Illuminate, Incubate, Inspire: 10 Not-to-Miss Marketing Conferences

The best 2018-2019 events for CMOs and marketers offer outstanding opportunities for networking and learning.
many people at conference

B2B marketing and branding is constantly evolving, and staying up-to-date on strategy, technology, culture, regulation, and more is critical. Most of us have busy professional and personal schedules, so this can be tough — intensive conferences are great way to cram a lot of learning into a short timeframe.

Additionally, events expose us to new voices and ideas from inside and outside our own industries. We’re firm believers that inspiration comes from both, so (budgets allowing) we recommend you attend generalist and industry-specific conferences to reap the benefits of wide and deep knowledge.

With opportunities for learning and networking in mind, we’ve curated a list of 10 not-to-miss B2B branding and marketing conferences to consider adding to your 2018-2019 schedule.

1. Leadership and Executive Communications Conference

September 13–14, 2018  Washington, D.C.
$945 insider
$1095 regular

Communication from the C-suite is vital for building internal consensus, inspiring employees, and creating market and investor confidence. At this Ragan and PRSA conference, you’ll learn how to use messaging, brand voice, and technology to craft an “executive” brand that resonates authentically with customers and employees alike. In our increasingly transparent world, executive communications training is not only a risk mitigator, it’s a strategic asset—and this one-day event is a great way to get started.

2. ABA Bank Marketing Conference

September 23–25, 2018 Baltimore, MD
$1,290 members
$1,990 non-members

This conference brings together a who’s who of community and regional bank marketers, with speakers from Umpqua, SunTrust, and Kasasa, as well as industry experts and guest speakers like former Under Armour brand head Steve Battista. In addition to its networking potential, we like this conference because it prioritizes real-life, mission-critical issues with sessions such as “Transitioning Customers from the Branch,” “Brand Champions: Key to a Successful Merger,” and “How to Connect the Dots in Your Digital Marketing Strategy.”

3. Gartner Sales & Marketing Conference

October 9–11, 2018 San Diego, CA
$3,175 standard

Formerly the CEB Sales & Marketing Conference, this event features experts from the newly combined, world-leading advisory firm. The conference will be a rich resource for companies trying to create a corporate culture that values and encourages a fruitful alignment between sales and marketing, between technology and content creators. By leveraging CEB’s HR and talent development, Gartner is now able to provide pointed advice on not only marketing and sales software and strategies, but also on attracting and enriching the employees that deploy them. Guest keynote speaker Jennifer Aaker’s address on brand storytelling also promises to be a highlight.

4.  Forrester B2B Marketing & Sales: “Winning the Modern B2B Buyer”

October 25–26, 2018 Austin, TX
$2,350 clients
$2,550 non-clients

Forrester is a business intelligence leader that champions the B2B customer experience—a strategic focus that we at DeSantis Breindel share. We were wowed by a recent collaboration with Forrester at Huddle, our collaborative CMO conference, so we’re looking forward to the jam-packed schedule the organization has put together for its summit in Austin. The program is built around issues that our clients are increasingly facing: nuances of the B2B customer journey, balancing sales and marketing, incorporating Martech, and building consensus. Its speaker roster leans heavily on Forrester’s in-house talent, but also includes leaders from 3M, Transunion, People First Productivity Solutions, and FPX.

5.  Best Practices for Communicators in Highly Regulated Industries

November 8–9, 2018 New York, NY
$1445 insider
$1595 general

Held at ConEd headquarters and sponsored by Ragan, this conference tackles head-on the challenge of creating compelling communications when what you can say is restricted. Strategists, media relations, and digital marketing experts from industries such as oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, and utilities, the event provides a rare forum in which marketers can learn how to communicate authentically while staying compliant, sharing issues and strategies with peers from other closely-monitored industries. Sessions include “Bridging the digital gap between executives and the public,” “Working with your legal team,” and “Using video to tell powerful stories about your brand.”

6. MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum

November 13–15, 2018 San Francisco, CA
$2,395 PRO members
$2,595 regular

This intimate conference promises to be fun. A hands-on environment, it features a full day of workshops on topics ranging from content strategy to sales and marketing alignment, as well as numerous (and quirky) networking events. This conference is great for tactile, collaborative learners from all marketing specialties, offering uncommon access to speakers and session leaders, who include marketing leaders from Google, LinkedIn, and IBM Watson, as well as many agency experts.

7. Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference

April 8­–10, 2019 Atlanta, GA
$1,295 members
$1,795 non-members

LMA is the largest legal marketing and business development conference, with more than 1,500 attendees. To help you navigate its wealth of options, it has developed an agenda built around the organization’s six pillars of knowledge: biz dev, business of law, client services, communications, marketing management and leadership, and technology management. At a time when The American Lawyer is warning that differentiated messaging is more important for mid-sized firms than ever, this is a must-attend event for legal services marketers.

8. Sirius Decisions Summit

May 6–8, 2019 Austin, TX
$2,145 clients
$2,195 non-clients

Sirius recently streamlined its B2B marketing summit to be more efficient and useful for attendees, with more focused and guided programming over fewer days. You can choose the track that fits your role best: sales, marketing, or product. Because Sirius Decisions is the creator of the “Demand Waterfall” model, this conference Is particularly useful to those who want to develop more intelligent and tech-driven biz dev, lead gen, and CRM capabilities. Although 2019’s program is yet to be released, past years suggest that experts will cover topics such as the “branding and communications stack,” agile marketing project management, and joint partner planning. An added bonus—expect a big-name musical guest!

9. Client Experience in Professional Services (CXPS)

May 20–22, 2019 Durham, NC
$995

CXPS is a newer conference, but it’s addressing a vital need. Professional services have long left the customer experience up to individual associates, but there is rising acknowledgment that a consistent experience should be encouraged by leadership. At CXPS, marketing and biz dev professionals, along with CX experts, meet to help spread and set best practices. This conference is unique in its focus on mid-sized professional services firms — last year’s attendees included law firms, engineering firms, accounting firms, and more. Proposed topics for next year include the role of governance, the link between employee experience and customer experience, and the integration of brand values into service delivery.

10. ANA Masters of B2B Marketing

May 29–31, 2019 Chicago, IL
Pricing TBA

You don’t need us to tell you that the ANA Masters of Marketing conference is a premier event, but did you know it has an exclusively B2B counterpart? To be held in 2019 in the Windy City, this conferences promises to feature B2B marketing luminaries; recent years’ speakers include executive marketers from Xerox, Stanley Black and Decker, BNY Mellon, Accenture, and Cushman and Wakefield. This is a great opportunity for blue-chip education and networking that is more directly applicable to the B2B market than the more consumer and retail focused Masters of Marketing conference.

Do you know of any conferences we’ve missed? Let us know! We’re always looking for new resources for ourselves and our clients.

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