Digital Marketing Conference 2023

Oct 9, 2023 | Business


I didn’t think about turning my amazing experience at the Digital Marketing Collective Conference 2023 into a blog post. Yesterday morning after typing out a very long LinkedIn post about it (that exceeded the word limit on the platform) and then losing it (arrrggghh that feeling), I decided to turn it into a blog post. And then I lost that too – arrrrgggghhhhhhhhhhhh. So here I go with my third version.

The Digital Marketing Collective (DMC) Conference was organised and run by the founder of DMC, Kate Toon. Anyone who has ever been to a Toon event knows it is filled with absolute fun, value galore, out of this world presenters and a room full of good humans. In this case, not only good humans but also smart, savvy business people doing things their way and redefining success. So refreshing! Business doesn’t have to be boring and small business doesn’t have to be done in isolation. Find your people and watch growth happen.

Okay, so here’s my recap of all the great presentations from both the Mastermind and Conference days held on 6-7 October.

Business goals, digital marketing funnels and vulnerability

Kate Toon kicked us off and passed on her wisdom throughout both days. She taught us about goals and Building Fabulous Funnels and if anyone knows funnels, it’s Kate. It was also great to join her Mastermind huddle and get clearer on my own funnel. But it was her How I Make My Money (The Absolute Truth) presentation that blew everyone away. We are bombarded with people online who shout from the rooftops about their 6/7/8 figure businesses, but how many are actually vulnerable enough to show us their spreadsheets? Kate did. We were taken on a journey telling us the truth about the highs and lows of building her business. We saw her income figures, her expenses, her profits. And it wasn’t done to show off (although hello, extremely impressive). But it gave everyone in the room a yardstick to measure their own business. We need more leaders like this.


Marketing through LinkedIn

Jo Saunders taught us to be strategic with our LinkedIn connections and build a rebel alliance. I loved the call to action because yes, we should be thinking about who qualifies for our time and attention. Social media can be fun but if we’re using it to build a business, we also need to be smart about it.

Facing our many business fears

There are many people who talk about imposter syndrome but it was brilliant to hear from Kara Lambert who explored all our fears as business owners. Her qualifications in psychology meant we were also getting expert advice. I particularly loved her tips about dealing with fear in the moment it strikes. I joined her learning huddle in the afternoon and appreciated Kara’s vulnerability, showing us what she has personally done to overcome fear. My biggest take away was that the negative stories we’ve been told about ourselves from others are not our stories. And we have the ability to rewrite them.

PR as part of our marketing strategy

Erin Huckle from Chuckle Communications showed us it’s possible to hack our own PR, even if we’re introverts. Self-promotion can often feel icky to small business owners, but it’s also essential when building a personal brand or trying to sell something. Erin gave us tips about how to get started with PR in the digital marketing space, and was super helpful in the Mastermind huddle. I think my take away was that there’s not one way to do PR and we can all find a way that works for us. Of course, if you don’t want to handle your own PR, I highly recommend Erin because I’ve seen her brilliant work.

Content strategies, micro funnels and memberships

Jessica Staines and Shannon Morrison presented on both days. For the Mastermind they explored content strategies and for the Conference they taught us about micro funnels. Jessica was there with her two week old baby so hats off to her for being an absolute rockstar. Their work for Koori Curriculum and the loyal membership they’ve built I think blew everyone in the room away. So impressive to see a business model based on helping others and wildly successful. If anyone is in the early childhood space and looking for resources and education around how to integrate Indigenous perspectives and experiences, you must check them out.

Money, money, money

Next up was Fiona Johnston from Peach Business with her presentation Become a Smug Money Human: Finance Management Made Easy. She quickly impressed everyone in the room and was very popular during the huddle session. I loved her reframing of money and tax – paying tax is a privilege and charging properly for our services means we can slice our (money) pizza the right way. Fiona is also an advocate of Profit First, and I gained reassurance that I was doing things the right way. Check out her final slide below – I’ll be sharing it again on socials because it’s everything.


Leadership keynote

April Helene-Horton aka The Bodzilla kicked off the conference on Saturday with her keynote on leadership. Having followed her for a little while online and then having sat next to her at the Mastermind dinner on Friday night, I was totally fangirling. April spoke about authentic, honest, ethical, balanced, inclusive, connection creating leadership. But what I particularly loved was that she explored the challenges of authenticity. It’s all well and good to say “be yourself” but for many people, that comes with risks. Her nuanced explanation of the difference between managers and leaders was enlightening.


Thinking of starting a course?

Omar Zenhom from WebinarNinja told us nobody cares about our course. And then showed us how to sell more by being better. The online course space is crowded so in order to give value, people need to be clear about what they’re delivering and then deliver it. There was plenty of food for thought from Omar and I loved his simple questions to gain feedback. Sometimes we need a reminder to get back to basics.

Ethical and sustainable business

The beautiful Anu Sawhney from Bidiliia was up next with 7 Ways to Sell Your Products (Without Selling Your Soul). I think Anu’s presentation resonated with many in the room. We found it a refreshing difference from the online mantra of many gurus who only talk about making more and more money – without thought for what that might mean for others. I loved that Anu showed us you can have a successful, ethical and sustainable business while looking after both your customers and suppliers. Anu walks the talk, looking after her jewellery makers and never haggling with them on price. Check out her range – I was wearing one of her rings and got plenty of compliments on it.

