Lee Odden

Poll: Your top reason for attending marketing conferences?

reader poll

With the changes last year in the search marketing conference industry there has been disappointing side-taking and rumor mongering but also a healthy dose of optimism about what more competition will do for attendees. I would think the sustainability and success of any conference is in large part dependent upon attendees needs being met. Whether your primary business is interactive marketing, public relations, advertising or SEM, online marketing and PR oriented conferences offer a variety of benefits.

Because of Online Marketing Blog readers’ varied marketing and PR related interests, this week’s Poll aims to identify the top motivations for readers to attend marketing industry conferences:

Why do you attend marketing industry conferences?

  • Maintain knowledge - stay current (36%, 63 Votes)
  • Networking (34%, 60 Votes)
  • Competitive Intelligence (6%, 10 Votes)
  • Party - Friends (5%, 9 Votes)
  • Speaking (5%, 8 Votes)
  • Blogging - Content creation (4%, 7 Votes)
  • Prospecting (3%, 6 Votes)
  • Source vendors (2%, 4 Votes)
  • Exhibiting (2%, 3 Votes)
  • Client relations (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Source marketing partners (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Sponsorship of the event (1%, 1 Votes)
  • None of the above (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Recruit new employees (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Required attendance as part of company training (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 176

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Every company and each person has unique needs which may be met by a conference depending on the subject matter, timeliness of topics and current knowledge level of the delegate. There’s also the needs of clients (internal/external). Accordingly, each conference offers a mix of topics, formats and benefits in order to meet those needs.

As such, any given company might send staff to, or be involved in, a variety of different conferences. For example, TopRank‘s involvement with events either through speaking, media sponsorship or as an attendee currently includes:

Additional online marketing related events include:

This is by no means a comprehensive list, so please share. I’ve not included regional events as that would be a list in the hundreds.

What other national audience conferences offer substantial search and online marketing related content? What other reasons have we not listed as the primary purpose for attending conferences? We’d love to get your opinions in the comments and I’m sure other readers would too.

TopRank Plug: Incidentally, our next event is SES New York 2008 where TopRank’s Jolina Pettice will be blogging (she covered SMX West recently). I will also be blogging plus speaking on the “Beyond Linkbait: Getting Authoritative Online Mentions” panel with Chris Boggs and Sally Falkow and moderating “Podcast & Audio Search Optimization“, a panel with Amanda Watlington and Daron Babin. It will be a sincere pleasure to share the stage with such tenured and talented online marketers.

PoorSo SoOKGoodAwesome (4 votes, average: 3.50 out of 5)

Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Avatar spostareduro says

    I didn’t want to mess up your poll stats since I can’t actually attend, but if I could attend it would be to maintain knowledge – stay current. 🙂

  2. I wavered between maintain knowledge and networking – but picked maintain knowledge in the end….

    Will be interesting to see longer term results of this poll – great idea, Top Rank Team.


  3. The long list of events is almost ridiculous. In it’s heyday I don’t believe the computer industry ever had this many events to attend. Something will have to give in the future.

  4. In my experience the best way to maintain knowledge – stay current has been via partying with friends. Since I could not make two choices I went with the first.

  5. Networking lends itself to ‘maintaining knowledge’ and staying current. 😉

  6. Internet Retailer is the largest of its kind and should be considered by online retailers: http://www.internetretailer.com/IRCE2008/

  7. Personally, I think most of these shindigs are exorbitantly expensive for what they are.

    Those that would benefit most from them — such as those new to their industry or ‘blogging niche — are effectively being penalized…

  8. Hi Lee,
    Single choice only means I can’t respond. I usually attend for multiple reasons,which can include:
    -gain knowledge

  9. Avatar 网络营销 says

    Will be interesting to see longer term results of this poll – great idea, Top Rank Team.

  10. I was in a 5% majority for competitive intelligence. Thinking about it maintaining knowledge is the most obvious.

  11. When it comes to technology, I tend to find a better response by sitting down with a laptop and a new application and seeing what it does, and how I can break it – then blogging/Tweeting about it and comparing other opinions.

    The main reason for attending any conference for me is to meet people face-to-face if it hasn’t been possible in the past. Which makes any that charge for attendance comparatively expensive compared to just nipping down the pub.

  12. The face to face aspect is more appealing; however, the convenience of finding what I need online does have its own benefits as well.

  13. I go for one reason only. So one day I can finally bump into the infamous Lee Odden of Top Rank! (jk)

    I go to see what other companies are doing in the space and make new connections.

  14. Funny guy Michael! Actually, we haven’t met in person yet, have we? Maybe SES San Jose this summer. 🙂

    BTW, if you could get a few people to take this poll, it would bump it over 100!

  15. just sent it out to my team. Are you attending SMX Social in Long Beach next month?

  16. Thanks Michael, it looks like we made it past 100 responses – your help spreading the word is much appreciated.

    TopRank will definitely be represented at SMX Social next month.

  17. I wish that I was able to attend, but I am just too busy. Haven fun.

  18. attending these conf can always help you and gives you an opportunity to interact to industry gurus……its better for deep understanding as to how the industry is shaping up.



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