#KhorosEngage: Top tweet takeaways.

Khoros is one platform where all of your brand’s social media is managed. Two industry-leading customer engagement platforms, Spredfast and Lithium, merged in October 2018 to create Khoros.

Spredfast is a software company that provides social media marketing, content and community management, and analytics tools for agencies and enterprise companies. Lithium Technologies develops software that enables brands to connect with their ideal customers across all digital and social channels.

BL.INK has been involved in Spredfast’s annual summits for five years. After the merger, these summits became Khoros Engage. It’s a three-day event that brings over 700 customer engagement specialists together in Austin for inspiration and insights from industry thought leaders. 

Khoros had just appointed a new CEO, Jack Blaha. Blaha was previously the CEO at Lone Wolf Technologies and PeopleAdmin. He successfully led both of these companies through growth and transformation phases. During his address of Engage attendees on day two, Blaha mentioned he’s been involved in 16 company mergers over his career and is looking forward to leading the continued merger of the Khoros/Spredfast teams.



This year’s conference was at the beautiful newly opened Fairmount hotel in Austin, TX.
According to their website;
The 37-story, 1,048 guest room hotel features nearly 140,000 square feet of total meeting space to accommodate a full range of events – from intimate board meetings or incentive trips to charity galas.



Day one: September 9

It was an early start for registration followed by a full day full of Khoros platform training and certification sessions with all of the Khoros success managers and leaders. Session topics covered marketing, care, and community management.




Day one wrapped up with the welcome reception mixer in the Fairmount’s outdoor terrace space.




If you’re not familiar with Austin in September — let’s just say it was hot and HUMID.





There were three mixer events throughout the city. One was sponsored by BL.INK and hosted special guests from national enterprise marketing and community teams.




Day two: September 10

The day kicked off with breakfast tacos and networking. A perfect start to the day!

To open the day, Khoros presented their product showcase to a captive audience.




The opening keynote speaker was Spike Jones, SVP of strategic services at Khoros. He’s best known in these circles not only for his great skills as a presenter but also for his snappy wardrobe.



Katherine Calvert, CMO at Khoros, followed up with her keynote centered around measuring the value of great customer engagement.



After her presentation, she was joined on stage by new CEO, Jack Blaha to talk about the high expectations of modern consumers.


The next keynote of the day was from Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics. He didn’t disappoint with his presentation…and his trademark neon green glasses.




The halls of the Fairmont function center took on a college campus-like atmosphere for the breakout sessions, only the “students” represented some of the best known and biggest companies and social footprints. Coffee pitstops were mandatory to help us all get through the day.

Breakout sessions are all “a la carte”, so marketing and community attendees rush to get seats for the topics they want to hear about. It’s a chance to learn from brands and industry leaders on topics aligning with digital care, marketing, and community.

Breakout sessions included:

“Making the most of private messaging”

Sixty-eight percent of consumers are using messaging to stay in touch with businesses and engage in safe, convenient, and personalized experiences. Panel leaders shared how they’re embracing messaging to create engaging experiences and long-lasting relationships with their customers.

Rob Lawson, Partnerships: Business Messaging at Google
Allison Fasching, Sr. Social Strategist at Sprint.




“Measure the impact of your community”

This session covered how brands are quantifying the performance of their communities for users, and the impact of the community on their business.

Aslan Noghre-Kar, Director of Customer Community at Change Healthcare
Mark Obee, Group Manager of Social & Community at Intuit.
Miles Hipkin, Sr. Product Owner at BT & EE Community & Social

“Proving the ROI of customer engagement across the business”

This session asked the question “Does your company leadership know the value of customer engagement efforts?” 

How does top-notch customer experience translate to business value? The speakers explored how their companies form a solid link between customer experience and net value to the business. 

Nicole Johnson, VP of Social Media at Synchrony.
Kosta Triantafillou, Sr. Director of Product Marketing at SAP



Keynote: The future of work is social and collaborative with IDC, Flexera StubHub + USAA.


Modern work life is changing — fast. How are companies and employees adapting to future proof their organizations and careers with the rapid changes in technology?

Mary Hill, Head of Social Media & Customer Service at StubHub
Kimberly May, VP of Support Services at Flexera
Bill Gerth, Director of Social Business Strategy at USAA
Wayne Kurtzman, Director for Social and Collaboration at IDC.



Breakout Sessions included:

“Starting out on the community journey”

Everything you need to know about growing a community around your brand in year one.

Brian Oblinger, VP, CX + Global community at DataRobot
Traci Cappiello, Program Manager, Community at Google.
Jim Roth, SVP of Dell Digital at Dell



“The combined power of paid and organic social”

Paid and organic are the polar opposites of marketing, but they’re both equally important and drive better results when they’re used together.

