Dennis Ainge, former SVP of Data Strategy at Neustar, retired in 2014, yet still comes to our flagship RampUp conference in San Francisco every year. Yes, it’s that fun!
Read our Q&A with him below to see how far we’ve come and why he thinks everyone should attend RampUp 2019.
1. How did you first hear about the RampUp conference?
Auren and Joel approached me about the initial conference. The first RampUp was at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. They said it was going to be the conference where ‘data czars’ and the mover and shakers of the industry come together to learn, sell, barter, and network. The entire conference would be around the topic of the digital transformation of advertising and the data that is driving it. I don’t recall ever seeing an agenda or anything formal on the conference, but who needs an agenda when you have an amazing salesman like Auren pitching the conference!
[Editor’s note: We have had agendas for several years now, and this year’s is awesome.]
2. What was your first impression of RampUp?
I can’t recall any specific speakers from the first conference but it was definitely where deals got signed and relationships were born. More than any other event I’ve attended, it became the conference where you went to meet with all of your partners and important clients. In the early days, it was also where you went to learn a new language—the language and acronyms of the digital advertising age such as onboarding, DMP, PPC, PPV, CTR, and DSP.
3. Who have been your favorite speakers?
There have been a lot of excellent speakers, but some that I particularly enjoyed listening to were Neal Mohan of Google, Kevin Akeroyd of Cision and formerly Oracle, and Julius Genachowski, former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.
4. How have you seen RampUp grow over the years?
Seeing RampUp grow is a bit like watching your kids grow up. The changes seem subtle from day to day, but they’re pretty amazing when you look back a year at a time, and even more significant when looking at the first RampUp conference in 2014.
Early online targeting seemed a bit magical. No one really knew how things worked behind the scenes. Mobile targeting seemed like a distant and even more complex goal. Now, targeting is vastly different due to the number of niche data sources who can help an advertiser target the exact audience with laser precision.
5. How would you describe RampUp in three words?
- Transformational – it’s where the movers and shakers meet to transform the world of traditional advertising to digital and mobile.
- Insightful – It’s more than just educational. It’s where you go to learn from the industry experts. I always walk away with something that I can use in my everyday business dealings.
- Lucrative – I’ve always left RampUp with new accounts and relationships that generated new revenue.
6. What would you say to someone to convince them to attend RampUp?
I do this all the time. I always tell people I’m not a guy who loves conferences, but there is one that I’ve never missed, and that’s RampUp. I attend because it’s a four-day conference compacted into two days—amazing content, all of the right people and the opportunity to get deals done creates an amazing ‘conference cocktail’ that is difficult to replicate.
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