MONDAY / AUGUST 13, 2018

4:00 pm | Registration opens

5:00 pm | Opening Keynote Session

Fostering Next-Gen Brand Loyalty

Nearly every business model on the planet is being impacted by a powerful, disruptive force: digitization. Consumers are no longer just looking to brands to provide services where and how they want them – they demand it. This session will highlight the crucial intersection of mobile and customer loyalty, discussing strategies to increase engagement, retention and brand favorability among target audiences.

Keynote Speaker:
Mary Hines | Managing Director, Customer Engagement & Innovation | Citi


Mary Hines
Managing Director, Customer Engagement & Innovation

5:30 – 7:30 pm Opening Reception

Join us on opening night for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. This is a great opportunity to meet some of our speakers, sponsors and your fellow attendees.



7:00 am | Registration & Breakfast

8:00 am | Opening Remarks

• David Drain | SVP of Events | Networld Media Group

8:10 am | Keynote Session

Using Creative Storytelling for Digital Transformation

After decades of digital disruption, why are there still so few traditional retailers that have been able to adapt in the face of “retail Armageddon?” A lot of companies realize they need to change, and throw technology at the wall to see what sticks. The problem with this is that people aren’t changing nearly as fast as technology, so we need to build intuitive tools that can change human behavior.

Join this session to learn how the team from Lowe’s Innovation Labs introduced an innovative approach rooted in narrative and neuroscience that led the Fortune 50 retailer to build augmented and virtual reality stores, in-store autonomous robots, the first store in space, and exoskeletons for store employees.

Keynote Speaker:
Amanda Manna | Former Head of Narrative & Partnerships | Lowe’s Innovation Labs


Amanda Manna
Former Head of Narrative & Partnerships
Lowe’s Innovation Labs

9:00 am | Refreshment Break

9:30 am | Marketing Track

Mobile Messaging Strategies to Increase Conversion and Retention

Contextualized, personalized and relevant messaging leads to action and customer satisfaction. If done correctly, mobile messaging will be the preferred communication method for most consumers. The message can be delivered via many platforms: SMS, MMS, email, push, mobile wallet and RCS. We’ll also touch on compliance with spam regulations.

Lisa Ajdini | Director, Mobile Strategy | Caesars Entertainment
Kaela Kucera | Communications Coordinator | Skogen’s Festival Foods
Desmond Overstreet | Global Digital Product Marketing | McDonald’s
Haseeb Tariq | Mobile Marketing & E-commerce | GUESS

Kashif Haq | Regional Director of Americas | Apigate

  • Sponsored by Apigate

9:30 am | IT/Operations Track

Harnessing AI for Your Business

Machine learning. Natural language processing. Deep learning. These are some of the terms we are hearing as it relates to artificial intelligence. AI is the next evolution in IOT and data analytics. In this session, you will learn what companies are doing today and next steps you can take now to know more about your customers, service them better and faster, and anticipate their needs.

Nikos Acuña | Chief Visionary | Sizmek
Brenda Barré | Manager, Marketing Products & Innovation | Caesars Entertainment
Sara Taylor-Demos | Co-Founder | Cora Home

Christopher Hall | Managing Director | ICX Association

10:30am | Refreshment Break

11:00 am | Marketing Track

Hit the Target with Data Analytics

Now that we are past the buzzword stage, let’s talk about targeting through personalization based on valuable data. We’ll identify various sources of data — sometimes in places you might not expect. With the right strategy and tools, you can gain valuable insights into your customers’ behavior and begin predicting their next move, all with the goal of having a full view of the customer.

Eric Buckner | Sr. Product Manager, Apps & Online | Pampered Chef
Prakash Karamchandani | Co-Founder | Balance Grille
Desmond Overstreet | Global Digital Product Marketing | McDonald’s

Robin Johnston | COO | Bloom Intelligence

11:00 am | IT/Operations Track

Meeting the Demand for Delivery

In the age of Amazon and UberEATS, your customers want your product on their own terms. Increasingly, in-store pickup, curbside delivery or home delivery is the answer for their quest for convenience. We’ll address the latest best practices and lessons learned to ensure a smooth experience for all.

Michelle Adams | Senior Brand Manager | Freshii
Stephen Dutton | Consumer Foodservice Analyst | Euromonitor International
Dennis Schleicher | Senior Manager, Customer Experience | Kohl’s

Tod Szewczyk | VP, Director Emerging Technology & Innovation | Leo Burnett

12:00 pm | Lunch

1:00 pm | Marketing Track

Rewarding Experiences

They say loyalty cannot be bought, but must be earned. Does your mobile loyalty program have the staying power and usefulness to be an integral part of your revenue plan? Are your customers making purchasing decisions based on the program you have in place? Perhaps it’s not a one size, fits all proposition. This session will discuss how to take your reward program and customer experience to the next level.

Dana Dimitri | VP of Integrated Marketing & Customer Engagement | Potbelly Sandwich Works
Will Hanrahan | Digital Brand Manager | Fazoli’s
Tim Kraus | Director of Interactive & Innovation | Quiznos

Will Hernandez | Editor | Mobile Payments Today

1:00 pm | IT/Operations Track

Chatbots: Opportunities & Challenges

Studies say that consumers are open to using a chatbot, though most have not. Among those who have used the automated intelligent response system, many have been disappointed in the execution of this new technology. We’ll look at some examples of who’s doing it right (and perhaps a few that miss the mark) and use cases for your business.

