Like any industry that's tied to technology, it's no surprise that digital marketing is constantly changing. In fact, with new social networks constantly emerging and Google's algorithms constantly evolving, the shelf life for best practices can be measured in months, not years. That's why it's so important to attend (or at least monitor from afar) a number of national digital marketing conferences. These aren't just industry get-togethers, these are the places that new tools are unveiled and new strategies shared. So, as we spring into the start of convention season, here is a list of top digital marketing conferences to consider as you start spending your 2018 travel budget.
SXSW Interactive Festival
March 9-13 | Austin
The South by Southwest Music Festival started in 1987 and added "Multimedia" in 1994. "Interactive" became the term three years later, and now, SXSW Interactive is a stand-alone event that features emerging creative technology workshops by day and so many parties at night. It has a trade show, speaker series, parties, and a startup accelerator with dedicated meet-ups, sessions, and workshops for those just getting their brands off the ground. Event Details
Conversion XL Live
March 28-30 | Austin
This 3-day conference only has one track, and that's on purpose. All attendees and speakers stay in the same place to facilitate networking, discussions and learning. And this year it moves to a resort in Austin. Event Details
Social Media Camp
May 2-3 | Vancouver
Canada's largest social media conference not only tackles social media in marketing, but also in education, non-profits, and government. Event Details
June 20-23 | Anaheim
It says something about the power of video (and YouTube in particular) that VidCon is equal parts video convention and fan show. In fact, there are separate tracks (or badges) for fans, creators, and people in the online video business. The "Industry" track features keynote conversations, round-table discussions, and hands-on training, along with platform and product demonstrations. Event Details
Unbounce Call to Action Conference
June 27-29 | Vancouver
Unbounce is all about landing page conversions, so "Call to Action" is an appropriate title. Featured speakers include Moz's Rand Fishkin and Copy Hackers' Joanna Wiebe, not to mention Unbounce co-founder (and landing page guru) Oli Gardner. Event Details
July 9-11 | Seattle
Moz is at the forefront of SEO tools, but MozCon covers more than SEO. Sessions also feature social media, community building, content marketing, brand development, CRO, the mobile landscape, and analytics. Event Details
Sept. 4-7 | Boston
As the Managing Director of a HubSpot partner, I'm obviously a big fan of HubSpot's annual convention. Yes, it's a HubSpot trade show, and everybody is talking about Inbound Marketing, but you'd be surprised how many non-HubSpotters attend. With its focuses on content marketing, lead gen, and sales enablement, INBOUND is a place to learn more about the various spokes of the HubSpot wheel, even if you don't use HubSpot's tools. Event Details
Content Marketing World
Sept. 4-7 | Cleveland
Content marketers have to make a choice this year, because Content Marketing World and Inbound are on the same days. Billed as the largest content marketing summit in the world, CMWorld offers a collection of sessions, labs, and workshops that cover content marketing strategy, integration, and measurement. A great place to learn from big brands and network with other content marketers. Event Details
Sept. 25-28 | San Francisco
Salesforce's annual mega-event includes one of the largest nonprofit technology conferences in the world. Besides the usual speakers, sessions, and product announcements, last year's event raised $1 million for education charities. Event Details
MarketingProfs B2B Forum
Nov. 13-17 | San Francisco
Now in its 12th year, MarketingProfs' B2B Forum is a place for leaders and innovators to learn about the latest in B2B marketing and share the secrets to their success. Event Details
Dallas Digital Summit Conference Series
Dec. 4-5 | Dallas
This end-of-the-year conference features 40+ sessions with subject matter experts ranging from Facebook to Yahoo, covering a wide range of topics, including mobile, video, social media, email, content marketing, UX design and SEO. Event Details
B2B Content2Conversion Conference
Feb. 19-21, 2019 | Scottsdale
With customized learning paths for content strategy, marketing ops, demand gen, and product marketing professionals, the B2B Content2Conversion Conference covers all key areas of the marketing conversion funnel. The first conference of 2019 is "conveniently" located in Scottsdale in February. Enjoy the sunshine. Event Details
Social Media Marketing World
Feb. 28-March 2, 2019 | San Diego
This annual convention covers more than social media. There are tracks for creators, but also for social tactics and strategy, content marketing, measurement, customer service, and corporate social. If you have any money left over from your 2018 travel budget, this conference in San Diego might be a good investment. Event Details
PRO TIPS: We realize nobody has the budget for all of these events — and some are in different niches than others — but you can still put them on your calendar to check out their hashtags on Twitter and pick up some free tips and tricks during the conference.
And always be on the lookout for bargains. Put together your list early, because most of these conferences offer early bird discounts.
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