The DM Conference

Hear from some of the biggest brands in the UK and Ireland on topics including social media, video content, SEO, AI and culture building & resilience in the workplace.

Conference Overview

The DM Sessions brought the best digital marketing professionals from across the UK and Ireland to Belfast on Thursday 25th January 2024 for the first ever DM Conference to discuss Modern Marketing – Our Customer & Our People

In partnership with, and at Ulster University.

Crystal Carter

Head of SEO Communications

Crystal Carter the Head of SEO Communications at Wix. She is an SEO & Digital Marketing professional with over 15 years experience working with SEO and Marketing clients around the world like Disney, McDonalds, Tomy and more.

As an SEO, she identifies and implements tactics that help businesses optimise digital activity, drive sales, engagement and growth online.

She has contributed to events, webinars, and publications from Google Search Central, Brighton SEO, Moz, Whitespark Local Search Summit, Semrush, SMX, Search Engine Land, Lumar, Women in Tech SEO and more.

Crystal’s Talk Title: Using AI to showcase your *actual intelligence* on your website

Brief talk Synopsis: As AI tools become More and more accessible it is important to be able to differentiate your content for Google Search and users. Rather than using artificial intelligence to “fake it until you make it” I’ll share examples and discuss how Wix and other teams use AI to build real value online and get great SEO results.


Ross Hompstead

Site Lead, Northern Ireland Tech Hub

Ross Hompstead is an experienced leader, currently serving as the Site Lead for the ASOS NI Tech Hub.

With a deep passion for empowering individuals and fostering a culture of inclusivity and diversity, Ross has successfully created an environment where every person feels valued, inspired, and supported to reach their full potential.

His leadership skills have earned the admiration of peers and colleagues, as he consistently prioritises the well-being and development of his team.

Ross’s dedication and unwavering commitment make him an influential figure, driving positive change and growth not only within his organisation but also within the broader NI business community.

Ross’s Talk Title: Leading with Heart: Navigating the Evolving Demands and Costs of Leadership

Brief talk Synopsis: This session will be a deep dive into the changing face of leadership, exploring the reasons behind this shift and zero in on why qualities like humility, vulnerability, and empathy have become game-changers for leaders today.

With these new expectations, what’s the cost for leaders? We’ll uncover the toll it takes and, more importantly, suggest some practical strategies to not just survive but thrive amidst these challenges.

It’s all about supporting and empowering our leaders to weather the storms while steering their teams toward success.


Barry Adams

Specialised SEO Consultant

Barry Adams has been building and ranking websites since 1998. Through his Polemic Digital consultancy business, he focuses on technical SEO and specialised services for news publishers.

Barry counts some of the world’s biggest media brands among his clients including News UK, The Guardian, FOX, Condé Nast, Euronews, and The Independent. He is a regular speaker at conferences and events around the world, delivers annual guest lectures for local universities, and writes an irregular newsletter on

Barry’s Talk Title: Search in 2014, 2024, and 2034: the more things change…

Brief talk Synopsis: Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, Fred, Medic, RankBrain, (E)-E-A-T, BERT, MUM, LaMDA, and now BARD & SGE. Search and SEO in 2014 were simultaneously very different and fundamentally the same as they are in 2024. What can the past 10 years of search engine evolution tell us about the next 10 years? In this talk, Barry will look at the changes that have happened in Google SERPs and SEO tactics, and try to make some accurate but possibly insane predictions for the next 10 years.


Ryan Clarke

Head of Ecommerce

Ryan is Head of Ecommerce at world leading Sports Tech company – STATSports. Who’s investors include elite sports stars like Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Alex Morgan.

He is responsible for growing STATSports revenue & users in the Direct to Consumer space (Ecomm, Marketplace, 3rd Party Retailers) & Global B2B Grassroots & Youth (Teams, Leagues, Organisations).

Ryan was voted Digital DNA Young Person of the Year in 2022, and is part of both the PwC Sport for Business 30 Under 30 and Business Post 30 Under 30 in Irish Tech. As well as being referenced in Forbes Magazine as an “Ecommerce Leader” in 2023.

Prior to working in the sporting industry, Ryan specialised in international marketing strategy. Including roles with REX Architecture in New York, and Queen’s University delivering digital campaigns in South East Asia & China.

