Skip to the main content

VSA’s Top Four Takeaways From MIMA Summit 2016



Each year, the Midwest’s top marketers gather to discuss and discover emerging trends in the world of marketing and advertising. For its 15-year anniversary celebration, the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association (MIMA) wanted to make their annual summit bigger and better than ever before. With sessions centric to design, content, data and digital mix, the event saw innovators and entrepreneurs from across the Midwest. Here are VSA’s top four takeaways from this year’s conference:

1. Technology continues to become more humanlike.

In the opening keynote session, Amy Webb shared the three biggest emerging trends in marketing, allowing us a glimpse of the industry’s near future. It’s no doubt that technology has always influenced the way we market our businesses, but as computers become smarter (and more humanlike), we’re able to more accurately pinpoint our consumer at the touch of a button. Object, sound and motion recognition capabilities have even set the foundation for computer-generated campaigns and ideas, and with the evolution of mixed-reality tools and bots, jobs in marketing and advertising are changing immensely. As these changes continue, it’s imperative that marketers equip themselves with knowledge and skill around developing technology.

2. Design is having it’s moment—But it’s not the same discipline it used to be.

During the session Design Perspectives from Forward Thinkers, led by Tony Tung, there was much discussion about the current state of design, as more leading businesses begin to adopt design-thinking structures, and how the discipline’s evolution is drastically changing the role of designers. With advances in technology influencing the way marketers and advertisers operate, the designer’s job has expanded far beyond simply crafting aesthetics; they now need to use their designs as a medium for telling stories formed through understanding and empathizing with their audience. Great storytelling and the ability to ask the right questions: two principles that the attendees of this session agreed have become a must for designers in this age (And we couldn’t agree more!).

3. The demand to create content is growing, and efficient output is key to survival.

Marketers are constantly being introduced to new ways to share their content; live streams, GoPros, Snapchat—The opportunities today are limitless. But what’s the most effective way to share our content with the right user, and know for sure that it will work? VSA’s Associate Partner and Content Practice Lead Karen Semone shared in her session Sprinting Toward Launch: Creating Content in an Agile World that Agile methodology allows us to release and test our content in sprints, giving real users the chance to experience your creation. Rather than spending months creating then testing, Agile gives us the opportunity to bounce back and make quick changes based on real feedback. In a world that’s moving a mile a minute, it’s crucial for marketers to be flexible (and comfortable with ambiguity!).

4. Question everything, and take widely-accepted advice with a grain of salt.

In his keynote Six Things I’ve Unlearned, Jim McKelvey inspired the audience to challenge typical business advice. Under the premise that each person’s success story is drastically different than the next, McKelvey broke down each of his six stigmatized success tips. This included the advice “don’t seek opportunity; do solve problems,” which he elaborated on by pointing out that people can identify problems much easier than opportunities, and solving people’s problems is a stepping stone of success. He also called his audience to “‘humbly persevere’, rather than ‘be bold’,” encouraging us to deter from brashly presenting our ideas, and instead confidently believe in our capabilities. Throughout his session, McKelvey reminded his listeners that failure is a natural part of the path to success, and it’s important to be comfortable with that notion. Ultimately, we walked away understanding the importance of fearlessly questioning the widely-accepted.