What to expect at the Ad Age Small Agency Conference

Martin Agency's Kristen Cavallo keynotes in-person event that includes panels and case studies on subjects from new business prospecting, to diversity and the threat of recession.

What to expect at the Ad Age Small Agency Conference

The industry’s only event tailored to small agencies is back and in person—the Ad Age Small Agency Conference & Awards will be held in Chicago on July 26 and 27. The two-day conference will include hands-on workshops, panels, keynotes, peer-to-peer activities, and case studies around topics fundamental to the prosperity of small shops.

This year, the event will cover cutting-edge subjects that have reshaped and revolutionized the ad industry since the onset of the pandemic: navigating the metaverse, best practices for dealing with search consultants, new growth models, the effect of inflation and more. Among the speakers are a who's who of execs from small shops including Fig, Omelet, Majority, Colussus, Lerma/ and more, all sharing their experiences, successes and stumbles.

The event will kick off at noon on July 26th. After a networking lunch, Brent Hodgins, Mirren Business Development managing director, will discuss generating AOR-like revenue from project-based clients. Krystle Watler, former agency executive at Virtue and currently at TikTok, will offer tips for navigating Bytedance’s social media and one of the fastest-rising and most dominant digital platforms.

A panel of female founders and industry leaders will reflect on their experiences and offer direction on making more equitable the traditionally male-dominated advertising workspace. Finally, Lindsey Slaby of Sunday Dinner, aka the “CMO Whisperer,” will dive into the minds of marketers and analyze how shops can position themselves to profit in the future.

The second day will kick off a keynote from Martin Agency CEO Kristen Cavallo, leading a conversation on the state of the industry and the importance of agencies standing up for their worth. Panels will address finding talent investment post-pandemic; why shops are investing in design, gaming Web3; best practices for dealing with search consultants, and more. Mischief @ No Fixed Address and MolsonCoors present a case study on courageous clients realizing and greenlighting “stupidly awesome ideas."

In the afternoon, Tom O’Keefe and Elena Robinson of OKRP will unveil an initiative that offers a new approach to diversity, and the team behind the viral “Don’t Eats” Super Bowl campaign will offer a behind-the-scenes look at the genesis of the idea, with Special Group U.S. and Uber Eats' Georgie Jeffreys.

As always, the conference will culminate with the long-waited 2022 Ad Age Small Agency Awards, recognizing and celebrating the top agencies, agency execs and campaigns of last year.