Alabama’s Y’all Connect to explore the very latest in digital marketing

Alabama’s Y’all Connect to explore the very latest in digital marketing
This year’s Y’all Connect conference will be held at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex with an expected attendance of 250 people.

Picture this: You’re attending the third-annual Y’all Connect conference on Friday, June 12, and you decide to sit in on Kerry O’Shea Gorgone’s 11:30 a.m. presentation.

Even though you paid to attend, you decide to open your Periscope app and live-stream the conference for those who didn’t pay or couldn’t attend.

Ironically, Gorgone’s presentation discusses the legality of using such social media apps. In just a matter of minutes, you’ve gone from being a modish media manipulator to being embarrassed and possibly a lawbreaker.

That, in a snapshot (or is it Snapchat?) is what has made Y’all Connect one of the hottest annual tickets for those who work, live or even have an interest in digital marketing.

The digital world is outpacing the physical one in many ways – from the law to politics and especially business – generating curiosity, instigating conflict and impacting the bottom line. (

The conference will be at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex on Friday starting at 8 a.m. Alabama Power is the presenting sponsor.

Wade Kwon Yall Connect
Wade Kwon, Y’all Connect conference director

Wade Kwon is conference director and said this year’s Y’all Connect will likely see the highest attendance yet, with close to 250 expected.

“The first big difference this year is we’re going to have a larger crowd,” Kwon said. ”I’m glad our attendance is growing.”

Another big difference, Kwon said, is the mix of speakers. Only a couple of them have presented at Y’all Connect before and each one brings a special set of digital marketing expertise, he said.

For a full list of speakers, see the conference schedule here. (

Jason Falls, a noted digital strategist and author, spoke at Y’all Connect last year. Falls, who lived in Birmingham for five years, said he’s not surprised to see the Magic City become home to an influential conference like Y’all Connect. (

“I wasn’t surprised by what I found when I came back to Birmingham,” Falls said. “Birmingham is an emerging city.”

Falls said he was impressed by the conference and the quality of speakers at Y’all Connect.

“I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the presenters,” he said. “The level of engagement from the audience was also impressive.”

The conference will focus on digital marketing to help businesses better understand how to reach their customers.

Falls said the interest in digital marketing is greater than ever before because businesses have come to understand that’s where their customers are and to reach them, they have to be there, too.

“If you have a product or service and need to reach the buyer – which is pretty much every business on Earth – you need to be thinking about the digital space,” Falls said. “That doesn’t mean there aren’t businesses that can’t survive without being online, but those are becoming fewer and farther between.”

The most innovative companies, Kwon said, are trying to stay ahead of the digital trends. Most, however, struggle to keep pace.

The perfect example is the live streaming anyone with a cell phone can do with apps like Periscope and Meerkat, Kwon said. While they can be strong social media and, in turn, digital marketing tools, they also bring their own set of legal, competitive and even ethical issues.

Those are issues presenters like Gorgone are ready to take on at Y’all Connect.

“This is a topic that last year we wouldn’t have done because the apps didn’t even exist yet,” Kwon said. “We will never run out of topics for the speakers to cover because it’s happening so fast.”

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