What Makes a Business and Marketing Conference Great?

Marketing Conference

According to the Convention Industry Council (pdf), in 2012 there were over 1.8 million business meetings, events and conferences held in the US attended by 225 million participants generating over $280 billion in spending. The volume of participants has grown 10% since 2009.

Clearly, the business conference industry is booming. The number of marketing and communications conferences alone is overwhelming compared to when I started attending and speaking at conferences in 2005.

Attending and speaking at business, marketing and client user conferences is a big part of our marketing and while there are changes with so many new, niche events popping up, I don’t think our conference participation will change. The challenge is, with so many conferences to choose from, which events provide the best return on investment? What makes a great business conference?

Content Marketing With Real-World Events: Pros, Cons, Examples and Best Practices

Lee OddenConferences, symposiums, summits, trade shows, roundtables and world expos. From intimate, invitation-only events to sprawling Las Vegas-style exhibit halls, most of us have attended at least one industry-specific event.

While the business value has been debated off and on over the years, and it was predicted that webinars and other digital forms of online training would eventually replace live events, there is just no substitute for face time when you want to establish rapport with people who share your interests and business goals.

As content marketing strategy continues to gain momentum, an interesting phenomenon is occurring – real-world, in-person events are starting to edge out trendier content tactics, like video. In fact, according to Content Marketing Institute, in-person events have been ranked as the most effective content marketing tactic over the past four years by B2B marketers.

Social Content Relevance on Holidays: Baileys, Brennans & Tourism Ireland St Patrick’s Day Wins

Social media marketing wins  holidays and special occasions.Brands often struggle to hit that elusive mix of creative, timely content relevant to their audience that still directly aligns with their brand. If you have something of a sense of humor, entertaining your audience isn’t that hard. Yet for your social content to be effective in marketing, at least a good portion must be relevant to your brand, as well. You know the deal, though; if you’re only talking about your brand or products, fans get bored with your self-promotion.

Special occasions and holidays offer marketers a great chance to get creative with their social content, to capture the attention of an increasingly attention-deficit audience.  Yet simply being an Irish company doesn’t make your product or service relevant on an Irish holiday. Being a Canadian, or American, company doesn’t guarantee relevance on holidays specific to North America, either.

Inside #NASASocial: How Real-World Events Build Social Media Advocates

Tom Marshburn, Kevin Ford and Chris Hadfield chat live with #NASASocial participants.

Astronauts Tom Marshburn, Kevin Ford and Chris Hadfield chat live from the International Space Station with #NASASocial participants.

February 20th, NASA hosted a special event at their Washington headquarters in which a group of their social fans attended a day of tours, expert talks and even a livechat with astronauts on the International Space Station. My son and I are fortunate to have participated and on top of the insider look we had at NASA research, we learned a great deal about the power of social media advocacy, as well.

So what happens when an organization puts 150 of their loyal social media fans in one room for a fantastic, exclusive experience? Brand building and social reach magic, judging by the results of yesterday’s #NASASocial.

5 Ways to Optimize the Business Value of Attending Conferences

conference optimization

Are you optimizing your conference experience?

TopRank receives a lot of value from having me speak at conferences but you don’t have to be a speaker to realize a positive return from events. Small, large online or offline, there are numerous ways to optimize and maximize your return on conference involvment both in the short and long term.

If your company is considering whether to send you to events because of uncertain return or benefits, show them the following list.

In fact, if I were running a conference, I’d make sure these tips are shared with attendees, sponsors and speakers alike.

Local SEO with Event Promotion

Editor’s Note: This week we welcome the first of a series of guest posts from client side marketers about search marketing. Paul O’Brien gets things started with a post focusing on how optimizing for local search engines is about more than directory listings and geographic modifiers. Event based local search marketing provides an additional boost in reaching target audiences. Companies like Paul’s current employer, Zvents, provides a platform for this kind of event promotion as well as a local search destination.


Countless SEO guides provide the most important considerations: title tags, keywords, straightforward navigation, and structured content but local optimization requires several unique considerations:

  1. Directory listings are often alphabetical so write titles with the first letter earliest in the alphabet
  2. Your address is as important as the name of your business