B2B marketing events have been helping introverted marketing and technology people have awkward IRL conversations for as long as I can remember. While evidence suggests that digital marketing spend is on the up (to the detriment of traditional marketing spend) face-to-face gatherings - or events marketing - are one method of getting the word out about businesses and products that won’t be chopped anytime soon.
According to the Event Marketing 2018: Benchmarks and Trends report, the majority (80%) of marketers believe live events are critical to their company’s success. An overwhelming majority of C-Suite executives (87%) believe in the power of live events and plan on investing in them more in the future.
Love them or hate them, marketing and trade events are still the best way to network, learn about new trends, spy on the competition, and hand out your business card (anyone still use those?) Whether as an exhibitor or attendee, they offer vital opportunities for digital marketers to practice what we preach by making personal connections with our customers and peers.
If you’ve siphoned off a portion of your 2018 marketing budget to attend or network at live events - but are still undecidedly which one you will grace with your presence this year - we’ve listed our top 5. You’re welcome. :)
1. GDPR Summit
What: GDPR: Summit supported by Henley Business School, University of Reading
Where: Bishopsgate, London
When: January 30, 2018
Cost: £695 / £349 Special Rate (£350 discount available for: Public sector, charities and small businesses with less than 20 employees)
Synopsis: GDPR has been lingering on the horizon like some nightmarish creature for a while, but 2018 is the year things get real. The incoming GDPR legislation will have particular impact on communications businesses and professionals operating in and with the EU. Knowledge and preparation are key to regulatory compliance, and this event will support your business on its GDPR journey. Each ticket includes: copies of GDPR Awareness eBook, one user access to GDPR online course, one free hour of GDPR telephone consultancy, and access to GDPR Gap Analysis tool. With the race officially on for organisations to put in place adequate operational and technological arrangements to satisfy the new compliance regulations, this conference will be money well spent.
2. DMX Dublin
What: DMX Dublin organised by The Marketing Institute of Ireland
Where: Aviva Stadium, Dublin
When: March 14, 2018
Cost: €250.00 - €420
Synopsis: Join over 900 marketing professionals in a full day of sharing, learning and networking. DMX Dublin celebrates the crossover of marketing, digital, creative and media, bringing together top international and Irish marketing leaders - as well as SME entrepreneurs and business owners. There will be plenty of opportunities to chat with industry peers and perhaps even peddle your wares (or distribute a few business cards) to new customers at this eclectic event.
3. B2B Marketing Expo
What: b2b Marketing Expo
Where: Excel Exhibition Centre, London
When: March 21 & 22, 2018
Synopsis: An impressive roster of speakers from the biggest names in tech - including Jason Miller, Global Content Marketing Leader at LinkedIn, and Raja Saggi, Head of Marketing at Google - will be taking to the stage at the 2018 installment of this annual event. With over 700 exhibitors, 500 seminars and 200 free masterclasses, you're bound to learn a thing or two about doing better b2b marketing and communications. With no price tag attached to attendance, there’s absolutely nothing to lose!
4. SMX London
What: SMX London
Where: Bishopsgate, London
When: May 22 & 23, 2018
Cost: One Day SMX Full Conference Pass £395 / One Day Expo+ (Networking) Pass £75 (See the SMX London webpage for all rates)
Synopsis: Immerse yourself in three days of SEO, SEM and Online Marketing sessions at SMX London. You’ll learn practical tips and techniques to immediately improve the search marketing efforts you conduct for both yourself and your clients. SMX also boosts strategic sessions to help you navigate the seas of change. Search marketing is by far the biggest area of digital marketing - so you can’t afford to waste time or money getting it wrong. Sign up for this event and you’re guaranteed to know your SEO from your PPC by the time it’s all over.
5. Turing Fest
What: Turing Fest
Where: International Conference Centre, Edinburgh
When: August 1 & 2, 2018
Cost: You can buy Turing Fest tickets here when they’re released
Synopsis: With past keynote speakers such the wizard of Moz, Rand Fishkin, Turing Fest already has a reputation for attracting top tech talent. The organisers boast unrivalled learning opportunities at their event (which coincides with the Edinburgh Festival, FYI). It promises to be wall-to-wall content marketing, SEO and paid media experts. (Kill two birds with a proverbial single stone by checking out the arts events happening across Edinburgh as part of city-wide festival celebrations).
Where: Boston Convention and Exhibition Centre (Boston, USA)
When: September 4 - 7, 2018
Cost: $299 - $1399
Synopsis: If your budget makes fleeing Ireland and the UK a realistic possibility, then you’d have to seriously consider heading to Boston for the annual INBOUND conference. Former keynote speakers include Michelle Obama and Hubspot co-founders, Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah. Spanning three days, the conference attracts in the region of 21,000 attendees and has everything you would expect of the world’s seminal inbound marketing conference. Prepare to be educated and entertained by some of the best content creators there is in the industry (p.s. Go Red Sox!)