest and greatest best practices so everyone leaves with real takeaways that will help them get better. Like, right away.

Plus, you’ll hear how brands are using technology to create an even more personal experience, and how modern day audiences are expecting nothing less. Our filters are better than ever. We expect brands to know about our wants and preferences and to serve us relevant content at just the right time.

Our goal is to give you ideas that not only resonate with your audience and build loyalty, but also has them saying about your brand, “Now THAT’s how it’s done.”

We have many customers who would love to be a part of this. How are we incorporating our customers into the Marketing United experience?

There are actually several customers who will be speaking, like Garden & Gun and Mario Batali (the brand, not the man himself…though consider this an open invitation if he wants to cater the event).

Plus, the pre-conference on Wednesday is dedicated to our customers. Our in-house experts will lead workshops, give sneak peeks at new features in the works and answer any burning account questions – all to help customers get big results from their Emma accounts. It’s basically like getting a full day of services that would normally cost $1000 at just a fraction of the price.

Going to set this last one on a tee for you: What makes Nashville such a great location for the conference?

Hang on, grabbing my pamphlet from Visit Music City right now.

Where you'll get to learn (and play) for 3 days.

Ok, for real, this is such a thriving city that we’re really proud to call home. There’s a creative spirit and energy that’s palpable and makes Nashville an inspiring place to visit, live and work.

Plus, the Omni and Country Music Hall of Fame is such a great venue for a conference like this. Not only is it a beautiful space, but it puts people right in the heart of the city where they can experience all the great food, music and people that’s brought Nashville so much attention over the past year or two. No promises on any celebrity selfies though.