The White Plains Examiner

Westchester Digital Summit Inspires Smarter Business with Leading Edge Ideas

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Chris Dessi
Chris Dessi

Chris Dessi CEO of Silverback Social and Producer of the Westchester Digital Summit has had his eye on digital technology and how it can affect business growth for some time. As a curious intellectual he has watched new technology impact television, the web, online communications, mobile communications, the entire media landscape.

“Digital technology has changed our lives, the way we get and share information and our relationships,” Dessi says. “I wanted to apply that change to how we market. In Business to Consumer and Business to Business markets, digital is driving relationships in new and evolving ways.”

Referring to an attention study done in the 1990s, Dessi explained the test subjects were asked to focus intently on a black and white screen and report any change in the white area. At some point a gorilla walked across the screen, but none of the test subjects saw it. “It was like they were wearing blinders,” Dessi said.

That story became the basis for Silverback Social, named for the Silverback Gorilla that has been standing in the room all this time.

“Why advertise on a digital billboard, when everyone is looking at their iPhones?” Dessi asked. “Consumers are ingesting media in a whole new way and social media is driving the change.”

“Brands can no longer sell one concept to the many. Brands need to be a part of the ongoing conversation, and they need to be on top of it,” Dessi explained, adding that a key element in today’s marketing success is respect for the consumer because that consumer is now driving the discussion. “Social media has caused a cultural shift and it is not a marketing choice anymore whether to use it.”

At Westchester Digital Summit these concepts will be discussed. Dessi is confident attendees will leave having learned how to generate their “own” power and promote their ideas into the conversation.

“With marketing that is compelled by the client, what is the thought process?” Dessi again asks. That is a question, which will dominate break out sessions for different market areas, complete with case studies and ideas that Dessi says attendees will be able to take home and easily execute.

Speakers include famed reporter Chris Hansen best known for his work on “To Catch a Predator,” and technology titans Jesse Redniss, chief strategy officer at Mass Relevance, Adam Ostrow, Editor-in-Chief at Mashable, reporting on marketing trends, technology and social media, and David Berkowitz chief marketing officer at Agency MRY.

Other speakers are from companies such as LinkedIn, Facebook, ESPN, IBM, The Huffington Post, GE and MasterCard, among others; as well as non-profits like The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).

Westchester Digital Summit will take place on May 15th at the Ritz Carlton in White Plains. The event is co-produced by Silverback Social and Zanzarella Marketing. Registration is available online at


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