You Ask, I Answer: Which Marketing Conferences Should You Attend?

Andrew asks, “which marketing conferences should I go to? What can’t I miss?”

Unsurprisingly, the answer to this question depends on your goals. If you want to deep dive into something, I don’t recommend conferences. Take a course instead.

If you want to get a sense for the landscape of an industry, or network and make professional connections, then go to conferences.

Here’s my list, based on needs. Obviously, if you’re working with a specific vendor, make the effort to go to that vendor’s conference!

  • Social media? You can’t miss Social Media Marketing World. It’s mandatory. Also check out Jason Keath’s Social Fresh.
  • Content marketing? No place other than Content Marketing World.
  • Marketing technology? Scott Brinker’s MarTech conference is the place to be.
  • Data science? The Open Data Science Conference, ODSC.
  • B2B marketer? MarketingProfs B2B Forum is a must-attend.

Major vendor events:

  • Hubspot INBOUND
  • Oracle Modern Marketing
  • Salesforce Dreamforce
  • Marketo Marketing Nation
  • Google Cloud Next
  • IBM THINK
  • Tableau Conference

One last tip: if you want to make the most of a conference, be sure to join that conference’s pre-event networking/Slack groups etc. so that you’ve got friends in advance. You’ll get much more out of the conference.

FTC Disclosure: Some links in this post may be affiliate links. My company, Trust Insights, benefits financially from any purchases you make. By extension, I indirectly benefit financially from any purchases you make. Thank you in advance.

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In today’s episode, Andrew asks, which marketing conferences? Should I be going to? What are the ones do not miss? unsurprisingly? The answer to this question depends very heavily on what your goals are. If your goals are to learn a subject in depth, don’t go to conferences, conferences are a great way to survey the landscape to dip your toes into a whole bunch of different things to to get a digest sense of something, if you want to learn a topic in depth, take a course instead, there’s so many great online courses, take the course. And the thing that you care about. Most were that you have a a strategic imperative to learn and you’ll get more benefit out of them. So

if you don’t learn at conferences, what what’s the point?

Well, like I said, They’re great for landscapes of the industry, they’re great for seeing what’s available, what’s possible, there’s a lot of case studies, a lot of things where you can pick up little pieces of information, things, you know, they’re like an in person Google trip, right, where you learn about a whole bunch of stuff that you go and go and search later on and learn about later on. So that’s really what conferences are good at. The other thing conferences are great at is human beings of people, which is not always my favorite thing. But

conferences are about networking and making professional connections. So if you need to, to meet people in your industry, if you need to interact if you need to learn from other people in your industry conferences are a great place to do that. Because frankly, they’re really good at getting a whole bunch of people into one place at the same time. Now, there are a whole bunch of you know, tips and tricks and things you should be doing at conferences to get the most out of those meetings. I will cover one a little bit later. But that’s why you go to conferences, you want the landscape you want to you want the buffet a little bit a little bit of everything and you want the of the fellow people in your tribe if you will.

So which conferences in the marketing space should you be going to now if you’re working with a specific vendor there are a ton of vendor conferences and every vendor conferences trying to make itself into like you know the industry conference but of course a substantial portion of the content is still going to be very heavily weighted towards that vendors product and service so if you are for example a HubSpot user you should be going to inbound that’s common sense if you are a mark Hedo user you should be going to marketing nation and so on and so forth so make sure that you are attending a vendor conference for the systems that you use because well frankly there’s no reason not to you’ll get the most out of it because you’re going to get the most and learn the most about the tools you’re already using for social media the conference to go to without a doubt Social Media Marketing World I’ve got a link in the show notes if you want to register to attend I think there’s some kind of discount for early birds right now but it is if you are in the Social Media Marketing World Social Media Marketing World This is the conference to attend hands down it is mandatory also check out Jason Keith social fresh which is a an annual conference as well it’s an excellent event if you are into content marketing no surprise content marketing world is where you should be it is a also a gigantic event held in Cleveland every year and for people who are charged with the responsibility of making stuff

content of all forms the place to go

if you care about marketing technology the systems the tools so the vendors and what’s happening in the marketing automation marketing technology AI to some degree but a lot of the the practical applied tools in marketing

the martek conference, Scott Brinker

smart tech conferences, the place to be there’s two of them every year there’s a martek a Westerner martek East both are very good to go to,

