As a young university graduate I faced the same dilemma youth everywhere face, what do you want to do when you grow up. Destiny often plays a significant role, and it did in my case. I soon found myself working on an indexing and retrieval system, what today would be referred to as an enterprise search system, for a museum in California. Part of my responsibilities included presales support which introduced me to the world of professional conferences. In just a day or two at the best conferences, industry leaders and novices shared ideas, experiences and contacts through formal presentations and informal chats. Imbued with new insights and enthusiasm, I would return to work having reaffirmed my existing practices or determined to implement better ones.
SMX, my first time
It was with this perspective that I first made my way to San Jose in 2009 to attend the SMX digital marketing conference series. I had high expectations. Danny Sullivan had organized his first search marketing conference 10 years earlier. I also knew that Danny had the industry knowledge and contacts to lineup great speakers. What I didn’t know was that the SMX team places a lot of store in ensuring an excellent conference experience, from the quality of the food to the number of networking opportunities. Now that isn’t to say everything is always perfect: veteran event organizers will know there are inevitably a few things which present particular challenges to organizers, with the climate control systems and wi-fi access leading the list.
Why not Italy too?
My SMX experience was so positive, I returned in each of the successive years, now as a speaker. I also discussed the idea of bringing SMX to Italy, one of Europe’s largest markets. That dream is now becoming a reality thanks to a partnership between Third Door Media, the company behind SMX (as well as the Search Engine Land and Marketing Land digital marketing news sites), and Business International, Italy’s leading professional events organizer. SMX Milan will take place on November 7 and 8, 2013. The Milan edition will focus on both Search Engine and Social Media Marketing. Each day will offer a rich selection of sessions pertinent to marketing and communications professionals. Conference speakers will represent the most authoritative industry practitioners in Italy and internationally.
Yet another Internet related conference?
Practicing and aspiring digital marketing professionals will know that Italy already hosts various Internet related events. Some are focused on digital advertising, some on the social enterprise, some on tourism. Without doubt, each has a role in expanding digital culture. In my view, SMX distinguishes itself from other related conferences in many ways, including:
- SMX speakers are selected exclusively based on their ability to share actionable knowledge and insights with their audience. Sponsors and exhibitors do not influence speaker selection
- parallel sessions on search and social media marketing ensure there is something of interest to those who are just getting started and for practitioners with years of experience
- networking opportunities provide access to leading international experts and peers facing similar marketing challenges, all at one site
- organizers pay special attention to a multitude of small details which contribute to the quality of the overall conference experience
With a simultaneous translation service between English and Italian, SMX Milan promises to be a truly international experience for exploring the latest ideas and techniques in digital communication.
Want to attend SMX Milan?
You’ll find information about procuring tickets on the SMX Milan website.
Do you have an idea for a SMX Milan session topic and/or do you want to speak at SMX Milan?
Third Door Media has asked me to assist them as Conference Chairman. SMX programming and speaker selection takes place in a two step process which will happen this summer. First we’ll call for session suggestions. This is your chance to suggest a topic you’re interested in for the conference agenda. You can also suggest speakers for the topic – but with few exceptions, speakers are not chosen at this point. Once the conference agenda is posted, we ask people to pitch to speak on specific panels aligned with their knowledge and experience. Follow the SMX Blog and the SMX social media channels for further updates on our calls for sessions and speakers. I’ll also post here and you can also follow me on twitter or Google+.
Want to exhibit at SMX or become an SMX sponsor?
I’m very pleased SMX is coming to Milan; I hope to see you in November!
- SMX Milan 2013: Thank You!
- SMX Milan 2013: It’s time to give us your best pitch!
- SMX Milan 2014: It’s time to give us your best pitch!
- SMX West 2009: Do you know the way to San José?
- The human dimension of Search Marketing