I recently had the opportunity to attend the ClickZ conference in New York. The conference was held in the Marriott Marquis in the heart of Times Square. It was a great opportunity to hear what fellow digital marketers were working on; network and better understand how these marketers were pushing the digital economy forward. In total, there were probably close to 1,000 attendees across all walks of marketing, as the conference focused on these four broad tracks: Search & Acquire, Engage & Convert, Retain & Grow, and Digital Transformation.

During my two days, I had a chance to listen to a number of speakers – here are two of my favorites.

John Roberts, SVP at About.com

An astro-physicist by trade, John heads up About.com’s data science and audience development teams.   His team focuses on providing insights and revealing interesting information about About.com visitors, their usage and their interactions with the site. Not only do they track day-to-day performance, but they also look at trends across months and years. They have a systematic approach of using (visual) data and information to help guide decision making. They have reduced the cost of asking questions. This sounds weird – but now that things are more open – it’s easier to ask questions, get answers to help chart decision making. Additionally, there are a lot more people asking thoughtful questions and really digging into the metrics.

Here at Intermarkets, we’ve been working on creating different visual dashboards to look at trends across our publishers and properties. We’ve also allowed our employees greater access to data and data analytics. People are genuinely interested in tracking metrics and want to know how certain decisions impact pageviews, uniques, or revenues.

Peter McGuinnnes, CMO of Chobani

Greek yogurt maker Chobani, was founded 10 years ago and has had a meteoric rise since first launching in 2007. Back in 2007, Greek Yogurt accounted for less than 1% of all yogurt sales, today Greek yogurt accounts for more than 50% of all yogurt consumption in the US. Much of the category growth can be attributed to Chobani.

The focus of the speech wasn’t about Greek Yogurt – but how Chobani continues to be genuine, but bold in everything they do. The company challenged conventional wisdom when it was formed – investing and believing in a product that was different, but authentic in its DNA.

Much like the CEO’s initial approach in starting the business, Peter McGuiness went on to say this about Chobani’s marketing strategy. “If you have something to say, say it. Don’t mince words. Don’t market in the middle; the middle is lame. Consumers don’t appreciate it. It’s not going to cut through, it’s not going to be relevant and it’s not going to resonant.”

For us here at Intermarkets, the company continues to be authentic in our approach in dealing with advertisers, key partners, and vendors. Back in 2012, Intermarkets made a bold bet on programmatic advertising and haven’t looked back. The company had to make a number of tough strategic decisions, looking at personnel, investments and which partners to work with. Just in a few years, the marketplace has completely flipped on its head and now Intermarkets is seen as one of the leaders in the programmatic space. This strategic bet has enabled Intermarkets to have some of its most successful quarters as advertisers and buyers are getting better access to our premium audiences.

Overall, the conference was a success – a chance to hear from a number of great speakers, network with industry peers, and finally get a chance to test out a pair of virtual reality headsets!