I’m often underwhelmed by the conferences I attend. Many of the sessions I’ve sat in on over the past couple of years have regurgitated the same basic knowledge time and time again.
The thing is, some of the “best” conferences are actually really expensive, and I often find myself questioning whether it’s worth the money and time investment. The answer is usually no, but every now and then I come across a rare gem that provides extreme value.
Value, I’ve learned, does not only reveal itself in one form. And different conferences provide various forms of value.
- The networking value
- The knowledge value
- The inspirational value
So instead of simply listing a number of random conferences that may or may not be worth attending, I’m going to highlight the top conferences to attend based on the kind of value you are seeking.
Conferences for the Networking Value:
Whether you’re an expert in social media marketing or not, you should definitely attend this conference put on by Social Media Examiner at least once in your life. Sure there are hundreds of sessions to attend, but the real value of this conference comes from the crazy amount of networking opportunities.
Not only are there multiple parties to attend, but there are actually “networking facilitators” who move around the event introducing themselves to everyone, and making an effort to connect as many people as possible.
I’ve left this conference with some invaluable connections that continue to benefit me today.
When: March 22-24 2017
Number of attendees: 4,000
Cost per ticket: $1597
Location: San Diego
This conference is put on by Content Marketing Institute and has hosted hundreds of knowledgeable speakers. But once again, the real value of this conference is the many networking opportunities. Speakers and attendees alike attend the same events and mixers, giving you the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the very best influencers in the industry.
When: September 5-8 2017
Number of attendees: 3,600
Cost per ticket: $1295
South by Southwest is nothing less of a zoo. With over 72,000 registrants in 2016 from various industries such as film, business, music and more, the networking potentials are endless. There are several different lounges and parties throughout the event with attendees, artists, speakers and keynotes congregating together under one tent. If you have never attended this conference, it is an absolute must.
When: March 10-16 2017
Number of attendees: 72,000
Cost per ticket: $1450
Dreamforce is a conference put on by Salesforce and hosts more than 170,000 attendees, with past speakers like Tony Robbins, Melinda Gates and performances by U2, The Foo Fighters and The Killers. With so many people under one roof and so many parties, there are thousands of opportunities for making valuable connections at this event.
I would also classify Dreamforce as a great conference with inspirational value, since there are so many big names and motivational speakers in attendance.
When: November 6-9 2017
Number of attendees: 170,000
Cost per ticket: $2000
Location: San Francisco
Conferences for the Knowledge Value:
Unlike Dreamforce and SXSW, MozCon is a much more intimate conference with far fewer attendees and speakers. That being said, the conference put on by Moz expects over 2,000 people a year. Since there are no breakout sessions, and you have access to all the talks, each day is jam-packed with valuable knowledge.
The majority of the sessions cover SEO related topics, but don’t be surprised to learn more than just that. The audience at Moz is a little more technically savvy than some of the larger conferences and as a result the content is anything but beginner.
If you’re looking for data-driven insights and proven marketing tactics, MozCon is a must.
When: September 12-14 2017
Number of attendees: 2,000+
Cost per ticket: $1349
This conference is hosted by Unbounce and much like Moz, there are no breakout sessions, but that doesn’t take away from the high value content presented. Speakers are all experts in their field and bring highly valuable insights to help marketers master topics such as Paid Advertising, Email Marketing, Social Media Marketing, SEO and of course, Conversion Rate Optimization.
When: June 25-27 2017
Number of attendees: 1,000+
Cost per ticket: $1000
Location: Vancouver, Canada
If you’re a marketer who is not making use of visual content marketing, particularly video marketing, you should attend WistiaFest. You will learn everything from conceptualizing your videos, to storytelling techniques to production techniques. After this conference, if you’re not already a master of video marketing, you certainly will be.
When: June 11-12 2017
Number of attendees: 1,000+
Cost per ticket: $850
Related: 5 Steps to Rock Any Networking Event
This is definitely one of the best Content Marketing conferences out there, and it’s put on by WriterAccess. With 40 different speakers sharing actionable insights for using content marketing as a dependable acquisition and revenue channel, you will leave with a library of new information. The sessions are broken up into different “tracks” which focus on creation, optimization, distribution, planning and performance, making the process of selecting sessions more seamless.
When: April 11-13 2017
Number of attendees: 300-1,000
Cost per ticket: $1637
Conferences for the Inspirational Value:
Last year, some of the speakers at Inbound included individuals such as Serena Williams, Reshma Saujani, Marley Dias (who is 11 years old, by the way), and Gary Vee. Needless to say, these were highly motivating sessions that were truly inspirational. If you’re looking for a conference that will help kiss your butt into productivity mode, this is the one to attend. I recommend attending the keynote and spotlight sessions.
When: September 25-28 2017
Number of attendees: 15,000+
Cost per ticket: $1699
The last time I attended an event by The Power of Success, Tony Robbins had over 5,000 people dancing like it was the happiest day of their lives. Not only are the sessions highly motivating and inspirational, but many are extremely funny and informative as well. The Power of Success usually puts on three events a year, all of which take place in Canada. Each event is one full day off sessions that strive to empower anyone in attendance.
When: March 2017
Number of attendees: 5,000
Cost per ticket: $250
Location: Montreal, Canada
Related: The Top 10 Behaviors to Avoid When Networking
As the marketing lead for a growing company, these conferences have proven to be extremely valuable in terms of crafting a driven and knowledgeable marketing team. Each of the above events addresses specific struggles that many marketers and entrepreneurs in the online space face on a daily basis. If you want to scale your business and inspire your employees, I highly recommend sending them to at least one of the above conferences this year.