The Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) conference will be taking place on February 8. The conference will provide marketers with an inspirational start to the year, and give them a platform  to engage with award winning leaders, making the job of planning for the future in this era of rapid innovation that much less complicated.

IMC has become Africa’s largest marketing conference and this year’s line-up will feature the marketers behind brands firms such as McDonald’s, Standard Bank and Alexander Forbes, as well as insights from local and international agency thought leaders.

The big take-out: IMC 2018 promises to start the year with a bang, featuring themes and insights from local and international marketing and agency opinion leaders on everything from reputation management to disruptive technologies and connecting with youth audiences.

According to IMC spokesman Dale Hefer, there will be three streams of content running simultaneously throughout the one-day event, which will cover nine themes overall. This format is a first-to-market in SA conferencing.

Artificial intelligence and big data, presented by Katherine Madley of Alexander Forbes and Lee Naik from TransUnion will be one of the morning’s themes. HDI’s Bongani Chinkanda will also be there, presenting a consumer insights session, where he will focus on connecting with township youth, while Jason Stewart from HaveYouHeard will speak on the evolution of insights. The third stream of the morning focuses on e-commerce and inbound marketing, featuring Dan Matthews of Episerver.

“We will also be hosting sessions on digital marketing technologies, which will be presented by Walter Penfold of Everlytic, while Matthew Barclay of Meltwater will talk on content and reputation management, with a third session focusing on digital disruption,” says Hefer.

The afternoon sessions will include Daniel Padiachy of McDonald’s discussing customer experience; a number of digital leaders will take the audience through the ins and outs of  influencer marketing; while BBDO CEO Boniswa Pezisa, Funeka “What’s your next” Montjane of Standard Bank and Ann Nurock of Relationship Audits & Management will focus on creative and big idea creation.

Trends and case studies from Cannes – showcasing the work that has won the most awards at the ceremony – will be presented by Nurock, previously Grey SA CEO and Grey Canada president and CEO. Nurock will also discuss the McKinsey & Co report on the importance of consistent creativity and how companies that are consistently creative perform better than those that are not. Her session will conclude with insights around artificial intelligence and the implications the technology has for marketers, as well as gender stereotyping and brand purpose.

For more information, go to www.imcconference.com. The IMC conference will be held at Vodaworld in Midrand, Gauteng.