On Tuesday November 14th we will be heading south for SES Chicago. This will be my second SES event and I am looking forward to attending sessions to continue to educate myself in online marketing, and share it with our readers, all while hanging out in the city of Chicago. I will be live blogging along with fellow TopRank-ers – Jolina Pettice, Evan Prokop, Thom Craver and Miranda Miller.
When planning any trip, one of the first things I do is map out the stops which are a MUST SEE. Conferences are no different. We follow online marketing best practices, and always have a game plan to ensure we can get the most out of the time spent at conferences.
So what are the sessions we are most excited to attend? Let’s find out by taking a side by side tour of SES Chicago and key landmarks in the Windy City.
Stop #1: The Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower)
11/14 at 9am: Analyze. Streamline. Engage: Transform Your Business by Embracing Digital
Speaker: Avinash Kaushik, Digital Marketing Evangelist, Google
At 1,451 feet, the former Sears Tower offers a bird’s eye view of the entire city. This panoramic perspective is a great place to see the city before diving into the landmarks closer to the ground.
So what’s the perfect place to start the SES Chicago experience? In the opening keynote Avinash will share his ideas on leveraging analytics in order to deliver relevance and true value to your business.
Like the view from the tallest building in the United States, the Clear Line of Sight model emphasizes keeping your vision free of obstacles and focused on what is most important for your online marketing strategy – delivering economic value.
Stop #2: The Loop
11/14 at 3:15pm: Optimizing B2B Content Across the Sales Cycle
Speaker: Lee Odden, SES Advisory Board; CEO, TopRank Online Marketing
The heart of Chicago’s downtown district is nicknamed the Loop, because of the EL track which loops around the city center. The Loop is known for a dense landscape of sky scrapers, Millennium Park and Grant Park, the Art Institute and the theater district.
Lee Odden’s session on Wednesday is a must see for anyone interested in optimizing content throughout the buying cycle. This session will be a guide for creating and optimizing content which speaks to customers from awareness to retention. Encouraging customers to interact and engage with your business by taking an integrated approach to content, optimization and social media marketing.
Stop #3: Cloud Gate (aka The Bean)
11/14 at 10:45: Demand Generation: Building the B2B Social Media Machine
Speaker: Adriel Sanchez, Senior Director, Demand Generation, SAP
Any trip to Chicago must include a stop at Cloud Gate in Millennium Park. Commonly known as “The Bean”, it is eye catching both for its unusual shape and unique reflection, showing off a distorted view of the skyline.
Good social media marketing relies on a cohesive strategy, process, tools and governance. Working within a B2B environment creates a unique set of challenges and opportunities. Like a giant bean sculpture in the middle of the city, when B2B marketers look at their social media strategy from different vantage points they can uncover new perspectives that may not have considered before.
Stop #4: Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier
11/13 at 11:45: Introduction to Analytics
11/15 at 12:15: Web Analytics Deep Dive
Speaker: Thom Craver, Senior Technical SEO Manager, TopRank Online Marketing
The Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier is one of my favorite Chicago experiences. Views range from a spectacular shot of Lake Michigan from 15 stories high, to all the shopping, dining and people-watching experiences at ground level.
TopRank’s Thom Craver will be speaking at two sessions discussing Analytics from two perspectives:
- High level intro session for those newer to analytics
- Deep dive approach for attendees looking to get more out of data and measurement.
Either of these sessions is perfect for you if you are looking to use analytics in order to help develop marketing strategy and meet business objectives.
Stop #5: Chicago CityPASS
11/15 at 9:30am: Integrated Marketing: What Does That Really Mean
Art, history, science: Chicago is home to dozens of museums and attractions. So how you do know where to start? We recommend taking an integrated approach. The Chicago CityPASS allows visitors access to the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium, the Art Institute and more.
So what does it really mean to take an integrated approach to marketing? An expert panel, including TopRank CEO, Lee Odden, will discuss what it means to have a cohesive marketing approach and how you can successfully stage a successful, advanced marketing campaign.
Stop #6: Lincoln Park Zoo
11/15 at 10:45: Leveraging Twitter and Facebook Ads
The Lincoln Park Zoo houses over 1,300 animals in the heart of Chicago. The urban zoo offers a walk on the wild side and an opportunity to connect with nature in the middle of the city.
This session on leveraging Twitter and Facebook ads will teach attendees tried and true tactics as well as help determining which tools will improve targeting on social channels. Moderated by TopRank Content Marketing Manager Miranda Miller, this session will inspire attendees to build or enhance existing social campaigns in order to amplify their social strategy.
Stop #7: Excalibur Nightclub
Although Chicago is mostly known as a bright and cheery place to visit, it is also home to several reportedly haunted places, including the famous Excalibur Nightclub. Serving as a makeshift morgue following the Eastland disaster of 1915, in which a tour boat rolled over while docked in the Chicago River, it is said that the spirits of the deceased sailors and passengers never left the building.
Similar to how the Excalibur Nightclub is haunted by nightmares of the past, Ecommerce websites are notorious for attracting all manner of nightmarish technical problems, from duplicate content to poor user experience.
Here to offer practical and actionable advice on fixing and avoiding ecommerce site problems are Jonathan Allen, Director at Search Engine Watch, Steve Braun, Vice President of Ecommerce and Channel Marketing at OfficeMax, and Jeff Katz, CEO of Wize Commerce.
Stop #8: Wrigley Field
11/13 at 11:45: Link Building the Right Way
Some things never change, like the classic experience of attending a game at Chicago’s historic Wrigley Field, the second oldest baseball stadium in America. From the signature ivy covered brick outfield wall to the ancient hand turned scoreboard, Wrigley Field is proof that some things are better left alone.
With the lightning quick rate of change in online marketing, it’s rare to find tactics that continue to work, but link building is a rare exception. Methods for acquiring links have come a long way, but they are still one of the most important ranking factors used by the major search engine algorithms.
Looks like another great outing for SES and TopRank. The TopRank team will be live blogging and attending sessions all week. We look forward to seeing new and familiar faces next week! If you would like to go to SES Chicago but haven’t had time to get signed up, be sure to register on their website. If you aren’t already, please follow us on Twitter (@toprank) for coverage of the conference.
Which sessions are you looking forward to attending?
Image via Shutterstock.