Tag Archives: marketing conference

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Written by Caroline Cox on Aug 17 , 2022

Use this handy guide to determine which marketing conferences and events deserve a spot on your calendar.

Here, you’ll find:

  • How conferences have evolved in the last few years
  • 9 innovative marketing conferences worth attending
  • What to expect from each event
  • The types of sessions and speakers at each conference

Industry conferences give you the opportunity to learn more about your field, stay up to date on the latest developments, and gather inspiration (and ideally a to-do list) you can bring back to your team. 

But since we first started highlighting marketing conferences back in 2019, the world has changed. With the pandemic shaking up safety measures, travel logistics, and all in-person gatherings, many marketing conferences moved online or ceased operations. 

These days, there are still varied feelings among attendees when it comes to the safety of large-group gatherings. MarTech reports that “interest in virtual events is likely to remain high, as the timeline for a return to in-person events remains uncertain.”

As a result, many brands have brought back or continued hosting their events virtually or in hybrid form, rather than fully IRL. 

Here are the top marketing conferences worth traveling — or simply blocking off your calendar — for. 

Image via Unsplash

At the end of the day, marketing is about connection. (Image: Unsplash)

1. Inbound

HubSpot’s highly anticipated marketing event is part conference, part festival. Each year, the brand brings together a mix of industry leaders from big-name brands and celebrity entrepreneurs to share their knowledge. 

With interactive booths, live entertainment, a buzzy food truck lawn, and hundreds of sessions across multiple venue spaces, expect valuable lessons and takeaways for every type of marketer at Inbound. 

This year, for Inbound’s first hybrid event, expect inspiring talks from the likes of President Barack Obama, Dr. Jane Goodall, Viola Davis, and Glennon Doyle.

How to attend: In person, hybrid, or virtually

When: Sept. 6-9, 2022

Where: Boston, MA

2. Brandweek Summit

Adweek bills its annual conference — back in person in 2022 — as an opportunity to “experience an unparalleled array of intimate sessions and exciting activities designed to educate, entertain and foster new connections with industry power players.”

More than 1,000 senior-level brand marketers and industry leaders are slated to gather for this 5-day event covering all things advertising in today’s marketing climate and beyond. Expect speakers and session leaders from brands including Chobani, Hyundai, Uncommon James, Marriott, Gatorade, and the Harlem Globetrotters. 

How to attend: In person, hybrid, or virtually

When: Sept. 12-16, 2022

Where: Miami, FL

3. Content Marketing World

Content is a key part of any good digital marketing strategy’s foundation. This conference wants to arm attendees with creative ideas, organizational tools, and effective insights to ensure their content marketing is top notch.

With both in-person and virtual attending options available, there’s no excuse not to take this opportunity to gather insights that’ll take your content efforts to the next level.

How to attend: In person, hybrid, or virtually

When: Sept. 13-16, 2022 (in person), Sept. 21-22, 2022 (online)

Where: Cleveland, OH

4. SearchLove

Looking for insight into SEO best practices, mobile search, Google algorithm updates, and PPC for inbound marketers? Distilled’s SearchLove conference has you covered.  

This conference covers all things search. Expect sessions on topics like how to sift through analytics data, integrating PR and SEO, finding your brand voice, and much more. Past speakers have come from the likes of Moz, Microsoft, Unbounce, and HubSpot. 

How to attend: In person or virtually via a video ticket 

When: March 13-14, 2023

Where: San Diego, CA

marketing conference

Many brands have brought back or continued hosting their events virtually or in hybrid form, rather than fully IRL. (Image: Unsplash)

5. Social Media Marketing World

Get the lowdown on the latest in social media marketing at this results-driven conference. Over the course of three days, expert speakers will cover social strategy, social advertising, content marketing, video marketing, analytics, customer advocacy, and more.

With plenty of sessions, workshops, and after-hours parties to choose from, this is the go-to conference for many social media marketers, digital marketing managers, agency owners, consultants, network marketers, and corporate marketers alike. 

Those who register get the chance to attend IRL or livestream via any device. They also get access to video recordings and presentation slide decks of all available content included.

How to attend: In person, hybrid, or virtually via livestream

When: March 13-15, 2023

Where: San Diego, CA

6. MozCon

Stay ahead of the curve while learning next-level tactics on everything from ranking higher to making better data-driven decisions at this three-day search marketing extravaganza.

MozCon describes itself as “summer camp for marketers.” Hear from a variety of knowledgeable session leaders while networking with those well-versed in SEO, content marketing, paid search, social media, and agencies.

How to attend: In person or virtually via a video ticket

When: Aug. 7-9, 2023

Where: Seattle, WA

7. Industry Preview

Find out what’s new, next, and on the horizon in the world of marketing technology at this AdExchanger conference.

