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Marketers Rate Their Conferences


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#1 cre8pc

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 10:03 AM

It's no surprise that Pubcon rates as the number marketing conference. There are some interesting findings in this report however, especially when broken down by gender.

 

The most important factors for women are cost, speakers, and location.

For men, it's cost, networking and speakers.

 

My first thought is that location is my number one reason for NOT going to conferences anymore.  I hate Las Vegas.  It's across the country for me. So PubCon is out. So is MozCon, which is on the west coast. They were the only conferences in the top 5 rated that I recognized, but I'm also not technically a marketer.

 

The top topics are not in my ball park either. Even so, social media marketing is the number 1 topic. SEO is the last.

 

I personally always supported Brett and PubCon because he allowed related skills as topics for speakers, so that opened for me to give talks on conversions from the UX side. Me, Matt Bailey and Shari Thurow used to speak on SEO/IA/Conversions and were eventually shut out because UX was unwelcome. 

 

The article mentions cost for self employed folks like me. It is just not economically feasible for many of us. Unless there is an event near Phila, I don't bother to even investigate it.  Speakers are not paid and some conferences ask them to pay for their own time slots. 

 

The men also rated networking in the top 3. I liked seeing old friends but networking is not a personal strength. Besides, nobody wants to talk to the usability person, ha ha.

 

Can't wait for marketers to figure out that mobile design and accessibility compliance are what they need to save their jobs.  

 

New Report: How Marketers Feel About Conferences 

Edited by cre8pc, 07 June 2017 - 10:04 AM.


#2 iamlost

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 11:46 AM

What's funny sad about both conferences you mention is that they conflate SEO/SEM/SMM and MARKETING. Actually it is even worse than that as they see Google as the alpha omega of online marketing.

The only reason to attend such conferences is if one is a real noob and/or networking. The same speakers with the same speal plus the latest fad fud year after year.

There are real marketing conferences but you rarely see webdev/SEO types at them. You will meet actual advertisers and affiliate opportunities in addition to the usual ad networks but that is quite a bit outside most webdevs' filter bubble.

Yes, I'd love to go to PubCon and MozCon but only to meet folks in person and I can't really justify the expense for that alone.

#3 EGOL

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 02:54 PM

Starting about twenty years ago I went to lots of SEO conferences.   I went to two or three a year. 

 

I spent about as much as a Harvard education would have cost on SEO conferences.   They were not cheap and were in very expensive locations.  I learned a lot.   I don't regret the cost.

 

I have not been to one now in about ten years.  Instead, I am going conferences related to the industry of my websites and am traveling to universities to take courses.  These cost a lot less than what you would pay for SEO conferences because they are not trying to make big profits off of attendees and they are not in high cost venues.  An entire course will cost about as much as an SEO conference and a few days of NYC hotel costs can buy you weeks of decent housing in other locations. 

 

For some people, increasing your ability to produce content is a better spend of your time and money than SEO.



#4 earlpearl

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 04:10 PM

I stopped going to web conferences years ago.  They are expensive for the value.  Much of the same value can be found elsewhere for far less cost.  But generally I don't like big conferences.  Doesn't matter the industry.

 

One other thing bugs me.  The presenters present that which promotes their specialties.  There is a mix of some level. Of some of the presentations of which I'm well aware, the presentations do have value to listeners, but invariably the presentations promote the presenters. 

 

Some of those presentations of which I'm aware focus on crappy minutia wherein the bigger value is found elsewhere.  I really want to learn how to catch the bigger fish.  I don't want to pay a lot of money for crappy minutia that will possibly add 6 visitors to my site for a year.

 

Of the major concerns:  Cost, location, speakers, networking.

 

Cost is a function of value.  If I can make a lot more for the cost I'd do it.  Location:  The older I get the less I want to travel far.  Call me an old fogey.  Speakers:   Insofar as I referenced a particular issue that I know has recurred....I'm aware other speakers have great substance.  But I'm not there for the glamour.  I have zero interest in cozying up with the "stars".  I want depth. 

