On Friday, June 26, 2015 the Minnesota Search Engine Marketing Association, known popularly and fondly around the world as MnSearch, hosted its second annual one-day conference at the St. Paul RiverCentre, the 2015 MnSearch Summit. The local search contingent came out in force to listen to and learn from our industry leaders.
[ If you missed it, check out all the presentation at www.slideshare.net/mnsearch ]
The event was, without question, a rousing success, with more than 350 in attendance and (this author assumes) many hundreds of drink tickets redeemed for cold beer. There were also actionable, cutting edge insights from the aforementioned talismen and taliswomen (made up words) of search marketing.
In 2015, elite-level presenters and craft beer are extremely critical for digital marketing conferences, and it’s clear from the numbers and feedback that the Summit overachieved in both areas. So instead of looking at what happened on-stage, I want to talk about three less remarked-upon reasons why this event is truly a can’t-miss opportunity as you start looking toward 2016.
1. Excuse to Catch Up with a Great Community of Marketers
Minnesota has a vibrant, supportive and talented group of digital marketers working at top agencies in-house at some of Minnesota’s most well-known national and international companies, and as independent consultants, generating search visibility for local businesses. While our roles may be diverse, we’re still a pretty small pond up here in the North, and the MnSearch Summit always surfaces old coworkers who have moved on to new and exciting things.
“The great thing about the Summit is that everyone comes out,” said Jason Stinnett, a local PPC wizard and MnSearch presenter, “I got to meet a lot of friends of friends and reconnect with people I hadn’t caught up with in a while.”
Catching up with old colleagues in other industries may be tedious, awkward, and possibly dangerous, but for digital marketers in Minneapolis, it’s an important part of professional development and a great way to stay plugged in to what your peers are up to.
2. Direct Access to the Brightest Minds in a Face to Face Environment
This goes without saying, but search marketers are a different breed of cool. Sure, we may nerd out a little over the data layer and the fact that the hash column in the Screaming Frog report actually means something (h/t Ian Lurie), but we also know how to have a good time while talking about our craft.
One great thing about this event was the number of opportunities attendees had to talk not only to each other, but to the presenters as well. Not in a strictly formal context either; just casual shoptalk at the pre-Summit cocktail hour, the Summit itself, or in the aftermath Happy Hour at RiverCentre and the Post Summit Bash at the Liffey. Even without using our digital devices! Crazy right?!
Angie Schottmueller, one of the Summit’s distinguished presenters and a local digital marketing legend in her own right, posits that in order to show true thought leadership, you have to give away what you know. While logic and expense reports may look at me sideways for saying so, I think we can bend this statement to fit the facts: everyone who took the time to engage with our presenters at any of the events around the Summit was able to learn from them some of what makes them amazing enough to speak at events like this in the first place.
3. Networking Becomes Contagious
Personal anecdote time: For most of my adult life, there was nothing I loathed more than networking. I thought it was a silly concept; speaking to people you really didn’t want to speak to about things neither of you really cared to speak about. Then, I started going to MnSearch events, and realized a hard truth: I had simply been speaking to people in the wrong profession about the wrong profession. I liked talking to SEOs, which made networking…well, fun.
I got my start in digital marketing by attending MnSearch’s Search Snippet and marquee events; I met talented search marketers who liked to teach me stuff and drink with me, and I leveraged that network of really great people into a career. People that provided me with guidance on not only every aspect of search, but also on how to develop soft skills needed for dealing with clients and how to breathe when the corporate walls start to close in.
When It’s All Said and Done
The point here is that the 2015 MnSearch Summit was yet another opportunity to make new friends, meet up with old friends, and learn more about how successful people in the industry got where they are. That’s what the Summit experience is all about, and that’s why you should join MnSearch today, take advantage of attending the monthly events and start looking forward to the 2016 Summit!