MAG Annual Conference & Tech Forum 2023: Two New Milestones and a Major Announcement

MAG Annual Conference & Tech Forum 2023: Two New Milestones and a Major Announcement
Andrea Rouse Senior Director, Conferences and Events Merchant Advisory Group
Oct 19, 2023

Thank you to all who joined us at our 2023 MAG Annual Conference and Tech Forum at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta.

Year-over-year, MAG Annual Conference and Tech Forum has continued to increase in size and offerings and this year’s conference was no different. We reached a milestone of more than 1,150 attendees, breaking last year’s record for our largest attendance in MAG’s history.  However, while the number of attendees has grown, the event still provided a comfortable and welcoming environment for everyone. The atmosphere had a palpable energy felt by all – robust attendance in all sessions, active engagement and interaction between the audience and speakers, and three nights of lively networking.

2023 marked MAG’s 15-Year Anniversary, and we acknowledged that milestone in our session, 15 Years of Building the Merchant’s Voice, featuring CEO John Drechny moderating a panel of MAG merchants and an original sponsor who each had pivotal roles in the establishment of MAG’s mission and its continued growth over the years.

In line with our audience growth, we continue to create new additions to our program as well.  At this year’s Annual Conference and Tech Forum, we introduced:

  • Exhibit-Only Hours:  While the exhibit hall was open throughout the length of the program, these dedicated hours offered convenience for merchants and sponsors to explore the exhibit hall without having to sacrifice attending any conference sessions or content.  This created a buzz in the exhibit hall as merchants met with providers to discuss relevant product and service solutions to meet their needs.

“Most impressive exhibit hall of all of the MAGs I’ve attended.” ~ MAG 2023 Annual Conference and Tech Forum Attendee

  • Innovation Stage:  Located directly outside of the exhibit hall, our first Innovation Stage took place during the Exhibit-Only Hours.  This was designed as a place where new and exciting products could shine. Attendees were able to experience curated demos and presentations by select sponsors sharing what’s latest in payments technology. It was a great success!

“This was a great add to the conference, the topics were very interesting, and the sessions were all very well attended. Do this or something like this again.” ~ MAG 2023 Annual Conference and Tech Forum Attendee

In addition to these new program elements, we also introduced two new ways for MAG Conferences to have a positive social impact:

  • Reusable Water Bottles:  We offered more than 1,000 reusable water bottles, sponsored by Pulse, a Discover Company, to attendees. This allowed us to drastically reduce the number of plastic water bottles used and discarded at our events.

  • Charitable Donations: We donated $1 for every completed survey received to Hands On Atlanta.  This was done not only to encourage survey submissions but also as a way for MAG to leave a lasting impact on the communities we visit.  This will be an ongoing initiative as we move to cities around the country. In the end, we donated $1,000 to this important charity. Thank you to all who participated!

Tech Forum

Another Tech Forum, another attendance record with over 620 Tech Forum attendees

The Day One Education session ISO 20022 with Mastercard led off a roster of topics that included everything from real-time payments to using a car as a payment device to generative AI. The kickoff session, The Payments Industry State of the Union, drew a crowd of over 320 attendees! 

In addition to the sessions mentioned above and a dozen Tech Forum breakout sessions, the merchant-only Business/Tech Special Interest Group (SIG) held on the first day of the conference generated great discussions on BIN management best practices, tokens and PAR, orchestration, and more. 

As always, we want to thank our MAG 2023 Annual Conference and Tech Forum sponsors and the great speakers for their partnership in delivering a terrific agenda for our attendees. The MAG looks forward to continuing to provide relevant educational content and share the future of payments technology.

Recordings of select general sessions from the conference in the MAG Learning Center for on-demand viewing by MAG merchants and sponsors. MAG login credentials are required to access and view the videos. Please contact the MAG if you need assistance with access.

Finally, MAG CEO John Drechny announced exciting changes to future MAG conferences! He revealed new conference names and programs that will begin with our 2024 conferences. These changes not only respond to suggestions and feedback we have heard from all of you but also will ensure the ongoing evolution and success of our annual gatherings:

  • MAG Mid-Year Conference and Tech Forum has been renamed Payments MAGnified.

    This program will include enhanced networking opportunities and customizable experiences that cater to varying career stages for payments professionals. It promises deep dives into industry challenges and opportunities for both business- and tech-minded individuals every February.

  • MAG Annual Conference and Tech Forum will now be known as MAG Payments Conference.

Building on the esteemed legacy of the MAG Annual Conference and Tech Forum, the MAG Payments Conference retains its status as the MAG’s flagship gathering every September. Rooted in topical relevance and featuring illustrious keynote speakers, this conference offers unparalleled insights into the future of payments.

Thank you to all of you who have attended our conferences and shared ideas and suggestions.  It is through you that the MAG conferences continue to be “the place for payments”.

Our first Payments MAGnified will take place February 20-23, 2024, at the Hyatt Regency Dallas

We look forward to seeing you there. Stay tuned in the coming weeks as this new program develops.

The Merchant Advisory Group

Driving positive change and innovation in the payments industry that serves the merchants interest through collaboration, education, and advocacy.