In the past, the event has billed itself as “an intimate and exclusive one-day conference for senior executives in the data-driven digital media and marketing technology ecosystem focused on what to expect in the coming year.”

Attendees can expect dozens of visionary speakers and session options in between mingling and networking with hundreds of fellow industry pros. 

How to attend: In person

When: 2023 date not yet announced

Where: 2023 location not yet announced

8. DigiMarCon

For those looking to leave a conference with pages (whether actual or digital) of actionable insights, look no further than one of the famed DigiMarCon events. 

With a program designed to help attendees build and develop their audience, expect to learn about growing traffic, creating brand awareness, leveraging the latest tools, and plenty more.

No matter your region, there’s a DigiMarCon gathering for you: they host location-specific events in 40 cities worldwide. In the U.S. alone, look for conferences in the East, Mid-Atlantic, Pacific Northwest, Midwest, the South, Silicon Valley, and beyond.

How to attend: In person, hybrid, or virtually

When: Dates vary

Where: Locations vary

taking notes at a marketing conference

Industry conferences give you the opportunity to gather inspiration and create a to-do list to bring back to your team. (Image: Unsplash)

9. Digital Summit

Digital Summit wants to empower attendees to go from just another fish in the sea to becoming marketing leaders. Their multi-city events offer engaging info sessions on all aspects of marketing: content, search, email, mobile, UX and design, social, and strategy.

The success of the Digital Summit series has caused the event to grow, spanning various dates and cities throughout the year. Not only that, but they’re proactively working to continue making this in-person event as safe as possible. 

Look for these conferences to pop up in cities including New York City, Minneapolis, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, and more.

How to attend: In person or virtually via video ticket

When: Dates vary

Where: Locations vary

The takeaway

At the end of the day, marketing is about connection. 

When you attend marketing conferences that let you connect with ideas, strategies, and people who are passionate about the same things as you, amazing things can happen.

And now, with most of these events offering virtual options, it’s easier than ever to learn from the pros and gain game-changing insights that’ll help you and your company soar.

This article has been updated and was originally published in November 2019.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Caroline Cox on Dec 5 , 2019

Marketing conferences can be inspiring — and overwhelming. These conference tips will help ensure you’re making the most of your time.

Here, you’ll find:

  • Conference tips for networking
  • Strategies for effective note-taking
  • Ways to avoid conference burnout
  • How to turn inspiration into action post-event

Whether your beat is paid search, social media, SEO, content writing, or anything in between, there’s a marketing conference for you. The ROI of attending a conference can be huge, both for yourself and for your company.

But once you’ve hit “register” and scored your ticket, there’s more to be done to be sure you’ll get the most you can out of the event. From mapping out goals to mindful networking, these conference tips will help make your next conference work for you. (Oh, and don’t forget your business cards!)

HawkSEM: How to Make the Most of a Marketing Conference

Consider connecting with fellow attendees or speakers beforehand via LinkedIn or the event’s Facebook page. (Image via Unsplash)

1. Make a pre-event plan

Leading up to the conference, it’s a good idea to come up with a few goals you have in mind. Jotting these goals down can help you feel more organized and purposeful. And they’ll be especially useful once the chaos of running from session to workshop to happy hour is underway.

You can ask yourself questions like:

  • What do you want to walk away with?
  • What current problems or projects do you want help tackling?
  • Who would you most like to meet?

You can even consider connecting with fellow attendees or speakers beforehand via LinkedIn or the event’s Facebook page. That way you can start networking and potentially set up some valuable coffee or dinner plans.

2. Get to sessions early

It might seem like a small thing, but trying to get to sessions early can be a game-changer during the busy conference rush. While it depends on things like your session schedule and the layout of the venue, it’s a good idea to get to each session about 10-15 minutes ahead of start time if you can.

This way, you don’t feel rushed, you can snag a good seat, and you have time to get organized and even check your emails before it starts. This is also a great opportunity to chat and network with people sitting around you — much less awkward than walking up to someone in a large room.

If you’re stumped on conversation starters, you can ask someone about their job role, current interests, or a project they’ve been dealing with. Who knows — you may be able to offer each other some valuable advice!

HawkSEM: How to Make the Most of a Marketing Conference

Consider giving yourself a meet-and-greet goal — like getting three business cards per day. (Image via Unsplash)

3. Give yourself a meet-and-greet goal

The idea of networking can be exciting at best, and overwhelming (or even dreadful) at worst. But while the intimidation factor is natural, networking can be one of the most beneficial things you do at a marketing conference.

Particularly if you’re attending a conference with coworkers, it can be easy to stick with them and not strike up convos with anyone new. Consider giving yourself a meet-and-greet goal, like getting three business cards per day.

