by SMX Program Chair and Search Engine Land founding editor Danny Sullivan
No one has been programming internet marketing conferences longer than the Search Marketing Expo content team. No one. Our people created the world’s first major search marketing conference and expo in 1999, and we’ve overseen over 50 conferences since.
Quality programming is the number one concern of this experienced team.
Here’s what you get from our events…
No Sales Pitches
Just as a newspaper or magazine has editorial content, produced by independent writers, SMX has editorial sessions where those who are speaking are selected based on the knowledge and experience they provide to conference attendees.
We do think sponsors and partners have valuable information for our attendees, of course. That’s why we’re proud of our expo halls. At some SMX events we even offer a sprinkling of sessions that are clearly marked "SPONSORED," so you’ll know who is backing them.
SMX also doesn’t offer its own software tools or search marketing services. So when you come to one of our conferences, you can be assured there’s no hidden agenda to push a particular product or service.
Search marketing is not an exact science. That’s why many of our panels feature multiple speakers, so that attendees get a variety of opinions. It’s also why we offer extensive Q&A and discussion periods as part of most sessions, so that the audience can help drive forward exploration of particular views.
To create our panels, we directly invite knowledgeable expert speakers as well as invite the search marketing community as a whole to make speaking pitches. Reviewing pitches is an extra worthwhile step that allows us to find newcomers or fresh voices with great content that might otherwise be missed.
It’s All Choreographed
SMX doesn’t just invite speakers to a panel and leave to chance what happens next. Each session is carefully prepped by a session coordinator. That coordinator reviews a range of potential speakers and selects a panel based on the most compelling presentations. The coordinator then works to ensure each speaker has an agreed amount of time to talk and that the presentations are complementary, rather than overlapping. The result: panels and sessions that deliver on the promises in our agendas and that just seem to magically flow together for attendees. We also use separate Q&A moderators to compile questions from the audience and group the most common ones together, to ensure priority is given to key issues.
An Enjoyable Experience
Conferences are more than just sitting in a room and watching PowerPoint presentations. At SMX, we believe the surrounding experience to presentations is a key part of the show. Among other things, this means:
- We don’t do box lunches.
- We offer conference bags you’ll want to use again and again.
- We ensure there’s internet connectivity for attendees.
- We carefully plan networking events, to ensure this important aspect of coming to a live conference isn’t left to chance.
Search Conferences Driven By Attendees
Like many conferences, SMX has an advisory board. But unlike many conferences, anyone can belong. It’s you. It’s anyone who has ever attended one of our shows. Whether you provide feedback to using our formal evaluation forms, send us email or just talk to us at the show, we take your advice and use it to constantly reshape and improve our events going forward. So congrats! If you’ve been to an SMX show and provided some feedback, feel free to link to this page and name yourself as a member of the SMX advisory board.