Event Season is Here: 5 Best Events for B2B Marketers

If you’ll only attend one industry event this spring, choose wisely!


One of the most frequent questions clients ask me is which conferences I think are the best. By “best,” they mean the ones that truly deliver exclusive, actionable insights.

I’ve spoken at and attended many B2B conferences in my career, but there’s a short list of those that truly stand out! I published a list about a year ago, but since then the quality of quantity of B2B events has risen dramatically. Therefore, I thought I’d provide some insights to help guide your research and decision-making process for spring 2012. (In a few months, I’ll be sure to publish a list that covers fall 2012/winter 2013).

My recommendations below are in chronological order, starting in April 2012, but top two recommendations have been noted.**

Spring 2012

1. Forrester Marketing Leadership Conference:

April 18-20, 2012 (Los Angeles, CA)

I have yet to attend this event, but I am very impressed by Forrester’s contributions to B2B marketing insights and best practices. Please note that the event is not 100% focused on B2B, but there will be several B2B-specific sessions available (as well as a robust offering of other interesting and insightful sessions).

The speaker I am most looking forward to is Jeff Ernst, Principal Analyst at Forrester in his session titled “B2B Marketers Must Turn Social Media From An Awareness Tool To A Driver Of Demand.” Follow him on Twitter, @JeffErnst, if you’re not following him already. Jeff publishes on a variety of B2B relevant topics – including thought leadership, social media and content marketing.


2. **SiriusDecisions Summit:

May 22-24, 2012 (Scottsdale, AZ)

This is my #1 recommendation for any B2B marketer. The SiriusDecisions Summit combines strategy and consultation with real-life case studies from great companies, and promises that: “Delegates will leave knowing how to create systematic demand, increase sales productivity and drive revenue in a more predictable, integrated fashion..”

This conference has never let me down. (I’ve attended for the past, three years and will be attending again this year). Bonus: it’s in beautiful Arizona.

The summit is coming up, so take a look at the agenda now. 

Even if you’re reading this post after the 2012 conference, you’ll get a very good idea of what SiriusDecisions can offer B2B demand generation marketers year-round.

 If you attend one conference this spring – this should be it.

3. Business Marketing Association Conference:

May 30 – June 1, 2012 (Chicago, IL)

Themed GROW, this year’s BMA conference will zero in on what it takes to grow profitable, enduring and ever-deeper B2B customer relationships.

I will be moderating a panel at this year’s event titled: “Ignite the B2B Pipeline with Account Based Marketing.” During this session, an esteemed group of B2B marketers will be sharing their successes (and insights) for how to leverage an account-based marketing approach to engage customers and prospects in a way that’s truly relevant to them, their business challenges and their organization.

4.  **ITSMA’s Annual Marketing Leadership Forum:

June 12-13, 2012 (Napa, CA)

Marketing Transformation in 2012: Rethinking, Reskilling, and Reinventing the Organization.

This event is a great resource for research and insights relevant to B2B technology marketers. I attended both the Marketing Leadership Forum and ITSMA’s annual event in the fall last year and found both to offer a wonderful depth and breadth of content. There was a great combination of studies/data vs. real-world best practices, along with an extensive variety of speakers!

If you’re looking for an intimate setting, great research and deep insights (most appropriate for senior-level marketing professionals; must be at a director level or above to attend), then this is a MUST ATTEND event!

Julie Schwartz, Senior Vice President of Research & Thought Leadership at ITSMA is an amazing presenter – and is always a highlight of these events for me.

5. Marketing Sherpa B2B Summit:

August 27-30, 2012 (Orlando, FL)

This B2B event is a classic, and it has been a tried-and-true event for in-the-trenches marketers. I’m sure you know Sherpa for their benchmark data research, how-to guidance and case studies. The summit is similarly evidence-driven, and it delivers the kind of meaningful, practical ideas you can start employing right away.

I’ve spoken at this conference several times, and I always come away energized by the content, topics and take-aways.


I’d love to hear your thoughts on these events – or other upcoming B2B events that are “must attend”.

10 Responses to Event Season is Here: 5 Best Events for B2B Marketers

  1. Jill Rowley says:

    The NEW World-Class Commercial Organization – B2B
    October 22-24, 2012 (The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas)

    Corporate Executive Board Sales Leadership Roundtable &
    Corporate Executive Board Marketing Leadership Roundtable

    As customers evolve to become increasingly sophisticated buyers, Sales and Marketing teams are too often caught flat-footed. Traditional processes and capabilities are coming up short, and the common disconnect between Sales and Marketing is becoming a drag on performance. But some commercial teams are successfully re-inventing themselves. These progressive Sales and Marketing teams are re-engineering the commercial organization.

    This year’s conference will help Heads of Sales and Marketing improve their commercial strategies and tactics, and provide critical development for the next generation of Sales and Marketing leaders.

    Featured Sessions Include:

    A New Commercial Yardstick – hear how world class organizations and commercial teams are successfully re-inventing themselves

    Building a Commercial Insight Engine – learn how to develop the insights your customers’ value and hear from companies that have engineered insight into their commercial operations

    Supporting Sales Excellence Through Technology – hear how three companies have deployed technology to their field sales teams and how this has improved their effectiveness with customers.

