PPC Chat Streamcap – Attending PPC Conferences

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) came up with yet another great question set titled “Attending PPC Conferences.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: From an agency perspective, do you believe conferences are worth the cost? Why or why not?

  • 100% yes! Good networking, ideas, improvements, potential new biz. Pays for itself. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
  • I believe so, helps to stimulate new ideas and keeps PPC analysts/managers on the bleeding edge plus great networking. – Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)
  • Yes! Networking and bouncing ideas off of others is invaluable. Geeking out breeds new strategy! – Heather Cooan (@HeatherCooan)
  • Yes. But…If you attend and don’t talk to people than you’re missing out of 75% of the whole conference! – Mark Jensen (@Just_Markus)
  • Yes, @SEERInteractive sends lots of us to conferences as they’re good networking, speaking and learning opportunities. – Harris Neifield (@HarrisNeifield)
  • Depends on if they actually listen or spend half the sessions checking work email! – Elizabeth Marsten (@ebkendo)
  • Conferences are worth the investment, but there is a limit to how many and how far (lodging, travel, costs, etc). – John W. Ellis (@JohnWEllis)
  • Totally! I came away with sooo many great ideas that have made impacts on my accounts after last year’s. – Amanda West-Bookwltr (@Amanda_WestBook)
  • It depends on who you send and what the agency agenda is. You can treat it like a vacation or a classroom. Actionables = value. – Robert Boyd (@robboyd_jr)
  • Depends on content level (value) & cost/#of days (registration, foor, travel, hotel). Multi-day that you fly into have dif. value than local 1 day confs that you drive to. Quality of content is a big factor. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
  • Depends on your agenda. Education or finding leads. Both have been fruitful for us. – John Lee (@John_A_Lee)

Q2: What are some ways networking has helped you better hone your PPC skills and/or helped your career movement?

  • Had a beer with @Realicity and@glasner at #heroconf – the conversation we had changed some of my thinking. – Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
    • I agree with Matt. The conversations and presentations help form and define how I vie wsome PPC tactics.
  • I love to hear about others strategies and to pick brains on things I struggle with in my accounts. – Heather Cooan
  • My last 2 jobs came as a result of conference networking. It’s invaluable. – Melissa Mackey
  • Creates a massive community to bounce ideas off & help when issues arise. Clients get 200 experts, not just me! – Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)
  • PPCchat Breakfast at Pubcon lead to some really interesting ideas. – Mark Jensen
  • Networking has led to many great conversations -understanding how others approach clients, account mgmt, agency mgmt – all good. – John Lee
  • Networking got me my first job after college. I had a SEO college internship. A guy I worked for thought I’d be great at PPC too. – Harris Neifield
  • Not sure if this counts as networking but we couldn’t get a @BingAdsdedicated rep until I met a bunch in a booth at SMx. – Neil Sorenson (@iNeils)
  • Networking with peers can help cool some of the internet marketing hubris that tends to creep up in too much isolation. – Mark Jensen
  • To some extent, my career path has been based on who I know in the industry. So, yes, important. – John Lee
  • Conferences & networking (not mutually exclusive) are the reason I have the job I have today. On skill and relationship levels. – Michelle Morgan (@michellemsem)
  • Talking to people with clients similar to my trouble accounts is great. Bouncing ideas off each other can lead to solutions! – Amanda West-Bookwltr
  • There are folks I will ask specific questions and I field questions from folks I’ve networked with. Sharing knowledge is a win. – Robert Boyd
  • It’s funny – I hated going to conferences until I got into PPC. Passion for the field makes a diff in networking. – Melissa Mackey
    • Agreed!! One of my favorite parts of networking & conferences is getting to indulge in what I love w/ colleagues. – Cassie Allinger (@CassieAllinger)
  • Being able to “nerd out” in PPC really helps clear out some of the cobwebs in the head. – Elizabeth Marsten
  • Great to just talk to people who know what I actually do for a living and can share things. Like a live version of PPCChat. – Mark Kennedy (@markkennedysem)
  • Conferences, Tweetups or even Alumni/Special Interests can make a difference in your ST or LT career options. – Brian Gaspar (@BGaspar)
  • Conference networking leading to following ppc pros is really how i learned most of what I know. – Kiko Correa (@obiwankikobi)
  • It makes you realize how big and small this biz is. I definitely tune in more to tweeps I’ve met IRL. – Lisa Sanner (@LisaSanner)

Q3: If you aren’t speaking, how do you prepare for conferences?

