Allen Gannett headlines DOYO Live

DOYO Live, Youngstown’s digital marketing and interactive design conference, is back for year three, and the lineup of sessions and workshops led by industry professionals from around the country continues to impress.

Case in point: keynote speaker Allen Gannett, CEO of TrackMaven.

I caught up with Gannett this week to learn more about TrackMaven, his new book, and his advice for Youngstown’s DOYO Live audience.

Gannett’s company, TrackMaven, is a marketing insights platform. Think of marketing insights like this: Home Depot needs to reach customers through their ads and other marketing strategies. They do this through social media and other platforms.

TrackMaven steps in and “tracks” those ads and marketing campaigns, offering insights on the success of those strategies.

“A lot of big brands use us to figure out the stories and patterns in their marketing data – what should those companies do more of and less of,” Gannett explained.

In essence, TrackMaven tells those big brands if anyone is listening to those stories.

Telling stories for a company of any size often takes a little (and sometimes a lot) of creativity. While TrackMaven is delivering insights on marketing campaigns, Gannett – in his book “The Creative Curve” – is providing insights on the path to creativity.

Here’s the catch: His advice isn’t just for the creative minds at those big companies.

“Creativity is most valuable in industries that are typically not creative,” Gannett said. “If you’re in financial services or insurance, remember that’s where creativity can be a big differentiator.”

Gannett explained that it’s great to be creative at Google, but everyone’s creative at Google.

“Where it’s valuable to be creative is in insurance or bank marketing,” Gannett said. “There’s a huge delta opportunity there.”

“The Creative Curve” has received high praise from other creative thinkers.

“It’s been cool to see that people from a wide variety of creative fields have had a positive impact from the book,” Gannett added. “Fine artists said [“The Creative Curve”] has really been a way to add some fidelity to their thinking around creativity, but I’ve also had marketers who have said it’s helping them in their campaigns.”

One of the biggest challenges we face is the dreaded creative slump. But Gannett has a solution. Rather than brute forcing your way into productivity, he says to focus on consuming more raw materials.

“Your brain is really good at coming up with new ideas if it has these raw materials to work with,” Gannett explained. “Great creative achievers spend a lot of time consuming materials in their creative niche. They take those materials, gnaw on them and come up with new ideas.”

“You need dots to connect if you’re going to connect the dots.”

DOYO Live workshops started today, and a full slate of sessions – including Gannett’s keynote – kicks off at 8 a.m. Thursday at the DeYor Performing Arts Center.

Dr. Adam Earnheardt is chairman of the department of communication at Youngstown State University. Follow him on Twitter at @adamearn and on his blog at

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