I have been covering the B2B marketing and sales space for four years. When I started in January 2016, I was instantly sent to cover my first industry event about a month and a half into my role. “Book your flight, ASAP,” they said. “We’re sending you to Arizona!” Full disclosure: prior to that, I was a beauty editor who covered Fashion Week, not large industry trade shows. To be honest, the only ones I did attend were because my husband dragged me to Auto and Motorcycle shows in NYC every year.
Needless to say, I was a nervous wreck … but covering my first event was a success and I lived to tell the tale.
Fast forward to today and I’ve covered my fair share of marketing industry conferences, events and intimate shows every year for the past four years. I sat in on riveting keynotes from Barack Obama to David Meerman Scott and battled my way through less riveting (in fact, crazy boring) breakout presentations. You know … the ones that end up showcasing the opposite of what the agenda detailed. Oh, and the others that are just a straight-up sales pitch from a sponsor company. I’m sure you can relate.
Anyway, I’m rambling here. Moral of the story is: I’ve been to a lot of marketing conferences in four years. Here are the Top 6 that I think are 1,000% worth your time and money as a modern B2B marketing and sales professional. Trust me — you’re going to want to mark your calendars for these.
B2B Marketing Exchange
You’re probably rolling your eyes so hard right now. Yes, Demand Gen Report is the host of B2BMX, and yes, I have a heavy hand in building the agenda. But, I’m a no-BS kind of gal and can guarantee that while it may seem biased, this event is pretty damn solid for many reasons. I can state the obvious and say something like, “Sunny Scottsdale in February!” But let’s be real here, how much time do you actually spend outside the walls of a trade show? Inside is where the magic happens, and B2BMX has six tracks filled with the highest quality speakers, sharing real-world, honest stories about their wins and losses.
B2BMX covers every hot topic in B2B marketing and sales — everything from influencer marketing to balancing demand gen and ABM, delivering a killer direct mail campaign, leveraging intent data and so much more. I’ve been told numerous times how much value attendees get from the show. “I bring back pages and pages of notes and tips to the office and start implementing them immediately” is something I hear time and time again. Seriously!
Aside from keynotes and breakout sessions across six tracks, B2BMX also features an entire day full of case studies and in-depth, hands-on workshops with major players such as David Lewis, Pam Didner and Tamsen Webster.
Get more info about B2BMX here.
ABM Innovation Summit presented by Demandbase
I can talk about how great account-based marketing is all day. I’ve seen the insane results B2B practitioners see from the practice and the creative ways they tackle an account-based approach. I believe all B2B organizations should dabble in ABM in some way, shape or form. The ABM Innovation Summit, hosted by Demandbase in San Francisco in March, is the place to get your ABM juices flowing. When it comes to the topic, the folks at Demandbase know their stuff, so if you were going to get any tips on jumpstarting your ABM strategy, this is the place to do it.
What’s extra special about the event is that besides a full day of presentations from the industry’s top ABM players (this year’s speakers include Andrew Davis, Craig Rosenberg of TOPO and Meagen Eisenberg of TripActions), the second day of the event focuses on helping you get your certification in ABM. So not only do you come back to the office with actionable takeaways, you also get that shiny new certificate to show off.
The location — Pier 27 in San Francisco — is one of my favorite venues for a conference because it’s right on the water, near plenty of delicious restaurants and markets and the views are stunning. So even if you step outside the conference for fresh air, you really get to enjoy beautiful San Francisco — even for a minute.
Get more info about the ABM Innovation Summit here.
The SiriusDecisions Summit — held in one of my favorite cities in the U.S., Austin, TX — is the place to supercharge your GTM practices with intel backed by top analysts in the B2B sales and marketing space. And now that SiriusDecisions and Forrester have joined forces, I can only imagine how much more fascinating it’s going to be.
For me, the Summit is where I gain tons of high-level information on the latest innovations and technologies in B2B. Everything from the keynotes to the breakout track sessions address the ins and outs of sales and marketing — from technology implementation to putting innovations into action. The conversations I’ve had at this event have been some of the most meaningful. It’s not often that you get to mingle with some of the smartest analysts in the biz.
Oh, and if we’re talking food, the SD Summit gets a five-star rating. Since the event is in the BBQ Mecca of America, the conference hosts make sure you get a taste of the city, even if you don’t have time to hit up a popular restaurant.
Get more info about the SiriusDecisions Summit here.
ON24 Webinar World
This is THE conference to attend if you want to wow your customers with memorable digital experiences. The folks behind ON24’s Webinar World put real practitioners on stage to reveal how they bridge the gap between physical and digital interactions. And in this day and age, that’s the ultimate feat.
I get it: events held by solution providers can be packed with sales pitches … but not Webinar World. Sure, you’ll learn plenty about the product and how to use it to its fullest potential, but not in a way that will make you cringe. To put in simply: you’re not going to hear people preach about why webinars are so amazing. You’re going to learn how to overcome challenges around driving human engagement online and offline. If it means upping the ante on your webinar game, well, that’s just an added bonus.
Get more info about Webinar World here.
Uberflip Conex: The Content Experience
I genuinely look forward to traveling to Toronto in the summer for Conex every single year. As a content creator, this is the place that really hypes me up with new ideas and strategies. There hasn’t been a single presentation at Conex that I didn’t enjoy and get thought-provoking insights from. So much so that I end up reaching out to the speakers to ask them to present at B2BMX — they’re THAT good. Not only do they provide easy-to-implement best practices around topics such as content repurposing, ABM and developing bingable content, but they are also beyond entertaining. There hasn’t been a single speaker that takes the stage that hasn’t made me LOL during their presentation. Conex just GETS IT.
At Conex, you get two full days of keynotes and content, as well an extra day of focus sessions that are designed to be like workshops. It all takes place at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, one of the most respected music education institutions in the world. Bonus: if you love architecture and interior design, you will really enjoy exploring this venue.
Get more info about Conex here.
B2B Sales & Marketing Exchange
Here we go again, right? If you’re new to the B2BMX world, let me start by saying that we created the B2B Sales & Marketing Exchange following the massive success of our B2B Marketing Exchange in Scottsdale. While we call it the “East Coast version of B2BMX” — it’s far from a repeat. In fact, B2BSMX is three events you might already know packed into one.
B2BSMX is a combination of Demand Gen Report’s Demand Gen Summit, Terminus’ FlipMyFunnel and The Pedowitz Group’s RevTalks events. It focuses heavily on aligning teams within the organization to be better together. It takes place inside the brand-new Encore Boston Harbor resort — literally one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever set foot in.
Get more info about B2BSMX here.
These are just a handful of events I am eager to go back to year after year, but it’s certainly not all of them. Honorable mentions also include TOPO Summit, Dreamforce, Brightcove Play and OpsStars. Hopefully I’ll see some of our readers at all of these events this year. I guarantee you won’t regret attending any of them!
What are your favorite B2B marketing events? Catch me on Twitter and let’s discuss: @klaudiatirico.
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