Event aims to make area a tech center

Springfield is hosting its first web marketing conference Thursday called Interact13, an all-day event bringing together tech gurus, marketing enthusiasts and business owners interested in improving marketing plans.

Oxiem Interactive, a local marketing agency that focuses on interactive marketing design, organized the event with the help of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce and sponsors such as Konecranes.

“It’s really about creating and elevating the understanding and ability of companies and organizations to be effective in an interactive world,” said John Fimiani, co-owner of Oxiem.

Interactive marketing includes creating branding, logos and an online presence for business clients, as well as promoting them through the use of social media sites like Facebook.

The conference starts at 8 a.m. Thursday at the Hollenbeck Bayley Creative Arts and Conference Center. Fimiani pulled experts from top web marketing platforms as keynote speakers and has seminars from experts such as from Yelp to provide tips and information on Internet marketing.

About 165 people so far have registered, Fimiani said, but he expects more than 200 people at the event. On site registration is available and costs $125 for the full day of seminars. For more information, go to interact13.com.

“Most people coming are individual businesses, organizations, people interested in the interactive space,” Fimiani said. “It’s not dominated by agencies.”

The conference is divided into two sessions, with more basic information in the morning for beginners and more advanced sessions in the afternoon.

Fimiani is the first keynote speaker and will present his research that looks at how the local community interacts with companies through Internet marketing. He surveyed 400 people, including some in Springfield and Dayton.

For example, Fimiani’s research found that Springfield residents are more likely to use technology to connect and are less likely to be originators of content.

“The main reason we’re doing (the study) is to demonstrate thought leadership and insight in interactive marketing and demonstrate how companies can use this,” he said.

Fimiani hopes to conduct the conference every year in the Miami Valley, as well as in other cities across the state.

“We anticipate this will become the basis for creating an interactive organization for the state of Ohio for trade professionals,” Fimiani said.

One of the keynote speakers, Jeff Rohrs, said a conference like Interact13 is significant for a community.

“At this point in time there’s so much changing, it’s imperative that professionals connect with other professionals,” said Rohrs, vice president of marketing at ExactTarget, a major email marketing provider

At the conference, Rohrs will talk about what the future for technology looks like and how it affects marketers and businesses.

Community expertise builds on peer-to-peer based learning and networking, Rohrs said.

“These kind of events connect not only companies but the idea-makers. It really benefits the community far beyond the last drink at cocktails after the conference,” said Rohrs, a Miami University graduate. “Having a lot of universities and drawing from multiple urban regions, I think (Springfield is) a great place to have a conference like that.”

Fimiani aims to show that Springfield can be a center for technology.

“We believe technology places can be anywhere,” Fimiani said. “Interactive is accessible anywhere, it doesn’t matter and even talent can work virtually. There’s no reason Springfield can’t participate.”

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