A couple weeks ago, a client of mine (Fortune 500 company) that works in the digital realm asked the following: “Wondering what conferences I should attend this year–any ideas?” Easy question, right? But sadly the answers aren’t as easy.
With a complete overload of “social media” and digitally-based events, it’s not surprising corporate folks have a tough time separating the wheat from the chaff when it comes to these kinds of events.
Most corporate folks are looking for events where they can: 1) Learn about a specific skill set (Facebook advertising, analytics, etc.) where they may be a bit weak, and 2) Learn from other large organizations just like them.
If you’ve worked with big corporate teams, you know they have far less interest in hearing a noted “though leader” speak than they do someone from another Fortune 500 company.
It’s all about relevance. The thought leader might have good ideas. They might be smart. Heck, they may even have the perfect idea for the corporate person to execute–the one that helps them achieve those elusive goals for the year.
But the corporate person wants to hear from a peer 9 times out of 10. Ok fine, 10 times out of 10. It’s not an opinion–ask your corporate friends.
So, for those corporate folks who are looking for a few potential conferences to attend this year, I give you four options (and note which event I’m not including–ahem, elephant in the room):
Social Fresh, Tampa Bay, April 18-19
Yeah, Social Fresh has some of the “thought leaders” I noted above–namely Chris Brogan, Tom Webster (who seems to be speaking everywhere lately) and Jay Baer. But, they also have a darn good lineup of corporate speakers including Kevin Vine from Dunkin Donuts, Adam Kmiec from Campbells, and Morgan Johnston with JetBlue. The other thing I like about this event–it’s held in one room. So, there’s no chance you’ll miss a good session because of competing sessions. Oh, and Jason Keath knows how to run an event. (Disclosure: I may be attending this event in April with a “media” pass from Mr. Keath)
Social Media Marketing World, San Diego, April 7-9
I’m a bit conflicted on this one. On one hand, the speaker list looks like a “who’s who” of social media thought leaders. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But if you’ve seen these folks present, you probably don’t need to hear from them again. Or, just subscribe to their blogs. But, on the other hand, SMM features a nice list of corporate speakers as well–and from companies you don’t see all that often on the speaker circuit. For example, I’ve rarely seen folks from PwC, Petco and Caterpillar present. Upside: The conference is in San Diego in April (perfect Spring Break trip!)
BlogWell, New York, April 17 (also Chicago on June 19, and San Francisco on Aug. 6)
A number of year ago I attended my first and only BlogWell event at General Mills here in Minneapolis. It remains, to this day, one of my favorite social events. Why? 1) Because the sessions are quick–45 minutes or less. And, 2) Because big brands are represented en masse. In fact, it’s ALL big brands like Wal-Mart, McDonalds and Walgreens sharing case studies and best practices with each other. Right from the trenches. The lineup in New York does not disappoint either–the brands lined up include: Walgreens (Disclosure: former client), Wendys, Wal-Mart, Verizon and Corning. Probably the number-one event I’d suggest big brand folks attend if they haven’t already. Oh, and by the way, the fee for the one-day event is only $250–not the thousands of dollars you’ll pay for other social media events.
Corporate Social Media Summit, June 12-13, New York City
Admittedly, I don’t know all that much about this event. Never been. But, take a peek at the speaker list–it’s an impressive list of corporate CHIEF MARKETERS. When was the last time you saw that kind of lineup? Not very often. And that’s why I’m guessing corporate folks flock to this event. You’ll have the chance to hear from the CMOs of Mastercard, Hertz, Sears/K-Mart, FootLocker, and Outback, among many others.
Anything to add?