Since 2005 or so, I’ve been pretty active speaking at conferences all over the world. Some of the cities I’ve been to for speaking engagements include: San Francisco, Chicago, Washington D.C., Boston, Detroit, Hong Kong, Auckland, Sydney, London, Barcelona, Toronto, Minneapolis and Park City, Utah. But to this day, my favorite city for a conference is New York.
All of the cities I’ve listed above have many great things going for them, but there’s something about New York that stands the test of time to me as the best city for a search and online marketing conference. This is a timely observation of course, since SES New York is coming up fast, March 21-25.
As a long time attendee, speaker and member of the SES Board of Advisors, I have some insight into how focused the Incisive Media team are at creating a great experience for attendees, sponsors and the media. Based on that experience, here are 5 reasons why I think SES in New York might be one of the best marketing conference venues worth attending this year:
1. Higher Quality Presentations – The gross number of speakers has been pared down considerably. Rather than panels with 5 or six speakers competing for 10 minutes of presentation time each and just a few minutes of Q & A, there are far more panels with 2 speakers and a moderator. Plus there are many more solo presentations from insanely smart people like Bryan Eisenberg, Bill Hunt and Mike Grehan.
The great thing about fewer speakers is that it gives them more time to drill down into the details. More in-depth presentations means attendees get an opportunity to understand the high level concepts as well as the practical details to act upon once back in the office. It’s virtually impossible to do that in 10 minutes. With more time to present, there’s more time to learn the things you need to know in order to make positive changes in your online marketing.
Of course the topical mix is worth noting as well, covering the gamut of Search, Social Media, Analytics and specialized tracks from IAB, Reaching the Latino market and in depth training opportunities.
2. Buyers Galore – In my experience, there’s something about SES New York that brings out a lot of company marketers that are not only looking to educate themselves but to source consultants and services. Maybe it’s an East Coast thing or maybe it’s a “Let’s get down to business” attitude that comes with NYC. All I know is, when I come back from SES New York, I always have a great list of new contacts. It’s not enough that there are buyers present though, there must be opportunities to meet and engage. New York provides numerous opportunities to do just that.
3. Agencies Abound – Madison Avenue and the numerous East Coast agencies from nearby cities come out in force for SES New York. Actually, agencies from all over the world attend SES New York including my own, TopRank Online Marketing (yeah, that was a plug).
This is great for a few reasons: You’re looking for an agency to hire, looking to be employed by an agency, seeking new marketing partners with expertise that your agency does not have, conducting competitive intelligence or maybe recruiting. It’s always interesting to see how other agencies package their information.
4. Full Exhibit Hall – Another great place to meet prospects, media, vendors, partners and potential new hires is the exhibit hall. Besides the exhibits themselves, there are usually sponsored happy hours or other events in the hall. SES is very good at selling out their booth space so you can count on a lot of different companies to learn about and connect with. In fact, there will be over 100 exhibitors at this year’s SES New York conference.
For companies attending SES looking for services, especially technology solutions, seeing the CEO or a subject matter expert speak about a case study using their software or online tool and then visiting the booth in the exhibit hall to get details and a demo can be a great combination.
5. It’s New York City, Fuhgeddaboudit – For many, being in New York is enough by itself, but of course the knowledge gain and networking plays a part too. It’s often said that much of the “good stuff” in terms of highly prized secrets of SEO, or other disciplines are traded over food and libations after the event. What better place to network and talk shop informally than at one of the plentitude of diverse restaurants in New York?
If you’ve attended a conference in New York, what’s your favorite thing about having an event there? What were your most memorable experiences?
Check out SES New York’s information page for a full schedule of sessions and training. Also be sure to check out the Content Marketing Optimization panel with TopRank’s Jolina Pettice on Thursday March 24 at 3:15.