What Makes #SESNY So Swell? Behind the Conference Curtain with Matt McGowan

Phew! AIMCLEAR is barely coming down off the California high of #SMX West and already we’re rolling up our sleeves for the east-coast arm of Search Engine Strategies, hosted in the city that never sleeps. SES New York draws together a beautiful crowd of  digital marketers craving the latest and greatest in industry tips, techniques, tactics, and more. Time and time again, this conference calendar staple delivers with Grade-A sessions, keynotes, panels, and networking opportunities. Much of the SES awesomesauce is thanks to the team over at Incisive Media. They’re among the best in the biz at assembling a knock-out curriculum featuring insightful speakers from around the world.


Typically, on the advent of our calendar’s marketing conferences, we like to host a series of mini speaker interviews right here on AIMCLEAR blog. The goal is to whet the appetites of attendees and readers at home for the splendor set to take the stage, not to mention exclusive sneak peaks at upcoming presentations 🙂 . This time, we decided to turn the tables a bit and shine the spotlight on one of the forces behind the scenes, Managing Director of Marketing & Americas over at Incisive Media, Matt McGowan.

If you’ve attended an SES event in the past, chances are you’ve seen this gentleman floating around the expo hall and convention center, maybe even take the stage as moderator of a session or two. He’s been with the Incisive team since 2006, overseeing global sales, marketing, editorial, and operations for the North and South American SES Conference & Expo series, along with ClickZ.com, ClickZ.asia, and SearchEngineWatch. 

Discussion topics spanned the spectrum, from what makes SES special to the challenges of organizing a massive conference for an industry that’s constantly changing, even favorite foods and foreign cities. Read on for the full scoop!

| AIMCLEAR: Matt McGowan! Well hello there – thank you for your time today. Tell the folks at home a little bit about yourself. Who are you? Where did you come from? How did you wind up here?

Matt McGowan: I am Matt. I am from NYC. I took the red pill.

| aC: Oh dear goodness. Does that mean we’re inside the Matrix… right… now? I feel melty. Can’t deal. Moving on. There’s a lot of online marketing conferences in the world. What makes SES special?

MM: Most conferences either charge their speakers (pay to play) or bring in only extremely senior executives who give high level fluff (some call them strategic) presentations. SES works hard to craft an agenda with speakers that give mostly tactical instruction helping our attendees actually do their jobs better.

| aC: On that note – Incisive Media works with a bunch of different types of industries- what are the unique challenges specific to the online marketing space, given the fact that it’s constantly evolving, every day? In other words, how do you work to maintain a curriculum brimming with the latest and greatest insider knowledge?

MM: The fact that the marketing and advertising industry is currently experiencing such rapid and significant change is a bonus for SES. It’s almost impossible for anyone to keep up with all the change – attendees who can take a few days away from the office and immerse themselves in our agenda and networking opportunities will have that much more perspective and context than those who cannot.

| aC: Noted, and right on. We all know the serious side of Matt McGowan, but what do you do for fun?

MM: My two favorite activities are Scuba Diving and Skiing.  I am lucky to have some of the best friends and family a guy could ask for… so hanging with them when we can find the time is priority number one.

| aC: Just lovely. What are some events you’re particularly looking forward to at this year’s show in the Big Apple?

MM: The session I am most looking forward to it our Mobile Marketing Keynote moderated by the absolutely fabulous Dana Todd, SVP Global Marketing at Performics. We have brought together some of the most forward thinking minds in mobile to join her on stage including Michael Bayle, Senior VP and General Manager at ESPN, Eric Litman, Chairman and Founder of Medialets, and Brendon Kraham, Head of Global Mobile Sales and Product Strategy at Google.

As far as the networking and party options go… I absolutely love the Meet the Experts roundtables (and I am not alone, attendees rave about this – maybe we should do an un-conference one day with no formal sessions?!)  and of course the annual Search Bash NYC fiesta!

| aC: Sign me up for it all! Alright. Time to wrap up, which means it’s a perfect time for… Lightning round! Favorite travel destination, ethnic cuisine, and adult beverage, GO!

MM: (1) Toss-up between Perth Australia, Capetown South Africa, and Galapagos, Ecuador. (2) Thai… super spicy! (3) A Rye Manhattan on the rocks.

| aC: No way! I adore the Galapagos. Traveled there ten years ago. Totally magical. Well, thanks for your time today, Matt. Really looking forward to the show! See ya out there!

taxi photo credit: keetsa on flickr

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