ZZZzzzzz. We have all been to some seriously yawn-inducing marketing conferences. But that's not how marketing conferences need to be! They can be (and should be) exciting, intellectually stimulating, motivating, networking goldmines, and everything but a waste of time. Problem is, it's hard to sort through the clutter; how do you know whether the conference you're signing up for is a total dud?
Well, we've been to a lot of marketing conferences here at HubSpot, so I asked around for recommendations for the industry conferences that stood out the most to our employees. Here are the best conferences they've attended, and why we think they are so totally fabulous!
This event, recommended by HubSpot's resident Social Media Scientist @DanZarrella, is for those of you who are entrepreneurial, result-driven types who care about the future of technology. The conference isn't at all suity, and is full of motivated, get-down-to-business marketers. Leading businesses, exhibitors, and sponsors involved in social media, online advertising, and internet marketing will be at this event with over 200 speakers and 100 .sessions. This event takes place October 15-18th, 2012 in Las Vegas.
Insider Tip: Get a good night sleep the day before the conference; you might find yourself up late exploring the Vegas scene with other attendees after your jam-packed marketing days.
2) MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum
@Ellieeille and @kippbodnar recommend this conference, which is known for its awesome content. This isn't an event for people who follow yesterday's best practices and trends. Come to this conference if you're ready to push the envelope to move your business and industry forward. The opening day keynote will be given by Baratunde Thurston, comedian and director of digital for The Onion, speaking on creativity in the digital world. This event takes place October 3rd-5th, 2012 in Boston.
Insider Tip: Be prepared to put on your creative hat for the keynote. Start thinking about how you can make your content more unique to generate those leads you're looking for.
3) Sirius Decisions Summit
@Pamelump suggests the Sirius Decisions Summit, especially for those of you working at larger companies. This one day gathering of analysts and top sales and marketing leaders from Global 1000 companies is focused on the integration between B2B sales and marketing. A key part of the conference is a vendor showcase where attendees can speak with suppliers about their solutions to improve sales and marketing alignment and increase revenue. This is a fabulous opportunity for enterprise marketers to network with other bigwigs. This event takes place November 15, 2012 in London.
Insider Tip: Do some LinkedIn research (check out LinkedIn Events, too!) before the conference so you're fully prepared for all the networking opportunities -- enterprise marketers are all over the LinkedIn network!
4) Mirren New Business Conference
@pc4media attended this conference with "celebrity personalities and rockstar CEOs" and highly recommends it. The Mirren New Business Conference is a yearly event for CEOs and business development professionals at marketing, ad, and PR agencies. Both industry heavyweights as well as up-and-comers get together to talk about the future of the industry and the state of client acquisition. This year, a special track on technology stirred great conversation about how marketing software, social media, and inbound marketing are changing the way agencies generate new business, and the services they offer to clients. This event took place on May 1-3rd, 2012 in NYC. Keep an eye out for the next one!
Insider Tip: Bring business cards with your Twitter handle on them for those after-hours networking opportunities; this crowd will appreciate it.
If you're looking for a great event with amazing speakers and tons of killer link building and SEO tips, @sarahbethgo says this is the event for you. This year, Colby Almond totally crushed it with a presentation called "Going Viral on Pinterest." Wil Reynolds gave an equally wonderful presentation about stalking your big influencers online to build connections with them, using HubSpot's very own co-founder Dharmesh Shah as his example of the big influencer he was targeting. This conference offers useful link building tips together with a humorous tone and a laid-back attitude. This event took place on April 2, 2012 in Boston. Keep an eye out for the next one!
Insider Tip: Bring your smile and positive attitude, and be prepared to laugh and have fun while you're learning!
6) SMX East
Looking to increase your website traffic, conversions, and sales? Hah, who isn't? @DanSlagen recommends this conference because of its solid content. There's a balance of both the client side and agency side, so there are plenty of opportunities for everyone to learn a lot. You can choose from 60 sessions ranging from search engine optimization (SEO), to paid search advertising, to social media marketing on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. This event takes place October 2-4, 2012 in NYC.
Insider Tip: Because of the sheer volume of sessions, research which ones you'd like to attend beforehand so you can make the most of your time and the content available.
7) Business Marketing Association National Conference
@kippbodnar recommends this conference for anyone who wants their company to grow. The conference is for both marketers and their colleagues in sales, sales enablement, and CRM management who are looking to grow their company fast, efficiently, and profitably. The 2012 international conference was the single largest annual B2B marketing event in the world, with people from 300 companies, 35 states, and 12 countries. This event took place on May 30th-June 1st, 2012 in Chicago. Keep an eye out for the next one!
Insider Tip: Chat with some of your coworkers who aren't going to the conference to see if they have some people they would like you to meet that can help you accelerate your company's growth goals.
Recommended by @repcor, FutureM is a 4 day event held by MITX. This event is fantastic for the tech-savvy marketer who wants to learn how new technologies will play a role in the future of marketing -- and how it will make older marketing mediums more effective! This event takes place October 23-26, 2012 in Boston.
Insider Tip: Do a little research on Boston before you show up. There will be events in the Back Bay, Kendall Square, and the Innovation District, so you'll be hopping around lots of different (but awesome) parts of the city!
9) INBOUND 2012
Finally, a little shameless self-promotion courtesy of a recommendation by, well, @HubSpot. Our INBOUND 2012 conference is perfect for veteran inbound marketers and newbies alike. With 60+ breakout sessions and speakers like SEOmoz's Rand Fishkin, bestselling authors David Meerman Scott, Susan Cain, and Gary Vaynerchuk, there's no way to leave this event without learning about the mind-blowing future of inbound marketing. Oh, and did we mention there are some killer parties? This event takes place on August 27th-30th in Boston.
Insider Tip: Establish your digital networking footprint before arriving -- on Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora, wherever -- as this crowd is likely to be keeping in touch socially after the event.
Whew! You'll be a busy bee if you go to all of these marketing conferences -- but you sure won't be bored. For the conferences on this list that have passed in 2012, be sure to mark off your calendars for next year's date. Happy networking!
What marketing conferences aren't listed here that you absolutely love? Share what makes them so awesome in the comments!
Image credit: FindYourSearch
Originally published Jul 3, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017