I personally would lean towards the one nearest you were there. They’re both good events. Now if you care about data science, AI, machine learning, but especially data science, statistics and stuff, the Open Data Science Conference, again, there’s two of those data science West Open Data Science west and east, go to the one that’s closest to you. But you will pick up a ton about what’s happening in the field of data science, not all of its marketing. A lot of it is you know, just general application but if you want to, again see the landscape of what’s possible in data science, definitely the event to go to and then of course, the major vendor events you have HubSpot, inbound Oracle Marketing, Modern Marketing, I think it’s just called modern marketing, sales forces. Dream force, gigantic conference, if you want to see every if you want to see a conference that does is crazy, go to dream forces like 150,000 people. If you don’t like large crowds don’t

enforce

go to market marketing nation. Google Cloud Next is an important event if you’re in the Google Cloud ecosystem. Google marketing platform also has its own events and things. So if you are in the Google Analytics and Google AdWords world, the place to go if you are a vendor reseller distributor or a partner of Google, you absolutely should be going to the Google partner events. So there’s Google Analytics partner conference, and stuff like that. Do not miss those. Because as you will learn in your NDA, they will reveal the roadmap for 12 to 18 months for the products that you are working with on a day to day basis. If you’re not a Google partner, consider becoming one because you get a lot of fringe benefits. And it doesn’t cost anything other than proving that you actually know what you’re doing with Google products. IBM think by far one of the best conferences to go to if you’ve not been and you want to learn about the state of technology from IBM perspective a terrific event to go to and on the visualization side Tablo conference, if you love making charts, it is the place to go, because Tableau is is the gold standard currently in data visualization. So those all the major events, if you’ve got unlimited budget, and unlimited travel time, there you go. I would suggest if you don’t have unlimited budget, you do two events, you do a vendor conference for the tool that you use most with a tool that you need to learn how to use best and then do a one of the the general conferences like social media marketing, world content marketing world, stuff like that.

That’s how to choose what to go to every year. And if you have to pick only one again, I would, I would lean towards a vendor conference only, so that you can get better at the tools that you’re already paying for. That would make the most sense,

the exception being a less disease specific strategic focus. Like if you if your boss says we must get better at social media then yet go to Social Media Marketing World.

One last tip, a lot of people feel like they get lost at these bigger conferences, especially, you know,

I think social media marketing world’s up to 11,000 people. Now, hub spots up to like, 30 dream forces, somewhere between 150 and one at if you want to make the most of the conference, if you want to not feel like a stranger alone in the crowd, the best thing you can do is join that conferences, pre event networking or slack group. And if there isn’t one, start one and, you know, get buy in for the event or say, Hey, I’m gonna run this unless you strenuously object calm, you know, we’re going to do this because you want to build your tribe in advance, you don’t need to meet 1000 or 10,000 or 100,000 people at an event, you want to probably meet 10 or 15 or 20 people who are peers, people who that you can network with people who can become friends with and that and, and have those those interactions those relationships after the event ends. And so something like slack group or Facebook group, or whatever it is, you want to join that participate, get to know people have your tribe ready and and and, and assembled before you even set foot on the air airplane or the bus or whatever, so that you have friends at the event. And then you can carry those friendships on after the event that is so important in order to make the most of conferences that you go to maybe we’ll do another follow on about, you know, other things you should be doing to take advantage of conferences, but these are the events in the marketing world right now to attend As of mid 2018, and I hope to see you at some I speak at a lot of these events. I hope to see you at them. If you are going to be at

the top Say hi, would love to chat and you know, sip of coffee or just stare awkwardly which I also do so

greatly question. As always, please subscribe to the YouTube channel and the newsletter and I’ll talk to you soon. Take care

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