DOYO 2018 Promises Bigger Crowds, New Experience

DOYO 2018 Promises Bigger Crowds, New Experience

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – With DOYO Live less than a month away, founder Dennis Schiraldi said this year’s event is already on track to be bigger than last year. And not just because it’s taking place at two locations.

 In 2016, Schiraldi started the DOYO Live digital marketing and interactive design conference, which was held at the Williamson College of Business Administration on the campus of Youngstown State University. The first event sold out, he said. Last year, attendance increased by 50% to 280, which made things tight in Williamson’s 200-seat auditorium. 

“I actually forgot to shut down registration about 48 hours beforehand, which gave me a lot of stress,” Schiraldi said. “It caused a standing room only situation.” 

At 200 tickets already sold, ticket sales are 35% to 40% ahead of where they were this time last year, he said. But Schiraldi prepared for that. This year, the event scheduled for Aug. 2 will be held at two different locations: the Tyler History Center and the DeYor Performing Arts Center, at 325 and 260 W. Federal Street, respectively. This gives attendees an opportunity to get out and move around the city, he said. 

A bulk of this year’s attendees are from the Youngstown area, “but 20% are coming regionally from Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Columbus and beyond,” including Georgia, Indiana and California, Schiraldi said. People are willing to travel because of the price point, he said. A single-day ticket for the conference is $225.

Compare that to Hubspot’s Inbound 2018 in Boston, which costs $1,299 for all access and draws thousands of attendees, he said. Two Hubspot representatives will be leading breakout sessions on inbound marketing strategies at DOYO this year.

“[At DOYO], you’re getting access to some great content that’s going to be delivered at the big conferences, but on a regional scale,” he said. “From a networking standpoint, if you’re doing business in the regional economy, you’ve got 300 people all at the same spot on the same day.”

 The number of speakers has also been pared down. Instead of 20 to 25 speakers hosting five to six tracks of breakout sessions, 13 speakers will host two tracks of 12 breakout sessions between both buildings, with sessions identified as beginner, intermediate or advanced.  

“In doing so, we have increased the depth of the quality of the speakers,” Schiraldi said. 

Allen Gannett, CEO of TrackMaven, a marketing insights company based in Washington, D.C., is the event’s keynote speaker. Gannett will cover what he calls “The Four Laws of Creative Curve,” which he contends can help creative people to have more “aha moments.” Gannett’s book, “The Creative Curve,” was published in June and discusses two years of research on the topic.

TrackMaven has worked with marketing teams from more than 600 brands, including U.S. Bancorp, Amtrak, The Home Depot and the Washington Redskins football team to name a few. 

“[Gannett] will be talking about creative genius and how to tap into it scientifically,” Schiraldi said.

Featured speaker Dhariana Lozano will lead a so-called “algorithm-proof” social media strategy session for business-to-business and business-to-consumer companies. Lozano is co-founder of Supremacy Marketing in New York City.

“There are people who are social media influencers, and then there are true influencers,” Schiraldi said. “[Lozano] has been published in some of the largest trade publications in the industry today. It’s very exciting to bring someone like that to Youngstown.”

Other breakout session topics range from inbound and digital marketing to website development and search engine optimization, or SEO. And while the marketing industry has really focused on “the way of internet of web 2.0 marketing for the past decade,” DOYO looks to broaden its discussion to topics like traditional marketing strategies and branding.

“What has changed to dramatically is the digital landscape and how it changes on a consistent basis,” Schiraldi said. “To get found in that conversation, your brand is obviously what’s representative of what people recognize as what you can get done. You’ve got to put content out on a regular basis that positions you as an expert in that space.”

Jeff Hedrich, founder and lead brand strategist for The Prodigal Co. in Boardman, will lead a breakout session discussing the topic of building one’s brand through “data-fueled creative tactics.” Many business owners are “mystified by branding,” because it’s more than just a logo, Hedrich said. 

“A brand is how a company, product or service is perceived in the marketplace,” he said. “It’s all about understanding your strengths relative to your competition and how to communicate them. If you don’t communicate them to people in a way where they know them and believe in them, it doesn’t work.”

Hedrich’s strategy is two-fold: to cut through analytical data to find the data points that best represent a company’s strengths, and then communicate that data clearly.

 “If you embrace that way of thinking, you’re going to be ahead of the curve,” he said. Hedrich will be moderating a branding panel at this year’s Ohio Marketing Summit on Aug. 21. 

In addition to the conference, DOYO workshops will be held on Aug. 1 at DeYor, the Tyler Museum and the Youngstown Business Incubator. That evening, the Soap Gallery at 117 S. Champion Street will host the DOYO Live Kickoff Party presented by Blue Sky Therapy. The event is open to the public and features live music from RDNA, a local band of Ursuline High School graduates. Optional $10 donations will benefit the Hearing Missions Foundation in Boardman and The Rich Center for Autism on YSU campus. 

For the full schedule of breakout sessions, workshops and panel discussions, go to See the list of speakers on the homepage at

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.