The Marketo Marketing Nation Summit is headed back to the city by the bay next week after a short detour in Las Vegas last year. San Francisco has a million things to offer, but optimizing your short time at the Summit requires some serious planning.

As a data-driven marketer, I ask myself how I am going to maximize my ROI. These three strategies deliver every time.

#1: Limit the Number of Sessions You Attend

I know this sounds a little crazy. You’re there to learn ALL THE THINGS. But with 100+ sessions to choose from, and only 12 available slots, you have to go in with laser focus. Ask yourself:

Do I want to learn all there is to learn about _________?

Pick your favorite poison, be it ABM, analytics, alignment, digital transformation, Marketo best practices, or (our favorite) content marketing, and take the deep dive. Sort the Marketo sessions by your topic of choice and sign up for as many as possible to cover it from all angles.

Do I want a general overview of what’s new and happening in the marketing world?

There are more sessions on each topic than you can possibly attend, so grab a session in each of the major thought leadership groups and make sure you don’t miss the major keynotes. Fortunately for you, there is a topic category called “Marketing Trends” in case you’re feeling overwhelmed. Grab 3-4 of those each day for the ultimate download of marketing know-how.

What’s my wildcard?

Sometimes, you don’t know what you want to know until you see it. Keep a slot or two open for a topic or speaker that you’ve never heard of. You never know where you might strike inspiration gold, so keep an open mind and flexible schedule for that session that just strikes your fancy at the last minute.

#2: Network Like It’s Your Job

Because it is.

As marketers, we are lucky to work in an industry where our colleagues LOVE to share. We’re writers, we’re thinkers, and we’re definitely big talkers, so take advantage of the Summit to find other marketers who share your vision, your pain points, your craziest ideas. There is hardly anything as satisfying as noodling over and geeking out on a marketing strategy over coffee (see below for my favorite spot!) with someone who really speaks your language.

Following up on strategy #1, when a session ends, don’t rush off to the next session! Walk up to the speaker and introduce yourself. If you’re building your referral strategy and looking to add some major thought leaders and influencers to your editorial calendar, a face-to-face introduction is too good of an opportunity to pass up.

But don’t sell your pitch! Just be cool. Introduce yourself, ask a thoughtful follow-up question, and give them your card. Tell them how awesome they are and that you’d love to sync up after the conference.

#3: Write!

I know, I know, this conference is your break from the daily writing grind, but how can you say no to so much amazing inspiration? Get energized about the sessions you attend by taking furious notes and jotting down major takeaways, blog ideas, strategy proposals, and taking photos of the presentation. Sure, they’ll send you the slide deck after the conference, but will you really remember anything after four days and a dozen sessions plus keynotes?

Again, in line with strategy #1, I love to take an hour or so after each session to write out a quick blog post or at least an outline. This really helps me solidify what I learned into some actionable items. Plus, live blogging and socializing the event is a really fun way to drive traffic that may have otherwise been unfamiliar with your content.

My Itinerary for Marketo Summit 2017

And with that, here’s my plan so far for maximizing the Marketo Marketing Nation Summit. I hope to see you there (see strategy number 2), so we can noodle over some of those crazy ideas you’ve been thinking about.

Opening Reception

Where: Moscone Expo Hall, Level 1

When: April 23, 5:00-7:00 pm

Why: Make the rounds through the Expo Hall before the session madness begins and before all the best swag gets scooped up. Speaking of awesome swag, stop by booth G125 to meet some amazing Kaposters and put your name in to win a solar powered charger. The weather forecast looks gorgeous for the week, so keep your devices charged thanks to Mr. Sun.

Ready, fire, aim, (WAIT – Nooooo) – How to Avoid Random Acts of Marketing

Where: Room 3014/3016

When: April 24th, 11:30am-12:15pm

Speakers: Craig Wright (Sr. Director CX, Infor), Lynn S. Yost (Director of Global Marketing Operations, Wolters Kluwer), Perry Hardt (Vice President, Global Marketing & Demand Generation, Infor)

Why: Who doesn’t need more strategies for batting down ad hoc content requests? This session is full of heavy-hitters and will certainly deliver on the “what did you learn at that conference that you can put into action?” question you’ll hear when you get back to work.

Profit Center Marketing: Aligning and Measuring Teams Around Business Impact

Where: Room 2006/2008

When: April 24th, 1:15pm-2:00pm

Speaker: Matt Heinz (President, Heinz Marketing Inc)

Why: From the session description: “How do you change focus, objectives, scorecards, and even culture to align more purely behind business priorities you can buy a beer with?” Enough said.

SiriusDecisions Reveals Six Rules to Play the ABM Game Better Than Anyone

Where: Room 2002/2004

When: April 25th, 8:30am-9:15am

Speaker: Megan Heuer (VP, Research, SiriusDecisions)

Why: ABM is all anyone is talking about these days and Megan Heuer knows what makes it so special and the biggest mistakes to avoid.

Forrester Reveals the 7 Key Steps to Customer-Obsessed B2B Marketing

Where: Room 2001/2003

When: April 25th, 3:30pm-4:15pm

Speaker: Lori Wizdo (Vice President & Principal Analyst for B2B Marketing, Forrester)

Why: The digital landscape has evolved, forever changing customer buying habits. Get the latest research on proven strategies for transformational success.

Create an Account-Based Marketing Strategy to Drive Consensus for Complex Sales

Where: Room 2006/2008

When: April 26th, 11:30am-12:15pm

Speaker: Ardath Albee (CEO, Marketing Interaction)

Why: Because Ardath Albee is a rockstar and has been dishing out the greatest marketing strategies for years. This session focuses on this year’s favorite TLA (three letter acronym): ABM.

Blue Bottle Coffee

Where: 66 Mint Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94103

Who: Your colleague or partner for a pre- or post-session coffee

When: Any chance you have!

Why: Marketing content is fueled by coffee, so why not spend a hot minute each day, nerding out on marketing over a siphon or Oji iced coffee? The fresh beans and contraptions straight from a sci-fi novel will delight.

See you in San Francisco and don’t forget to stop by Booth G125 for more strategies on maximizing your Marketo experience and, of course, your marketing strategies when you get back home.

 

Paralee Walls

About Paralee Walls

Paralee Walls is the Director of Content Marketing at Kapost. When she's not researching, developing, or writing about the next greatest content strategy, she's hiking or snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains with her trusty goldendoodle, Albus.