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Activate Tour 2023: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Goin’

All aboard the Activate Tour train! Okay, it’s not a literal train, but that would be kind of fun, right? The metaphorical train we’re alluding to is the fact that Activate Tour is continuing to push forward with no signs of slowing down. As a quick refresher, for those of you who haven’t yet had a chance to join us, Activate Tour is a highly concentrated version of our flagship conference: Activate Summit. It’s a chance for marketers around the world to connect and learn from peers in a more intimate setting.

That’s right—around the world. Taylor’s not the only one with a global tour. This year we’re touring in the U.S. and venturing to other countries (and continents) as well. In September our tour started with a visit to Chicago, then we went to Europe for a quick trip to Amsterdam. Next up we have New York, Sydney, Palo Alto, and Los Angeles. (If you want to join us in the upcoming tours, register today!)

As we make our travels along the tour route, we’ll be updating this post with takeaways from each stop, so be sure to check back in for all the deets. Here’s a little recap of Activate Tour so far.

Activate Tour Chicago

Unlocking Growth by Closing the Activation Gap

Marketers gathered to tackle a pressing issue in their field—the Activation Gap. Iterable’s CMO, Adri Gil Miner, showcased how Iterable’s AI-powered cross-channel capabilities offer a solution. Marketers learned how Iterable empowers them to forge deeper connections with customers, delivering personalized and dynamic communications at scale.

Increasing User Activation With Iterable & Branch

Hallow‘s Head of Marketing, Evan Laird, shared their success story in leveraging Iterable and Branch. By focusing on SMS, they increased user activation, retention, and engagement. Attendees learned valuable strategies for building trust, optimizing onboarding campaigns, and achieving rapid results with SMS in their cross-channel marketing.

After the afternoon sessions, attendees engaged in a friendly ping pong competition, and enjoyed an evening of appetizers and drinks, nurturing meaningful connections, and camaraderie!


speaker presenting at Activate Tour Chicago

Captivating presentations gave attendees excellent takeaways.

wide shot of conference room with lighting on ceiling visable

The room was buzzing with marketing excitement.

Iterators and speakers join together for a group photo in Chicago

Iterators and speakers join together for a group photo in Chicago.

Activate Tour Amsterdam

Optimising Large Databases With Iterable: A Small Team’s Success Story

Anna Levitin, Email & Marketing Operations Lead at Powtoon, shared things to think about when it comes to what you’re currently using in your tech stack. Consider what challenges and business goals you have and then (re)think about your tech stack and potential migrations. She also pointed out that brands need to invest in tech to stay ahead of the game—don’t let your competitors take your customers.

How AI is Revolutionising Marketing

In a panel session featuring Anna from Powtoon, Sander Pot, Lead CRM at DPG Media, and Beata Linz, Global CRM Director and Consultant at Adbirds & Beata Linz Consultancy, the speakers discussed how AI is making an impact. For example, they discussed how marketers are using AI to help with code versus having to scrape answers from Google.

Saving time is one of the crucial elements of using AI to enable extra brain space for other things. So in the coding example, they mentioned not only having AI help with code from the beginning, but also to find mistakes in existing code—making their teams faster and more efficient. They finished with a sentiment we’re likely all feeling: if you don’t get on the bandwagon you’ll be left behind.

Crowded conference room at Activate Tour Amsterdam

Everyone getting ready for sessions to start.

Old European building where the conference was held

Can’t beat European architecture.

People seated watching a presentation.

Sessions begin in a packed house!

Activate Tour New York

Individualization at Scale

The Big Apple has millions of people, but Activate Tour New York showed how it’s possible to market to each one at the individual level. Lauren Gonzalez, Sr. Manager of CRM & Retention at Thirty Madison spoke about how SMS and email make a perfect pairing for a personalized campaign, optimizing each channel to fit the customers’ needs. Following Lauren, Shane Fitzpatrick, Solutions Engineer at Mixpanel, talked about how wellness brand Winona drives optimal engagement using customer behavioral data to individualize the experience. Finally, Eddie Benedito, VP of Growth Marketing at Upside spoke with our partners Ragnarok about how his team builds over 80 personalized messages to drive loyalty. 

The result: attendees learned how individualization is possible at scale, yes, but that it also can take many forms across industries. 

