Tag Archives: Conferences

Your 2017 Resource Guide to Digital Marketing Conferences

Your 2017 Resource Guide to Digital Marketing Conferences 351x200 Your 2017 Resource Guide to Digital Marketing Conferences

The smell of networking in the air. Booths freshly stocked with promotional items. Business cards at the ready. Anticipation mounting. You know what that means ‒ it’s almost conference season!

Every year, in nearly every industry, businesses organize conferences that attract the best and brightest professionals. Attendees and speakers share knowledge, network, and mingle in an effort to stay up-to-date with trends and remain on the cutting edge of innovation.

If you’ve had a chance to attend a conference you know that it can be a bit overwhelming, with many decisions to be made: Which sessions should I go to? What booths do I want to make sure I visit? Which speakers do I want to meet? And, of course, who will I sit next to at lunch? (Let’s face it, some things never change.)

In this guide we hope to dispel myths, share resources, and highlight a few helpful best practices so you can get the most out of conference season.

Marketing Conference Resources

The value a conference can provide is often centered on its relevance and application to your current job and future career prospects. Additionally, cost, audience size, and digital presence should be taken into consideration. Digital marketing conferences offer a multitude of options. So, where should you start?

Throughout the year, Act-On Software attends, speaks, sponsors, and hosts events, trade shows, and webinars that support customers and partners. Check out the Trade Shows, Networking Events, and Education Sessions page to get started!

Another great place to start is with this amazing marketing reference provided by MarketingTerms.com. Sean O’Rouke created a very helpful collection of the top conferences to attend in 2017 (178 so far). Best of all? It’s in a sortable and handy Google Doc that’s updated regularly and provides more resources than just information about conferences. Check out the free trials, tools, calculators, podcasts, blogs, and forums, in addition to finding a conference that interests you.

Niche Marketing Conferences

A niche conference might be the right way to go if you’re specifically focused on marketing one particular industry. Here’s a list of a few to get you started on your search.

Healthcare Marketing Conferences

Higher Education Marketing Conferences

Legal Marketing Conferences

Sports Marketing Conferences

Construction Marketing Conferences

Nonprofit Marketing Conferences

More Nonprofit Marketing Conferences

Financial Marketing Conferences

Banking, Money, and Finance Conferences

Food Marketing Institute Conferences

Real Estate Conferences

Senior Living and Assisted Living Conferences

Marketing Conferences by Discipline 

Instead of looking at conferences by industry, perhaps you’d rather target a specific discipline that’s more in line with your needs and the type of niche you want to focus on. From CRM and email to affiliate and mobile marketing, there are plenty of conferences with specific focuses. Check out a few resources that may help:

Social Media Upcoming Events

Top PR and Digital Marketing Conferences

Enterprise Mobile Marketing Conferences

Affiliate and Internet Marketing Conferences

eCommerce Marketing Conferences

Content Marketing Conferences

Guides to Marketing Conferences 

Still looking for a bit more guidance on which conference to choose? These resources are sure to help! Don’t forget to check out the comment threads on these articles; they’re chock full of additional resources.

Complete Guide to Marketing and Sales Conferences in 2017 by MariaMilea.com

Internet Marketing Conference Calendar by BruceClay.com

Marketing Conference Guide by DigitalThirdCoast.net

2017 Marketing Conferences by Digimarcon.com

A Survivor’s Guide to Attending a Marketing Conference by VerticalMeasures.com

Marketing Events in the United States by online.marketing

Once you’ve selected the conference you’d like to attend, it’s time to do a little preparation so you can get the most out of the experience. The following tips will help you optimize your time as an event attendee.

10 Tips for Thriving at Your Next Marketing Conference

#1 Work the room before you’re in the room.

Make sure to learn about the conference in advance of attending. Visit its website and social profiles, join any groups on LinkedIn, and follow Twitter lists and other online areas ripe with information. Start engaging with other attendees and get your networking started before you even leave for the conference.

