Conferences can be a valuable way to learn more about your craft, network with like-minded professionals, hunt for your next job, or strike that big deal that pushes your company to the next level.
On the other hand, they can occasionally be a tremendous waste of time and money. I’ve been there – flying to a sunny locale and hoping to go home with an undeniable success story, only to find a poorly run, underattended, jargon-heavy gathering in a harshly lit convention center.
Even worse is recommending a conference to a client as a valuable expense and way to connect with the press, investors, tastemakers, and potential clients only to open up an email days later detailing a highly disappointing experience.
But fear not — we’ve outlined the marketing, public relations and digital media conferences that should stand above the rest when deciding what’s right for you or your clients in 2019:
Date: Jan 8-11, 2019
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
More info: https://www.ces.tech/
Why Go? While CES is traditionally regarded as the nexus for technology and electronics, it has broadened more and more over the years and now features a sub-event dedicated to the latest trends in marketing and advertising – all with a tech-y twist at least. Its C-Space sub-event focuses on new technologies that change the way consumers behave, with insight from leaders in content creation, major ad and branding studios, and top firms. (Just don’t too get distracted by the bright lights and blackjack tables!)
Date: Jan. 30-31, 2019
Location: San Jose, California
More info: https://marketinglandevents.com/smx/west/
Why Go? Search Marketing Expo – or SMX West – has been the top conference for SEM and SEO and digital media professionals for more than a decade, helping tens of thousands of search marketers from around the world learn every trick of the often mysterious trade that is SEO and SEM. Attendees will receive expert wisdom on how to boost conversions, increase sales, maximize awareness and achieve all of their search-related goals.
Social Media Marketing World
Date: Mar. 20-22, 2019
Location: San Diego, California
More info: https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/smmworld/
Why Go? As opposed to some of the more large-scale events on this list that might seemed catered to the mega-companies of the world, Social Media Marketing World is different. It prides itself in attracting social media marketers from small and medium-sized businesses looking to gain confidence and skills in a fast-changing field —filling the stage with actual experts.
Date: Apr. 8-10, 2019
Location: San Diego, California
More info: https://www.contenttechsummit.com/
Why Go? The name says it all. There aren’t many more crucial intersections for marketing, social and PR pros these days than that of content and technology. Whether you’re a VP, CTO, CMO, digital marketing lead, or intern, ContentTECH has the goods to get you up to speed on topics like artificial intelligence, SEO, marketing for enterprise organizations, B2B content marketing and more.
Content Marketing Summit
Date: April 16-19, 2019
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
More info: https://www.contentmarketingconference.com/
Why Go? No event has been on the frontlines of content – and everything relating to it – like Content Marketing Summit. Covering decidedly un-sexy but critical topics such as blog writing, email subject lines, LinkedIn and brand newsrooms, Content Marketing Summit has a focus on actual experts as opposed to celebrities or names from big companies that may not be particularly relevant.
PR News and Social Media Today’s Social Shake-Up
Date: May 8-9, 2019
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
More info: https://www.socialshakeupshow.com/
Why Go? Atlanta’s Social Shake-Up focuses on a fun and social atmosphere for its marketing professionals with an agenda honed in on topics ranging from TikTok and Snapchat to crisis communications and programmatic marketing.
Date: June 20-23, 2018
Location: Anaheim, California
More info: http://vidcon.com/
Why Go? While the concept of video being, “the future of” everything in digital media —from journalism to social media —has jumped the shark a bit in recent years, VidCon remains one of the biggest conferences in the country. It’s a nice flipside to some of the more dry and wonky content-focused conferences out there. From top YouTube stars to the latest in streaming technology, VidCon is sure to dazzle all your senses.
Date: September 23-26, 2019
Location: New York, New York
More Info: http://newyork.advertisingweek.com/
Why Go? Buoyed by pretty much every major brand you can think of participating in some form or another, Advertising Week is regarded as the industry’s premier event naturally located in the belly of the beast – New York City. Between nearly 300 events including seminars, workshops, power breakfasts, concerts, comedy sets, and its Impact Awards ceremony, this particular event works so well because it’s not confined to one venue. And for the international ad geek, there are sister events in Australia, Latin America, Europe, Asia and more.
PRSA 2019 International Conference, San Diego
Date: October 20-22, 2019
Location: San Diego, CA
More info: http://apps.prsa.org/Conferences/InternationalConference
Why Go? Put more than 2,000 public relations professionals in one building and you are bound to learn some valuable things! This year’s PRSA Conference will focus on the intersection of media and technology – an area that any honest PR professional will admit they could use a primer on. The event also features a Diversity & Inclusion Celebration to recognize all the different voices and experiences that lend themselves to the field of public relations.
Incite Brand Marketing Summit NYC
Date: October 21-22, 2019
Location: New York, New York
More info: https://events.incite-group.com/east/
Why Go? Though this event is geared toward a broad swath of digital marketing and social media professionals, its specific mission is to create uber-specific conversations with customers that cut through the noise and map out the strategies that will keep them coming back. The event has been growing particularly fast in recent years and has snagged appearances by CMOs from companies StubHub, National Geographic, NBC Sports, Turner, Nationwide and more.