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Kick-ass keynotes at SES London 2010

Mike Grehan
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The largest search marketing show in Europe is heading back to London 15 - 19 February. And it's jam packed with a mixture of classic sessions, new sessions, top rated speakers, and new talent.

As a parent, I know it's never fair to say one of your kids is your favorite. They're all your favorite. And I kind of have this situation with the family of shows in the SES international conference series. I shouldn't really have a favorite. But I do have a very strong affinity with the London show. I've been involved on the programming side of the London conference since I was appointed as chair and host of the of the show back in 2007

And as it rolls back into town in a week or so, I've been taking a look at how the content has been evolving. For 2010, the show has a whole new look and feel. So, I thought I would pick out the fabulous keynote session we have lined up.

Before I do that, I should quickly mention that our partners at the Online Marketing Summit have a full day of sessions prior to the start of the main SES show. Monday 15 February has a great line-up of speakers and topics covering all disciplines in online marketing. There's a real bonus for anyone who has purchased a full show pass for SES, in that this also allows you to attend the OMS day free of charge. So, come in a day earlier and take advantage of some extracurricular digital marketing education.

And on the subject of education...that really is the byword for what SES is all about. For 12 years SES has been educating an international audience in the finer art and science of search engine marketing. And this year, in London, we've broadened the scope of content to really help online marketers refine their integrated marketing skills.

Each morning at SES London, we have specially selected international thought leaders. And to kick off the new decade we've invited three visionary marketers to share their insights into what's successfully working right now and where it might go in the future.

Day one kicks off with kick-ass-keynoter Avinash Kaushik. Many people will know Avinash from both his excellent books on analytics and his role as Google's analytics evangelist. But if you haven't seen Avinash present a keynote session, be prepared for an online marketing force of nature. "Be Awesome: Ideas for Approaching Search Analytics Differently is the session title for the first keynote of the show.

In his keynote, Avinash shares specific ideas you can execute to find the audiences you crave online and use data to ensure that you are getting the highest possible ROI. And his advice on how to prepare for this session? Bring an open mind!

Day two kicks off with another of the smartest minds in online marketing. Bryan Eisenberg is co-author of no less than three Wall Street Journal/Amazon/New York Times best selling marketing books. As an industry pioneer in conversion techniques, Bryan will share his 21 secrets to top converting Web sites. Search marketing, usability, testing, and more. It all comes together in this one "must take notes" session.

And day three sees the return to SES London by someone who truly does deserve the "guru" accolade. Eight books later and dozens of awards and accolades (including one of the 50 most influential people in digital marketing), Jim Sterne will reveal the findings from his upcoming book: "Social Media Metrics" which, coincidentally, also happens to be the title to this session. "Today, social media is where the World Wide Web was in 1995. Everybody's talking about it but best practices are few and far between. We know it's important, valuable and catching on. What we don't know yet is how to measure the business results of our business investments in this new communication medium," says Jim. So listen up, there's a global expert speaking!

Like most people I know in the industry, there's nothing I like better than a good old debate on what's working, what's not, where the industry is going, and everything else that goes with it. So, I decided to bring back the keynote power discussion panels each afternoon.

The first one on Tuesday afternoon is a state of the industry session and sees the new chairman of Incisive Media (the proud purveyors of this fine conference series) making her debut at SES London. Helen Alexander, CBE has had a remarkable career in publishing (The Economist), is currently president of the CBI, non-executive director of Centrica and Rolls Royce plc, as well as trustee of the World Wide Web Foundation. Phew! Some background. Together, she and I will moderate the afternoon power panel.

And what a superb panel we have. Jonathan Beeston, client services director, Europe with Efficient Frontier will bring us up to speed with findings from EF's quarterly reports on the industry. Meanwhile, Edward (Teddie) Cowell, SEO director with Guava, will give us a bit of trend analysis based on the annual report that Guava and eConsultancy produce annually. He'll take a look over his shoulder at the way things have evolved in the industry over the years they have been producing the report and also take a peek into his crystal ball to give initial thoughts on what's likely to emerge in the upcoming trends report.

Also on the panel is Anders Hjorth, CEO of Outrider, one of the industry's longest serving SEM companies. He'll be giving expert comment relating to the information provided by Jonathan and Teddie as well as adding his own insights on differences in industry trends between the U.K., Europe, and elsewhere. And joining from the U.S. is Kristen Mangers, founder and CEO, WebVisible, Inc. Kristen is a search marketing expert specializing in local search. She has proprietary data to share on how local search is changing in the U.S., as well as giving some insight into the U.K. marketplace as it continues to develop.

All-in-all this is a not-to-be-missed session for those with their eyes on industry trends and developments.

On Wednesday afternoon, we focus our attention on the SEO side of the business. The session has the title, SEO: Where to next? and will touch on every aspect of the art and science of search engine optimization. The panel will be headed by industry stalwart and managing director of long established SEM firm Receptional, Dixon Jones. He'll be joined by Lisa Myers, CEO and owner of SEO and social media agency Verve Search. Lisa's been in the business for five years and she certainly knows her onions when it comes to search and social. A genuine award winner, Lisa is the founder of seo-chicks.com and also blogs for SearchCowboys.

In the blue corner, Maile Ohye, developer programs tech lead with Google, will be giving us the big G viewpoint. Maile coordinates Google Webmaster Central outreach efforts, such as the Webmaster Central Blog. And in the red corner, Dan Cohen, global SEO lead, MSN, gives a viewpoint from the Bing camp. And Julian Sambles, head of audience development with the Telegraph, provides a few of his own SEO headlines.

The Thursday afternoon panel tackles all things paid search/content networks/display. The panel is led by Jon Myers, head of search/associate director with Mediavest and the newest addition to the SES Global Advisory Board. With 11 years of search marketing experience, Jon is a veteran with a very impressive background. Known to the powers that be at the major search engines, he is well up to speed with industry matters and frequently tapped into by major online marketing publications.

Joining him on the panel is Ciarán Norris, lead, global social media, Mindshare. Ciarán has been working online since getting a job in a Sydney Internet cafe in 1999. Working with clients such as Nike, Rolex, Unilever and HSBC he certainly brings the big brand value to the session. Duncan Fisher is head of paid search with leading agency, Latitude. Keeping abreast of the latest techniques and technology in search, Duncan is very much "hands on" and has great experience in campaign architecture and developing trends in the search space.

It's probably not unusual to have Tom Jones on this panel. But no doubt he's heard that joke too many times. And I'm beginning to wish I hadn't written that... but too late. Tom is head of media with international agency, iCrossing. Tom and his team of search experts offer consultancy and deliver accountable media campaigns across myriad sectors including retail, travel, finance, and B2B. So, when it comes to looking into what's happening in industry specific sectors, he's an expert.

Julie Warburton, client service director at Microsoft Advertising (U.K.) rounds off this panel of experts. Julie is responsible for premium search, display account management, and both display and network operations. So, on a panel discussing the near convergence of paid search, content networks, and display she's certainly a great addition. Formerly with Yahoo, Julie joined Overture as head of implementation in 2002. This is a lady steeped in industry knowledge.

And something I am so looking forward to is the Black hat/White hat - Unconferenced debate. Join us for a first time and unique session at SES, London. The session takes place in the hotel bar. The soapbox will be available for a few select speakers on either side to make their case and then the audience takes over. All with a glass of your favorite beverage in your hand, of course!

Don't forget to sign up for the pre-conference meet and greet too. The crowd is building already and I'm much looking forward to catching up with friends and colleagues.

Join around 1500 of your friends and colleagues in London 15 - 19 February.

Ahhh, this is the stuff conferences are made of!


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