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Upcoming conferences and reasons to attend them…

It definitely has not been an easy year for various conference organizers. I know of many marketing events (including some I had been invited to speak at), that had to be canceled this year for the first time due to low registration rates. The reason of course, being a direct result of the current economic state. From what I hear, it’s not so much the price of these events, but rather the fact that potential registrants are having to cut back from attending two or three events a year, to attending one, if any at all.

Many organizations naturally think of marketing as the first organizational function to cut back on in terms of budget. This is just fundamentally wrong. While my opinion may be slightly biased, I’m sure most people would agree with me if they understood what I mean by “marketing” in it’s purest form:

“Marketing is a process and set of tools wrapped in a philosophy for helping an organization do what it wants to do.”

If you cut back on this “process” of thinking, you’re subsequently cutting back on finding ways to be as efficient and effective as possible in reaching your organizations goals. Attending relevant conferences and events is absolutely crucial since it forces individuals to talk and meet face-to-face. A simple informal chat with one person over lunch may save you from re-inventing the wheel all year back in your office. That being said, I do agree that the conferences you attend should be chosen wisely. This brings me to the point of this post,which is to introduce you to two very “niche” conferences coming up that may be of interest to some of you.

MARCOM 2009 [Disclosure: Our company is a major sponsor of this event, and proud of it!]


When & where: June 3-4, 2009 at the Pearson Convention Center in Brampton, Ontario (close to Pearson Airport)

Twitter hashtag: #marcom2009

Official description: “Now in its 11th year, MARCOM is a national conference that tackles key marketing issues and challenges facing the public and not-for-profit sectors. This two-day conference provides a once-a-year opportunity to learn, share best practices and network with like-minded colleagues from across Canada who understand the importance of marketing in achieving organizational objectives. The event features an impressive line-up of experts who will bring you up to date on the latest trends and best practices in the areas of strategic marketing planning, branding, marketing communications, revenue generation, social marketing ,social media engagement, and much more!”

Unique selling proposition: The only marketing conference in Canada dedicated solely to the public and non-profit sectors.

Personal note: Don’t let the name fool you, this conference is geared at marketing or communications folk, not just “marcom/promotion” people. What I feel really differentiates it is the focus on strategic thinking as opposed to the fluffy stuff. If you take a look at the speaker line-up for this year, you’ll see what I mean. Personally, I’m really looking forward to hearing Arlene Dickinson (from The Dragon’s Den) and Rahaf Harfoush (from Barack Obama’s New Media Team) speak within the context of this year’s conference theme: “Engage: Communicate, Collaborate, Captivate”. I will be presenting “Modern Market Research: Learn how to leverage free social media tools to make your job a breeze!” along with Nick Charney , one of my favourite “government-insider” bloggers over at CPS Renewal.  Additionally , I will be conducting a full-day pre-conference beginner workshop entitled “Social Media Marketing 101” for all the newbies. I guess the bottom line is that every single person working in a marketing (or communications) position for government or for a non-profit in Canada should be at this conference. Why? It’s the only one dedicated solely to you!

Special Discounts: I have been provided with the opportunity to offer my blog readers $50.00 off registration to either one of the three pre-conference workshops or regular conference registration or $100.00 off the combined 3-day fee for the entire conference. If you’re interested, just mention my name during phone registration or email me and I will send you the special promo code for online registration.

American Learning Insitute-Social Media for Government

When & Where: May 11-14, 2009 at the Delta Hotel in Ottawa, Ontario

Twitter hashtag: #aliconference

Official description: “Benchmark best practices, get practical advice, and learn how to leverage the power of social media in your government organization.”

Unique Selling Proposition: At this point in time, this is the only conference dedicated specifically to government and social media.

Personal note: While I never had a chance to attend the last few ALI conferences that took place in Ottawa, I’m looking forward to this one quite a bit given the rise in social media pioneers within government this year (have a look at the Government 2.0 Examples Wiki). Among others, departments that will be participating include:

1.  Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
2.  National Aboriginal Health Organization
3.  City of Ottawa, Ontario
4.  Agriculture and Agri-food Canada
5.  Public Safety Canada

I will be speaking with Theresa Woolridge from Public Safety Canada about how we strategically approached social media within PSC and weaved focused tactics into the Get Prepared initiative. The bottom line for this conference is that you should consider attending if you’re looking for a very specific, intimate discussion on social media with government folk here in Ottawa.

Special Discounts: If you mention my name, you will receive 50% of the entire registration fee.

Wow, this post got a tad long suddenly. I will leave you with this: If one of these conferences has content that appeals to you, make the effort to go, it will be well worth it. And by all means, let me know if you’re going so that we can meet up!

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  1. Andrea Matyas

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for this information. And thanks to the discount that comes with citing your name, I registered for the ALI conference. I look forward to seeing you there!


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