University of Wisconsin–Madison

Digital Marketing and Social Media Conference


This will be an on line conference. Area experts will give you actionable items that you can take away and implement into your business immediately. The conference includes four 90 minute sessions with breaks in between sessions to allow you to step away from your screen.

“Every speaker was amazing…..I will be back”

Samantha Burke, Universal Home Protection LLC


Conference Schedule:

8:30 am – 10:30 am          Session #1:  A Disciplined Approach to Marketing Success;  Sarah Hurley

Are you a start-up or small business trying to get a handle on your marketing efforts? Do you know how to cut through the clutter of all the digital marketing and social media opportunities out there? The answer(s) you are looking for lies within your business goals. From there, you can develop a marketing plan that will help you achieve your goals. Join us as we get back to the basics of marketing, including goal setting, to help you get on the right path to marketing success.

During our hands-on work time, we will draft business goals and understand the difference between a marketing strategy and marketing plan. Do you have a marketing calendar? No? That’s okay. In this session, we will start one so you can see how to create one and why it matters. We will also talk about how you can evaluate digital marketing and social media platforms in order to select the one that is right for you. Finally, we will spend some time learning how to develop content for your one area of your business (i.e. your website) and push it out across multiple platforms.

Learning Objectives:

  • The basics: What is marketing in today’s business landscape and what does success look like.
  • A discipline approach to planning: Understand the difference between business goals vs. marketing strategy vs. a marketing plan.
  • Select and develop content for digital marketing and/or social media platforms: Learn how to evaluate options based on your business and develop engaging content.
  • Tips & tricks for successful execution: Marketing is not a one-and-done effort.

10:30am – 10:45am          Morning Break

10:45am – 11:45am          Session #2: Social Media in The Era of Artificial Intelligence & Voice-First; Nick Myers

Over the last decade, social media has been evolving. For people, social media has become one of the primary ways that we communicate and interact with one another. For organizations and brands, it has become a core platform in every marketing strategy to create personalized content that resonates with customers and drives engagement. This about to change forever; but not in a way that you might think.

With the arrival of Artificial Intelligence and Voice-First devices the way that we think about social media and generate content is about to change. AI and Voice-First aims to help integrate with social media to help parse through the noise, and aid marketers in developing content that is authentic and that can truly resonate with audiences.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn about the current state of Artificial Intelligence and Voice-First in 2020
  • How AI will integrate with social media to allow marketers to parse through the noise and analyze consumer insights data
  • Why various social media platforms are embracing AI and Voice-First for customer service by offering lifelike chatbots that can understand and help customers in the moments they need it the most
  • How the Voice-First ecosystem of digital voice assistants like Alexa, Google, Cortana, and Siri are paving the way for a new era of content creation and one-to-one consumer engagement to offer value and help people solve problems

11:45 am – 1:00 pm            Lunch break; participants will have the opportunity to step away from their computers or may network with other participants in small-group rooms.

1:00 pm – 2:15 pm             Session #3: Direct to Camera Video; Bob Trondson

On all forms of social media – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. – people are doing direct-to-camera messaging. While using your iPhone is a great way to do it, many times the videos come out shaky, with bad audio, bad lighting, way too long, and a terrible thumbnail of you looking confused.

Spend some time with Bob Trondson, producer/director at Clouds North Films, for a fun tutorial on some tips and inexpensive gear you should have to make your DIY messaging engaging and exciting. This event will be filled with laughter and insight to help your efforts in getting your message and your brand out to the world.

2:15 pm – 2:30 pm             Afternoon Break

2:30 pm – 4:30 pm             Session #4: Purpose-Driven Storytelling for your Business; Dave and Michael Neelson

The story of your business will be told—whether you tell it or not. In order to avoid customer misunderstanding and market confusion, responsible businesses must learn what makes a story “stick” for an audience. Over the course of this session, Michael and Dave will use a “cooking model” to break storytelling down in a way that leaves business owners and marketers equipped to build their stories one ingredient at a time. Storytelling is the way we create meaning in all aspects of our lives, and this session will help you determine how to use that innate framework to bring life to your organization.

Learning Objectives:

  • How to educate potential clients about what differentiates your organization
  • Recruit staff with the knowledge of what kind of employees your culture needs
  • Establish buy-in from internal stakeholders and develop essential story tools for key personnel
  • Make clear decisions about potential new avenues for your business
  • Develop dynamic marketing materials that speak to your audience’s needs
  • Focus your energy by knowing when to say no to partnerships or projects that are not a good fit for your goals



Location: Online (web link will be sent to participants shortly before the class begins)

Schedule: 8:30 am- 4:30 pm

Date: Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Click to Register

or call 608-262-3909 to register

Fees: $299

Registration policy: Payment will be required at time of registration. You must have either a credit card or valid UW-Madison funding string to be able to register.

Cancellation policy: If you cancel before the program begins, there is a $25 cancellation fee. If you cancel after the program begins you will be charged for the full program fee. To cancel, call registration at 608-262-3909. If there is inclement weather, please call 608-263-2221 for a recorded message after 6:30 am for day classes or after 3:30 pm for night classes.

Disability Statement: Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact the UW-Madison SBDC office at to request accommodations.


Nivk MeyersNick Myers
Social Media in The Era of Artificial Intelligence & Voice-First
Nick Myers, Founder & CEO of RedFox AI in Madison, WI, helps give brands a voice by leveraging the power of AI and voice assistant technologies like Alexa and Google Assistant. Nick is a TEDx and International Keynote Speaker having spoken across the U.S and the world in countries like Australia and Thailand on topics ranging from Artificial Intelligence and the future of work, social media in the era of Artificial Intelligence, and how any organization can give themselves a voice (literally) using voice assistant technologies like Alexa and Google Assistant.


Bob TrondstonBob Trondson
Direct to Camera Video
Bob Trondson was the former drummer for the Chicago punk rock band Blue Meanies, now a writer, producer, and director at Clouds North Films, a boutique film company specializing in thoughtful, exciting, and impactful marketing videos. In addition to Clouds North Films, Trondson has done hundreds of promos and short stories for Wisconsin Public Television, music videos for Hawthorne Heights, Rise Against, and Disturbed, and documentaries on Andrew Bird and civil rights icon Vel Phillips


Sarah HurleySarah Hurley
A Disciplined Approach to Marketing Success
As owner and contract-based marketing director, Sarah provides strategic marketing consulting, planning, message strategy, project management, budget development and creative direction for B2B and B2C clients. Prior to Weber Marketing, Sarah has worked on both the company and agency side and has her bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.


Dave NeelsenDave Neelsen
Purpose-Driven Storytelling for your Business
Dave Neelsen, co-founder of StoryFirst Media, has had a career filled with helping clients, from small business to fortune 500 markets connecting with their audiences. An innovative approach to brand storytelling offered new power in a world with a new consumer mindset. Along with his filmmaker son, they launched StoryFirst Media as a brand storytelling and video agency.


Michael NeelsenMike Neelsen
Purpose-Driven Storytelling for your Business
A learned storyteller and filmmaker, Michael Neelsen has been writing and directing cinematic content for over a decade. He is the co-founder of StoryFirst Media. Michael directed the company’s first feature documentary, Last Day at Lambeau, which enjoyed wide acclaim on the film festival circuit. He is also the moderator of the film discussion podcast Reel Fanatics.