 

Networking is very valuable.  I went to many (dozens?/ more dozens multiplied by a factor of 5-10??  not sure) industry conferences for years before the web.  Hard to quantify networking...but cripes its invaluable.   I like to make "better/more substantive contacts through networking" but then through further interaction via follow up.  The value often comes after years of work at it.  Its often the follow up wherein the great value emerges.  Sometimes that takes years.  Hopefully less.    And for different reasons some of the people with whom I network...no matter the effort...it never goes anywhere.

 

Networking is valuable.  One has to do it in a way that works based on one's own style. 

 

One freaking thing about the seo conference thing...I see these ENDLESS conferences.  ENDLESS!!!!!   its more trashy than some of the crappy ads one sees everywhere.

 

Isn't it a great example of marketing and how it works though.  You run these endless conferences.  You get visibility to 2 million people and repetitive  visibility to a majority of the 2 million.  You get 150 people showing up at a conference.  Oh well if you are charging $1k for the conference you make $150 k.  Not bad.  But "number 2" you need a lot of visibility and you can't let those 2 million go a day without seeing your freaking ads and promos.

 

I don't know why I'm whining.  Some of our own businesses do the same crap.  It works. :D



#5 whiterabbit

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Posted 09 June 2017 - 07:51 AM

I would say the networking is the most important factor for me, personally, I also do think that they are educational. I think when you're in your day to day, you're doing one specialized thing and in going to the conferences, you get to get a bunch of different perspectives and you'd be surprised that if you come with specific questions, you'll meet some one at one of the happy hours / networking things that is a super specialist in exactly the issues you're facing...they can either guide you out right or at least point you in a direction...thats really tough to get elsewhere....

 

Regarding location, one trend i've seen is that there are more and more conferences that are in smaller cities, catering to the local ecosystems, which are both cheaper and have pretty good turnouts (for the location), from what i've seen.

 

My favorite show is pubcon, which is always a good time and its also great because there are a lot of people I see there that I've known for the whole time I've been doing this (which in units of other members here, is not that long at all :P) but long for me lol, so pubcon is a nice reunion...



#6 earlpearl

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 09:47 AM

Wanted to go back to something mentioned above, but which just caught my eye.  While the main topic is about rating conferences, one thing that grabbed me are both the volume of conferences (how they are always described....BEST EVER or some equivalent...Can't Miss or some equivalent)   

 

These conferences are endlessly promoted on the websites/blogs/articles and by email.  They are endless.

 

When it comes to email...its the effectiveness of continued effort and awareness and I suppose catching someone at the correct time.

 

I took a phone call from a potential lead at one of our smb's.  I don't take a lot of calls anymore.  This person had first spoken to us about 5 years ago.  Okay...she has received a LOT of emails in the interim.  A LOT.   We could call it junk mail.  I guess it is.   Not I GUESS...it is.   But this person remains interested.  She has contacted us in the interim years, but she hasn't pulled the trigger...purchased our services.

 

I looked at "opens" per our email provider.  I saw one "open" this year.  My gut is there are more opens...based on when and how she has called us.   But c'est la vie.  Maybe we need more tracking pixels.

 

Anyways this person spoke to strong interest in our services.  She actually used language we have in notes from years in the past.  I elevated her interest in our contact management system to "hot".  not because she is hot to purchase but the interest remains!!!!

 

If she does purchase it appears that our return on those many many emails  (okay over 100)  will provide a return (ROI) of several hundred on the expense.  Of course that is a dumb way to look at it...but its because if the return on the bulk is so minimal ...its when a few people in those email lists do respond ---each time.  There is a big value to continued email.

 

Of course its spammy/junkish.    But it works.  It works enough to make it worthwhile to pursue.   I never have a problem with any recipients who turn our email off.  There are many who have this residual value in the email and maybe they will buy at some point in the future.  In the meantime if they turn us off...it means we save some fraction of a penny on the ensuing email blasts.  We thank them.



#7 iamlost

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 01:00 PM

Everything is new and improved and better than last efforts best. Titles and descriptions have become tabloid-esque. I blame idjit SEO marketers aka no clue but have a paint by number method from the latest guru...

As to emails and similar contacts it is a fine line that varies by the individual as to whether one is politely keeping in touch aka reminding or spamming. The one keeps interest the other creates animosity; the one may land a customer the other loses one and all their friends and relations.



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