I’ve been to a few search marketing conferences over the last four years, and one thing was made abundantly clear after each and every one of them: 95% of the presentations are lame.
Now, maybe the issue at hand is more my expectations. I had expected that when charging $1,000+ per head for full passes, that there would be some sort of quality control. Surely speakers wouldn’t be allowed to give the same presentation multiple years in a row. Surely someone on the conference staff would be checking to see if a speaker was just mashing a couple blog posts together and turning it into a PowerPoint. Surely they’ll have to present *something* they haven’t already blogged about.
As it turns out… not so much.
I’ve seen the same presentation given three years in a row, with *minor* alterations.
Most of the presentations I’ve seen, in fact – the vast majority, have not covered anything new. They all seem to be blatant rehashing of topics that have already been blogged about multiple times, and often by the speaker.
Now, repeating topics is all well and fine if you’re blogging – you want to have your take on record and in your archive. However – you’re speaking. At a paid conference. If someone will come and see you speak, they’re perfectly capable of reading your blog. How about coming up with something new to say?
Now, there were some standout sessions that I remember being well worth the time. Typically when sessions focus on Q&A, they contain some good nuggets (or are at least entertaining).
Also, the parties and general hanging out at night are the most beneficial uses of your time. Assuming, of course, that you’ll actually speak to people that you don’t know. If that isn’t you, then that’s fine. But don’t haul your ass there and expect to learn new tactics by just hitting the sessions then going back to your hotel room.
If you’re not ready to network your ass off, stay home and read (a) the blogs of the speakers you were going to see (congrats – you’ve just read 99% of their preso content) and then (b) the live blogging coverage of the conference. You’ll pick up any nerd drama tidbits there as well.
There – I may have just saved you over a grand, plus hotel fees. You’re welcome.