Keynote Speech at Activate Tour New York

The keynote speech got the audience involved from the very beginning

The AI of It All

AI made a strong showing as well, with our executive panel featuring Cynthia Kleinbaum, CMO at MoneyLion, Louisa Wee, CMO at Asurion, and Toby Korner, SVP of Digital Marketing at Priceline. The group joined Iterable CMO Adriana Gil Miner to unpack if AI is really worth all the hype. To make a long story short, yes, it is. From full campaign implementation to daily efficiency improvements, the panel discussed the benefits and concerns in honest fashion, coming to the agreement that not adopting AI in your team is the quickest way to fall behind. 

Networking opportunities at Activate New York

New York is great for networking and having a good time all at once.

Activate Tour Sydney

Connecting Creativity to Channels to Campaigns

In our inaugural visit to Sydney, we homed in on how to meld creativity with cross-channel strategies for better, more impactful campaigns. Matt Brancatisano, CRM and CX Manager at Memories Group spoke about how his team, which delivers digital memorials to save cherished reflections with friends and family, used Iterable to send real-time communications, track interactions, and experiment across channels to personalize at scale. 

Following Matt, our friends at Indicia Worldwide took the stage to share how they partner with Iterable to help customers connect creativity with data. They shared how preparing your team with the right data—not just any data— empowers a more creative campaign that informs experimentation and segmentation. With first-party data, in particular, Indicia Worldwide showed how affinity data takes demographic data to the next level allowing for more personalized connections. 

Iterable Activate Tour Sydney event space

The room was packed for our first trip Down Under!

Activate Tour Palo Alto

Efficiency, Efficiency, Efficiency

And we’re back to California, right back where we started from in April at Activate Summit. The unofficial theme of our Palo Alto event was efficiencyFrom our opening keynote discussing how Iterable’s AI Suite helps teams produce more at a quicker pace. Following this theme, Josh Geiser, Senior Manager of CRM, Lifecycle, and Mobile at Redbubble, took the stage to discuss how small teams can succeed using AI. Josh highlighted his team’s use of Brand Affinity and Send Time Optimization, but he also covered an oft-overlooked benefit of AI: task switching. He called out the cognitive overload of switching between tasks and how AI can help with information processing to streamline work and get you started on a new task quicker and more effectively. 

To close out the day, our partner Ragnarok spoke to the group about building a martech stack that more effectively drives revenue. Steven Aldrich, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Ragnarok, joined Charles Howard, Sr. Director of Customer Success at Iterable, to talk about how to take a bottom-up approach to measuring the impact of your martech stack. To start, you have to write out the use cases for each step of the customer journey, including determining which platforms and features you need to fill these steps. From there, assign a dollar value for each KPI and map the tools you need to each use case. You’ll be able to see that all of the use cases are set up for success, and with the dollar value for each KPI, you’ll see the value of each tool. 

Iterable's Activate Tour Palo Alto event

Efficiency at scale was the unofficial theme of Activate Tour Palo Alto.

Attendees listening to the Iterable Activate Tour Palo Alto keynote

Attendees were buzzing with excitement while discussing the day’s takeaways.

Activate Tour Los Angeles

Personalization at Scale

In true Hollywood fashion, we had to finish with a classic: personalization. Activate Tour Los Angeles brought us back to marketing’s bread and butter. 

The day kicked off with a discussion on using Iterable’s AI Suite to individualize customer experiences before Kara Douglas, Lifecycle Marketing Director at Rocket Lawyer, walked us through her team’s engagement journey. 

Iterable Activate Tour Los Angeles with Rocket Lawyer

Kara Douglas from Rocket Lawyer teaching a masterclass on personalization at scale.

Starting with the key components of their personalization plan (connecting data dots), Kara talked through how they devised a step-by-step plan that led to an 11% average increase in conversion rates. Just goes to show how impactful a detailed personalization plan can be!

Closing the day, Gray Dorsett, Head of Product at Winona, talked through his team’s data initiatives that have driven massive engagement results using Iterable and Mixpanel. He walked through how Winona established system visibility, fine-tuned their journeys with A/B testing, and started personalizing with attributes to push conversion rates. 

Activate Tour Los Angeles charcuterie class

The final event of Activate Tour 2023: charcuterie class

We Keep Chugging Along

8 cities up. 8 cities down. After months of sessions, networking, food, and swag, Activate Tour has come to a close. But fear not, the Activate train is going to keep rolling real soon. Check back in here to see the latest updates for 2024. 

In the meantime, if you want to learn more about Activate or watch old sessions, click here.

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