Between vendors, seat neighbors, and those waiting in the lunch line with you, you should be able to crush your goal and make potentially valuable connections in the process.

4. Make time to check out the vendors

Speaking of vendors, conferences are the perfect opportunity to check out the latest and greatest offerings in your industry. Take some time between sessions or after lunch to browse around the vendor booth area and chat up any brand reps that pique your interest.

You may end up meeting someone who can help solve a problem you’ve been working on at your company or offer a time-saving tool. Some booths may even have special discounts, deals, or prizes as well. Don’t feel intimidated — they’re just people there to make connections, too.

5. Don’t forget to take breaks

With all the hustle and bustle surrounding live events, even two days of sessions can leave you feeling burned out. Taking breaks will help you recharge and feel refreshed so you can continue making the most of your event.

If you can’t make it back to where you’re staying in between sessions, consider posting up in a quiet corner and answering a few work emails, or sitting outside or next to a sunny window during lunch.

Remember: you don’t need to attend every single session you sign up for. If you need to rest, you can usually reach out to the company behind the conference later to get the presentation slides or contact info for the speaker.

HawkSEM: How to Make the Most of a Marketing Conference

Taking notes on sessions will ensure you leave with takeaways and insights. (Image via Unsplash)

6. Be prepared to take notes

Research shows that note-taking can improve information retention, particularly when it comes to understanding concepts. But whether you opt for a laptop, an app like OneNote, or a pen and pad, taking notes on sessions will ensure you leave with valuable takeaways and insights.

Don’t want the action items or juicy ideas to get buried? Bold them or add an asterisk so you can hit ctrl+F and find them easily. (If you’re going old-school, you can underline or highlight the big takeaways.)

If you take phone photos of particularly relevant slides or URLs during sessions, it’s wise to make a note of it. This way, you’ll know the photo’s context later, and you won’t have to wrack your brain trying to remember which session the photo is from.

7. Be present while networking

Which person sounds more like someone you want to talk to at an event: Someone smiling and looking around, or something with their eyes down and fingers glued to their phone?

During a networking session, hit that meet-and-greet goal mentioned above by temporarily putting your phone away and hanging out by the bar or food table. You’ll have folks consistently walking over to where you are, which makes striking up conversations a breeze.

8. Share top conference tips with your team

It’s common to be filled with inspiration and ideas from an event, then return to work and fall back into old habits and tasks.

Don’t let your time — and the ticket price — go to waste! Creating a list of action items from your conference notes will help ensure you put those new ideas and tactics into place.

Another way to hold yourself accountable is by offering to do a quick presentation for your team to discuss the conference tips and highlights you gleaned. Explain what you learned, along with your plan for how the business can put these ideas into practice. (Bonus points if you include a timeline to better prioritize these new goals.)

HawkSEM: How to Make the Most of a Marketing Conference

Creating a list of action items from your conference notes will help ensure you put those new ideas and tactics into place. (Image via Unsplash)

The takeaway

Marketing conferences are a great way to learn new things about your industry while getting you outside of your comfort zone and normal routine.

Whether you’re a seasoned attendee or plan to hit up your first conference in the coming months, these conference tips can help you feel confident and ready to make the most of it.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

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Written by Caroline Cox on Sep 19 , 2019

The best marketing tools, tips, and trends we took away from this year’s Inbound marketing conference.

Here, you’ll find:

  • How to make your brand stand out
  • Ways to leverage your team’s ideas
  • Tips for aligning your sales and marketing teams
  • Keys to successful email marketing

Over four days each September, Hubspot gathers more than 20,000 marketers together in Boston for their Inbound conference, giving attendees an opportunity to learn, laugh, and connect, all in the name of marketing. Between the live comedy and entertainment events, more than 250 speakers, and interactive experiences galore, it’s not your average industry event.

At this year’s Inbound conference, the HawkSEM marketing team heard from dozens of speakers from around the country (and beyond!) talking about all the latest and greatest tools, tips, and trends, from LinkedIn ads and email newsletters to native advertising and everything in between.

Below, we’ve highlighted a few of our top takeaways from this year’s sessions.

1. Speak to your customers, not your colleagues

There are some things that you know implicitly, but they don’t really click until you hear them said out loud — this was one of those things. The idea of writing for your customers instead of your colleagues sounds like a simple idea. In a session led by copywriter and marketing strategist Margo Aaron about creating effective newsletters, this takeaway stood out.

Margo said your content — whether it’s a newsletter, website copy, or a blog — should feel like an inside joke with your audience. You don’t need everyone to get it, you just need the right people to get it. She added that it’s also important to speak their language, know their pain points, and address their needs accordingly.

