Member Reflection: ETTN Professional Development Program Success
Ten ETTN members enjoyed the Social Media Strategies Summit in February.
Ten members of the Emerging Trends and Technology Network (ETTN) attended a Social Media Strategies Summit in February in Las Vegas. This event was the first in a series of Professional Development Programs that ETTN curated for its members in 2015.
“Professional development isn’t a one-time experience,” said SEMA Senior Manager of Networks Bryan Harrison. “By design, it is an effective tool throughout the career of an employee to continuously develop the knowledge and skills to advance a company. We were pleased to report that the participants had a great experience at the summit and have already begun to implement many of the lessons learned.”
Participants received a special rate and attended along with SEMA staff. Brant Combs, director of marketing at ATC Truck Covers, believes the community building with other ETTN members was an important aspect of the program.
“I enjoyed the summit,” he said. “Besides taking home useful information to help us with social media, we got to network with a great group of people in SEMA who are working on similar things.”
Kathryn Reinhardt, MagnaFlow marketing manager, appreciated the ability to customize her experience at the summit. The flexibility ensured that all participants would take ideas back to the office with them.
“With social media still being a new avenue for companies to use to communicate with customers, I wanted to see what tips and lessons I could learn to incorporate into the MagnaFlow strategy and also see if our current strategy was up to par,” she explained. “Once checked in, you could review the tracks available for specific seminars that spoke to case studies, tool integration and content creation. They also provided keys for business-to-consumer, business-to-business and small to medium business agendas.”
Other participants related to the strategic applications discussed. Tim Torrecarion, sales and marketing manager at Air Flow Research, noted that basic marketing and communications principles have remained consistent even though the channels have changed over time.
“To be successful in digital, you need to get back to the basics of marketing and communications,” he said. “Put customers first and understand their needs. Where are they and how do they like to communicate? Word of mouth is still the best advertising.”
Sean Crawford of JE Pistons said his high-level takeaway was that social media is still evolving.
“The platforms themselves are changing, but also the way brands utilize each platform to accomplish business objectives,” he said. “One speaker explained it best, stating that we have moved from chasing ‘likes’ to focusing on increasing engagement to accomplishing business objectives. Social media and the available tools have evolved to allow brands to listen to their consumers and react in a way that benefits the bottom line. Having spent much of my time in a data-driven environment, being able to show business results will make social media a growing part of our marketing strategy.”
A second event took place in June—the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition (IRCE). Each year, more than 10,000 attendees travel to Chicago to hear from more than 200 expert speakers representing all areas of the e-commerce industry. This year, speakers included top executives from Target, 1-800-Flowers.com, QVC and more. In addition to the educational opportunities, the 250,000-sq.-ft. exhibit hall presented more than 600 companies in the e-commerce solutions industry.
Mike Alvarez, director of e-commerce and marketing for Roush Yates Performance Products, is an ETTN select committee member and attended along with the group. He shared a few of the things he appreciated about the exhibition.
“I really enjoy being a part of these events, because they give me an opportunity to network with my peers,” he said. “The IRCE was a great event for Roush Yates and myself. We were able to keep our thumb on the pulse of e-commerce and all the new products and services that are available. I feel confident that this will help us keep a leg up on the competition and help surge our company into the future.”
ETTN will also take members to the Disney Quality Service training on September 23 in Anaheim, California. Applications will be accepted until August 18 for this one-day course, which will take a close look at the small details that make a big difference in the environment for both customers and staff.