High Five Keynote Speakers

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I'll start by saying, hurry. 

Less than 40 tickets remain for a February conference offering a bunch of insights for entrepreneurs interested in marketing and storytelling.

The High Five Conference started almost a year ago, when the Triangle chapter of the American Marketing Association decided to provide folks hopping on planes to attend national marketing conferences in Austin, San Francisco or Portland the opportunity to learn from national-in-caliber speakers right here in Raleigh.

Different from the Triangle's other big marketing event, the Internet Summit, it had a larger scope than digital marketing and targeted a much smaller audience to ensure many connections are made between attendees. The inaugural event had about 265 people, and this year is shaping up to have a sell-out crowd of 400. It's also attracting attention from out of town. Founding director and Triangle AMA President Evan Carroll said High Five could pop up in other regions over time. 

High Five Conference Organizers
Evan Carroll, left, is founding director and president of the Triangle chapter of the American Marketing Association and a product manager at ChannelAdvisor. Stan Phelps, right, is president elect of the Triangle AMA and an experience architect at 9INCH Marketing.

So, why, you might be thinking, would we suggest an event created by marketers for entrepreneurs? For a bunch of reasons:

1. We're strong in tech, weak in marketing. This is a mantra I hear frequently from investors in town, and it's reflected in the number of companies searching for marketing support on social media and through message and job boards. Use the High Five as a place to find capable marketers to hire or to contract with. A trade show will also showcase local startup marketing technology providers like Windsor Circle and inMotionNow.

2. Or learn some skills yourself. Organizers assured me that the subject matter won't be over the heads of non-marketers. To learn some tactical marketing skills, choose from the following three-hour workshops on the 25th: Google Analytics and AdWords, Build a Customer Experience Framework, Storytelling or The Power of Creative Practice. 

3. Learn from and meet some impressive keynote speakers. There's the best selling author of "Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook's Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg"who also started and sold a company called Branderati. The founder of the edgy t-shirt brand Johnny Cupcakes is on tap to talk about how to differentiate your brand through customer experience. Edelman's senior vice president of digital will talk word of mouth marketing—he was a crowd favorite of last year's event and back for year two. 

Also back again is Aaron Draplin, the inventor of Field Notes brand of notebooks who has completed print and illustration work for the likes of Nike, Patagonia, Target and the Obama Administration. He'll share the inspiration he finds from digging around in thrift stores and odd places to bring back designs of the past to inspire the future.

Different from most major events, each speaker will hold a 30-minute roundtable discussion following his or her keynote address, providing intimate time for question-and-answer.

4. You'll learn from local marketing innovators. 15 of 20 break out session speakers hail from local agencies and brands, and they responded to a call for speakers in order to be selected to present. High Five organizers said it was a competitive process—you'll hear from the brightest local minds on the most interesting of topics, without favoritism given to event sponsors.

5. Do it on the cheap. Don't have the $395+ for a badge? There's a free party opening night at Bolt Bistro downtown open to badge holders, partner organizations and the general public. Try to corner a speaker or a marketer for advice without ponying up the cash to attend. 175+ companies already have people registered to attend, so expect the audience to be diverse.

So why High Five? 

Carroll views it as a symbol of collaboration and success, "emphasizing the coming together of the marketing community and the creative community." There are seven community partners (other industry associations) involved in the event and 19 sponsors, most of whom are local advertising, creative and marketing agencies. Their joint mission is to showcase the vibrancy of the Triangle's marketing and creative community.

It's also a fun topic for video-making. Check out the video Centerline Digital created to promote the event:

Credit: Centerline Digital