Have you attended conferences where the content isn’t very good, the speakers seem to be holding back their best stuff, you don’t walk away having learned much, and you wonder why you wasted your time? I certainly have. But this past week does not get added to my dark mental list of such events. This past week, by contrast, I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at Conversion Conference in New York City, and it was a refreshing change in many ways.
After an opening keynote Wednesday morning by conference chair (and ubiquitous event photog) Tim Ash, the agenda split off into two side-by-side tracks, but they were consistently both interesting topics, making it tough to choose between each. As Tim quipped during his intro, “You’re screwed. This agenda is packed.” But it’s a welcome dilemma compared to conferences where hours lapse by with nothing of particular interest, leading attendees to wander off away from the event.
Presenters like Lance Loveday, Charles Nicholls, Larry Marine, and Steve Krug kicked some serious ass (well, I witnessed the ass-kicking content first-hand with everyone but Steve — I missed his closing keynote because I had to catch my flight). In fact, all of the sessions I attended — truly ALL of them — delivered solidly on their premises, with speakers consistently showing diagrams and tools that were clearly hard-won lessons and valuable assets. I’m not one to take a lot of notes during sessions — I’d rather simply listen, or tweet a comment if it seems particularly insightful — but if you judge by how much I tweeted during a variety of sessions, you can tell that the content was striking to me.
But let’s get to the really important stuff: what’s a conference without a solid after-party scene? This event is no disappointment. Starting with a networking mixer in the exhibit hall, moving to a swank after-party with free-flowing booze, high-energy music, belly dancers, and a magician, and dissolving into after-after-party antics of various kinds, this group of marketers kept the party going late into the night.
During Tim’s welcome address, he mentioned that Conversion Conference will be coming to some new locations next year (including Chicago, my hometown!), so from almost anywhere you are, there will be a reasonably convenient location, or at least an affordable flight. If your job is to use data and good sense to increase your site’s conversion rate, well, then I look forward to partying with you at the next one.