Ryan’s Talk Title: Data, Marketing and the Aggregation of Marginal Gains

Brief talk Synopsis: As marketers across the eCommerce and B2B spectrum, we often equate massive success to massive action. Place creating a viral moment as the marketing objective, with a recency bias towards new tactics and tools for growth “hacking”. In this talk I’ll share examples of how switching to a marginal gains approach to data and content has impacted success. Showing you how to spotlight key data points, and utilise the likes of Social First Landing pages in order to grow your business.



Part Three Digital

Hannah Bryans, Co-Founder & Director, Lena Martin, Social Media Executive & Ellen Watson, Digital Content Executive

Part Three Digital are a Belfast based digital agency that specialise in social media and search marketing. Working with globally recognised brands such as Santa Rita 120, [yellow tail], Magners Irish Cider and Game of Thrones Studio Tour, as well as local brands including STORIES Parfum, Moody Activewear, Further.Space and OUTCIDER. The agency has received award winning industry recognition, including Small Agency of the Year at The Spider Awards and Best Newcomer at the Digital Media Awards 2022.

Hannah Bryans, Co-Founder & Director of Part Three Digital

Award winning digital marketer and manager, Hannah co-founded Part Three Digital at the height of the pandemic with her business partner Jess Orr Downey. Hannah heads the operational team at Part Three Digital and works closely with clients on their search and digital advertising campaigns.

Lena Martin, Social Media Executive

Lena joined the Part Three Digital team this year after graduating from her Masters in Marketing at Ulster University, whilst supporting local hospitality brands with their organic social media. Lena has a passion for social media marketing and supports on the delivery and management of campaigns for global and local brands, including [yellow tail] wine, Santa Rita Wine Estates, Game of Thrones Studio Tours and OUTCIDER, including planning and creating content, channel, community and social ad management.

Ellen Watson, Digital Content Executive

Ellen joined the Part Three Digital team in 2022 after graduating from her degree in Marketing at Ulster University. Ellen supports on the delivery and management of campaigns for global and local brands, including Magners, Further.Space and Unilin Insulation. Ellen has a flair for combining her social media knowledge with serach skills to create optimised content that delivers results.

Part Three Digital’s Talk Title: Blurred Lines Between Social & Search 

Brief talk Synopsis: Hannah, Ellen & Lena from Part Three Digital will be looking at how social media has become a search engine of its own and why becoming ‘discoverable’ is more important than ever. They will demonstrate practical tips on developing a search optimised strategy on social media that aids your target customers’ journey and brand’s overall growth goals.


Dillon Osborne

Photographer, Videographer, Creative Director

Dillon is a Freelance Art Director based in Northern Ireland with 16 years experience across Advertising, Branding, E-commerce & Social Media. He works with brands, companies and small business on a mix of video, photo, design as well as creative consultancy projects.

He believes in good ideas, telling stories, relationships & transparency with a straight up no bullshit attitude ​helping create fun, original promotional content for use in any medium or platform.

Dillon’s Talk Title: Finding Your Why 

Brief talk Synopsis: The Importance of creative quality & originality in a world where making content for brands is dictated by platforms and algorithms.


Gareth Dunlop

UX Consultant

Having grown and sold two digital agencies over a twenty-five year career, Gareth writes, speaks and consults on design leadership and its relationship with innovation and customer experience.

He founded Fathom in 2011 as a dedicated user experience and service design agency, selling it to Low&Behold in 2021. Previously he was the MD of Ionology, a leading digital strategy consultancy, headquartered in Belfast and with major clients in 15 countries. Prior to that he was the MD of Tibus, one of the largest and most successful web development agencies in Ireland, from 2002 to 2009 when it was sold to UTV plc.

Gareth sits on the board of Dot IE, the Irish Domain Registry. He is former Board Member of Irish Internet Association, and Chairman of He writes & lectures extensively on Internet related matters, occupying regular columns in Silicon Republic, SyncNI and Business Eye. Gareth is a judge of the Digital Media Awards and former judge of the Spider Awards, the DANI Awards and the IIA Net Visionary Awards.

Garth’s Talk Title: The four things you misunderstand about your users

Brief talk Synopsis: You are not your user. Often, you’re not even nearly your user. They don’t think like you, they don’t talk like you, they are less interested in your brand than you, they are less interested in your products than you, they are less interested in your services than you and they are more distracted than you.  Because the person whose behaviour your are wanting to influence has a mental model almost entirely different to yours.  If you’re going to persuade them to act in the way you wish (buy your product, enquire about your service, use your online support, self-serve aspects of your service, choose you over competitors) you need to know how they think and what you need to do to influence them.Gareth Dunlop will cover four key user misunderstandings, what it means for marketers, and how we can use that to win in the experience economy.



