At this time of year, many of you are looking at strategic plans, forecasts, and budgets for 2015. Have you given much thought to the conference line item in next year’s budget? Aside from all the socializing and swag-gathering that goes on at conferences, they are the perfect way to boost your creativity with workshops and panel discussions from experts in technology, digital media, and marketing.
We’ve already talked about the top 5 tech conferences your CMO should attend next year, so how about conferences to attend in Canada? Next year’s list of conferences in Canada is shaping up to be a strong one, and we’ve highlighted some of the events you should consider attending.
1. DX3 – Mar 11-12, 2015 – Toronto
One of Canada’s largest marketing and advertising conferences, DX3 is dedicated to all things digital – marketing, advertising, and retail. Their commitment to the guiding principle of “You need to know how, you need to know now” shows in their choices of keynote speakers, panel discussions, and learning sessions. This year’s agenda is broken down into five different areas that are of interest to attendees: targeting, advertising, engaging, buying, and supporting.
Speakers include: Erica Ehm (Yummy Mummy Club), Erin Green (Etsy), Hicham Ratnani (Frank & Oak), Keith Hernandez (Buzzfeed), Ricardo Martin (Unilever), and Warren Tomlin (IBM).
2.FITC Toronto – Apr 12-14, 2015, Toronto
If you’re looking to get your creative juices flowing, then FITC Toronto is the place to go. It’s billed as a three-day professional “celebration” of design, web development, media, and innovation. Digital creators and technologist gather in Toronto once a year to be inspired, hatch new ideas, and celebrate the successes of their fellow digital citizens. With sessions in four different tracks (Inspiration, Creative Coding, Web Dev, and Business), there’s something for everyone at FITC Toronto. This year’s theme looks at evolution, and how technology is changing the way we do everything today.
Speakers include: Kawandeep Virdee (Embedly), Kim Alpert (Make Amazing), James White (Signalnoise), and more to be announced soon.
3.C2 Montreal – May 26-28, 2015
A favourite of conference goers around the world, C2 Montreal is an entirely unique gathering of thought leaders, agencies, and brands that focuses on creativity and commerce (hence the name.) Officially described as an “immersive global innovation conference”, C2 is designed to bring out your best “creative answers to commercial questions.” It strives to stimulate creative thinking, possibly even visionary thinking to any commercial problem or obstacle.
All of this creativity is stimulated and fostered through almost theatrical presentations on stage, participatory installations and collaborative moments throughout the three day event. Founded by agency Sid Lee through a collaboration with Cirque du Soleil, you can see how this can be a transformative, insightful event. Definitely a conference to attend at least once.
Speakers include: Kevin Spacey, Chelsea Clinton (Clinton Foundation), Andre Agassi, Michelle Dennedy (McAfee), Adam Garone (Movember Foundation), Ayah Bdeir (littleBits), and David Edelman (Mckinsey & Company).
4.GROW Conference – Aug 2015 – Whistler, BC
Situated in gorgeous Whistler, British Columbia, the GROW Conference brings together entrepreneurs, investors, executives, and creatives from around the tech world. Expect passionate speakers discussing how they are trying to make the world a better place through innovation, growth, and entrepreneurship.
Attendees listen to innovative keynotes, participate in rousing panel discussions, and can even try the Startup Smackdown, where companies can pitch top press and investors Dragon’s Den-style. That’s to say nothing of the fun activities they’ve got planned such as yoga sessions, hiking trips, cross-country running, or even a little mountain biking. What’s not to love here? Innovation and creativity plus a little activity and fresh mountain air?
Speakers include Andrew Rosenthal (Jawbone), Atlee Clark (Shopify), Chris Bruce (Sproutling), Dylan Casey (Yahoo), Greg Ponesse (Bubl Technology), and Robert Scoble.
5.MESH – May 2015 – Toronto
A two-day conference for marketers, advertisers, brands, and communicators, MESH explores how digital marketing is changing how and what we communicate. There are hands-on workshops, panel discussions on how to enhance marketing strategies, interactive case studies that give you the details on how the successful brands are doing it, and more. Everyone from agency marketers and owners to freelancers and service providers attend, and has a great time.
And if you’ve still got money left over in your conference budget after those five, why not consider these ones as well? A little smaller and more specialized than the Top 5, they’re nonetheless worth taking a look for bonus inspiration.
- Banff World Media Festival – June 7-10, 2015 – Banff, AB: Bringing together top leaders from across the world of television and digital media, the Banff World Media Festival delivers a “comprehensive examination” of issues facing these industries. Keynote addresses from key leaders, panel discussions, expert forecasts, and more. Previous attendees included content producers and other creative professionals, broadcasters and online publisher, media producers and distributors, tech providers, advertisers, and marketers. That covers everyone from the journalist Dan Rather to the Chairman & CEO of the CRTC, Jean-Pierre Blais, to actors, producers, writers, and directors of online and TV productions.
- FFWD Advertising & Marketing Week – January 26-30, 2015 Toronto: A gathering of ad, marketing, and media leaders for workshops, conferences, keynotes, and panel presentations. Speakers come from all walks of life: marketers from ad agencies like Twist Image, professors from recognized business schools, authors, writers, and directors.
- 2015 Marketing Analytics Conference – Toronto Board of Trade – Feb 26, 2015: Learn how to drive your brand strategy and deliver business growth through the use of marketing analytics. This conference features seminars and business cases that will help marketers see how analytics can impact their business decisions, and make marketing and product delivery go more smoothly.
- Canadian Internet Marketing Conference, Mar 28-29, 2015, Squamish, BC: An education and networking event for internet marketers, it’s ideal for SMB owners, marketing directors and consultants, social media managers, writers, and other Internet marketers who want “to be inspired and educated in digital marketing.” This year’s speakers include Emily Wexler of Strategy Magazine, Rebecca Coleman of BCIT, Kemp Edmonds of HootSuite, and Elisabeth Osmeloski of Marketing Land/Search Engine Land.
- Digital Strategy Conference, May 2-3, 2015, Vancouver, BC: Learn how to balance efficiency with innovation when planning, managing, and improving digital initiatives across your organization. Speakers include marketers from the CBC, dStrategy Media, Digital Analytics Association, and BlackBerry.
- Digital Media Summit – May 7, 2015 – Toronto: Billed as “Canada’s social media and interactive marketing conference,” the DMS is where marketers go to connect with the top brands in digital marketing. Previous conferences included sessions on social sharing “done right”, advertising strategies across multiple platforms, and the future of entertainment. Current speakers already booked include marketers from HootSuite, Ahalogy, Buzzfeed, and Microsoft.
- CAMP Festival – September, 2015 – Calgary, AB: As part of the global FITC series of conferences, the CAMP Festival in Calgary gathers together the same kind of creative digital folks that attend FITC Toronto, but with more of a western feel. Hosted at historical Theatre Junction Grand in Calgary, attendees come together “to share and shape experiences that educate, challenge and inspire.” They’re still working on their speaker list for 2015, so keep an eye out on their website for more details.
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