5 Reflections on Social Media Marketing World 2014

SanDiegoHyatt(note: a collection of many other re-cap links for SMMW14 are at the bottom of this post!)

I had the privilege of spending several days in San Diego attending a social media conference (Social Media Marketing World 2014) last week.

From most conferences, I return feeling drained by IEWS (Introvert Energy Wipeout Syndrome). However, after SMMW14, I felt unusually energized. Here are 5 top-of-mind reasons why this conference was so uplifting:

1. This was perhaps the best organized conference I’ve ever attended. The speaker lineup was first-class. Communications before and during the event were exemplary. And the staff was wonderfully responsive throughout – if anything could be anticipated and planned for, it was. Huge kudos to Mike Stelzner and his crew for setting a new standard in conference competence.

2. There were abundant networking opportunities. Not only the official evening events, but the long mid-day lunch breaks, and other get-togethers sprinkled throughout. Many conferences feel overly-packed and rushed. At SMMW, there was plenty of schedule elbow-room for serendipitous meetings and extended conversations. I was able to renew ties with old friends and strike up a number of great new relationships.*

3. There was something for everyone in the session topics. I was a little concerned coming in that, as a long-time social media user, I might not find the sessions to be informative or challenging enough. Wrong – turns out that some of my practices have gotten stale, and I left with a bunch of new ideas. And clearly, many people with fewer miles on their treads were greatly benefiting from the various sessions, which had quite a good variety of emphases. It was a well-designed learning format.

4. San Diego – c’mon, who can’t love San Diego? I especially enjoyed my morning and evening walks along the Embarcadero, reflecting on ideas, unwinding, smelling the salt air, and taking pictures. Also, the fact that a place called Kansas City Barbecue was across the street (with its aromas wafting over to the hotel) – how can that be bad?? Yes, I ate there twice…


5. Epiphanies. The one thing I hope for in an event like this is a chance to step back from the day to day grind, and gain a new viewpoint. I gained some clarity about something very deeply personal and professional as the final day came to a close. I think that’s the main reason for feeling so energized post-conference. My guess is that I’m not the only one walking away with some life-changing insight, and what could be a better result of any conference than that?

* So many wonderful people I got to see/meet last week! I’m sure my memory is incomplete, but here goes: Jay Baer (not merely a social media rock star, but a real friend), Ric Dragon, Marcus Sheridan, Marla Shulman (best conference hugger award), Doug Karr (finally – after 7-8 years of on-line contact!), Kim Garst, Ekaterina Walter, Ted Rubin, Eric Tung, Denise Holt (from Midway meeting to conference comrade in no time), Craig Jacobson, Geoff Livingston (another old-time blogger from days of yore – you know, 7-8 years ago!), Seymour Segnit, Pek Pongpaet, Tim McDonald (connector extraordinaire), Thomas Mangum, Niklas Myhr, Kristine Early, Matt Cherry, John Smith, Lynette Young, Tom Martin (the master of Propinquity), Mike Stelzner, Viveka von Rosen, Joel Comm, Lee Odden, Zena Weist (sorry about the facial hair – I know that threw you off!), Connie Benson, Becky Carroll, Chris Brogan, Nichole Kelly, Justin Levy (we never seem to have enough time to really talk, Justin!), Jess Ostroff, Jason Keath, Nicole D’Alonzo, Tony Dunn, Brian FanzoMark Schaefer (and his charming wife Rebecca), Andy Crestodina, Bryan Kramer (only a fly-by handshake – we gotta do better than that!), Phil MershonSusan Beebe, Jessica Gioglio, Joe Pulizzi (once again, only in passing – sigh), Cindy King.

As for Gini Dietrich – you ignored me. I’m profoundly scarred by the snub. ;>}

SMMW14 collage

Obviously, a very limited slice of the conference based on my perspective – what did you find most beneficial? Please share in the comments!

And, some more stuff:

– Here’s a boatload of SWWM14 photos on the Social Media Examiner Facebook page.

– Four Essential Trends in Social Media Marketing in 2014 (post-conference, from TopRank blog)

– Wrap-up: Waves to Remember from Social Media Marketing World 2014 (post-conference, from TopRank blog)

– Anne McColl’s conference Sketchnotes (drawings) on Slideshare

Blog More, Facebook Less and Seven More Trends from Social Media Marketing World 2014 by Ryan Hanley

The Top 5 Tweets from SMMW14 via SimplyMeasured blog

Inspire Movements: Lessons Learned at Social Media Marketing World 2014 by Connie Chan Wang

7 Reasons #SMMW14 was one of the Best Conferences Ever by Martin Jones

The Ultimate Social Media Marketing World Wrap-up by Michael Gerard

Seven Things You Need to Know from Social Media Marketing World by SociallySorted

Twitter list of all SMMW14 speakers


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  1. Agreed. Outstanding event, and delighted we got a chance to catch up. Somehow, I missed the BBQ place, which I’ll need to fix next year!

  2. Steve, great meeting you at #SMMW14 man, and excellent recap. It truly was a tremendous experience I think for all of us who attended. Wishing you an amazing 2014!


  3. Why does being an old score blogger feel more and more like I watch TV in black and white. Oy vey! Good to see you as always, sir.

  4. AMAZING wrap up of a world-class conference. I have to agree with you, the content presented at SMMW14 was not the ‘same old same old’ but a really refreshing and updated perspective on where the industry needs to move next – and the strategy, tools and tactics to get there. I am so glad we ran into each other (even if it was after the closing keynote)!

  5. I agree, it was an amazing event by Mike and his team. It was great to spend a few minutes catching up but we definitely need to make for more of that next time!

  6. Thanks Steve, appreciate you capturing my debut as a podcast interviewer and with a stellar guest such as Tim McDonald no less 🙂 Certainly enjoyed the conference as well and you capture it eloquently above. The only problem? It “only” lasted 3 days, hope we get to spend more time shortly!

  7. Great seeing you Steve!

  8. Still amazed at how smoothly the event went with almost 2000 of us in the SMMW house. The facial hair did throw me but your hug and voice were oh so familiar. It was great to see you and next time I’ll come in a day early so we can catch up over dinner (if we don’t get see each other before).

  9. Steve – On behalf of the entire team, thanks for coming and fully embracing all we had to offer. Hope to see you next year.

  10. Great round-up. SO wonderful to finally to meet you!

  11. I am SO MAD I didn’t get to see you! Mad, mad, mad!

  12. Nice overview Steve! As you indicated, I also found this conference to be very uplifting.

    And thanks for the call-out for my Ultimate Wrap-Up http://bit.ly/1ltaIcz

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