It’s still the year of video

We always hear that this year is the year of video and Ben Amos from Innovate Media confirmed this is true. Video wasn’t a trend. It’s still a killer digital marketing format. But Ben didn’t tell us that and scoot off. He showed us how easy it was to implement a video funnel in our marketing using our phones. His Simple 7 Video Framework (pictured below) is a game changer and had everyone believing they could definitely give it a go. I’ve made a concerted effort to use video over the past year, and this presentation gave me encouragement to keep going.


Refining our pitch

Carrie Kwan from Mums & Co. had us reviewing and refining our pitches. Her template was so easy to use and implement. It got me thinking. I spend a lot of time online, and it’s not often that I have to give my pitch to someone in person. The night before at the Mastermind dinner I gave the worst pitch possible when someone asked what I do – “Well, what I do is boring…” That’s not the way to sell your services. I fell into the trap of comparing myself to those who had replied before me. I’ll do better now that I’ve had this reminder from Carrie. [What I do may not set the world on fire, but it’s also not boring otherwise I wouldn’t still be here doing it.]

Social media content

Everyone loved the funny, dancing Dante St James from Clickstarter. I felt like I already knew Dante because I’ve followed him for a while on LinkedIn and have seen him present before. I didn’t have my glasses on at the Mastermind dinner the night before and wasn’t sure if it was him across the room. But his eyesight is better than mine obviously, and he came over to say hi. Why am I telling you this? Because I think he genuinely engages with his followers – close to 6K of them on LinkedIn alone. His easy to follow 39 post social media strategy had everyone breathing a sigh of relief. Suddenly, keeping up with socials seemed doable.


Get your Instagram on

After Kate’s earlier mentioned money talk, the conference closed with the effervescent Jade Warner from Small Business Growth Club talking all things Instagram. Jade’s presentation was a great reminder that transformation and story telling is still a social media honeypot. People love to see how other people, products, places and just about anything have changed. I particularly loved Jade’s advice about the more Instagram surfaces (feeds, stories, reels, lives, DMs) we appear on, the further our reach.

Let’s get physical

Kate Toon provided a conference experience unlike many others. Coffee cart, morning and afternoon tea, lunch, after conference finger food and drinks, beanbags and massages. But even with all of that, she realised her speakers were giving us a lot of information and that our brains had a lot to process. So in the afternoon she surprised us a with a special guest – Lizzie Williamson from Two Minute Moves. Lizzie told us her story and demonstrated that even for those of us who hate exercise (not mentioning any names), two minutes of movement a day can be a game changer for our mental health. She had us up moving and dancing to Olivia Newton John’s Let’s Get Physical and it definitely helped our mindset. We were refreshed and able to concentrate for the last of the afternoon sessions.

Gifts and prizes

Attendees were also spoiled with a whole range of gifts donated by businesses in DMC. I was lucky enough to win two gorgeous prizes – a mini hamper from Bundles of Luxe thanks to Natasha Sutton from First Impressions Media, and a linen table runner and soap from Sue McGary of French Affair.

I also went home with gifts from Nick’s Digital and event sponsor True Green. And if that wasn’t enough, Kate also gave us Masterminders a box of Digital Marketing Collective goodies.

Award winners

It’s amazing to think that Kate Toon also organised awards around this conference. They’re a lot of work and many generous people gave up their time to read and judge entries. Thank you to head judge Erin Huckle and everyone else who participated.

I was a finalist in the Service Based Business of the Year Award (how cool is that?) but I couldn’t be disappointed in missing out when I saw the calibre of the other finalists. Well done to all finalists. A big congratulations to Beck Confrancesco from Marketing Goodness for being runner up and Nerissa Bentley from The Melbourne Health Writer for winning. Woo hoo! So well deserved. Both these women have always been extremely generous, sharing their knowledge and helping me be better in business. So I was thrilled to see both these first time award entrants get rewarded for their hard work and success.

Congratulations to all the finalists and winners in the E-commerce Business of the Year awards as well. Was thrilled to see Nikki Filia from BeBangles, whose beautiful bracelets I was wearing, awarded runner up. And congratulations to Sue McGary from French Affair for taking out the win. What gorgeous products.


Digital Marketing Collective

This blog post is merely a recap of two very value-packed days at the Digital Marketing Collective Conference 2023. The overwhelming feeling at the end was not only that we got so much useful and practical information to help our businesses grow, but that we had met so many amazing humans.

Kate Toon has an uncanny ability to gather together the best of people. The Digital Marketing Collective is made up of a diverse range of service based and e-commerce business owners. Imagine having a safe space to learn, grow, make mistakes and be supported. Come join us. Full disclosure – the link below is an affiliate link but I would never recommend a group that I wasn’t myself paying to be a part of.

Join Digital Marketing Collective

P.S. If you want to see more photos and videos from the Mastermind and Conference, head over to my Instagram highlights after you join DMC.

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I love the building industry as much as I love writing. You can learn more about me here.

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