Industry's Leading Search & Social Marketing Event Rolls Into Chicago.

It's time for SES to return to Chicago for our annual event there. And even before we get to the expert sessions and content you've come to know SES for, the big news is: This year you won't need your winter thermals!

Yes, after years of collectively freezing our asses off in snowy December, we'll bask in the somewhat warmer October climate. October 19 - 21 to be precise. And as ever, we have a world class line up of speakers and quite simply kick-ass keynotes.

It's always a difficult task trying to cherry pick from such a wide and diverse variety of topics in the online marketing space. But let's pick out a few. Here's a sample of just some of the sessions I'm looking forward to.

It all begins Tuesday morning, Oct. 19 with industry thought leader and living dynamo, Avinash Kaushik. He's been keynoting for us across the continents this year. From London to New York and Hong Kong to Chicago. And no matter how many times I see him speak - I learn something new every time.

Wednesday morning, Oct. 20 is no less dynamic. He blew the audience away completely at SES San Francisco. Information packed and hugely entertaining, the audience was furiously scribbling down notes one moment and rolling in the aisles laughing the next. Don't miss celebrity CMO Jeffrey Hayzlett, literally one of the best speakers on the circuit.

And it's a warm welcome back to one of our most popular speakers on Thursday, Oct. 21 when Google's Maile Ohye takes to the stage. Yes, of course she'll talk about Google Instant. And for sure she'll cover best practice SEO. But more so, she'll give you the perfect insight on how to use Google Webmaster tools to analyze, plan, implement, and control successful SEO campaigns at Google.

With 75 sessions and more than 100 expert speakers over the three day period, this really is a prime learning experience. And that's something we pride ourselves on. Whether you're new to the industry or a stalwart, SES educates at every level.

With 107,000 opt-in subscribers to his newsletter, Internet marketing pioneer Dr. Ralph Wilson has been helping small businesses thrive online for 15 years now. And in that time he's learned more than a thing-or-two about search engines. If you're new to search marketing be sure to prep yourself for the rest of the conference when he puts everyone on the same page with his Introduction To Search Engine Marketing.

Thinking global? People are searching for products and services all over the world. And if you want yours to be found there are many things you need to take into consideration when tackling a foreign market. No, it's not just about getting someone to translate your website into a few languages. There's a whole lot more to it. Take a one hour intensive with top international search marketer Andy Atkins-Kruger as he presents Key Points In Launching A Global Website.

Are you getting clicks but no sales? Are visitors bouncing off your web pages instead of heading towards the checkout? You could probably use some help from recognized industry expert and New York Times/Wall Street Journal bestselling author Bryan Eisenberg. Discover his three-step, critical formula to increase conversion rates when he presents The Secret Formula To Boost Response.

Been thinking about whether you should work with an agency or go it alone and bring your SEO in-house? All your questions about the pros and cons are answered by Bob Tripathi of Sears Holdings and top in-house SEO Jessica Bowman of SEOinhouse.com at the session Bringing SEO In-House.

What if your business services encompass an area of around 15 miles? You need to concentrate your search marketing efforts into a tightly targeted area. Join local search experts Gregg Stewart, Curtis R . Curtis, and David Rodecker as they walk you through The Evolution Of Local Search.

And who could miss our now legendary Black Hat/White Hat, unconferenced session. In fact, this is where the idea came from at SES Chicago last year. It's the ongoing debate - does it really matter what tactics you use anymore? bhat-what.jpgChoose your hat (black or white), choose your drink, and let the conversation begin. No formal presentations at this session. And what about the whole question of SEO? Is it dead as some tend to think, or is it alive and kicking? Find out with a panel of industry leading SEO experts at this session.

There are a lot of sessions covering social media at SES. If you can master social media marketing, you can achieve a whole lot for not a lot of dollars. Get the secret of how one person launched a business selling cupcakes marketing only with Twitter and Facebook. Mari Luangrath holds the title of Head Cupcakeologist and she'll share three easy, effective, and applicable strategies to Build An Army Of Brand Ambassadors.

Google celebrated its 12th birthday yesterday. And one person in particular has learned a heck of a lot about marketing from them. So much in fact, he's written a book about it. Get Googley with Aaron Goldman as he explains How To Apply Lessons From SEM To Other Marketing Channels.

Other how-to sessions include, How To Become A Link Magnet and How To Transform Your Approach To Video.

And what about the link between search and display? This is a dynamic duo that you can learn more about as we Cross The Digital Divide. And how much do you know about Search Retargeting?

Hey, you can even join me for a little history lesson (and a glimpse into the future) on the evolution of information retrieval on the web.

Apart from the fact that SES Chicago is coming to town earlier this year, there are a few other differences. We pay a great deal of attention to the excellent feedback and suggestions we get after each show. And one thing people ask for more than anything else is smaller panels with more in-depth content, and more expert solo sessions. So you'll note that many of the panel sessions are limited to two specially selected presenters and there are more than 20 solo sessions to choose from featuring leading experts.

So, three information packed days covering every aspect of search and social media marketing. And let's not forget the opportunity to mix and network with about 3,500 of your colleagues and peers.

And if you're looking for expert industry training in advanced keyword research, building a search friendly website, bringing SEO in-house, and making the most of Google Analytics, check out SES Training here.

You can check the full agenda here. I'm much looking forward to meeting old friends and making new. See you at SES Chicago October 19 - 21.

Try and join us for the Chicago meet and greet - you can sign up here.

About the author

Mike Grehan is currently chief marketing officer and managing director at Acronym, where he is responsible for directing thought leadership programs and cross-platform marketing initiatives, as well as developing new, innovative content marketing campaigns.

Prior to joining Acronym, Grehan was group publishing director at Incisive Media, publisher of Search Engine Watch and ClickZ, and producer of the SES international conference series. Previously, he worked as a search marketing consultant with a number of international agencies handling global clients such as SAP and Motorola. Recognized as a leading search marketing expert, Grehan came online in 1995 and is the author of numerous books and white papers on the subject and is currently in the process of writing his new book From Search to Social: Marketing to the Connected Consumer to be published by Wiley later in 2014.

In March 2010 he was elected to SEMPO's board of directors and after a year as vice president he then served two years as president and is now the current chairman.