Demand for talented search marketers is high and the number of educational opportunities has increased proportionately. We have a reader poll this week to get an idea of our reader’s conference involvement. See below.
Some prefer a structured training program like SEMPO Institute, DMA SEM Certification or Bruce Clay’s training program. Others prefer to compliment those programs or augment on the job training with industry seminars such as Search Engine Strategies and ClickZ Events, WebmasterWorld Pubcon, SMX, Search Insider Summit and the variety of vertical, regional and industry specific conferences that are now including search marketing in their programming.
Are you one of the thousands of people who attend these conferences?
I heard estimates of 5-6,000 at last week’s SES San Jose event and in October, DMA07 expects over 10,000 attendees. With conference tickets ranging from $600 on the low end to over $3000 for more exclusive events, I am curious how many conferences companies and agencies are sending their people to each year and what 2008 looks like for conference involvement.
Initially, I was thinking our poll would exclude speakers, exhibitors, press and sponsors, since they are typically provided free conference passes, but what I’m most interested in knowing is how many conferences people are attending each year where the company pays travel and/or accommodations and/or conference fees.
How many conferences does your employer pay for you to attend each year?
- 1-2 (54%, 28 Votes)
- 3-5 (23%, 12 Votes)
- None (13%, 7 Votes)
- 6-8 (8%, 4 Votes)
- 9+ (2%, 1 Votes)
Total Voters: 52
For a small business this could really add up so the return on the investment must be watched closely. At the same time, the search marketing industry is getting increasingly competitive and the nature of “optimizing for search engines” is undergoing a dramatic change with things like personalized search, Google Universal and the rise of competing destinations such as Facebook and other social media. These changes warrant a never ending need for ongoing education of search marketing professionals.
When companies are evaluating Search Marketing Agencies, they need not only look at the firm’s current expertise, but what they are doing on an ongoing basis to stay sharp? Are they engaged in conducting ongoing training in-house? Do their staff attend conferences? Do they conduct testing of tactics on their own web sites to track upcoming trends and competitive advantages?
You could also look at whether the agency is advanced enough to conduct on-site training for other companies and whether they have speakers at industry conferences. Are they active as an industry leader in terms of uncovering new and more effective ways of marketing online?
I am interested as to our readers’ thoughts on search marketing conference involvement whether it’s as an attendee on the company dime or as a speaker/sponsor/press/exhibitor. Has it been a worthwhile investment and do you plan on increasing, staying the same or reducing search marketing conference involvement in 2008?