We’ve been keeping something from you.
We’ve been working on it in stealth mode for a couple of months. It’s SEJ’s biggest initiative to date, by far.
How it all started…
Earlier this year, Searchmetrics approached us with a simple idea: hold an exclusive 1 day marketing conference. Make the event “top-shelf” with a beautiful venue in a major metro. Hand-select amazing, proven speakers who wouldn’t have the same old stuff to say.
Make the event all about the attendees: emphasizing education and networking. Prohibit promotions, demos, sales pitches of any kind. Make the attendees feel their every need was taken care of – from a complimentary, catered lunch to a hosted bar for the networking hour. Make it free. Searchmetrics would sponsor the entire thing.
Oh, and my team would have near 100% carte blanche in determining, well, everything. From the venue, agenda, speakers, content focus.
We almost said no.
I’m a “trust but verify” kind of person. “When something is too good to be true…it usually is” is one of my signature comments. And this proposal seemed too good to be true.
While the Searchmetrics folks seemed cool, and authentic in their intentions…I was skeptical. Surely, after the deal was signed, they would change their tune. I thought of wedding planners who dread the Bridezilla– someone who makes outrageous or impossible demands, can’t make up their minds and is generally just #theworst.
What if Searchmetrics turned into, like, “Conferencezilla”??? What if they wanted to micromanage the speakers, or turn the sessions into a day-long sales demo, or otherwise just turn against the spirit of the stated mission, which was to make it 100% about giving value back to the attendees?
We weighed the pros and cons. Despite my pessimistic concerns, we agreed it was worth the plunge for the opportunity to put on an event of the scale and impact that we envisioned it could be for our audience.
You see, the SEJ team had been to so many conferences, seminars, meetups, networking events. And so many times we’ve had conversations about how we’d put our own spin on the agenda, the format, the venue. The chance to have an event under our own brand, done our way, was literally a dream come true.
And so it came to pass: our first conference event with Searchmetrics was in June at the Hotel Vitale in San Francisco.
We had 11 speakers, all well-known enterprise marketing experts from international brands like Cisco, SurveyMonkey, LinkedIn. 100 attendees showed up for a standing-room only event that flowed like clockwork.
At the end, it seemed no one wanted the party to be over – the hotel’s staff had to gently usher everyone to the exits (OK let’s be real, the bouncers kicked us out) after the event was long past its expiration. See more photos of the event here.
I really couldn’t be prouder. Our team executed the event flawlessly. The speakers were amazing. Marcus Tober, Liv Longley, Robyn Forman, and the rest of the team from Searchmetrics are my new heroes. Thanks to them, I have a new saying: “If something’s too good to be true…sometimes, it’s just good, period.”
So, when Searchmetrics approached us about expanding the event into a tour across the US and London, there was only one answer: Yes!
SEJ Summit 3 Takeaways, a conference series presented by Searchmetrics
The SEJ Summit is captioned “3 Takeaways” because attendees will leave with exactly that – 3 principles from each speaker that are impactful, memorable, and actionable.
The agenda will be tailored for the enterprise marketing space. Content, examples, and tips will be geared for in-house enterprise folks, or agencies with enterprise clients.
Session topics include content marketing, social media, digital enterprise marketing, UX strategy, and soft skills such as influencing, team management, negotiation. No product pitches will be allowed.
The following locations have been confirmed as host cities for next year’s conferences. Venues, dates, and speakers to be announced soon:
February 2015: Los Angeles, California
March 2015: Dallas, Texas
April 2015: Chicago, Illinois
May 2015: London, England UK
July 2015: Silicon Valley, California
September 2015: New York City, New York
December 2015: Atlanta, Georgia