Home » MarCom Summit DC brings more than 500 communicators together for networking and learning on key industry topics of this year and next

Capitol Communicator reports that MarCom Summit DC brought more than 500 communicators together for networking and learning on Nov. 2, 2023.

MarCom Summit DC brings more than 500 communicators together for networking and learning on key industry topics of this year and next

by | Nov 8, 2023

By Robert Udowitz,  co-producer MarCom Summit and Principal of RFP Associates

The MarCom Summit DC 2023 on November 2 proved to be a gathering of innovative minds and industry leaders, marking a significant milestone in the world of marketing and communications. More than 500 communicators filled Capital One Hall in Tysons Corner to attend 30+ sessions and gain insights from more than 70 speakers. The event proved to be an environment ripe for collaboration, learning and networking. Through AAF DC, the advertising community marked ADWKDC by participating in this year’s Summit through several sessions and keynotes. 

The Summit’s primary focus was the evolving landscape of marketing and communication strategies, diving deep into the fusion of traditional practices with the latest technological advancements.

The program kicked-off with a roundtable of chief marketing and communications officers, lead by AARP Executive Vice President and CCMO Martha Boudreau. She discussed the foremost issues with Rosemary McGillan, chief marketing and communications officer for the American Red Cross; Kathy Baird, Chief Communications Officer of The Washington Post; and Michael Smith, Chief Marketing Officer at NPR.

The next plenary gave insight to the subtext of the day, Artificial Intelligence and its impact on communications. “AI Powered Creativity: Unleashing The Potential,” brought together creatives and leading AI leaders from the region to talk about the power and possibilities of AI for creative development. 

Social sharing of the conference is still very strong but it’s evident that the vehicle has changed. Although fewer people were using the #marcomsummitdc hashtag on X, it was very much trending during the day on LinkedIn.

Here’s a sampling of the posts from attendees on LinkedIn: 

McGillan was optimistic about #AI but cautious about governance and misinformation. Red Cross, which provides 40% of the nation’s blood supply, is increasingly using AI for day-to-day operations, to inform where there are increased needs, to set appointments, and translations for materials in disaster areas.

Baird shared that WaPo is experimenting with AI and has organized a task force that cuts across all functions to explore uses. While AI can never take the place of investigations, it is being used for curation and presentation (e.g., For You content). It’s found success with attracting a younger readership with #TikTok to be help break down serious topics.

Smith says AI is helpful with research but not production. There always has to be a human to vet and ensure trust. To protect its brand experience, NPR stepped away from X (formerly Twitter) because of the vitriolic environment and #misinformation.

I got an injection of sage advice at #marcomsummitDC from Dan Jasnow, Partner and AI, Metaverse @ Blockchain Industry Group Leader, ArentFox Schiff, shed light on “Mastering the Legal and IP Issues Surrounding the #AI Revolution for #Communicators

The #MarComSummitDC Social Media Outlook session delivered invaluable insights and trends to keep ahead in the digital game.💡

“Push yourself to experiment. Even if it fails, you’ll gain lots of data that helps you learn.” Morgan Stanley‘s Stephanie Glashow #marcomsummitdc

On #internalcommunications during times of org change: “Do round tables, surveys, 1:1s to look for challenges leadership might not be aware of. Be really honest. You need to have these conversations so the change can be successfully navigated.” Grafik‘s Hal Swetnam #marcomsummitdc

Biggest misconception about the M&A process? “That your people will hang around and not get frustrated quickly and leave. You need to be open and transparent about the process to counter that.” Grafik‘s Hal Swetnam #marcomsummitdc

You need a good, creative human to drive the potential of AI. It’s not good on its own. It helps talented people work faster. Consider using it to automate repetitive tasks. – Ideas from the AI-Powered Creativity session at

“Once you build a brand, build an employee brand proposition, so employees can see their value and participate in a successful merger.” Grafik‘s Hal Swetnam #marcomsummitdc

Catching up from a great #MarComSummitDC event last week with my top insights and some fuel that’s propelling me through end of year:

And, Elise Perkins of Rally Point Media Strategies also gave LinkedIn her top insights and some fuel that’s going to propel her through the end of the year:

  1. Your brand doesn’t have to be everywhere – Michael Smith on NPR‘s decision to leave X. We also had a really lovely impromptu lunch and talked about the joys of living in rural areas.
  2. A healthy reminder on the importance of giving blood, and also giving back, as we enter the holiday season from American Red Cross‘s Rosemary McGillan and Martha Boudreau.
  3. You don’t get excellent results from #AI with excellent humans operating it – Geoff Livingston. We also complimented each other on our matching houndstooth blazers and talked about the Cherry Blossom Ten-Miler. I finally signed up for the lottery.
  4. “Things aren’t the way they are, it’s the way we are” – Marcus Collins. This talk had me shaking my head in agreement the entire time. I’ve also never been more self assured that an American Studies major is worth its weight in gold, and thought of my favorite professor John Daves, Ph.D.
  5. Other gems from Marcus: Consumption is a cultural act; and to better engage with consumers we should think of target communities, not target audiences.
  6. Crisis communication is all about speed, candor, action and empathy – Jean Medina.
  7. The shareability of a story has become a key publishing decision, from Muckrack’s Natan Edelsburg
  8. Do I need to join #TiktokKathy Baird made some compelling arguments, and Sara Gallant explained how reporters are mining stories there and people are using it as a search engine.

About the Author

Capitol Communicator

Capitol Communicator is a unique online and offline resource for Mid-Atlantic advertising, marketing, public relations, digital and media communications professionals. The e-magazine, e-newsletters and events bring together communications professionals, fostering community and providing important information; news; trends; education; and opportunities for networking, career enhancement, business exchange and showcasing great work. Visit www.capitolcommunicator.com to learn more.


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