    An Introduction to the Challenger Sale – learn how the Challenger Sale is critical for winning complex deals.


  2. Jill Rowley says:

    Eloqua’s Road to Revenue Tour Event is underway and is open to customers and non-customers. It’s FREE to attend.


    In the past, Eloqua’s half-day regional Success Tours provided scores of marketers the latest tips, topics and chances to learn and network with others to help them succeed. We’re excited to announce that in 2012 we’ve expanded our agenda to a full day to give you even more valuable information!

    Our Road to Revenue Tour is a forum for all marketers to learn the latest ideas and practices that can help you and your organization excel. And there’s something in it for Eloqua customers and non-customers alike!

    What can you expect at one of these events?

    You’ll hear from your peers: What’s working well for them, tips and tricks to save you time, and sometimes even a cautionary tale to help you avoid pitfalls

    You’ll discuss topics that matter to you: Our breakout sessions give you the chance to interact with a small group of like-minded people

    You’ll learn what Eloqua is up to: Get a preview of what’s new from Eloqua to help you succeed and drive revenue

    You’ll network and meet new people: Every event ends with a networking happy hour to give you the chance to meet new people, visit with familiar faces and get face-time with featured marketing gurus and visionaries

    Register Today – attending the Road to Revenue Tour is entirely free! Locations include Boston, Washington DC, Toronto, Denver, San Francisco, Chicago, Minneapolis, Austin, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Dallas, San Jose, Seattle and Philadelphia.


  3. Jill Rowley says:

    Eloqua Experience Europe
    16-17 May 2012 (The Cumberland Hotel in the UK)


    It’s you and hundreds of innovative marketers who will make Eloqua Experience Europe 2012 the can’t-miss event of the year! Take advantage of this opportunity to learn from your fellow Eloqua users, marketing industry thought leaders and Eloqua subject experts to help you drive even greater results in 2012.

    With three tracks – Imagine It, See It, Do It – every attendee will have the opportunity to customize their own time at Eloqua Experience Europe 2012 to best suit their current needs and level of experience. Visit our agenda page for more detailed information on what each track will entail.

    Access Best Practices from the Experts

    Get the answers you’ve been looking for on:

    Campaign Management
    Lead Management
    Contact and Data Management
    Marketing Effectiveness Measurement
    Marketing Best Practices and Product Education Workshops

    You asked for more “how-to” content, so we are presenting an entire day of training sessions to help you drive greater success.

    Follow us on Twitter

    Follow the discussion on Eloqua Experience Europe on Twitter with the #EE12EU hashtag.

    Engage in the Partner Network

    Strategic members of the Eloqua community will host a cocktail reception on 15 May 2012 at the Rhodes Patron Bar. Join them and your fellow Eloqua community for an evening of conversation and cocktails!


  4. Jill Rowley says:

    Eloqua Experience North America
    November 6-8, 2012 (Rosen Shingle Creek, Orlando FL)

    Details to Follow


  5. Fatima Lora says:

    B2B Content2Conversion Conference
    April 23-24, 2012 (The Times Center, NYC)


    In today’s buyer-empowered selling market, progressive B2B organizations have realized that the traditional approach to marketing products and services requires a ramp-up in value add and buyer insight.

    Content marketing is helping B2B companies better demonstrate their value proposition by demonstrating thought leadership and a strong understanding of prospective buyers’ needs, objectives and industry challenges.

    DemandGen Report is hosting an educational conference exclusively for the B2B marketers aspiring to navigate for the sea of content.

    Flying in the day before? Join us at Slate from 6pm to 9pm during the Content2Conversion Conference Reception and network with more than 50 marketers.

    • Jill Rowley says:

      Fatima – I’m certain Content2Conversion will be a great event. It’s scary how many marketing professionals don’t understand Content Marketing! Education is key.

  6. Jill Rowley says:

    Content Marketing World
    September 4 – 6, 2012 (Columbus, Ohio)

    Content Marketing World is the largest gathering of content marketing professionals in the world. The 2011 event brought together over 600 marketing professionals from 18 different countries.

    Attendees for the upcoming conference already include marketing professionals from Level 3, Google, SAS, IBM, Majestic Steel, Deloitte, UBM, Caterpillar, Cisco Systems, CME Group, University of Phoenix and hundreds of other leading small and large brands.

    An Amazing Lineup of Over 70 Content Marketing Experts including marketing professionals from Eloqua, SAP, Intel, Dell, Google, IBM, MasterControl, Kelly Services, University of Phoenix, Kraft, Ohio State University, Sybase, Ricoh and thought leaders including:
    Jay Baer – Author, The Now Revolution, C.C. Chapman – Author, Content Rules, Jenny Magic – Better Way to Say It, Ardath Albee – Marketing Interactions, and Chris Baggott – Compendium.


    CMI teaches marketers how to own their media channels instead of having to rent them through advertising. We do this through events like Content Marketing World, media properties like Chief Content Officer magazine, and strategic consulting and research for some of the best known brands in the world.


  7. Thank you Jill and Fatima for the additions. Loving this!

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