Dillon McKenna

Creative Director

Dillon has 18 years experience in the advertising industry, split between Ireland and Australia. He has been recognised for his work on a national and international level, including awards for the likes of Absolut, MINI, Kahlua, Officeworks, EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum and Barnardos.

He currently works as Creative Director at The Public House in Dublin, a boutique Dublin agency with a track record for creating some of the countries most effective work. He is responsible delivering on the agency philosophy that Boring Doesn’t Sell.Dillon’s Talk Title: Boring Doesn’t SellBrief talk Synopsis: How playing it safe with your marketing budget, is the most dangerous thing you can do. A perspective on creating interesting work.


Lisa Caldwell

PR & Communications Professional

Lisa has eighteen years’ experience across private, public and voluntary sectors with a range of corporate and consumer brands, working in and alongside government, both nationally and internationally.

Lisa is a Fellow at the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. Alongside her consultancy work, she is a Commissioner with the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland and Non Executive Director for the Fundraising Regulator UK.  Previously, she was Director of External Affairs at Belfast City Council and Head of Communications and Engagement at the Social Security Agency, Northern Ireland. A Fulbright Scholar, she has researched transactional and transformational digital interventions enabling change. Lisa previously acted as Secretary for Women’s Aid Federation Northern Ireland.

Lisa’s Talk Title: Ensuring the best of the marcomms mix

Brief talk Synopsis: How the disciplines can work together to communicate effectively on mass and under pressure. An in house perspective.



Helen J Wright

Resilience & Wellbeing Coach, Mentor & Consultant

Helen J. Wright is your go-to guide for resilience and wellbeing, also known as “The Wright Coach.”

Helen is an accredited Coach, Consultant and Mentor with 20 years’ senior experience, working with Business Leaders, Teams and individuals, covering all levels of seniority and global regions including Visa Europe; Marks & Spencer HQ; Ernst & Young; Macmillan Cancer Support HQ; NHS; Audi UK; HMRC; Cardiff University; Bath Rugby and VW Commercial Vehicles

Offstage, Helen is an advocate for inclusivity, breaking down barriers to make resilience, wellbeing & ADHD coaching accessible to diverse communities. As The Wright Coach, she invites you to join a community where imperfections are celebrated, and the journey to resilience is approached with a sprinkle of humour and a lot of heart.

With a heart full of compassion and a toolkit of practical wisdom, Helen is on a mission to make resilience and wellbeing accessible to everyone.

Helen’s Talk Title: Bouncebackability’: Master your Resilience. Prioritise your Wellbeing

Brief talk Synopsis: The one constant in life is change. But how do you cope with adversity in life and work? Do you power through the waves or learn to ride them?
Despite life’s curveballs, we can all bounce back and thrive again. Discover the true key to resilience and a thriving life.
Join Helen as she shares her story of overcoming a serious brain injury to help business leaders and teams navigate change and leave with some powerful, practical tips to manage overwhelm you can use.



Geoff Simmons

Professor of Marketing and Consumer Insight

Geoff Simmons is an esteemed Professor of Marketing and Consumer Insight at Ulster University Business School. With a profound commitment to advancing the field, he previously held the position of Professor of Marketing and Director of Research at Queen’s Management School, Queen’s University Belfast. His research, globally recognized for its excellence, delves into the digitalization of business and marketing, with a particular focus on the transformative impact of big data on SME marketing strategies.


Geoff’s expertise encompasses brand management, market orientation, and industrial marketing, with a growing interest in integrating social marketing with big data for Smart Cities’ socio-economic development. His work is published in prestigious outlets like the Harvard Business Review and has attracted over £1 million in external funding, highlighting his significant contributions to the field.

A Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Geoff’s influence extends beyond academia through his collaboration with industry leaders like Tesco and Danske Bank UK. His keynote speeches and active engagement with businesses and policymakers underscore his role as a thought leader in marketing and consumer insights.


Geoff’s Talk Title: ‘The role of big data in developing a consumer-focused marketing strategy’

Brief talk Synopsis: Big data has transformed marketing. Offering new levels of insight into what consumers buy, what they want to buy, where they buy and how they buy. However, most businesses still do not know how to exploit powerful sources of big data to better understand and meet consumer needs. This talk will share research conducted with food producers who were provided with Tesco Clubcard data over time. And the key takeaways pertaining to the central role of segmentation, targeting and positioning to integrate and exploit big data in the business.



This event is now over.

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