Get to know the agenda, session tracks, history of the event, and location. Schedule your calendar once you’ve decided which sessions you want to attend and outline an itinerary for yourself. This will help you stay organized while you’re at the conference and ensure you a spot in the sessions you want to attend. Plus, you might just impress your boss with how organized and excited you are about attending the event.

#2 Keep a pulse on the event online.

Digital marketing conferences almost always have a heavy online presence. Monitor any conference hashtags, Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, and more. Keep your eye out for special giveaways and promos that sponsors might be running. Do free crab dinners, private 1:1 sessions with your favorite speaker, limo rides, or VIP access to clubs sound appealing? Then trust me, it’s worth the investment of time to scour social media before you attend.

#3 Set goals you want to achieve by attending.

Specific, actionable, measurable, and timeline-oriented goals are often the most effective. Think about what you want to get out of the conference. It might be to connect with clients or meet prospective new clients. It could be to learn more and understand inside secrets and tips. Or, you might be attending as a speaker. Whatever the reason, be sure to set a few objectives and establish what you want to accomplish before attending. By making these aims specific ‒ such as “give out and get at least 10 business cards” ‒ you’ll be more likely to meet your goals.

#4 Stock up on business cards and don’t forget those extra batteries or power supplies.

Plan to bring a good supply of business cards to hand out. That’s essential preparation for any networking event, let alone a conference where you might be meeting people from another state or country. Keep plenty on hand and remember to carry them with you each day.

At large conferences, Wi-Fi is often in high demand and can be a drain on your devices. Make sure to bring extra power supplies, such as chargers and extra batteries. You may need to use your phone as a Hotspot device when Wi-Fi isn’t available. Inevitably, this drains your battery and you’re left searching for an outlet in which to charge your device. Do yourself a favor and stock up beforehand.

#5 Document your experience well.

Take notes during the sessions you attend and don’t forget to bring a pen and paper … just in case. At one of the first conferences I attended, I remember thinking I’d be able to use my computer in each session. But standing-room only sessions, low battery, and no wifi resulted in me not being able to document the event with notes. After that experience I always make sure to bring my low-tech back-up pen and paper to all sessions I attend.

#6 Give a card, take a card.

Even if you’re not at a conference to get more customers, as a representative of your brand you should take networking seriously. You’re a brand advocate and are acting as the face of your company, which likely paid for you to attend. Give a business card out and then make an effort to receive one too. Pass along the cards you collected to your sales team or boss as proof of who you were able to meet. Create a friendly competition with your attending colleagues to see who can meet the most people.

#7 Keep ROI in mind.

It can be expensive to attend a marketing conference, not to mention the travel costs and time away from the office. Make the most of your trip and always keep the price tag in mind. Get the most return from the money spent by attending sessions all day, networking with as many people as possible, being aware, and taking the event seriously. Missing keynotes because you overslept, leaving early to attend a party, talking with your friends during sessions ‒ these are all examples of failing to keep the ROI in mind.

#8 Have your elevator pitch ready.

Ultimately you’ll be meeting people you’ve never met and they will ask you what you do. Be prepared by having your “elevator pitch” ready to go. It should briefly outline what you do, ideally in three sentences or less. The last thing you want is to sound unprofessional or unsure about your role, your company, or your brand. Think ahead and practice it a bit until you have it down.

#9 Have fun but be professional.

Marketing conferences are usually incredibly fun and they also allow you to connect with industry friends. But, after all, they’re still business events, so keep your attitude and behavior businesslike. Don’t drink too much and make a fool of yourself. Remain strictly professional and you’ll be better off in the long run.

#10 Share what you learned.

Last but certainly not least, remember to share what you learned. Don’t attend a conference expecting to keep the knowledge to yourself ‒ that’s selfish! In the past when I sent employees to conferences I’d suggest they bring their takeaways back to share with others. This can be done in several ways:

  • Create a blog post of your top takeaways, resources, and helpful knowledge.
  • Present the key takeaways to your staff or other colleagues.
  • Send your colleagues slides, resources, and documents you found useful.
  • Make copies of your notes to hand out to those interested.
  • On social media, share relevant information that you learned at the conference.

