Conferences, Conferences, and more Conferences!
It’s that time of year again… you know, the one where every week brings a new industry conference and you are having trouble choosing between them?! I’m in that boat right now, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on what I find valuable/look for in a conference when choosing amongst the many many options.
First of all – is it industry related? Yes? Check. But what parts of the industry? Social Media? Digital Analytics? Mobile? Specific to a vendor? Cross-vendor/tool? There are a lot of ways to slice and dice these conferences (just like data!), so it’s important to know what you are interested in and what will provide the most value to both yourself and your business (after all, it is their time and $$ sending you, right?).
Below is my list of top conferences to attend (I wish I could attend them all!). It’s always a trade-off between which conferences to attend each year, so be informed about what each has to offer!
1. eMetrics – This is the headline conference for the Digital Analytics Association. It is vendor agnostic and covers a range of topics in the Digital Analytics industry (Social Media, Web, Mobile, Big Data, etc). It is going on as I write this in San Francisco, I’ll give you an update in a later post on my learnings from the event.
2. Omniture Summit – This is a more focused conference in that it covers Omniture tools and data insights. If you are an Omniture client, you should definitely check out this conference, it will be worth your time! Plus, it takes place in Salt Lake City, Utah and includes a day of skiing in Park City – nice perk!
3. ACCELERATE – This newcomer is a one day fire hose of information in a unique format. Most of the day is filled with ‘Top Ten’ talks on various topics by leading names in the industry. The last part of the day is a ‘SuperAccelerator’ session where new comers and veterans alike compete with a 5 minute presentation on a ‘One biggest idea’ theme. The first Accelerate took place in SF last October. The next one takes place in Chicago in April. If you only have 1 day and are looking for a lot of info, this is your conference.
4. Semphonic Xchange – I have not been to this one but have heard encouraging things. The format is different than any other conference out there – it’s more of a small group conversation than a conference. It fosters deep discussion about industry topics that does not necessarily occur in a traditional speaker/audience setting.
5. GAUGE – The Google Analytics User’s Great Event takes place on the heels of eMetric and focuses on topics about GA. If you are a GA user and are attending eMetrics this could be a good add on for you.
6. SXSW – I’ve heard some great things about this one though have not been myself. I’ve got 2 coworkers who are attending it this week – I’ll update when I get feedback from them.
GigaOm Mobilize – This is a 2 day mobile conference I attended this past fall in San Francisco. It was a good introduction for me to the mobile space and gave me a solid understanding of debates and issues the industry faces. Native app vs HTML5? While I’m not a mobile app developer, it was a good conference to attend for a baseline knowledge to use as I work on mobile analytics.
One of the most important takeaways from any conference, regardless of it’s focus, is the contacts you make while there. I cannot say enough about the power of networking! I’ve recently been to a few networking events where I’ve met with some of the thought leaders I follow on Twitter – it’s great to put a name to a face because it will set you apart in their minds for potential opportunities down the road. Oh, and if you’re not on Twitter – start tweeting! It’s a great way to meet industry people!