ONWARD17: Day 2 Recap

During the second full day of ONWARD, attendees got to dig deeper into the intelligent services and technologies that are facilitating an intelligent transformation in the way consumers interact with brands. They can return to work prepared to take their team to the forefront of marketing in the Intelligent Future.

The day opened with a keynote from Google’s Naomi Makofsky. Makofsky works on Global Product Partnerships for Google Assistant, with a focus on launching new platform capabilities, helping developers with discovery and re-engagement, and delivering great user experiences.

During her talk, Makofsky shared Google’s vision for the Intelligent Future — and how businesses should prepare for it today.

“AI is here to shape products, companies, and entire industries,” she said. “And it’s so important for technology to adapt to you — and not the other way around.”


“Find the micro-moments where you can be become assistive.”


“Conversation is not just about information retrieval. It’s about action and providing assistance.”

Directly following Makofsky, our own Founder and CEO, Howard Lerman sat down with DexYP CEO Joe Walsh to discuss how they made the transition from a Yellow Pages publisher to a comprehensive digital business platform — and what’s next for the YP giant.


Walsh shared stories from his career and how he helped transition YP to a comprehensive digital platform.

After lunch, Amazon’s Chief Evangelist for Alexa And Echo, Dave Isbitski took the stage to discuss voice-enabled everything. During the keynote, Isbitski discussed advances in spoken language and shared thoughts around what it means to build next generation user experiences — with only your voice.

“We’re trying to voice-enable all of the stuff out there,” he said. “So all you need to worry about is your customer.”


Isbitski shared how voice search is changing how we live our lives.

Yext President and Chief Revenue Officer, Jim Steele, then sat down with Yelp Chief Operating Officer, Jed Nachman, for a conversation about how the reviews industry is changing and how businesses can futureproof their brand on the world’s top community-powered reputation platform.


Yelp COO Jed Nachman shared his thoughts on the future of reviews.

Finally, Lerman led a fireside chat with Hubspot’s Brian Halligan. Both CEOs of two proudly East Coast tech companies, the two discussed how technology, marketing, and customer interaction have changed over the past 10 years, and what they believe the next 10 years will hold.

“In today’s world, human behavior is everything,” Halligan said. “Meaning that our marketing departments need to change drastically… again.”  


Chatbots, AI, the future of marketing, and even the Grateful Dead made the conversation between Halligan and Lerman

Attendees also had the opportunity to attend more than 20 different breakout sessions during the day, featuring an elite speaker lineup from brands such as Bing, Google, Yelp, Arby’s, Marriott, Hibu, Pitney Bowes, Edward Jones, Kiehl’s, Waze, Comcast, McDonald’s, and more. From the intelligent future in Japan and what it means to rank today to the new customer experience in financial services and how to find success with Yext, attendees learned from some of the brightest minds in marketing and technology.


Director of SEO, Sean Kainec shared how Comcast is using Yext to accomplish their strategic priorities alongside our own Chief Customer Officer, Wendi Sturgis.


Guests heard from search experts Greg Sterling, Andrew Shotland, Melissa Walner, and Todd Renard on how to put your business in front of consumers.

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Yext CMO Jeffrey K. Rohrs shares the key tenants of The Everywhere Brand during the day’s breakouts.

Closing out the day, legendary actor, producer, director, creator, and star of the forthcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Mark Hamill joined us to share lessons learned from his 40+ years in the entertainment business. During this keynote, he not only explored the lasting legacy of Luke Skywalker but also discussed how he embraced his own future to become one of the most sought-after voice actors in the animation and video game industries.

“I love the suspense of working without a net.” he said. “Ultimately, tenacity is more important than talent.”
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After Hamill’s keynote wrapped, guests headed over to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange for an ONWARD bash. Filled with cocktails, appetizers, dancing, and conversation, the night was truly unforgettable for all in attendance.

For those looking to understand the future of intelligent services and the importance of Digital Knowledge Management, ONWARD was a can’t-miss event! A big thank you to everyone who attended including all of our speakers, as well as our sponsors: Verve, Vivial, Vendasta, Pitney Bowes, TrustPilot, Trabon, Tiger Pistol, Tapclicks, Radiu8, Public Reputation, Proofpoint, Mono, emma, Bing, Binary Fountain, SEMRush, Storeforce, Scorpion, Duda, and Acquisio.

Want to get in on the action during next year’s event? Stay tuned for more information on ONWARD 2018.


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