Last week, I offered 10 tips for marketers who are going to Search Engine Strategies for the first time. This week, I'll talk to industry veterans who are going to SES London or SES New York for the Nth time.
So, the first timers can skip this post.
"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain."
"These are not the droids you are looking for."
"Nothing to see here. Move along."
Now that only the SES alumni are left, let me share some inside information about an event that is changing as rapidly as our industry:
1. Don't look back. Have you seen the conference agenda for SES London 2010? More than three-quarters of the sessions weren't there a year ago! And don't look at the conference agenda for SES New York 2010. Eighty-five percent of the sessions are new! So, don't skip this year's event or first-time SES attendees might learn something that you don't know. Or, as Satchel Paige, the American baseball player, once said, "Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you."
2. Don't skip OMS. SES London 2010 now starts on Monday, Feb. 15, with OMS Day, which kicks off with a morning keynote by Aaron Kahlow, Chairman and Founder of the Online Marketing Summit. He'll answer the question, "Is Social Media the Future of Search?" The following week, Online Marketing Summit 2010 will be held in San Diego from Feb. 22-25. It features SES San Diego on Thursday, Feb. 25. And at SES New York 2010, there's an OMS track on Wednesday, March 24. Yes, Search Engine Strategies is collaborating with the Online Marketing Summit. Get it? Got it? Good.
3. Don't sleep in. Yes, yes, industry veterans once drank all night and slept through the morning keynotes. But you need to hear Avinash Kaushik's morning keynote, "Be Awesome: Ideas for Approaching Search Analytics Differently." At SES London and SES New York, he'll share specific ideas that you can execute to find the audiences you crave online and use data to ensure that you are getting highest possible ROI. He'll also talk about keyword trees, attribution analysis, monetizing the long tail, and micro conversions. Can you afford to sleep in and miss that? I don't think so.
4. Don't oversleep. You'll also want to hear the other morning keynotes by Bryan Eisenberg and Jim Sterne at SES London 2010, as well as David Meerman Scott at SES New York 2010. Eisenberg will reveal "21 Secrets of Top Converting Websites." Stern will tackle "Social Media Metrics." And Scott will tell you to think like publishers and create compelling online content in the form of YouTube videos, online news releases, blogs, podcasts, and online media to reach your buyers directly. Leave a wake up call. You won't want to oversleep and miss these keynotes, either.
5. Don't get me started. When you see Mike Grehan, the VP and Global Content Director of Incisive Media, don't ask about his shoehorn. "Strangely enough, 'Sticky' the shoehorn has had to be retired," he says wistfully. "We did a little party for him, you know, and he's now in a resting home in Massachusetts, actually enjoying himself." If you want to chat up Grehan, then ask him about his new book on search marketing.
6. Don't miss the keynote panels. They're back, but they're not called "Orion panels" anymore. And check out the State of the U.K. Industry Discussion Panel at SES London 2010. Yes, yes, Grehan is a co-moderator. But so is Helen Alexander, the Chairman of Incisive Media, President of the CBI, and senior advisor to Bain Capital. Grehan says, "Helen has the most fabulous resume ever." She was chief executive of The Economist Group for 11 years until she stepped down in June 2008. She was awarded a CBE for services to publishing in 2004. You'll want a seat in the front row for this keynote panel.
7. Avoid taking up too much space. Run, don't walk, to the Search on the Edge track nearest you. While the first-time SES attendees are attending sessions in the Search Fundamentals track, you'll want to learn about real-time search and managing a global SEO campaign. If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space.
8. Avoid the breadline. If you're going to SES London or SES New York for the Nth time, then you'll also want to go to the sessions in the Geek Speak track. While the first timers are attending some of the clinics, you'll want to attend sessons on "Duplicate Content & Multiple Site Issues" and "Automating Twitter." As Aladdin sings, "Gotta keep one jump ahead of the breadline."
9. Don't even think of parking here. Back in the late 1980s and early '90s, you could keep up with the PC industry by attending one conference a year: Comdex. But those days are gone -- along with the show. These days, you need to attend at least four conferences a year just to keep up with the rapid changes and new developments in the search engine industry. So, don't even think of parking here.
10. Never walk alone. At SES Chicago 2009, Jeff Sponseller and Dominic Golembiewski of Miller Weldmaster discussed another way to keep up-to-date on trends and issues: Take advantage of the special group discounts. First two conference registrants pay full price, the third person from the same organization, registering at the same time qualifies for 50% off their registration fee (of equal value).
I should disclose that Search Engine Strategies is a client of my agency. But trust me on the shoehorn.