The Speakers Guide & Map
When we started Confluence conference, I spent a lot of time searching surrounding states for speakers. Two years later we’re putting veteran speakers from MozCon, SMX and Pubcon on an Oklahoma stage, representing big names like Bing, Simply Measured, Portent and Stone Temple Consulting.
This digital marketing speakers guide contains data from 5 carefully selected conferences across the US. It would have really helped back when we started Confluence, and I hope you find it useful now.
Download the 2015 US Digital Marketing Speakers Guide PDF.
Our data set includes all 373 speakers from 5 of the most highly regarded digital marketing conferences in the US: Mozcon, SMX East, HeroConf, Social Media Marketing World and Content Marketing World. We chose these conferences because they represent Search, PPC, Social Media and Content Marketing conferences; they take place throughout the year; and from coast-to-coast.
If this guide and map proves popular we hope to extend the data set next year to include other top-notch conferences.
- Influence and following count: Speakers who spoke at Social Media Marketing World have by far the highest amount of Twitter followers (an average of 77,902 vs. Mozcon’s 19,380, Content Marketing World’s 14,859, SMX East’s 5,792 and HeroConf’s 3,829). However the majority of these speakers also follow more than 3,000 profiles, and so were excluded from featuring in our roundup of Twitter influencers. On average a Social Media Marketing World speaker follows 21,618 accounts compared to Mozcon’s 810. This suggests that many of their followers are reciprocal, and a reciprocal follow is not as strong a signifier of influence as a follow that has not been incentivised.
- What’s in a name? 51% of all speakers are in leadership positions. 39% in director and managerial positions. Only 10% fall into other categories. The industry might be missing out on actionable insights from the innovative young minds in the trenches, or from data scientists and strategists.
- Affirmative action in action: In May, Moz founder Rand Fishkin told Wil Reynolds at the ‘Pioneers of Company Culture’ event, “I want to be in a world where no one thinks about the gender or race of the person on a panel. That world will never exist unless we take the steps today.” In 2015 Mozcon was the most diverse conference in our data set, 20% non-white, compared to 9-10% non-white for SMX East, Social Media Marketing World and HeroConf. Content Marketing World was the least diverse conference with 5% of speakers being non-white. I reached out to Ruth Burr Reedy, who used to work at Moz and spoke at Mozcon this year (and sits opposite me) and asked if that choice impacted the quality of the content at Mozcon and she said, “Absolutely not. It was the best Mozcon yet.”
- I thought social media was for girls and PPC was for boys? Interestingly only 29% of speakers at Social Media Marketing World were female, the lowest number in our data set, whereas 33% of HeroConf’s speakers were female (the second lowest). Content Marketing World fielded only 34% female speakers. SMX had the greatest gender diversity, with 47% of speakers being female, followed closely by Mozcon with 46%. Of course this data set doesn’t say anything about conference attendees by gender, only speakers.
- Wow, you go Hanapin Marketing! Hanapin Marketing fielded 8 speakers to conferences in our data set, the most speakers by far. All eight of those speakers were sent to HeroConf, a conference that is produced by Hanapin Marketing.
- Incestuous? Not so much: I was surprised at how little speaker overlap there was between conferences. The largest overlap being between Social Media Marketing World and Content Marketing World, but these are also the two largest conferences, by a significant margin.
- There’s a lot of stuff to know: All of the conferences were surprisingly diverse in the stated expertise of the speakers. The least multi-disciplinarian conference was HeroConf with 68% of speakers specializing in PPC and Advertising. There was also a clear overlap between Content Marketing World and Social Media Marketing World, with both conferences fielding a significant number of speakers from the other’s discipline, as well as from the rather more amorphous Branding/PR/Other category.
- Coast-to-coast thought leadership: The East coast of the US fielded 110 speakers (and has 36% of the US population) vs. the West coast’s 96 (with 15% of the US population). That looks impressive, but don’t be too quick to draw conclusions, since three of the conferences in our data set are held on the West coast. States east of Missouri, excluding the East coast, fielded 88 speakers, leaving 47 speakers for states West of Missouri, excluding the West coast.
- When are those flyover states gonna show up? There is a large swathe of states in the central United States that fielded 0 or 1 speakers. Notable exceptions are Texas, Colorado and Minnesota.
- Foreign speakers: This data only represents speakers at US conferences, so don’t draw any conclusions about how active the digital marketing communities are in other countries, many of which have their own digital marketing conferences. Canada, Australia, the UK and the Netherlands all sent 3 or more speakers to US conferences. These countries are either native English speaking, or places where English is widely spoken.
If you’d like to make a correction to this article, our data, or the map, or you’d like to use it for a project of your own, please contact me here.