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Digital Day 2019: Expecting the Unexpected

Going into DMAW’s Digital Day for the second year in a row, I knew I’d be leaving with a wealth of new knowledge in the digital space, but little did I know that the lessons learned would be both inside and outside of the sessions. Digital Day taught me more than just the latest digital trends, email deliverability, and data segmentation, it also taught me the most important rule of all: to always expect the unexpected.

The day began with a delicious breakfast and eager ears ready for a day full of learning. At 9:00 a.m. sharp the impressive panel prepared to kick off How to Cut Through the Noise in 2020 at the front of the room when—despite the routine check ups and multiple tests only moments before—none of the microphones were working.

Nonetheless, the panel initiated their “teacher voices” and the session was a huge success! Despite the small speedbump right off the bat, morale was high and the speakers were still engaging. How to Cut Through the Noise in 2020 expanded on knowing your donors’ news consumption, knowing what your audience members have to say about your brand and utilizing that feedback into campaigns, and keeping in mind that what is right for your organization and what is right for fundraising don’t always necessarily work hand-in-hand.

As the panel finished up and attendees began preparing for the next session, the unthinkable happened. Not 45 minutes after recuperating from the microphone hiccup, the fire alarm went off. Reactions were a mix between stress, disbelief, and those simply shaking their heads and laughing at the situation—because really, what else can you do but laugh and shake it off? In that moment, only one hour into the day and two unpreventable incidents in, a vital lesson was learned. No matter how many hours you spend planning and preparing for something, unforeseeable incidents still happen. Much like experiences in the digital space while running campaigns, there is always that factor of something out of your control going wrong, and that’s okay; the beauty of digital is the ability to remain flexible and it certainly doesn’t take away from the full experience. Like we saw at Digital Day, it’s how you handle those incidents and keep moving forward without letting those unpreventable mishaps stopping you from achieving your goals.

The fire alarm only lasted 20 minutes, and everything was back on track instantly the moment we returned inside. The remainder of the day ran smoothly, and attendees were fortunate enough to learn all about the latest (and future) website trends, automation, utilizing bots, the hottest digital ideas, the importance of email deliverability, and so much more. All-in-all, Digital Day 2019 was a huge success, and each of the speakers, organizers, and panelists did a fantastic job sharing their knowledge and expertise with us in the digital space. I highly recommend attending future Digital Day Forums because the people you meet, the knowledge you gain, and the information you expand upon are all something I plan on taking back with me to my day-to-day job. Plus, even if there are some unexpected “surprises” along the way, as digital experts, we always know to expect the unexpected.

Jessica Stober is a Digital Account Manager at The Lukens Company and can happily be reached at 703-845-8484 ex. 262 or