Sarah Holm, Social + Digital. Communications Manager at Ford Motor Company.
Kristel Vite, Global Social Media Manager at Cigna.
Danielle Stapleton, Social Media Strategist & Global Program Manager at National Instruments. 


This breakout room was presided over by a very special guest!



“The role of automation”

An excellent presentation on how to introduce automation into your organization.

Katrina Schlicht, Project Manager / Product Owner, Digital at Sprint.
Jillian Zatta, VP, Business Development & Customer Success at Reply.ai.




Breakout sessions included:

“Planning for the future & growth of your community”

Talking and listening to your customers and solving their needs creates long-term relationships with your brand.

Sandy Rivas, Program Manager at Microsoft.
Jennifer Sanchez, Senior Manager. Marketplace Experience at Upwork.
Richard Millington, Founder at Feverbee.




“Protecting your brand’s reputation through digital transformation”

Protecting your brand means being reactive, not just proactive.

Cory Notrica, Sr. Director Global Brand Protection at PepsiCo.
Allison Squires, Social Business Strategy Director at USAA.



“The best of customer care: be quick, be useful, be personal”

How long should it take to deliver premium customer support to your customers, and what does this include?

Michelle Buckley, Director of Operations at Southwest Airlines
Julien Schleret, Social Media Marketing Manager at Facebook.
Chela Arcelia, Social Media/Internet Customer Service Manager at Cigna.




Day two sessions wrapped up at 5:30 pm with the final keynote speaker presentation.


Keynote: “The customer care journey”

Are phone calls dead? Is asynchronous messaging the way of the future? And do 74% of households really own a Samsung product?

Michael Lawder, SVP of Customer Care at Samsung
Mike Betzer, GM of Care at Khoros.




Dinner at Bangers Beer garden

Sometimes all you need after a long, hot Texas day is an icy cold beer.



Day three: September 11

Breakfast and networking

Before the summit began for the day, a moment of silence was observed to commemorate the 18th anniversary of the September 11 tragedy in New York.


Opening Keynote. “The Khoros vision”. 

Modern brands are facing a “connection crisis”, with 77% of companies struggling to create consistency across marketing channels and devices.

Mike Betzer, GM of Care at Khoros
Kevin Morris, GM of Marketing at Khoros.



Keynote. “Customer journey through Care”

Brands aren’t the stories they tell their customers — it’s the story their customers tell about them.

Natanya Anderson, VP. Customer Enablement at Khoros.



Keynote. “Driving Innovation in the Customer Experience with General Motors”

What are the three key pieces of advice when you’re working with your internal customers?

Rebecca L. Harris, Ph. D. Global Head of Customer Engagement, Centre of Excellence at  General Motors.
Dianne Borges, SVP Customer Success at Khoros.



Following breakout sessions included:

“Crisis Management in the Digital Age”

Modern crisis management is all about the three Ps — preparation, purpose, and people.

Denny Moynihan, Senior Director, External Engagement at Quest Diagnostics.
Nathan Sandell, Senior Manager of Social Media at Mall of America.
Dan Webber, GM, Corporate and Advisory Services at Edleman.




“Gamification: Turning Rewards and Recognition into Brand Engagement”

What is gamification, and how can you apply it successfully in your business to attract and retain customers?

Julien Durand Burgoyne, Sr. Manager Social Media at Videotron.
Chris Hemedinger, Head of Online Communities at SAS
Dani Weinstein, Head of Global Community at Domo.



Keynote: Priti Joshi, VP of Strategy at Bumble

In her presentation, Priti Joshi shared how customer feedback and analytics is helping Bumble innovate and shape its brand and product.





As part of its commitment to its users and users of all online dating applications, Bumble spearheaded the passing of a bill protecting people from receiving unsolicited nude photos. Now that’s customer care.




Social networking and dating has never been so popular. Bumble now has 66 million registered users, and it’s growing by 90,000 subscribers…every day!



Bumble isn’t just an app. It’s a movement. Priti explained how their mission is to encourage kindness, confidence, and respect during all stages of building relationships, both online and offline.



Humans of Khoros Engage

You know your commitment to an event is strong when you bring your ace #sockgame.


And it just wouldn’t be a conference without those shiny new business cards going missing until the last minute!


People travel from far and wide to attend the annual Khoros Engage summit – a testament to its value for the business community, and its popularity as an event.



Join us at the next Khoros Engage summit in 2020 for more fantastic speakers, networking, and fun.


Did you know: You can integrate BL.INK into your Khoros Marketing (Spredfast) account seamlessly with just a few clicks, and shorten your branded URLs natively from within the Khoros Marketing platform?

Find out how, here.

Delivering Messaging Campaigns that Click 

In today’s market, standing out and being heard is on every marketer’s mind. BL.INK has compiled best practices across a number of customers to share the key elements of success that differentiate the best from the rest.