I’ve been to a lot of mediocre marketing conferences over the years. There are the thinly-veiled vendor shill-fests, the rinse-and-repeat events recycling mostly the same content every year but attempting to make it look fresh by moving to a new location and the big uber vendor events that may offer some solid content but ultimately serve the agenda of the host vendor. Many of the big uber vendor events feature a token parade of celebrities and concerts featuring big-name bands slightly outside the power curve of their popularity. George Clooney and Flo Rida may be entertaining but probably not what makes or breaks your decision to attend a conference.

Of course not every minute of a conference needs to be meaty, in-depth, brain-stretching material. A little entertainment and levity are welcome after hours of powerpoint charts and graphs in a dimly lit room. But you’re busy and justifying time away from the office means finding a quality event that’s worth your valuable time. Enter this year’s Gartner Marketing Symposium/Xpo.

The event website has all the details and a list of reasons to come but thought it would be worth chiming in with a marketer to marketer perspective on why you should attend:

It’s about real issues and challenges – Our event is built from the ground up around actual real-world marketing challenges. The purpose of the event is to help marketing leaders tackle the many challenges you face every day. The sessions are hyper-relevant, rooted in data and steeped in the realities of how modern marketers are addressing some of the most vexing marketing challenges.

Strategic and pragmatic – As a marketing leader you need to think big but not in a lofty, academic sort of way. Thinking expansively and strategically is not at odds with approaching things in an actionable, pragmatic fashion. Gartner Marketing Symposium is designed to zoom in and out on key topics the way you need to as a marketing leader, providing the right blend of strategic view and concrete, actionable direction.

Expert experts – OK, so copping to a little bias here, the quality of the Gartner team you’ll see on stage, in the halls, at breakfast, and around the venue is second to none. Our crew has incredible depth and range on the topics you’ll want to chat about over coffee or hear more about in a session. The quality of any conference is driven mainly by the quality of the presenters. 

Your amazing peers – Every year I am blown away by our conference attendees. So many smart, interesting, driven marketing leaders from around the world and a continuum of organization types coming together for meaningful interactions on essential topics. As an attendee, you can connect with your peers, share your big wins and commiserate on your thorny challenges. You’ll learn a lot from your peers and likely make some lasting connections.

It’s San Diego… Probably don’t need to oversell this.

If you’re looking to get your photo taken with a celebrity or get your groove on at a concert with your co-workers, the Gartner Marketing Symposium/Xpo 2019 is probably not your best conference option. If you’re looking to be with and learn from some of the best and brightest marketers on the planet, it’s the place to be. Hope to see you in San Diego!

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