OC alum, faculty member play key roles in technology conference

November 4th marked the fourth annual Oklahoma City InnoTech Business and Technology Innovation Conference, the largest event of its kind in this region of the country. One of the key components of InnoTech is the “eMarketing Summit,” a series of presentations by thought-leaders from across the country that focus on all aspects of marketing in the digital arena.

“When Innotech was first brought to this market, they looked for partners to help promote the event and give the organizers input on the types of programs potential attendees would be interested in discussing,” said Brian Blake with B2 Design, who serves as president-elect of the Oklahoma City Chapter of the American Marketing Association. “As the voice of the marketing profession, the AMA was a natural fit, and we have greatly enjoyed growing the relationship.”

Blake’s firm, B2 Design, assists organizations with developing and executing strategies that utilize the many electronic media outlets available today. “The entire game of marketing has changed,” said Blake. “Today, the customer has very high expectations of how a company should connect with them and they have almost total control of the company’s brand image online, so every interface with them has to be well thought out.” Blake went on to say that it is crucial that marketers today make use of every possible communication tool available to them or their customers, which is why continuous marketing education is vital.

The conference includes a trade show and a special marketing track that features experts from both the local market and around the world who share how the latest technology tools and trends are impacting the ways in which marketers serve their customers. The inaugural conference was held in 2005, and has grown in popularity and attendance ever since, drawing attendees from as far away as Wichita, KS and Dallas, TX.

Dr. Burt Smith, OC Professor of Marketing and Management and a past-president of the American Marketing Association, was chosen to facilitate the event. “As a professional speaker and a marketer with such a rich history with the AMA, ‘Dr. Burt’ was our first choice as the person to represent our chapter in front of this audience,” said Blake. Smith has been featured as the chapter’s keynote speaker and was selected earlier this year to moderate a panel that included both the past mayor and the current mayor of Oklahoma City. In 2008, the Oklahoma City Chapter honored Smith with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Also prominently featured over the past two years was OC Alum Chris Wilson. In 2008, Wilson delivered a standing-room-only presentation about ways to use the then-obscure microblogging application, Twitter, to meet business objectives. That led to his being asked to play a larger role in this year’s conference. “Everyone was buzzing about what Chris had to offer last year, so I’m not at all surprised that he was so well received at this year’s conference. The speakers from Microsoft and Southwest Airlines even made a point of attending it!” said Smith. Wilson spoke for over 45 minutes on how the small touchpoints in social media can make a big impact on the overall health of your brand.

Smith says even though the conference features speakers from around the world with very impressive resumes, Wilson’s expertise and credentials spoke for themselves. “Chris can hold his own in the marketplace and on the speaking platform. He earns the respect of the audience for one very good reason: His work gets results! He is a credit to the marketing profession and to OC.”

Chris Wilson is a 2006 graduate of Oklahoma Christian University. As an undergraduate student, he was part of a team that competed in a national contest promoting Dr. Ken Blanchard’s book, Lead Like Jesus, in the Oklahoma City market. Wilson developed strategies that generated the highest sales of any team in the nation, thereby winning the contest and the honor of having Dr. Blanchard as a speaker on the OC Campus. He is the author of the popular Blog, www.freshpeel.com, and has interacted with such noted marketers as Seth Godin, whose bestselling books include Purple Cow.

Dr. Burt Smith holds dual appointments as a professor of Marketing and Management. He is an award-winning past-president of the American Marketing Association and is the author of The Great Game of Networking. In 2009, he was presented with the Gaylord Chair of Distinguished Teaching Award.