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.Has your marketing team made plans yet? Find the details you need for 20+ top conferences (in-person and virtual) in 2021 all in one place. #contentmarketing #marketing Click To Tweet
Best 2021 marketing conferences — virtual or in-person
Date: 2021 has several virtual events.
- February 23, 2021 – SMX Report
- April 13, 2021 – SMX Create
- June 8-9, 2021 – SMX Paris
- June 15-16, 2021- SMX Advanced
- 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
Date: Feb. 22-24, 2021
Location: Virtual (previously in Scottsdale, Arizona).
Price: Check site for updates.
Sponsor: B2B Marketing Exchange
Description: At B2B Marketing Exchange, expect a great lineup of workshops and case studies, and speakers in their first digital experience.
Great for: B2B marketers, CMOs, B2B freelance writers, and B2B strategists
Date: March 16-17, 2021
Location: Virtual (previously San Jose, California)
Cost: The MarTech Spring 2021 event is free.
Sponsor: Third Door Media
Description: MarTech is part of an international conference series for senior-level and hybrid professionals, where they cross-pollinate ideas and innovation across marketing, technology and management. The conference promises attendees a greater understanding in the breadth of marketing technologies and how businesses can successfully integrate them into their marketing strategy and operations. Brands in previous attendance have included 3M, Hallmark, Best Buy, Clorox, Dun & Bradstreet, HP and more. More than 100 exhibitors usually attend.
Great for: Senior-level marketers, marketing tech executives, creative technologists, data scientists, and digital strategists
Social Media Marketing World – Postponed
Date: Postponed until March 14-16, 2022.
Location: San Diego, California
Cost: Previous prices: $297 – $1,697 for four levels of tickets (including the Virtual level where non-attendees can watch recorded videos of the sessions).
Sponsor: Social Media Examiner
Description: Social Media Marketing World is the “it” conference for those tasked with social media marketing at an organization. Each year, the social media online publication Social Media Examiner hosts a show-stopping conference in sunny San Diego. Five thousand marketers join the conference each year to learn business-building strategies in 120+ social media marketing and creator training sessions.
Sessions are conveniently broken down by category: corporate social, content marketing, social strategy, measurement and analytics, video marketing, live video, and social tactics for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and LinkedIn. Previous speakers have included Jay Baer and Ann Handley, among a squad of industry experts in leading social platforms.
Great for: Content amplifiers, social media managers and directors, community managers, vloggers, and bloggers
Date: 2021 TBA; usually occurs in March.
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Cost: Previous passes have cost $399–$1299.
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
Date: April 7-8, 2021
Location: Virtual (previously in San Francisco, California)
Description: Many of the conferences available spread their focus so that it applies to both B2B and B2C marketers, but MarketingProfs B2B Forum is one of the few that provides the kind of focus that allows B2B marketers to get a finely tuned experience specifically for them. Of course, the advantage of attending a large conference like the B2B Forum is that many other B2B marketers are also attending and want to connect as much as you do. Go forth and network. The virtual event in 2020 had 6 keynotes and 41+ sessions. #mpb2b
And don’t forget Ann Handley. She’s the Chief Content Officer and mastermind behind MarketingProfs, perhaps the most respected content marketer in the business. Expect excellence!
Great for: B2B marketers, content marketers at all levels, and content marketing vendors
Date: April 14-21, 2021
Location: TBD. Was virtual only in 2020. (Previously in Las Vegas, Nevada.)
Cost: TBD. Previous LeadsCon Virtual passes have started at $1,475 and up; group discounts available.
Host: Access Intelligence
Description: Self-billed as the “world’s largest event for the lead generation community,” LeadsCon draws more than 2,500 attendees with a focus on lead gen and performance marketing. The conference includes networking events, keynotes, workshops, breakout sessions, and an exhibit hall.
Great for: Marketers, content marketers, lead buyers/sellers, and advertising executives
Date: April 27-28, 2021
Location: Online. (Previously in Las Vegas, Nevada)
Description: Walk away (virtually) with platform-agnostic insights in marketing, advertising, IT, and client services, diving deep into concepts such as marketing automation, innovation, digital transformation. The conference includes over 400 sessions and a dozen content tracks.
Great for: Marketers, customer engagement representatives, and advertising executives
Date: May 5-7, 2021
Location: Online everywhere. (Previously in Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Cost: Passes range from $895 to $1,095, depending on when you purchase them.
Sponsor: Brain Traffic
Description: Join thousands of eager attendees at Confab, organized and hosted by Brain Traffic (the brainchild of CEO and Founder Kristina Halvorson. Attendees can find breakout sessions from 101-type content to the advanced sessions focused on content architecture, creating in-house content efficiency, and content design.
Great for: Content librarians, content strategists, project managers, and user experience professionals
Date: May 11-12, 2021
Location: New York, New York. Still planned to be in-person in 2021.
Cost: Previously $799 and up, depending on when you register
Description: For years, Conductor has put on this multi-faceted conference in the Big Apple, bringing together brand leaders from all over the world to connect on marketing insights, SEO, content, and technical innovation. C3 focuses on the humans of marketing and the customers they have an opportunity to impact and help each and every day. Through real stories, workshops, and motivating presentations, attendees leave C3 feeling inspired and with actionable processes to go back to their teams and make a difference. Past speakers have included leaders from brands like Microsoft, Slack, Google, Amazon, and Salesforce.
Great for: SEOs, content marketers, executives, and digital marketing generalists
Date: June 8-10, 2021
Location: Virtual (previously San Diego, California)
Cost: TBA. Previous passes started at $799.
Sponsor: Content Marketing Institute
Description: Formerly the Intelligent Content Conference (ICC), the ContentTECH Summit will teach you how to operationalize content marketing plans for your business. The summit will focus more heavily on how to use martech and your technology stack to better measure, optimize, and manage content across your enterprise.
Expect to hear from content strategy leaders, content marketing namesakes, authors, and other prolific content practitioners. Content Marketing Institute recently acquired this conference, so it’s sure to be a worthy investment.
Great for: C-level, VPs, brand marketers, content strategists, and content marketers (all levels)
Date: 2021 TBA. Sign up for updates on their site. Previously held in June.
Location: Anaheim, California
Cost: Tickets previously ranged $90-$600.
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
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).
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
Date: 2021 TBA. Last occurred virtually July 28-29, 2020. You currently can participate in CommerceNext webinars on their site.
Location: Likely virtual. (Previously in New York, New York)
Cost: Virtual event cost is not yet listed.
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 around 1,200 attendees with 100+ 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.
Date: October 20 – November, 4, 2021
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
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, vloggers and financial content marketers
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 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
Date: Oct 12-14, 2021
Location: Primarily digital in 2021. There might be a scaled-back in-person event in Boston, Massachusetts. Details TBA in April.
Cost: All-access digital passes start at $49. Free passes available for limited content.
Description: 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)
Date: November 2021 TBA
Location: New York, New York
Cost: Usually $75 and up
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
Date: 2021 TBA. Last occurred Oct. 12-15, 2020.
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Cost: Passes start at $199. Space is limited.
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
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
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.
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.
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!
More notable 2021 calendars:
- 2021 Marketing Awards Your Brand or Agency Should Pursue
- 2021 Hashtag Holiday Calendar for Social Media
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