We hope you found this guide to conferences helpful. Fear not, attending a conference doesn’t have to turn you into an anxious, nervous, and confused wreck. Prepare ahead of time and you’ll be ready to rock your next marketing conference or event!

Have some suggestions of your own? Share with us in the comments below!

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Act-On Blog

Big Data’s Back to the Future: Spark Summit East Harkens to Hadoop Conferences of Yore

Despite the excitement and innovative, cutting-edge Big Data tech that was at the core of Spark Summit East 2016, every person I spoke with at the event had the same impression – it reminded them of the Strata+Hadoop World conferences of  5 years ago.  Back then, not only was the Hadoop show small enough to be held in the same location as this year’s Spark Summit East (the New York Midtown Hilton), but the orientation of the conference was toward developers, not  business staff.  Comments like, “You know you are at a developer’s conference when you see code up on the screen during a keynote,” typified the slant of the content and majority of the audience.

Tendü Yoğurtçu, general manager of Big Data, discusses trends and adoption challenges in a rapidly evolving Big Data market.

That said, we all know what happened with Hadoop – the technology and conferences both evolved and the last two Strata NYC events took place at the enormous Jacob Javits Convention Center.  That certainly seems to be the trajectory that Apache Spark is on as well.

No one questions that the technology is white hot (pun intended) – in fact a recent Syncsort Hadoop survey found that nearly 70 percent of respondents are most interested in Apache Spark over all other compute frameworks, including the incumbent MapReduce.  Databricks, the main contributor and commercial distributor of Apache Spark, provided additional adoption info in their recent Spark survey. Also, during his keynote, Databricks CTO Matei Zaharia displayed charts showing dramatic increases in Summit attendance, meet-up numbers and total Apache Spark contributors from 2014 to 2015.

So what were some of the other conference highlights?

Spark 2.0

Matei Zaharia also gave a glimpse of Spark 2.0, which will feature three key enhancements – the next phase of Project Tungsten to speed up Spark by working around Java’s memory-handling limitation, improvements to Spark’s real-time streaming system, and unifying the structured data APIs Spark uses into a single API.  On real time streaming, a growing use case, he talked about the increasing importance of real-time processing, with many apps needing to combine it with batch and interactive queries.  He pointed out that Spark is very well suited to do this, describing how, “Structured Streaming” working together with ETL technology can support this need.

Spark Community Edition

Databricks announced a free community edition of Spark – a free version of their cloud-based Big Data platform designed to give developers, data scientists, data engineers and other IT professionals everything they need to learn Spark, complete with a set of training resources, including a massive open online course (MOOC) and  an introduction to Big Data with Apache Spark.

Apache Arrow

Apache Arrow has been accepted as a full-fledged project by the Apache Software Foundation. Arrow is designed to improve the performance and speed of Big Data components that work together as part of a larger system. The project is backed by the founders of Dremio, who are also support Apache Drill.

Great Interviews on theCUBE

Finally, SiliconANGLE TV’s theCUBE, which consistently broadcasts high quality exec interviews from top Big Data industry events, conducted 25 interviews from the Spark Summit East.  One of the most watched (ok I am biased, but number of views don’t lie!) was the interview with Syncsort’s Big Data GM, Tendü Yoğurtçu who was interviewed by Wikibon Chief Analyst Dave Vallente and Big Data Analyst George Gilbert . Tendu talked about trends and adoption challenges in a rapidly evolving Big Data market and how Syncsort is addressing them.  She pointed out that businesses are looking to access ALL enterprise data, including from IoT, mobile and mainframe, and require real-time insights for applications such as telecom churn analysis and fraud detection.  She also addressed how many organizations are looking for a single Data Hub to access all enterprise data – necessitating skill sets and understanding of the rapidly changing Hadoop technology stack and Spark.

