These days, prioritizing professional development becomes all the more difficult the busier we are at our jobs. Using professional development for a conference can be even more time consuming. Many choose (opt?) to avoid the hassles of travel, conference food, an unfamiliar hotel bed, and being away from the office for a handful of days. But when we opt out, we also miss out on the benefits: networking, reconnecting with friends and colleagues, staying current in our fields, and learning away from the bustle of the office.
In 2017, FINE employees spent 1,350+ hours on professional development, including attending seminars, workshops, and conferences. Looking to 2018, we’ve selected about a dozen conferences that we have either attended before, or continue to admire from afar.
Held early spring in Portland, Oregon, the Engage Conference is a one-day digital marketing conference designed to provide expert insight into the latest advancements in digital marketing, including social media, content, UX/design, advertising, SEO, and paid media. Intensive learning across one day wraps with a happy hour and karaoke party. Read our top takeaways from the 2017 conference.
Luxury Interactive is a B2B conference held in downtown Manhattan, aimed at digital executives looking to learn strategies for adapting to an ever-changing digital landscape. Sessions include topics from customer behavior, loyalty, and spending. The events are aimed at educating, supporting, and connecting the leadership of luxury industries, bringing together and connecting leaders to address and solve problems. This past year, keynotes came from folks at Cosabella who discussed the next generation of family owned businesses and Neiman-Marcus who spoke to testing and piloting cutting-edge tech and applications. We’ll be attending for the first time in 2018.
Brand New Conference
Hundreds of designers attend Brand New each year. The two-day event — organized by blog, UnderConsideration —focuses on corporate and brand identity. Eight daily sessions offer broad points of view from speakers around the world, through the ever-changing conference identity and design-led atmosphere is reason alone to attend. In 2018, Brand New will celebrate its 10th year. Read our top takeaways from the 2017 conference.
Content Marketing World
Content Marketing World is, according to their own marketing, “the largest content marketing event on the planet.” This conference brings together content marketers for a full week (yes, week) of keynotes, sessions, and networking. This past year, FINE friend Lisa Mattson, Director of Marketing & Communications at Jordan Vineyard & Winery, was a featured speaker among an impressive roster.
Digital Summit is really more like Summits. These regional events attract digital marketers, strategists, and entrepreneurs to discuss the latest in leading-edge digital media and marketing content. With a mission to educate, connect, and foster growth across each region’s digital marketing landscape, it can be a lot to take in. FINE attended Digital Summit Portland this year (we published our takeaways), and attended as many of the 76 sessions across the 2-day conference—including keynotes from powerhouses Ann Handley and Steve Wozniak — that we could manage. There are Digital Summits in most major cities across the United States.
Moz has built one of the most vibrant online communities of SEOs and digital marketers in the industry, with invaluable online tools, forums, and resources that cater to everyone — from newbies to veterans. MozCon is the annual conference in Seattle where they all gather for three days of sessions about SEO, brand development, CRO, mobile landscape, analytics, customer experience, and content marketing. MozCon speakers are heavily vetted, so you know you’ll glean actionable insights at many levels. It’s also single track, so you won’t miss out on a speaker or specific topic. Considering the crowd, attendees also leave with valuable new connections made with industry peers.
Calling all digimark nerds. Search Engine Land holds several digital marketing conferences every year, but SMX Advanced is the only one exclusively geared toward the most experienced search marketers in SEO and PPC. Keynote interviews with lauded veterans, such as Danny Sullivan and Matt Cutts, are famous for their buzzworthy announcements, while individual sessions provide insider insights and breakthrough tactics advanced marketers are looking for. If you’re looking to take your digital marketing prowess to the next level, SMX Advanced is for you.
Fast Company Innovation Festival
With a dazzling and diverse lineup of speakers and attendees, the Fast Company Innovation Festival is all about inspiration, disruption, and forward momentum. Spanning 5 days, 125 fast tracks, and 300 speakers, the festival unites diverse disciplines: design, entrepreneurship, leadership, social, and tech. Besides the elite list of attendees and networking opportunities, we’re also intrigued by the Fast Track sessions, hosted by company leaders at their headquarters — some of the most dynamic studios, startups, and centers of creativity in New York City. Who wants an #EmptyMet tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art with their Chief Digital Officer? Just one of many possibilities.
Skift Global Forum
Often referred to as the “Ted Talks of Travel,” the Skift Global Forum brings together the who’s-who in travel and beyond. This past year, we Twitter-stalked the two-day event to learn from, and be inspired by, travel’s leading innovators. We still haven’t gotten over our FOMO.
From the minds of Brain Traffic, Confab Intensive spans three days of in-depth content strategy workshops led by industry experts, and brings together professionals from a variety of disciplines, all of who recognize amazing content’s value. One of our favorite things about this conference is the interactive workshops, where attendees are able to put principles to the test through speaker-led, small-group activities. FINE’s own Allyson Marrs was lucky to attend Confab Intensive 2017. Read her (fab) top takeaways.
Design & Content Conference 2018
Designers and content strategists team up at the annual Design and Content Conference in Vancouver, Canada. Hear from industry leaders about crafting experiences and telling stories that shape the future of the web. It’s one (optional) day of workshops and two days of talks in one of British Columbia’s most beautiful cities. We attended in 2016 and would return again (not just for the poutine).
B2B Marketing Forum
MarketingProfs’ B2B Marketing Forum is more than just a quirky (not-so-little) conference. It’s the place where leaders, innovators, and people who make things happen gather to learn about the latest in B2B marketing and share the secrets to success. And from what can tell, there is nothing stiff about this conference — cue the creative networking and ensuing shenanigans. For the first time ever, the conference is heading to the West Coast. See you in the City by the Bay.
An Event Apart
Billing itself as “the leading web design/front-end conference for mobile/UX/product designers and developers,” An Event Apart (AEA) seeks to differentiate through more speakers, better venues, additional options, and deeper learning. It’s also organized by the incredible team behind the industry-renowned digital destination, A List Apart. Attendees don’t just learn about what’s hot at the moment, but also about new technologies coming fast around the corner., AEA provides both takeaways and techniques to achieve them in every session They have big things planned for 2018, offering additional venues, cities, and flexible conference formats.
Have you attended a conference in the past that you love? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll send you some FINE schwag in return. We’d love to hear from you.