Jennifer Bowser | Digital Product Manager | Allstate Insurance
Billy Collins | Principal & Head of Mobile Strategy | Punchkick Interactive
Jordyn McQuaide | Digital Platform Manager | Home Credit US

Christopher Hall | Managing Director | ICX Association

  • Sponsored by Punchkick Interactive

2:00 pm | Refreshment Break

2:30 pm | Marketing Track

Designing the Best Mobile Ordering Experience

There has been a big push toward mobile ordering and a good bit of demand from consumers to where it is now expected. The best mobile ordering platforms have a good UX, with ease and simplicity being the primary drivers. The best practices also include ease of payment, status updates, instructions for pickup and better training of staff.

Derrick Chan | Director of eCommerce | Taco Bell
Melissa Douros | Director of Digital Product Management | Great Wolf Resorts
Taylor Webster | User Experience & Design Manager | Lowe’s

Matthew Cava | Principal, Mobile Development & Digital Transformation | Capgemini

2:30 pm | IT/Operations Track

Roundtable: What’s Your Mobile Payments Strategy?

Some say the payment doesn’t really matter anymore. It’s what happens before, during and after. Some examples:

Before: Beacon interaction with mobile app; wayfinding to product; smart mirrors in the dressing room
During: Deals that can be applied during the transaction; signing up for loyalty; etc.
After: Digital receipt with a discount for your next visit

Mobile payments are, however, key to creating the ultimate buying experience. We’ll debate which strategies work best to make it easy for your customers to connect with your brand, shop or purchase inside your storefront and pay.

Now with the idea of making the payment invisible and an afterthought for the consumer (Uber, Amazon Go), it seems everyone is trying to focus on the mobile customer experience. How do we do all this while making sure this experience is safe and secure?

Jayson Canady | Director of Global Payments Strategy | Hyatt Hotels
Will Hernandez | Editor | Mobile Payments Today

Melayna Gabiou | Director of Marketing | Kount

  • Sponsored by Kount

3:30 pm | Refreshment Break

4:00 pm | General Session

Social Media: What’s Now, What’s Next

There is nothing more authentic and valuable than a customer enthusiastically sharing their love for your brand on social media. But social media is a double-edged sword: while you get praise from some, there’s criticism from others. This session will explore engaging your audience, creating brand affinity, new platforms, strategies, monitoring and social commerce.

Liz Bazner | Digital Manager | A&W Restaurants
Cortney Heimerl | Digital Marketing Manager | Marcus Hotels & Resorts
Dylan Schmer | Digital Marketing Manager | Duffy’s Sports Grill

Lee Auerbach | VP of Sales | Chatmeter

  • Sponsored by Chatmeter

5:50 pm | Meet in lobby to walk to the offsite event.

6:00 – 9:00 pm | Dinner Party

Chicago Sports Museum

The Chicago Sports Museum combines high-tech interactive experiences — including skill challenges and simulated experiences — with unique sports memorabilia and an impressive collection of game-used treasures and other artifacts. The 8,000-square-foot space celebrates all of Chicago’s major sports teams. The interactive exhibits use body-tracking technology, allowing you to score goals as Blackhawks star Patrick Kane, shoot free throws as Bulls veteran Scottie Pippen and many other one-of-a-kind experiences. The Museum is also home to the city’s largest collection of 2016 World Series memorabilia.

This private dinner party is included with your Summit registration at no additional cost. The Chicago Sports Museum is a five-minute walk from the Sofitel.

CONNECT 2018 Agenda


7:30 am | Breakfast

8:30 am | General Session

Brain Exchange

One of the highlights of the Summit is this deeply interactive session where you’ll work with others at your table on a specific topic, hashing out best practices and things you’ve learned. Come prepared to learn and to share!

APPS: Is Your App a Boring Uni-Tasker? | Randy Ferguson, TachyonIQ
CX: Measure and Optimize the Customer Experience | Lee McNiel, ReviewPush
MOBILE MARKETING: The Ins and Outs of Mobile Marketing | Michael Ahearn, 3C Interactive
OMNICHANNEL: Bringing the E-Commerce Experience to Brick-And-Mortar Locations | Robin Johnston, Bloom Intelligence
REVIEWS: Turning Online Reviews into a Revenue-Generating Tool | Mike Pycha, Brandify


9:30 am | Refreshment Break

10:00 am | Keynote Session

Best Practices for Building a Private Brand and Driving Loyalty in the Digital Era

Technology has forever changed the way we live our lives and no one embraces these changes quite like Millennials. The next generation of shoppers are increasingly seeking the convenience of shopping from their handheld device. Boxed’s service was created specifically for these consumers, and its private brand is thriving in this new landscape. Boxed, recently named by Forbes Magazine as one of the next “billion dollar startups,” has taken the best elements of the wholesale shopping experience and folded it into one innovative, cutting-edge mobile app that allows consumers direct-to-their-door access to their favorite warehouse club products.

Keynote Speaker:
Jeff Gamsey | VP, Private Brands | Boxed Wholesale


Jeff Gamsey
VP, Private Brands
Boxed Wholesale

10:45 am | Refreshment Break

11:00 am | Closing Keynote Session

Designing User Experience for Business Impact

Your users are only a click or tap away from leaving you for your competitors. In an ever-increasingly competitive environment, it’s critical your users have a good experience each and every time they use your app or site.

In this talk, Willy will contrast good and bad user experience designs and their respective ROI, based on real world data. You will learn:

How to launch successful products and prevent failures in the marketplace.
Why good user experience design isn’t just about satisfying the needs of your users, but your business goals as well.
The fundamentals of good user experience design and the value it brings to your business.

Keynote Speaker:
Willy Lai | VP, User Experience Design | Macy’s


Willy Lai
VP, User Experience Design

12:00 pm | Summit adjourns

Agenda and speakers are subject to change.