All in all, it was a great event – there was electricity in the air consistent with the growing excitement around Apache Spark.  Conference handlers are already working on a business track for future Spark Summits.  There is no doubt that Spark is an open source force to be reckoned with that is growing very fast. I look forward to looking back and remembering when Spark Summit was just like the early days of Hadoop.

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Syncsort blog

Start 2016 By Meeting Us at Upcoming Conferences!

Hi folks!  I hope everyone got some rest over the holidays, because 2016 is on like Donkey Kong.  Personally I could use another month to recuperate from all of that recuperation – I ate, drank, and traveled way too much, which made the holidays resemble my road warrior routine that wears me out during the year.  Next year it’s gonna be all salads, sushi, exercise, and relaxing over the holidays…  yeah, that’s the ticket.  But yeah, the year has started with a bang…

Imagine my surprise, yesterday morning, when I awoke to THIS in my inbox:

image 11 Start 2016 By Meeting Us at Upcoming Conferences!

Oh, ya know, just me and the MS Exec in charge of all things Power BI, and oh yeah, NATE FREAKING SILVER!
(Click image to read the announcement)

Yes, Nate Silver of Five Thirty Eight is headlining the new Microsoft Data Insights Summit, in Seattle March 22-23, and I somehow got selected to fill that awkward third slot in the announcement blog post on MSDN.  Pretty damn exciting, given that Nate and his crew basically use data to attack every imaginable topic, from sports to movies to politics to science, and they pretty much had me at “data and movies.”

Sixteen in three bits, that’s binary cold
Nate Silva’s ’bout to take some data to the hole
falsehoods droppin and yellin
it’s a tad bit late
Nate Silver and P-three had to regulate

OK, I couldn’t resist adopting the most famous lyric from “Regulate” for this occasion, but I don’t for a moment feel like I “deserve” to be billed in such company.  I absolutely LOVE it, of course, and am very thankful that it happened, but Nate has no idea who I am today, and almost certainly still won’t after this conference is over.  I do hope we get to meet him so I can post pictures like I did when I met Steven Levitt, but the chances of Nate and PowerPivotPro (known as P-three on the street) regulating the world of data together round to zero.  Sigh…  our DAX and his statistics combined…  we’d solve world hunger.  But alas.

Anyway, it’s an exciting new conference, it’s dedicated to Power Pivot, Power BI, and related tools, and even uses the words “Modern Excel” in its session catalog:

image 12 Start 2016 By Meeting Us at Upcoming Conferences!

All right!  “Modern Excel” – I still believe this is a GREAT way to talk about this stuff,
and am excited to see the term “leaking” into official places like this.

In fact this new Data Insights Conference is SO WELL AIMED at “us” that I feel a bit guilty, like we’re “cheating” on our friends over at the PASS Business Analytics Conference…

image 13 Start 2016 By Meeting Us at Upcoming Conferences!

Yep, I’m Speaking Here Too – and Teaching a Full-Day Precon with Avi, Who is Also Speaking

For several years now, PASS BA has been the only conference that struck me as worthwhile to attend.  Most conferences have a distracted focus, or focus on things not relevant to us.  PASS BA is a top-notch conference, focused on real people solving real problems with widely available tools, and gets better every year.  I won’t miss it for the world.

It’s good news, of course, that PASS BA now has some “competition” in the form of MS Data Insights Conf – I mean seriously, how many important topics in the world only have one USA-based conference?  One was too few, and I welcome the diversity.  Now we have TWO that we can’t miss.  Love it.

Our PASS BA sessions, including the full-day precon, are already posted in case you are interested:

This year, we’d like to make a policy of scheduling a social “mixer” where we can meet and interact with you.

If you’re interested, please “register” your interest via this simple form, so we can gauge demand and contact you as plans firm up:

Thanks!  Hope to see you at one or both of those conferences in the next few months.

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