Digital marketing conference returns to Squamish with helicopter rides, yacht lunch for VIP guests

Marketing for new voice recognition technology a key theme

With the rapid speed technology is changing, marketers can find themselves struggling to keep up. 

Western Canada's largest digital marketing conference, the Canadian Internet Marketing Conference, is returning to Squamish in April under an old name and new owners. Big audio-video presentations are new this year, and keynote speakers from industry giants like Google and Facebook are expected to draw hundreds from the global marketing industry for the annual event.  

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"We're getting a diverse group of speakers coming out from different areas in marketing and business. We don't want it to be focused solely on digital marketing," said Adam Besse, president of Surrey-based Agency Media owned by Westlund group, the company that purchased the conference from Squamish resident Christian Thomson last year.

Brands represented this year include Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Vimeo, Slack, McDonald's, Airbnb, Adobe, Shopify, and Buzzfeed.

New this year for VIP guests is a helicopter ride to Whistler for cocktails and a yacht lunch with some of the keynote speakers.  

And although the conference may no longer be locally-owned, Besse said Squamish is still an ideal location for it. 

"We come up to Squamish a lot. If we can have something that takes place in Squamish and show people that it's a cool spot and how friendly the locals are, that is a big thing for us," he said. 

Surviving the "digital marketing wilderness" is the theme this year, which fits in both with the outdoor theme Squamish is known for, as well as the current marketing landscape.

"What we want to do is really focus and give people a survival guide," Besse said. "Digital marketing is changing every single day, and it's hard to keep up. When you're trying to market online, and Google or Facebook change the algorithms, or a new social media platform comes out like Instagram or Snapchat, people don't necessarily know the best route to go."

Voice and video optimization will be one of the major topics discussed at the event. Besse hopes attendees will find themselves better equipped to get ahead of marketing for voice recognition software, such as for Google Home, Amazon Echo or Apple's Siri.

This year's conference will take place on April 5 and 6 at the West Coast Railway Heritage Park. Visit picatic.com/cimc2018 for more.

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