As a part of my role as CEO of Melinda Holm & Associates, I am attending many conferences both locally and nationally.

This week I went to the BMA, the LBMA, and the AMA conferences/seminars here in Chicago. I can’t keep the acronyms straight! I was recently out at a party and when talking to someone else in advertising, I said (paraphrasing) that I had known someone from BBDO or C-K who left to go to DDB or FCB and then went to as a VP to GSD&M or HCB or maybe it was HMT. The person in our group who is not in advertising said “WHAT? I have no idea what you just said”. But that is advertising and marketing!   
What I learned this past week. The biggest take-aways are:

1. Marketing Automation is HUGE and is continuing to grow.
2. Social media remains important of course. You must have good content, and then you can work on context – how do I deliver the message and when?
3. Beacons and other devices to track consumer behavior are growing in use. Exciting technology. As Tony Donova from Business Insider wrote:
“Beacons are a low-cost piece of hardware — small enough to attach to a wall or counter top — that use battery-friendly, low-energy Bluetooth connections to transmit messages or prompts directly to a smartphone or tablet. They are poised to transform how retailers, event organizers, transit systems, enterprises, and educational institutions communicate with people indoors. Consumers might even want to deploy them as part of home automation systems”.
4. Augmented Reality is also a huge growing market, along with Virtual Reality.
5. Global Sharing, or the Shared Economy is also continuing to grow in popularity. This includes companies such as Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, Divvy Bikes and more. The focus is on being green, not adding to waste, cost savings and realistic usage. Why do you need a car everyday? Just share!  
I have to give kudos to some of the speakers I saw. Suzanne Martin from The Mx Group was awesome. She had a great warmth and connection to the audience, along with good content in her speech.