  • Fully charged laptop/ipad/phone. – Neil Sorenson
  • I research speakers and topics to make sure I get the most out of each session. – Amanda West-Bookwltr
  • 1. Look find the session content I want. 2. Fill in blanks by going to sessions with speakers I want to see. 3. Pack business cards. – Michelle Morgan
  • I do a little Twitter stalking to find people I want to chat with and seek them out. – Heather Cooan
  • If there are certain issues you are facing, you can make it a goal to try and seek help or solution at the conference. – Mark Kennedy
  • Clear your plate, let clients know you’ll be out of commission not working (unless fires) & learning for THEIR benefit. – Lisa Sanner
  • I make a Twitter list of speakers & people I know are attending so that I can engage w/ them online before in person. – Cassie Allinger
  • Know who’s going to be there and prioritize. You can’t see/talk to everyone, so set a list of must do’s. – Aaron Levy
  • Scope out the sessions, the speakers, and check for any FB groups or extra networking opportunities. – Kiko Correa
  • Charge the laptop & ipad for endless tweeting. And as Michelle said, pack the business cards.
  • The last conference I attended, the first thing I did was ask PPCChat who else was going. – Robert Boyd
  • Hit up #ppcchat to see who’s going and make plans to meet up. Always nice to put a personality to the twitter handle. – Michelle Morgan

Q4: We all know that #heroconf is awesome, but what other conferences offer great PPC sessions?

  • I have been to a few at SES and always seen some great content. – Justin Freid (@Justin_Freid)
  • A couple years ago I would have said PubCon. But this year there were only 1 or 2 sessions I would have been interested in. – Michelle Morgan
  • I’d like to know what 1 conf people would rec of I can afford only 1?
    • HeroConf no question. – Michelle Morgan
  • My first ever was SES NY quite a few years ago. I like that one. And I like @bgtheory seminars as well. – Mark Kennedy
  • SMX Advanced has great advanced PPC sessions; I usually find a few good ones at SES also. – Melissa Mackey
  • Seems that SES, SMX and Pubcon have strong PPC tracks. Still seem to take lower priority to SEO & Mobile topics. – John Lee
  • What makes #heroconf great is that it’s all PPC. Will there be other conferences that are the same way? – Brian Gaspar
  • Disclosure: I am speaking at SES Chicago next month. – Melissa Mackey
  • SMX Advanced usually has a PPC track. Some have been really great while others not so great. Good 2nd option to HeroConf. – James Svoboda
  • Depends on priorities. Networking/learning, def#heroconf, but for lead gen/business ops, prob SMX. – Aaron Levy
  •  I base it entirely off who’s speaking. You know it’ll be good if you can find @bgtheory @JoeKerschbaum @Mel66 @JoannaLord. – Elizabeth Marsten
  • Maybe I’m a cynic, but IMHO the networking is often more informative than the sessions. – John Lee
    • I agree. – Matt Umbro
    • We often view & value things through our own past experiences & this shapes our opinion of current and future things. – James Svoboda
  • I’m looking for a good conference for Display (DSPs, DMPs, testing, segments, etc.) If anyone has suggestions, please let me know. – Lisa Sanner
  • Many times I choose sessions based on the speaker more so than the content. Learned some great things that way. – Michelle Morgan

Q5: Aside from networking, do you believe there is enough justification of cost for a senior PPC specialist to attend conferences?

