As a bit of a newer employee in not only my company but the marketing industry in general, I was nervous yet excited to attend my very first Rakuten Marketing hosted networking event, DealMaker New York. I had only been to New York once before but had completely forgotten just how intense New Yorkers can be (I prefer the city life of Chicago personally…but shh). It’s not that anyone is rude, it’s just a very fast-paced, fend for yourself kind of city, and the moment my boss and I stepped out of the airport, this “New York charm” set in. We hopelessly confused the assertive, irritable taxi driver by telling him where our hotel was in Brooklyn. After repeating the address multiple times, putting the address in his phone for him, and even writing it down on a piece of paper for him to re-enter it into his phone, we finally arrived at our hotel.

In a quick turnaround of time, I headed out to the Golden Link Awards (GLA’s) in a shuffled anxious mess – being in charge of the live social media that night, although I had prepped in advance, was causing slight anxiety. The chances of misspelling a winning client’s name, tripping and knocking something over or accidentally stealing a seat of an important manager (oh wait…that did happen. Sorry again Nicole!) were quite high due to my awkward type of personality I’ve been blessed with. But alas, I arrived at the hotel where the awards were being hosted and all the fear went away, replaced with excitement and a desire to network. With the buzz of all the hardworking advertisers and publishers talking and exchanging information over drinks, the room was filled with laughter and a sense for a good time.

As I walked through the multiple huddles of people, I made eye contact with the videographer and instantly felt regret for doing so as he approached me. “Well, you look like a friendly and cheerful person. Do you mind if we interview you?” I tried to come up with reasons as to why I couldn’t be interviewed by saying things like, “I’m an employee, are you sure you want to talk to me?,” and “I’m somewhat nervous on camera…” Yet he still persisted, and I answered his questions. He asked me why I was looking forward to attending the GLA’s and I through some scrambling for words in my brain to put in a proper order to formulate a sentence, I survived the brief interview. In the end, not only did the GLA’s end up being everything I had said I was looking forward to. DealMaker the next day as well.

Networking

Sitting at a table with different Rakuten Marketing clients at the GLA’s gave me the opportunity to network and learn more about what they enjoy as advertisers and publishers, as well as things they were struggling with. Asking the attendees at my table the same question the videographer asked me, I found that they were all looking forward to gaining insight on these concerns and struggles through the keynote and breakout sessions DealMaker had scheduled. Furthermore, they were looking forward to making connections with new people that would benefit both parties. Although I was happy to practice my own personal networking skills, it was awesome to see clients connect with others during the GLA’s and breakout sessions. Then to further these relationships later during DealSpace. DealSpace itself was a very loud, quick-paced three-hour block of success. Watching new partnerships being made between Rakuten Marketing advertisers and publishers was a reward in and of itself. Through all the work put into creating this event, there’s nothing better than seeing the purpose of hard work being put into full effect.

Interviews

Although interviewing wasn’t an answer I gave the videographer, since it technically wasn’t part of the GLA’s, it was still something I was looking forward to when attending DealMaker. My team and I benefited from being able to talk to many different advertisers and publishers and gain insight as to how they reach their consumers, handle the challenges of the industry, and what experiences they aim to deliver to their customers. Stay tuned for the release of these interviews as they will be released on our blog!

Content

Obviously as a content marketer, having the opportunity to hear from so many experts on many different topics is extremely beneficial. Beginning the day with the keynote session with Maritz’s Chief Behavioral Officer, Charlotte Blank, I was able to see into the subconscious mind of people and what drives consumers to make the decisions and purchases they do — perfect information to turn into a thought-leadership piece. Getting to know how to tailor experiences to consumers’ natural and subconscious priorities is not only beneficial to me as a marketer but for our advertiser and publisher blog readers. Through a breakout session, I was able to further understand artificial intelligence and machine learning from many influential industry leaders. If marketers are able to utilize machine learning and artificial intelligence in a way that enhances the personal experience for consumers and frees up time for marketers to focus their efforts elsewhere. Furthermore, the publisher showcase was a chance to learn more about how advertisers can explore and expand relationships while publishers can learn more about what’s happening in their space.

DealMaker New York is an experience that I will never forget. As soon as I feel like I know something in this industry the more this newly learned concept makes me realize how much more there is to learn. Attending events like DealMaker is a great way to stay on top of the trends and challenges of the industry as well as integrating yourself in a world full of people who are experiencing the same thing as you. Leaving this event, you may feel exhausted from the quick-paced, busy environment but you also feel more prepared, educated and motivated through networking and invaluable insights.