2020 was an…interesting year for B2B marketing conferences (and conferences in general). Most were already well into the planning and organizing phase of a live conference when they were thrown the COVID curveball and forced to go virtual.
This year, everyone is a little more prepared, and many conferences have already announced they’ll be going virtual — which is a great opportunity for you and your team since virtual conferences are far more accessible! A few are also planning in-person conferences during the second half of the year.
So which ones should you attend? Here’s a rundown of some of the best B2B marketing conferences around to help you narrow down your options.
HubSpot’s INBOUND is one of the biggest (over 24,000 attendees!) and most well-known marketing conferences out there, and for good reason! With over 250 speakers and everything from happy hours to ice sculptures, INBOUND never fails to impress. But all that pomp comes with a price tag, with a full-access pass selling for almost $2K. And while the live conferences are well worth the money, it’s just not accessible for everyone.
Luckily enough for the rest of us, INBOUND has gone digital again this year, meaning you can get an all-access pass for only $49. No ice sculptures included, but you’ll still have the chance to hear from over 250 speakers, who are bound to be pretty cool. Last year’s speakers included:
- Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, co-founders of HubSpot
- Alicia Garza, principal of Black Future’s Lab
- Sasan Goodarzi, CEO of Intuit
- Jim McKelvey, co-founder of Square
- John Legend?!?
You can expect similar speakers, B2B experts, philanthropists and activists, authors, and even comedians for 2021, too. And while not every speaker will be B2B focused, they’ll have plenty to teach us about storytelling, connecting with clients, generating brand love, and making activism a core part of your brand.
If you’re looking for B2B marketing conferences that are just as awesome but a little more focused on generating leads, LeadsCon is the perfect blend of both. Leads are essential to every B2B’s growth, and nearly 5,000 marketers look to LeadsCon for the latest insights on lead generation every year. They haven’t announced their speakers yet, but the date is set for April 14–16 of this year.
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Digital Summit is a series of events that happen throughout the year that cover a variety of marketing topics. In-person events are on hold until June, but until then, they’re hosting a handful of virtual events, including a B2B marketing event in May.
Then in June, in-person events will (hopefully) resume across the country from Raleigh, North Carolina, to Portland, Oregon and plenty of cities in between. You can catch our very own Tom Shapiro, CEO of Stratabeat, when he speaks at both the February summit on content and the May summit on B2B marketing.
Content Marketing World
If you’re climbing the walls and desperate for some in-person B2B marketing conferences and events after a year of quarantine, Content Marketing World is also planning a live B2B marketing conference in September. Last year, guests heard from people like…
- Christine Carter, author and global marketing strategist
- Joe Pulizzi, founder emeritus of Content Marketing Institute
- Matthew Rayback, creative director at Adobe
- Luvvie Ajayi Jones, bestselling author and podcaster
…and over 200 other content experts. The speakers for this year have yet to be announced, but the conference will be held in Cleveland, Ohio, so get your tickets and start watching for the best flight deals!
ANA Masters of B2B Marketing Conference
Another in-person conference happening later this year is the Association of National Advertisers’ Masters of Marketing Conference. This conference is designed to help you connect with industry leaders and get their insights specifically on B2B developments like ABM, B2H (business-to-human marketing), and more. The conference is being held in Orlando, Florida, so you may want to extend your trip a little and soak in some of that 80-degree October sunshine while you’re there.
B2B Summit North America
Forrester recently confirmed the dates for their 16th annual B2B Summit: May 3–6. This online event will cover these key initiatives:
- How to select the right marketing technology for your company
- Creating successful, audience-centric marketing campaigns
- Aligning your revenue operations with your organizational structure
- Transforming pipeline conversion and growth with data
Keep an eye out for the full agenda, which will be published by the end of January 2021.
MarketingProfs B2B Forum
Every year, MarketingProfs works with bright minds in B2B marketing to develop a conference that covers the most essential B2B marketing tactics and strategies. With over 40 sessions to attend and an intentional Q&A format, this year’s online experience has been built to help you connect with the speakers and avoid screen fatigue. Plus, your ticket also gets you a year-long PRO subscription with VIP access to all of MarketingProfs’ training resources.
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The MarTech Summit
This year’s virtual MarTech Summit will be held February 24–26. And they saved the best for last, because the third day is completely devoted to B2B. These are the topics being covered:
- Customer / User Journey
- Content Marketing
- Account Based Marketing
- Emerging MarTech Platforms
- Personalisation & Customer Centricity
- CDP in a Cookieless World
- Optimizing for Digital
- People, Technology & Processes
- Sales & Marketing Alignment
ABM Innovation Summit
Traditionally in-person B2B marketing conferences held later in 2020 lucked out and were able to have at least a few months to plan a virtual conference. The ABM Innovation Summit, however, was supposed to be held in March 2020, when, well…everything started going downhill. They unfortunately had to cancel, but they announced they will be hosting a virtual summit in 2021, which is great, considering how valuable ABM has become to B2Bs.
Dates have not yet been announced for the 2021 ABM Innovation Summit, but they’ve promised to keep potential attendees up to date as more information becomes available.
Like the ABM Innovation Summit, TOPO also had to cancel and reschedule their yearly summit to April 2021. Currently, the plan is to hold the conference in person in San Francisco. We’d suggest keeping an eye for any updates on whether they’ll go virtual since it’s so early in the year.
TOPO Summit is unique in that it largely focuses on revenue — driving it, scaling it, and more. If they’re able to do an in-person event, the conference will offer the opportunity to connect with over 2,000 sales and marketing practitioners and gain insights from people like:
- Jen Pockell Dimas, CMO at Gigster
- Britney Bartlett, senior director of the demand response team at Cisco
- Nikki Curtis, head of sales enablement at Slack
- Anamika Gupta, director and head of ABM at Fujitsu
And many more!
In 2019, more than 170,000 people descended upon San Francisco to attend Dreamforce, which is a testament to just how valuable Salesforce’s conference is. They were forced to go virtual in 2020, and it’s yet unclear if they’ll be able to host an in-person event. COO Bret Taylor is hopeful, but dates have not been set. Until then, you can watch some highlights from 2020’s conference.
Many of these B2B marketing conferences cover a wide range of topics, but some, like B2B Online, zero in on a very specific niche. For B2B Online, that niche is manufacturing and distribution. Attendees will learn actionable strategies to maximize profit, the latest digital trends, and how to differentiate yourself and increase revenue. They pride themselves on not being stuffy and have built in over 30 hours of networking activities so you can meet and mingle with other attendees. Dates for 2021 have yet to be announced, so keep an eye on their website for updates.
Gartner Marketing Symposium
Want to master your marketing leadership? Create a world-class strategy? Hear from the CMOs and marketing executives of B2B and B2C brands at the Gartner Marketing Symposium. They haven’t announced their speakers just yet, but if it’s anything like 2020’s conference, it’s bound to be a hit. Dates are set for August 17–19 and you can tune in from the safety and comfort of your own home.