As you’re reading this sentence, entire development teams are working on algorithm updates that will impact your marketing strategy moving forward. If it’s not Google, it’s Facebook. And if it’s not Facebook, it’s Bing. Or Twitter. Or Twitter and Google, simultaneously. And as soon as the new algorithm is rolled out, the developers will start working on a new update before you can even adjust to the latest iteration.
Of course, there’s more to digital marketing than just keeping on top of algorithm updates. There are also new tools, platforms, apps, widgets, hashtags…you get the idea. The point is, it’s a lot, and reading the occasional industry article won’t keep you sufficiently up to date. Going to marketing conferences is one the best ways to network, learn how the industry’s changing and get actionable strategy advice to take back to your own business.
If you wanted to, you could attend a different marketing conference every week – there’s certainly no shortage of them. But, with limited time and resources, which do you choose to attend? Out of all the events taking place this year, these are the seven must-attend marketing conferences in 2015.
1. Adobe Summit 2015. With more than 135 in-depth sessions in ten separate tracks, including hands-on labs and pre-conference courses, Adobe Summit is one of the more comprehensive digital marketing conferences you’ll find. As an Adobe event, much of the content is specific to Adobe products, but there’s still a lot to be learned from the many case studies, strategy sessions, and valuable networking opportunities.
Adobe Summit 2015 will be held March 9 – 13 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. This one’s almost upon us, so register soon.
Why You Should Go: If you’re using products from the Adobe Marketing Cloud, attending this conference is kind of a no-brainer. If you’re a digital agency looking to network with potential clients who have budget for platforms like Adobe Marketing Cloud, you’ll find no shortage of decision makers here – when you can decide for yourself what conferences to attend, it’s pretty easy to pick the one that features great networking events, free skiing, and major music acts.
Don’t Miss: Summit Bash is described by Adobe as the “over-the-top event with great food and drinks, headliner entertainment and an awesome party atmosphere.” This year’s headliner is Grammy award -winning artist, Imagine Dragons.
2. South by Southwest (SXSW). For nearly three decades, SXSW has been a consistent snapshot of the year’s most innovative and culturally relevant films, music and technology. Inspiring hundreds of thousands of tweets and attracting today’s most disruptive startups, the folks behind SXSW are no slouches when it comes to marketing.
This year’s festival will be held at the Austin Convention Center from March 13 – 22, so be sure to register soon for this one too. Perhaps you can proceed directly from Salt Lake City to Austin.
Why You Should Go: While it might seem out of place on a list of marketing conferences, SXSW has its finger on the pulse of some of the most exciting things happening in technology and business. Being a good marketer means keeping on top of the trends in the industries you might be working with, and SXSW delivers that in spades. With workshops and panel discussions on “The Art and Science of Shareability” and “New Media Ethics: Journalism in the Age of GIFs,” you’ll experience a diversity of ideas on communication and marketing you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.
Don’t Miss: Most of the Branding and Marketing workshops and discussions take place between March 13-17, and the offerings are pretty robust. One of the discussions catching our eye is Why Editorial Calendars Make Your Content Suck, which focuses on moving away from “lackluster content… detached from business objectives” and “engagement bait” and moving toward “consumer-driven, data driven and conversation-led models.” We’re always looking for ways to fine-tune content strategy for conversion, and we’re curious to see what fresh ideas SXSW brings to the table.
3. Social Media Marketing World (SMMW). Hosted by Social Media Examiner, SMMW includes over 100 sessions led by industry experts on topics including content creation and social marketing strategy, and a speaker lineup with names like Guy Kawasaki and Chris Brogan.
Social Media Marketing World will be held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego from March 25 – 27, so be sure to register soon.
Why You Should Go: Social Media Examiner has a ton of clout in the content marketing world (if you’re not already reading their blog, you should start yesterday.) In terms of sheer quantity and breadth of content, SMMW has a lot to offer, so this is a great one to catch if you can’t make it out to a ton of marketing conferences this year.
Don’t Miss: There are more than a few SMMW sessions we’d love to check out, but we’re especially intrigued by “How to Make Great Videos With Only Your Phone (and No Budget)” with Caleb Wojcik. Video makes for some of the most engaging content, but it’s also the most costly and difficult to produce — we’d like to see how he suggests businesses overcome that hurdle.
