On the main campus of the George Washington University, top strategists in Social Media marketing, including those from Facebook, Discovery Communications and MTV gathered for the annual What’s Next D.C. conference.
Staying true to the theme of progress and prosperity, Tod Plotkin, Principal of Green Buzz Agency, hosted the annual What’s Next D.C. conference, providing business types the chance to improve their strategies.
Only in its second year, the event was conceived from the notion that many similar gatherings lack certain energy, leaving attendees less than stimulated to subtle. By gathering select speakers from a wide range of businesses and organizations, Plotkin encourages those within the communications field to hone their skills by interacting in a fun and friendly environment.
The day began with two GWU acapella groups serenading guests as they arrived for a complimentary breakfast and their chance to get a head start on networking. At 9 a.m. emcee Vanessa French introduced Green Buzz Agency, followed by the first presentation - Communication: The Lifeblood of All Organizations, by Major George Hood of the Salvation Army.
Four rooms within the Marvin Center at George Washington University were allocated for PowerPoint presentations, panel discussions and intimate Q&A sessions following each lecture. At noon, brainstorming sessions focusing on critical strategy issues occurred simultaneously. An hour later the discussions resumed, featuring speakers from both The Washington and Huffington Post, MTV, Facebook, NASA, The World Bank, various departments of government and the White House’s own online outreach program.
Marketing and branding expert Judy Leidy, Principal at The Zoelby Group, believed the event gave her the information she needed to advance her growing Colorado based business, "I enjoyed the collective brainpower represented at What's Next D.C., not only by the speakers, but also by the attendees. It was great to share the marketing challenges we experience in our businesses and get – and give – ideas and advice from peers."
Key points gathered from the event include; adopting transparent communication policies, utilizing multiple social media platforms for audience outreach, understanding competitors, keeping employees engaged by building confidence and ensuring customer experiences are consistent with brand promises.
"One thing I found great about this conference is that its relatively accessible [to the speakers], some conferences you go up afterwards to talk to them and there's 100 people ahead of you." stated Benjamin Wan who is a Mentor & Advisor at a new venture capital start up called Fortify.vc. The D.C.-based company acts a private accelerator/ incubator, seeding D.C. start-ups with funding in the six figures.
What’s Next D.C.continued its efforts with a lively after party at the British Embassy allowing attendees to continue their networking in a more relaxed environment, offering hors d’oeuvres and an open bar until 9pm.
Leidy is anticipating next year's conference and hoping for greater focus "I think there's an opportunity to target the Niche Discussions to beginner, intermediate, and advanced attendees, and then to stick to that level of content. If targeted to specific levels, all attendees would get the information and value they need from each Niche Discussion."