Marketing

The Ultimate List of Marketing Conferences in 2021 – Virtual or In-Person

Best Marketing Conferences in 2021
Written by Allie Freeland

Whether you lean more toward the sales or content side of digital marketing, make your own go-to list of the best marketing conferences. We’ve rounded up 20 of the biggest 2021 marketing conferences (in-person and virtual) for content marketing, SEO, video, social and more — with cost breakdowns and recommended attendees for each.

Before the era of social distancing, marketing conferences were tried-and-true events of the year for networking, branding, and lead generation. Although many in 2020 were postponed or canceled, there were still many marketing conferences that shifted from in-person to entirely virtual events. Perhaps by the end of 2021, we will see a marked return to live events, with many more virtual components becoming permanent fixtures of all in-person conferences.

In the meantime, we’ve tried our best to review our long-running list of the best marketing conferences with updated information on changed dates, locations, cancellations, or formats. As no one knows what the future may hold, please check with event websites for the most current information. Either way, we hope this roundup helps your marketing team plan for the coming year, as we all try our best to adapt.

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Best 2021 marketing conferences — virtual or in-person

2021 Virtual Marketing ConferencesSMX

Date: 2021 has several virtual events.

  • August 17, 2021 – SMX Convert
  • November 9-10, 2021 – SMX Next
  • October 2021 – SMX Advanced Europe
  • December 2021 – SMX Code

Location: Virtual events in 2021.

Cost: Prices vary for a range of passes, workshops, and boot camps, often starting at $149.

Sponsor: Search Engine Land

Description: SMX unites the brightest minds in SEO and SEM. Hosted by Search Engine Land, the conference sessions are “fast-paced, Q&A-packed, always informative, and don’t stop to cover the basics,” notes Huffington Post. The virtual events in 2021 are sure to up the ante on quality with more specific themes offered throughout the year.

Great for: SEOs, SEMs, marketing analytics pros

 

Southern California

VidCon

Date: 2021 TBA. Sign up for updates on their site. Previously held in June.

Location: Anaheim, California

Cost: Tickets previously ranged $90-$600.

Sponsor: VidCon

Description: As the name implies, VidCon is a conference suited for the video marketing nut. Brands, video marketers, and social icons who have made their mark through online video all connect to meet, greet, and learn the latest in video marketing. Conference sessions and workshops run the gamut of video tips for family vloggers to YouTube ad strategies.

Great for: Video marketers, videographers, YouTube influencers, and social media influencers

 

SEO conference in Seattle

MozCon

Date: July 12-14, 2021

Location: Virtual event. (Previously held in Seattle, Washington)

Cost: Previously, virtual tickets were $129 (in-person tickets were $999-$1,699; Moz subscribers paid $500 less than general admission non-subscribers).

Sponsor: Moz

Description: Moz is an authority on all things SEO and content. Unlike other conferences, this three-day conference has only one track. So if you’re seeking a conference that doesn’t require a ton of decisions, this one is for you. Here you’ll have many opportunities to gain actionable takeaways from sessions that dive into SEO, analytics, content marketing, social media, and customer experience. MozCon speakers range from in-house Mozzers to marketing industry leaders.

Great for: SEOs, content marketers, agency employees (with a specialization in content, SEO, and analytics), and marketing consultants

 

New York Conferences

CommerceNext IRL

Date: September 28-29, 2021

Location: New York, New York — In-Person

Cost: Starts at $795. You must apply to attend. The application does not guarantee a ticket.

Sponsor: CommerceNext

Description: CommerceNext focuses on marketing for retail and e-commerce, from direct-to-consumer (DTC) startups to traditional big-box sellers. Previous in-person conferences had 600+ attendees with 80+ speakers and 30+ breakout sessions. Previous speakers have included leaders from Purple, Macy’s, Walmart, and Bonobos.

Great for: C-suite, directors, and managers in marketing for retail and e-commerce.

 

 

Marketing Conferences in Florida

PubCon Florida

Date: August 3-5, 2021

Location: Miami, Florida — In-Person

Cost: Passes start at $599.

Sponsor: PubCon

Description: PubCon unites SEO nerds from around the globe in this three-day conference. The conference features deep dives in search and social media marketing education, including the best practices of mobile SEO, AdWords, marketing automation, content marketing, and more. Beyond the breakouts, attendees can enjoy keynote speakers each morning of the conference, which is different from other conferences.

Great for: SEOs, webmasters, podcasters, bloggers, content marketers, and social media marketers

 

 

Toronto

CONEX: The Digital Destination

Date: October 20 – November, 4, 2021

Location: Virtual

Cost: Free.

Sponsor: Uberflip

Description: In 2021, the event shifts from a conference format to a digital event spanning over three weeks. CONEX: The Digital Destination (previously known as CONEX: The Content Experience) connects like-minded practitioners in content marketing, demand generation, and sales to understand and champion the importance content marketing plays in the buyer journey. Join best-selling author and emcee Jay Baer and more than 15 keynote speakers and presenters over the course of two days.

Great for: Brand marketers, content marketers, and writers

 

Austin conference

FinCon

Date: Sept. 22-25, 2021

Location: Virtual online. Hybrid live event in Austin, Texas, as well.

Cost: Previous rates started at $250.

Description: People who attend FinCon are seemingly attendees for life. With a large crop of veteran attendees, this conference is a fan favorite by content producers and writers in the finance and tax industries. While the sessions are basic, this conference is best for networking — especially if you are a freelancer with specific expertise with financial content. Sessions range from social media and podcasting strategies to general content marketing and SEO tips specific, to financial institutions or web properties.

Great for: Podcasters, financial bloggers, freelance writers, bloggers, and financial content marketers

New York

Advertising Week

Date: 2021 TBA. Last occurred virtually Sept. 29 – Oct. 8, 2020.