Pro tip: FOMO is the key to email marketing — according to Jay Schwedelson of Worldata, who led a session on this topic, B2B emails with an offer that expires see an approximately 55% higher response rate overall.

2. Stand out with your unique brand story

When you’re working within a saturated market, you’ve got to get creative when it comes to finding ways to stand out. Luckily, you’ve got something unique just by virtue of existing: your brand story. No two brand journeys are alike — whether it’s the road that led to the creation of your business, the need you’re addressing, or how you position yourself in the market, no one is doing exactly what you do, exactly how you do it.

Led by Gabriela Pereira of DIY MFA, this session on brand story highlighted the fact that talking about your brand story makes you stand out and humanizes your company, reminding customers and prospects that your team is made up of people, not robots. Adding a human element to your business allows people to feel more connected to it, and even trust it more because of its authenticity.

3. Document your strategies

Sure, you have your processes down pat — but having clearly documented strategies for your processes, whether for marketing or elsewhere, has a multitude of biz benefits. Influence & Co.’s Kelsey Raymond emphasized this in her session on generating revenue from content marketing.

By defining clear processes for things like content creation and social media promotion, you can make sure your mission and values are clear while keeping other team members in the loop. Not only does this add transparency, but it helps add a “method to the madness” and allows you to easily iterate once you examine what’s working (i.e. what’s bringing you the most business) and what’s not.

4. Align your sales and marketing teams

Kelsey and others also mentioned the importance of aligning your sales and marketing teams. But what exactly does that mean? Both teams can play a crucial role in helping the other succeed and reach their goals (and no, it’s not enough for them to simply sit near each other in an open office).

To keep the conversation flowing, it’s a good idea to set up a Slack channel or a recurring meeting to discuss ideas, do check-ins, conduct brainstorms, and talk about new ways to collaborate. Creating content that speaks to what prospects want will help the sales team thrive, and knowing what themes are coming up during calls will help the marketing team know what potential content types or topics to tackle in the future.

Pro tip: According to multiple Inbound speakers, link-building is still a valid marketing strategy — if deployed properly. Instead of sending mass cold emails to an “[email protected]” email address, take time to find the right point of contact, send out a personalized message, and make sure the content you want them to link to is a high-quality resource.

5. Prioritize relationships, not just sales

It’s a common trap to fall into: the sale closes, you high five your colleagues, then move on to the next one. But those who more-or-less cease communication after they land the sale are missing a huge opportunity. As Ashley Faus of software development company Atlassian pointed out during her session on content strategy, when a prospect becomes a customer, it’s time to shift your mindset from driving a purchase to driving a relationship.

A happy customer will stick around. Not only that, but they’re more likely to spread the word about your business, leave a positive review, and even be open to cross-sell or feature opportunities. Telling people how great your company is will only get you so far — having happy customers doing it for you is worth its weight in gold.

6. Leverage your team’s ideas

Unless your company is you and you alone, let go of the belief that you have to ideate in a vacuum. In her session on brand publishing, marketing pro Kathleen Booth suggested getting more than just your marketing team involved in content creation.

Not only does this allow you to create more content overall, but it lets your team members shine in a way they otherwise wouldn’t in their role, and it shows prospects and customers that you’ve got a team of experts across multiple departments. We get it, people are busy, but even a short article, published Q&A, or a bi-monthly cross-team brainstorm session can yield serious results.

Pro tip: Not convinced that optimizing your historical marketing content is necessary? Consider this: a whopping 89% of the content Hubspot ranks for is more than 6 months old.

7. Don’t be afraid to innovate

The lightning speed at which trends come and go — in marketing and across industries in general — can make it hard to keep up while also working to check off your day-to-day tasks. But that also leaves you open to being left in the dust when your competition jumps on board.

While it’s unreasonable (and inadvisable) to explore several new things at once, you can start with one or two, track results, and go from there. Consider newer avenues like podcasts, native content, social videos, and chatbots. These channels were created to meet people where they are, and adopting them can keep your brand cutting edge. And even if your experiment fails, it’s not a mistake — it’s simply a learning experience.

8. Tracking is a must

Without proper tracking, you’re basically flying blind. Whether you use a CRM, work with an agency, or employ a different tracking tool, you should always know the status of your efforts, so you can analyze the data to pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of your strategies.

Not only does tracking increase transparency, but it can also help you lobby for more of a budget from higher-ups and illustrate how a new process is performing. The more you pay attention to how your campaigns are tracking, the better you can make them in the future.

We learned a ton about today’s marketing landscape at the 2019 Inbound conference. Let us put that knowledge to good use through helping your marketing ROI soar by requesting a consultation.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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