But here is my answer, based on the following criteria:
~ You are a marketing professional or a business owner who wants to get a handle on how to connect with your prospects and customers through social media and/or content generation or curation. (In other words, you don't make your living just by blogging)
~ You want tangible, practical ideas you can implement when you get back to the office.
~ You want to meet some smart people who live in your world and know your challenges, pain and why you do what you do.
~ You want to hear examples of organizations your size/shape — not just Zappos and Dell.
~ You want to the leaders of the conference to be human, approachable and someone you can/will stay in contact with long after you get home.
If you nodded your head at each of those…. check out these conferences:
SOBCon: April 29-May 1 in Chicago
The speakers are excellent, the topics interesting but what makes this a must do conference is the structure. Lots of "workshop" like small group thinking. You will meet many small business owners and people in the trenches — and you will create new alliances that will serve you for years to come.
MarketingProfs B2B Forum: June 13-15 in Boston (sorry no link for event registration yet, but keep checking here)
These guys always do it right. An incredible array of approachable, knowledgeable speakers, plenty of practical how to stuff and the participants will be people you can steal plenty of ideas from — because they'll gladly share. Tons of resources/ideas will be shared here.
Content Marketing World: Sept 6-8 in Cleveland
From David Meerman Scott, my pal CK Kerley to Ann Handley – the speakers line up is staggering. Lots of B2B thinking here… as well as plenty for you B2C folks. Lots of case studies, and you're going to want to bring two people, just to cover the "how to" break out sessions.
You probably can't go to them all — but do your best to get to at least one. It will be one of the best marketing investments you make all year long.