Location: New York, New York

Cost: Passes start at $125.

Sponsor: Advertising Week

Description: Advertising Week returns every year with a blend of thought leadership content and engaging special events, with attendees ranging from public relations pros and advertising execs to CMOs and social media advisors. This immersive conference draws from the brand, agency, technology, startup, media, and broader creative industries and focuses on key conversations designed to drive the business forward and influence the future of advertising. Social networking and Google execs are typically in attendance as well, making it a worthwhile conference to attend.

Great for: Advertising execs, startup founders, social media practitioners, CMOs, and all marketing levels and capacities

Biggest 2021 Marketing Conference in Boston

INBOUND 2021 Featuring Oprah Winfrey

Date: Oct 12-14, 2021

Location: Primarily digital in 2021. There might be a scaled-back in-person event in Boston, Massachusetts.

Cost:  All-access digital passes start at $49. Free passes available for limited content.

Sponsor: HubSpot

Description: INBOUND’s biggest Spotlight Speaker this year is Oprah Winfrey. The 2021 Agenda will give you insight to everything lined up. The mega-conference hosted in Boston has always been the ultimate HubSpot meetup. The conference promises to inspire, educate and connect you with other HubSpot users and marketers, and transform your business. To put this conference into perspective, INBOUND usually draws more than 20,000 attendees in person. You can expect memorable celebrity keynotes, innovative talks from marketing gurus, informative breakouts, and boundless chances to network.

Great for: HubSpot users (and non-users), any level of marketer (specialist to C-suite)

 

 

New York Skyline

Youth Marketing Strategy

Date:  November 2021 TBA

Location: New York, New York

Cost: Usually $75 and up

Sponsor: Voxburner

Description: YMS NYC has grown steam for marketers focused on the next generation of consumers. Move over, millennials. It’s all about Gen Z, now. YMS has included speakers from  Instagram, Tinder, Starbucks, Live Nation, Nike, Twitter, NPR, Disney, and scores of up-and-coming brands. The agenda also follows four tracks: College Marketing, Influencer Marketing, Retail & E-Commerce Marketing, and Innovation

Great for: Content marketers, social media practitioners, CMOs, and all marketing levels and capacities targeting the youth demographic

 

Las Vegas

PubCon Pro

Date: 2021 TBA. Last occurred Oct. 12-15, 2020.

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Cost: Passes start at $199. Space is limited.

Sponsor: PubCon

Description: Pubcon bills its second conference of the year as a “full-stack marketing conference.” They will host their popular Masters Group Workshops. Expect main stage speakers, education sessions (for SEO, PPC, content marketing, et al.), site clinics (where audience members can submit their marketing examples to experts for review), and Pubcon Labs (where attendees can get on-site advice from participating speakers). Pubcon also hosts the iconic U.S. Search Awards each year, celebrating the best of the search marketing and SEO industries.

Great for: SEOs, SEMs, webmasters, content marketers, web developers, website owners

 

2021 Content Marketing World in Cleveland, Ohio

Content Marketing World 

Date: September 28 – October 1, 2021

Location: Currently planned to be in-person in Cleveland, Ohio

Cost: Prices vary depending on when you purchase your passes. Virtual Passes start at $699.

Sponsor: Content Marketing Institute

Description: Content Marketing World still promises to be one of the largest content marketing conferences of 2021. Last year, more than 120 sessions and workshops were presented by the marketers from around the world, covering strategy, integration, measurement, and more new ideas. Several thousand brand content marketers usually attend the conference each year.

Great for: Brand content marketers, content marketing tools companies

 

2021 Virtual Marketing Conferences

Button

Date: October 2021 TBA. 

Location: Online only.

Cost: Virtual ticket price is $995 per person.

Sponsor: Brain Traffic

Description: Billed as “the product content conference,” Button made its debut in 2020. Created by Kristina Halvorson and the minds at Brain Traffic, the inaugural conference includes live Q&A sessions, panels, and speakers from Netflix, Adobe, Dropbox, Atlassian, Condé Naste, Intercom, and other brands.

Great for: Content marketers, content strategists, product managers, UX managers, product designers.

 

 

New York City

Strategic Marketing USA

Date: October 12-13, 2021

Location: Virtual (previously in New York, New York)

Cost: Passes range from free to $699.

Description: Strategic Marketing USA is the most senior meeting for marketing, digital and social media leaders from big brands. The summit is unique in that is focuses on in-house marketers offering a platform for 500+ CMOs and SVP/VPs to discuss how we must deliver impactful interactions that deliver a clear brand purpose and narrative. Be a part of the redefined conversation with speakers confirmed from General Mills, AARP, eBay, GrubHub, Fender, and Qualcomm.

Great for: Marketing, digital, and social media leaders from brands

 

What to look for in 2021 marketing conferences

With hopes of the COVID-19 vaccine helping us take back normalcy by the end of 2021, there could be a resurgence of in-person events and conferences in late 2021/early 2022. Let’s hope so!

That being noted, our best advice still remains: Research the heck out of conferences before you sign the dotted line. Conferences are an investment and provide innumerate benefits, from networking with new potential clients and professional contacts to brushing up your skills. Prepare yourself for contingencies, changes, or cancellations as we navigate getting back to normal.

*Various early-bird and group discounts apply; check the conference websites for more information. Rates and details were accurate as of the publishing of this post but could change.

Stay tuned!

We love reporting on marketing conferences… and will continue to update this article as we get more dates and intel on the conferences. Stay tuned for more updates in a few months!

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About the author

Allie Freeland

Allie Freeland is a freelance writer, marketing communications pro, and digital strategist. A tenured member of ClearVoice, she has a passion for efficiency in business. She's also an adjunct professor at the University of Kansas and Johnson County Community College.

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