4. SearchLove Boston. If you’re looking for an amazing two-day conference that won’t cut into your precious workweek hours, look no further than SearchLove Boston. Hosted by Distilled, this weekend in New England attracts big names — previous speakers include Moz’s Rand Fishkin and Google Analytics Evangelist Justin Cutroni — while providing content marketing tips in both large and intimate settings.
SearchLove Boston will be held April 30 – May 1 at the Joseph B. Martin Conference Center in Boston.
Why You Should Go: SearchLove Boston combines networking, professional development and big ideas in a mix of large- and small-group settings, creating a one-on-one vibe that’s hard to find at other marketing conferences.
Don’t Miss: The VIP session with SearchLove’s keynote speakers on April 29. In addition to being a sneak preview of the main event, it’s an amazing opportunity to market with industry heavy-hitters face-to-face.
5. Mozcon. Another weekend conference, MozCon is bringing a slate of impressive speakers from Moz, Basecamp, MobileMoxie and more to the west coast for a marketing conference you could skip out on — but we wouldn’t advise it.
Mozcon will be held July 13 – 15 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle.
Why You Should Go: For one, it’s Moz. Many of the tools they’ve developed are invaluable (we’re long-time fans of Open Site Explorer, and the updated Link Intersect feature is super useful for finding link opportunities), so it’s great to meet the great minds behind them. There’s a reason other marketing conferences are snatching up Rand Fishkin for keynote speeches.
Don’t Miss: The MozCon schedule is still in development, but it will be finalized in Spring 2015.
6. Content Marketing World. Hosted by Content Marketing Institute, this Midwestern juggernaut brings content marketing and PR experts together with professionals from a variety of industries with a focus on developing and improving your business’s content strategy.
Content Marketing World will be held September 8 – 11 at the Cleveland Convention Center.
Why You Should Go: Content Marketing World attracts some killer talent to its roster of speakers — like Ann Handley, author of the indispensable Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content, and, of course, Joe Pulizzi, Founder of Content Marketing Institute. This huge event attracts thousands of marketing and PR professionals, so you’ll get a lot of networking bang for your buck, and with over 80 informative sessions on the agenda, there’s plenty to learn.
Don’t Miss: The industry-specific hands-on breakout labs on the last day. Content marketing is not one-size-fits-all, and what makes Content Marketing World stand out from other marketing conferences is its emphasis on industry-specific informative sessions. From the healthcare sector (with different labs for hospitals and pharma) to non-profit, education, retail and financial services marketing, you’ll find panel discussions tailored to the quirks of each specific industry.
7. Pubcon Las Vegas. Pubcon is one of my personal favorites since I learned so much of what I know about SEO in the early years of Webmaster World (Google Dance, anyone?), the community from which Pubcon originated. 2015 marks the 16th anniversary of Pubcon, and as Brett Tabke will tell you at the beginning of every Pubcon, many of the attendees return year after year because of the great professional and personal relationships they form through the event. Forbes has called it a “Must-Attend Conference for Entrepreneurs,” but Pubcon Vegas, a “social media and optimization conference and expo,” has something to offer anyone who works in digital marketing.
Pubcon Las Vegas will be held October 5 – 9 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Why You Should Go: If you need to step up your networking game, this should be at the top of your list of must-attend marketing conferences. Pubcon Las Vegas has an impressive roster of previous keynote speakers, including Malcolm Gladwell and Guy Kawasaki. Their list of speakers gets better all the time, and last year included marketing guru Jay Baer and Duane Forrester, the brains behind Microsoft’s Bing Webmaster program.
Don’t Miss: Pubcon Masters Group Training, a full day of social media marketing, SEO and advertising training from industry experts. Whether you’re a seasoned marketing and PR veteran or new to the game, you can choose from sessions on analysis, advanced SEO, automation/scripting and PPC advertising to hone your skills.
The nature of marketing, advertising, content strategy, SEO and PR is one of constant flux. As entrepreneurs and content marketing professionals, our development never ends, and we need to lean on the expertise of tech junkies, social media gurus and other disruptors to get inside the heads of our audience and attract the right attention to our brands.
Beyond that, it never hurts to step away from your desk and fly out to hear some new voices. Marketing conferences offer a unique opportunity to break away from routine and bring some game-changing strategies and professional relationships back home to your organization.
Are there any must-attend marketing conferences we missed? Post them in the comments section below, or tweet @Clickseed to let us know!