I just got done at a marketing conference in Brno, Czech Republic and it blew me away. I got the honor of speaking there because I have a wonderful friend named Jonathon Colman*. He could not attend this conference and recommended me in his stead. I am forever grateful as this was one of the best conferences I have ever attended. Now I am biased, Distilled’s Searchlove conferences are fantastic and so is MozCon. But this conference, a first time conference for the organizer and for this area of the world, is right up there with them in my opinion.
The organizer, Jindrich Faborsky, went to a number of conferences in the 12 months (or more) leading up to his conference, talked to attendees, and found out what makes marketinf conferences awesome. Here are the things I think he learned and what made this conference so great.
If you don’t want to read the rest of this, at least watch this video, it sums up the conference well.
Speakers make or break a conference. They are part of your marketing and the reason people come back. They are the meat of the conference and should be a big part of your investment. Jindrich knew that and took the steps to secure some of the top minds in search. Jonathon would have been a wonderful addition, and again, I am lucky he recommended me, but this audience got to hear from Phil Nottingham, Michael King, Gillian Musseig, Cyrus Shepard, and so many more.
He not only worked on getting some great people, but he made sure we could come by giving us plenty of warning and investing in the speakers. Investing in your speakers is something that should be done by all conferences really serious about teaching. MozCon and SearchLove both do it as I know both want to make sure the speakers have everything they need to make the conference and their presentation the best.
The next thing Jindrich did was talk to every speaker about their topic. As a part of my talk with him, I pitched a few ideas and he was very straightforward about what this market was interested in hearing about. Given his knowledge of the market, we were able to come up with a topic that the audience was really invested in. It makes for a very happy and engaged audience.
It was also a one track conference, which I am a huge fan of when it comes to marketing centered conferences. You should not be focused on one topic as a marketer. Your job might just be focused on one area now, but in learning, marketers should be interested in the whole picture. This format provides that.
Networking and After Parties
The other thing people go to conferences for is networking. PubCon is still the best conference in the US for networking, but Jindrich spent the time understanding that and provided so much opportunity for networking at this conference. Any conference that includes Mike King rapping at an after party with Phil Nottingham as his side kick is one I want to be at. Period.
* On a rather somber side note, Jonathon lost his mother the week of the conference. Jonathon, my deepest condolences. Please know that our love is with you and your family right now.