By Rachel Moore

 

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As 2016 begins, it's time to start planning which conferences are on your agenda for the coming year. Here are our favorite not-to-be-missed events:

 

SXSW Interactive

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A bit like FutureM on a much, much larger scale, the Interactive component of SXSW (South by Southwest) features days of panels, presentations, demos, and conversations from the best and brightest in cutting-edge technology and digital media. While technically a subset of the SXSW event as a whole, the SXSW Interactive Branding and Marketing, Design and Development, and Content and Distribution tracks present the most up-front value for marketers. However, since the festival covers such a wide array of topics, you're sure to find something of interest regardless of which of the 18 (yes, 18) tracks you follow.

 

2016 dates: March 11th 2016 - March 15th, 2016

Where: Austin, TX

Where to learn more: About SxSW

 

Summit | The Digital Marketing Conference

 

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Adobe's contribution to the conference game, Summit is a 3-day extravaganza of digital marketing expertise, insights, and knowledge. Comprised of over 150 sessions spread across nine tracks, the conference covers topics such as campaign strategy, analytics, mobile engagement, personalization, and advertising. While there is a focus on how organizations can use the Adobe Marketing Cloud, like INBOUND, the event's intent is to educate - not indoctrinate with product-specific knowledge.

 

2016 dates: March 20th, 2016 - March 24th, 2016

 

Where: Las Vegas, NV

 

Where to learn more: About Summit | The Digital Markting Conference

 

Social Media Marketing World

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If you’re even remotely interested in the world of social media marketing, this yearly conference should make your shortlist. With a distinct focus on social media and content marketing strategy, Social Media Marketing World, this three-day event features more than 100 sessions from companies like LinkedIn, Adobe, and Whole Foods Market, as well as industry leaders like Guy Kawasaki, Mari Smith, Chris Brogan, and Jay Baer.

 

2016 dates: April 17th, 2016 – April 19th 2016

Where: San Diego, CA

Where to learn more: About Social Media Marketing World

 

HEROCONF

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The self-described “unapologetically PPC conference series,” HeroConf is a traveling conference that focuses entirely on paid search. Not surprisingly, event speakers come from across the world of PPC. A low attendee-to-speaker ratio (10:1) mean it’s easy to find (and pick the brain of) your PPC idols and industry gurus, and workshops make it possible to get one-on-one help and leave with a better PPC strategy than when you arrived.

 

2016 dates: April 25th, 2016 – April 27th, 2016

Where: Philadelphia, PA

Where to learn more: About HEROCONF Philadelphia

 

Searchlove

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A two-day one-track event all about the wonderful world of search. Sponsored by Distilled, speaker lineups have included in-house talent like Will Crtichlow and Adria Saracino, as well as industry big wigs like Rand Fishkin of Moz. Topics covered include everything from UX, to content marketing and storytelling, to email marketing and, of course, SEO – all with a distinct slant towards actionable tips and tricks digital marketers can take home and put to use.

 

2016 dates: May 3rd, 2016 – May 4th, 2016

Where: Boston, MA

Where to learn more: About Searchlove Boston

 

Call to Action Conference

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Unbounce’s claim to conference fame, the #CTAConf focuses specifically on the role of landing pages and how conversion optimization across multiple marketing tools can help you improve your overall strategy. The Call To Action conference is built around the premise of providing truly actionable content to attendees, and focusing first and foremost on the attendee experience.

 

2016 dates: June 23rd, 2016 – June 24th, 2016

Where: Vancouver, Canada

Where to learn more: About CTA Conference

 

Content Marketing World

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What Social Media Marketing World is for, well, social media marketers, Content Marketing World is for, you guessed it: content marketers. More than 80 sessions cover topics like content strategy, integration, analysis, and innovation. Featuring labs, breakout sessions, networking, as well as a few celebrity Keynotes (Nick Offerman and John Cleese spoke at 2015’s event), #CMWorld is also one of the few events on this list not located on the east or west coasts. Midwest, represent!

 

2016 dates: September 6th, 2016 – September 9th, 2016

Where: Cleveland, OH

Where to learn more: About Content Marketing World

 

MozCon 

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Described as "three days of actionable sessions in SEO, social media, community building, content marketing, brand development, CRO, the mobile landscape, analytics, and more," make sure you attend MozCon if you're an SEO professional or focused on website optimization from a marketing perspective. Plus, get your photo taken with Roger, Moz's robot mascot! (What can I say, I like stuff like that.) 

 

2016 dates: September 12th 2016 - September 14th, 2016

Where: Seattle, WA

Where to learn more: About MozCon

 

INBOUND

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HubSpot’s (not inaccurately) self-proclaimed “largest gathering of inbound marketers in the world,” INBOUND is a conference not to be missed. Attendees can choose from a variety of tracks – Executive, Partner, Ideas and Experiences, Hacks, Tips, and Tricks, Grow with HubSpot, and more - to learn the latest and greatest in inbound and digital marketing. While at least one of the 6 keynotes is bound to contain some HubSpot product information, the majority of the 250+ sessions are not specifically tied to or about the marketing software.

 

2016 dates: November 8th, 2016 – November 11th, 2016

Where: Boston, MA

Where to learn more: About INBOUND

 

 

FutureM 

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Unlike many of the other events on this list, FutureM, which is put on by MITx (the Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange) is not a solely marketing-focused event. Instead, it explores cutting edge content, trends, and ideas that live at the intersection of marketing, technology, and design. Broken into 12 tracks, FutureM “combines the best elements of traditional events - like talented speakers, product launches, and networking opportunities - with the thrill of the future. You'll hear about things you've only dreamed of, and meet people you never imagined you'd meet.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, MITx.

 

2016 dates: TBA

Where: Boston, MA

Where to learn more: About FutureM

  

Pubcon

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While its name originally referred to an informal gathering of webmasters and search engine optimizers at a London pub, Pubcon’s moniker is also a great descriptor of the “web publishing conference” we know it as today. While it can feel a bit like a typical Las Vegas-bound megaconference, previous Pubcons have hosted such speakers as Matt Cutts, Google’s Head of Webspam, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, Copyblogger founder Brian Clark, Influence At Work author Dr. Robert Cialdini, and and a veritable “who’s who” list of movers and shakers in the world of marketing and business.  Featuring “entrepreneurs, industry leaders, and digital marketing professionals hosting lectures and workshops on search engine advancement, online advertising, and social media,” Pubcon is worth a visit – just be sure to wear comfortable shoes.

 

2016 dates: TBA

Where: Las Vegas, NV

Where to learn more: About Pubcon

 

B2B Marketing Forum

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Small but mighty, MarketingProf’s B2b Marketing Forum is a content marketer’s playground. While its roots are in content marketing strategy, the 2015 event featured sessions like a Google Analytics deep dive, sessions on email campaigns, marketing automation vendor selection, and more. Heck, Google’s digital marketing evangelist, Avinash Kaushik, was even there talking about actionable business frameworks to tap into “digital marketing greatness.”

2016 dates: TBA

Where: Boston, MA

Where to learn more: About B2B Marketing Forum

 

What conferences or events are you attending this year? Let us know by tweeting us at @smartbugmedia.
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Rachel Moore

About the author

Rachel Moore was formerly a Senior Consultant and Team Leader at SmartBug Media. A HubSpot alumna, Rachel uses her 7+ years of experience as a marketer and neuroscientist to help clients develop innovative strategies to achieve and exceed their business goals. Read more articles by Rachel Moore.

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