  • Most “seniors” that I know are to the point where if they are attending, they should be speaking. – John Lee
  • As an in-houser I absolutely think the costs are justified. Take 1 good idea away, implement it, save my company money. Win! – Neil Sorenson
  • Assuming that the majority of value comes from networking, rather than the presentations, then yes! – Cassie Allinger
  • It is tough to justify, if you are senior, you should be speaking or bringing back new clients. – Justin Freid
  • Depends if that person is likely to generate meaningful new business leads from the conference. – Harris Neifield
  • So, you have to balance the cost w/ overall value (are a few nuggets of info worth it? or should they do more?). – John Lee
  • You can’t exclude networking from that question. 😉 Then it becomes an un-answerable question, but I will go with “yes." – John Ellis
  • I think if someone thinks they are too “senior” to attend, they should DEFINITELY attend. No one knows it all! – Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
  • If that Sr is speaking based on experience. Entry Level & Jr’s it’s a good place to learn more & connect with others. – Brian Gaspar
  • More learning value for junior overall no doubt. And truthfully, most of the content will be online not long after. But even a senior should go once or twice just for the networking value and they can share advanced ideas. – Mark Kennedy
  • If you want to keep that senior person, yes. Otherwise they’ll go work somewhere else that will send them. – Elizabeth Marsten
  • There is value in Srs going. They should be going to diff tracks than their specialty. Think attribution, channels, integration. – Lisa Sanner
  • Nice thing about PPC is that it has changed so much lately that any Senior postion will gain some new insights. – James Svoboda

Q6: If you could see only one speaker present, who would it be? Why?

  • Brad Geddes – James Svoboda
  • Matt Umbro – Brian Gaspar
  • My money is typically on@bgtheory. But @ebkendo and@JoeKerschbaum get kudos for HIGH entertainment to info % points. – John Lee
  • @bgtheory…he always talks in a different language and I get good ideas in the translation. – Heather Cooan
  • Specific: @bgtheory. But I’d also attend almost any @JoannaLordsession, regardless of topic. – Michelle Morgan
  • @MerryMorud is also a fav. Always try and catch her. – Elizabeth Marsten
  • The whole@aimclear team are dynamite speakers. – John Lee
  • Personally, I think@JoeKerschbaum makes the prettiest presentations & I like seeing@JoannaLord & @ebkendo + any new ideas. – Brad Geddes (@bgtheory)

Q7: What, if anything, are you expected to bring back to your company and present after a conference?

  • Reciepts. – James Svoboda
  • Actionable ideas. Anything that can improve performance for clients and our own initiatives. – Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
  • Action items and strategies to implement on accounts. – Michelle Morgan
  • New strategies, efficiency measures, success stories, and fixes for our points of struggle. – Heather Cooan
  • Knowledge and or new business leads. show that they got something for your trip. – Harris Neifield
  • New Beta offerings and how it can directly impact performance for your client(s). – Brian Gaspar
  • Actionable learning (what can we apply to accounts today), biz cards of new contacts / leads, feedback on conference quality. – John Lee
  • Blog post and preso ideas. – Heather Cooan
    • Exactly. How to continue the conversation. – John Lee
  • We share & walk through decks of the best presentations we attended in our weekly Lunch and Learns. Receipts too. – Lisa Sanner


More PPCChats

Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.


Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

• Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
• James Svoboda (@Realicity)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)
• Amanda West-Bookwltr (@Amanda_WestBook)
• Brad Geddes (@bgtheory)
• Brian Gaspar (@BGaspar)
• Cassie Allinger (@CassieAllinger)
• Elizabeth Marsten (@ebkendo)
• Harris Neifield (@HarrisNeifield)
• Heather Cooan (@HeatherCooan)
• John Lee (@John_A_Lee)
• John W. Ellis (@JohnWEllis)
• Justin Freid (@Justin_Freid)
• Kiko Correa (@obiwankikobi)
• Lisa Sanner (@LisaSanner)
• Mark Jensen (@Just_Markus)
• Mark Kennedy (@markkennedysem)
• Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
• Michelle Morgan (@michellemsem)
• Neil Sorenson (@iNeils)
• Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)
• Robert Boyd (@robboyd_jr)

Collected by the Streamcap Man

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; WebRanking SEM Manager in Minneapolis, Minnesota, #PPCChat Streamcap Grabber, SEO Blog Author. Connect with me @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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