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March 10, 2016 // 8:00 AM

How to Meet People Who Are Smarter Than You: 16 Marketing & Tech Events to Attend in 2016

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“If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.”

It’s a good principle to live your life by. Although being the smartest person in the room is a nice ego boost, you need to surround yourself with people who have skills and specialties you don’t if you want to grow -- in short, people who are smarter than you.

One of the best ways to break out of your daily routine and try your hand at learning something new is to attend a conference. Not only do you have access to thousands of other ambitious, hardworking professionals in an out-of-the-office environment, but you’re also sure to pick up a new hack, tip, or trick. 

You can’t go to just any old conference, though. That’s why we’ve handpicked 16 events that’ll gather the best and brightest in marketing, tech, and innovation for you to learn from. 

16 Events You Should Attend in 2016

1) An Event Apart


An Event Apart is brought to you by the folks behind design publication A List Apart, and brands itself as “the design conference for people who make websites.” Designers, developers, marketers, content creators, and project managers come together for three days of talks and workshops. The Seattle edition of An Event Apart features sessions on the evolution of coding and accessibility, the intersection of physical and digital design, and “compassionate design” -- design that emphasizes the real user experience, not an idealized one.

When & Where:

  • April 4-6, 2016: Seattle, Washington
  • May 16-18, 2016: Boston, Massachusetts
  • July 25-27, 2016, Washington, D.C.
  • August 29-31, 2016: Chicago, Illinois
  • October 3-5, 2016: Orlando, Florida
  • October 31-November 2, 2016: San Francisco, California


2) CMO Club Spring Innovation and Inspiration Summit


The CMO Club is a global organization of 850+ heads of marketing. Their spring summit brings together their membership to discuss CMO-specific challenges and provide guidance on modern marketing and team development. This year’s speakers include Dell CMO Karen Quintos, GE CMO Linda Boff, and Target CEO Jeff Jones.

When & Where:

  • April 5-6, 2016
  • New York City, New York


3) Ad Age Digital Conference


Ad Age’s annual conference explores the future of marketing and advertising each year. 2016 is the conference’s 10-year anniversary, and this year attendees will look ahead to the future of advertising, the rise of technologies that subvert traditional marketing (think ad blocking), and how to engage with consumers on their own terms. Speakers include Medium and Twitter co-founder Ev Williams, Procter & Gamble Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard, and BuzzFeed CMO/Chief Creative Officer Frank Cooper.

When & Where:

  • April 5-6, 2016
  • New York City, New York


4) Collision


Collision is a truly multidisciplinary web conference, with 14 different tracks: Code, content, data, design, e-commerce, enterprise, fintech, internet of things, marketing, music, security, social media, sports, and Startup University. For startups looking to get a boost, Collision also hosts the Alpha exhibition and Pitch competition.

When & Where:

  • April 26-28, 2016
  • New Orleans, Louisiana


5) SearchLove


Some of the best and brightest minds in online marketing gather each year for one of SearchLove’s multiple conferences. With plenty of networking events and breakout sessions to attend, you’ll have no trouble finding like-minded professionals to share insights with.

When & Where:

  • May 3-4, 2016: Boston, Massachusetts
  • October 17-18, 2016: London, England
  • February 23-24, 2017: San Diego, California


6) 99U Conference


99U aims to “shift the focus from idea generation to idea execution.” Attendees can expect more than a dozen mainstage talks, master classes with creative experts, and the opportunity to visit coworking spaces and some of NYC’s leading creative companies. This year, speakers include Jason Fried of Basecamp, Claire Lew of Know Your Company, and Effie Brown of Project Greenlight and Duly Noted.

When & Where:

  • May 4-6, 2016
  • New York City, New York


7) TechCrunch Disrupt


TechCrunch’s Disrupt conference was founded to showcase and debut “revolutionary startups,” gather entrepreneurs and investors together, and explore the direction of tech. Startups can compete in Startup Battlefield for a $50,000 prize (former winners include Dropbox and Zenefits). This year’s announced speakers include theSkimm founders Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg, and Giphy CEO/founder Alex Chung.

When & Where:

  • May 9-11, 2016
  • Brooklyn, New York


8) Gartner Digital Marketing Conference


Gartner’s annual marketing conference was created for senior marketing execs in analytics, multichannel, commerce, and customer experience roles. This year’s conference has three tracks: “How to Win at Data-Driven Marketing,” “Creating and Executing Winning Marketing Strategies,” and “What’s Next: Preparing for Marketing’s Newest Trends and Techniques.”

When & Where:

  • May 17-19, 2016
  • San Diego, California


9) SiriusDecisions Summit


SiriusDecisions focuses on B2B sales, marketing, and product perspectives. This year’s theme is “The Art and Science of Intelligent Growth,” and sessions will focus on how business leaders can operationalize growth strategy.

When & Where:

  • May 24-27, 2016
  • Nashville, Tennessee


10) C2


C2, which stands for Commerce and Creativity, bills itself as “a business conference, only different.” Over three days, conference-goers will attend master classes, talks, and participate in “extreme brainstorming” (past sessions have suspended attendees in a net 18 feet above the ground). The conference engineers also build the “C2 Village” each year to showcase performances and art and technology exhibits.

When & Where:

  • May 24-26, 2016
  • Montreal, Canada


11) Search Marketing Summit


Search Marketing Summit is in its ninth year, and is Australia’s largest search marketing conference. Tracks are designed for all levels of expertise, with additional days dedicated to conversion and landing page optimization, PPC, search engine bootcamp, SEO, email marketing, and mobile marketing.


When & Where:

  • May 30-June 3, 2016
  • Sydney, Australia

12) Cannes Lions Festival


Cannes Lions is legendary for a reason. Every year, the world’s top creatives gather in France for a week of awards, talks, and workshops. This year’s confirmed speakers include Mindy Kaling, Anthony Bourdain, and Anderson Cooper, as well as agency bigwigs like DDB North America CEO Wendy Clark and Droga5 Creative Chairman David Droga.

When & Where:

  • June 18-25, 2016
  • Cannes, France


13) Content Marketing World


A whole conference specifically designed for content creators, CMWorld 2016 features 150 tactical, strategic, and transformational talks. This year’s speakers include Moz’s Rand Fishkin, MarketingProfs’ Ann Handley, and The Sales Lion’s Marcus Sheridan.

When & Where:

  • September 6-9, 2016
  • Cleveland, Ohio


14) MozCon


MozCon’s daytime agenda is yet to be finalized, but already in the works are three nighttime networking events that’ll get you plenty of facetime with your fellow conference-goers. Attendees include Moz partners, marketers, community managers, branding experts, social media specialists, and content creators.

When & Where:

  • September 12-14, 2016
  • Seattle, Washington


15) Dreamforce


Every year, Dreamforce takes over the city of San Francisco for four days of sales and marketing content. Over 1,400 breakout sessions are scheduled for this year’s conference. Past speakers include Jessica Alba and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

When & Where:

  • September 12-14, 2016
  • San Francisco, California




HubSpot’s annual industry event is back and bigger than ever. Attendees can hear inspiring keynotes, Spotlights, and Bold Talks, as well as attend tactical breakout sessions relating to marketing, sales, content, agencies, and more. Past INBOUND performers and speakers include Amy Schumer, Daniel Pink, Jon Ronson, and Brené Brown.

When & Where:

  • November 8-11, 2016
  • Boston, Massachusetts


What events will you be attending this year? Share with us in the comments section below. 

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Topics: Professional Development

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