The #SMX East 2016 Dream Agenda! What to Know & Who to See

SMX East in New York City is NEXT WEEK! If you’ve been poring over the agenda wondering how you could possibly pick between the amazing lineup of sessions and speakers, grab a bevvy of choice and read on. Having been around the block once or twice — AIMCLEARians have been attending, speaking at and blogging about the show almost since its inception — we thought we’d offer a little advice for first-timers.

We polled our SMX vets to find out which session they’re planning to attend or would attend (someone’s gotta stay behind to man the fort). Below are our picks, along with comments from the crew.* Even they couldn’t agree on a single winning session in each time slot, so you’ll notice many with two, in some cases three, suggestions. When there was a clear frontrunner, we listed the single session.

*Special thanks to the following AIMCLEARians for their input: Gretchen Gautreaux, Imelda Khoo, Daniel Morrison, Merry Morud, Megan Taggart and Marty Weintraub.

Tuesday, September 27


It’s a TIE!

Keyword Research & Copywriting For Search Success with Christine Churchill of KeyRelevance. Our crew couldn’t say enough nice things about Christine, and the content will be “SO worth it for entry to sophomore PPC pros.”

The Nine Billion Ads Of Search with Pauline Jakober of Group Twenty Seven, Marty Weintraub of AIMCLEAR, and Virginia Tonning of Schneider Electric. We admit it: There’s a slight bias in this selection. They’re top notch speakers and “Matt Van Wagner runs a tight moderation ship, so look for panelists to bring super-right presentations.”


Seriously, this is the toughest time slot of the conference. Check out one of the following:

Exploring The Upcoming AdWords & Bing Ads Changes with Andy Taylor of Merkle | RKG, John Gagnon of Bing, and Aaron Levy of Elite SEM. On their own, each of these speakers would be worth your time. Together? Well, “Andy+John+Aaron = BANG.” Don’t miss this “BAD ASS panel.”

Getting AMPed: What You Need To Know About Accelerated Mobile Pages & Google with John Shehata of Conde Nast, Elite Truong of Vox Media, and Adam Greenberg of Google. The timeliness of the topic makes this session crucial. With AMP “impacting search in strides,” now’s the time to learn what you don’t know.

Beacons & Beyond: Offline Conversions And Online Retargeting with Alan K’necht of K’nechtology Inc., Ray Rotolo of Gimbal, and Manny Rivas of AIMCLEAR. Bias aside, this session is a must because beacons present incredible capabilities (ICYMI, check out Manny’s guide to app-less beacon technology). “Internet of Things and smart devices are the future. All devices will be smart devices and digital will be dead because digital will be everything.”


Another tough timeslot, with Stone Temple thought leader Mark Traphagen and foundational link-earning master Debra Mastaler. There were many close seconds on this one, but our winner is:

Updating Your SEM Toolbox With New Shiny Tools with Daniel Gilbert of Brainlabs, Sahil Jain of AdStage, and Brad Geddes of AdAlysis. Another killer panel. You’ve got Daniel, a decorated European Search Award-winning builder of phenomenal scripts; Brad, THE trusted resource on testing; and super-smart Sahil. “If you run PPC, the action’s here.”


Yet another toughy, with PPC powerhouse Purna Virji and UX and design pro Shari Thurow. Coming out on top was:

Using Paid Search & Social Together To Deliver The Ultimate Knock-Out Punch with Sahil Jain of AdStage, Maggie Malek of MMI Agency, and Tara Siegel of Pepperjam. It’s time to stop looking at paid search and social in isolation. An important topic for digital marketers, in-house pros are sure to take away some strategic insight into integration.

Wednesday, September 28


Look at that! We made a decision. Go to:

Perfect Your SEM Testing: How & Why To Evaluate Everything with Ted Ives of Ted Ives Consulting, Jake Pinocchio of Red Ventures, and Susan Waldes of Five Mill. “These are high efficiency performance marketers who break down testing into well thought out variables. They’re used to seeing tests at high volume and will likely offer tactics down-scalable for non-enterprise SEM marketers.”


You’ve got two sets of short presos in this timeslot, perfect for floaters. We’ll be bouncing between these:

The New 1+1=3: Using Search Marketing to Amplify TV Buys with Kerry Curran of Catalyst and Itir Aloba-Curi of Bing. It’s amplification. How could we not? It’s an irresistible topic, and we can’t wait to see Catalyst’s approach.

The Power of Google Featured Snippets in 2016 – Analysis, Case Studies, and Recommendations with Glenn Gabe of G-Squared Interactive. In for some advanced SEO geekery? We are. Glenn’s a solid speaker and Google snippets studies are fascinating.


Our AIMCLEARians agree. There’s 1 of 2 places to be:

How To Find, Hack & Build Great AdWords Scripts with Marcela De Vivo of Gryffin, Frederick Vallaeys of Optmyzr, and Steven Hammer of RankHammer. PPCers: Do not miss this “ROCKSTAR panel.” “Anytime you have the opportunity to watch these three talk scripts, RUN, don’t walk.”

What You Need To Know About Google App Indexing followed by What You Need To Know About Apple iOS App Search & Universal Links with Cindy Krum and Emily Grossman of MobileMoxie. “Cindy & Emily = BEST in the biz at mobile & apps. Period.” “If that’s your thing, go early and stay late.”

Thursday, September 29


More quickies, one for SEMs, one for SEOs:

Your Retargeting Sucks (But It Doesn’t Have To!) with Elizabeth Marsten of CommerceHub. A “wicked smart marketer and speaker with sharp e-comm chops,” Elizabeth’s a star, and we’re looking forward to her slant on retargeting segmentation.

Adaptable Content: The “New Organic” SEO with Laura Ann Mitchell of Intel. Content is still key to link building, and inquiring minds want to know: What is adaptable content and why is it the new organic SEO?


SMX’s hottest panel is:

Optimizing Content For Voice Search & Virtual Assistants with Purna Virji of Bing, Jennifer Slegg of The SEM Post, and Tony Edward of Elite SEM. The future is now, and this panel has everything: Voice, AI, virtual assistants, and Jen, “a true journalist” and “one of the best reporters in the business, not afraid to tell it like it is.”


Another beautiful, beautiful panel. Go see:

Meet the SEOs with Michael King of IPullRank, Duane Forrester of Bruce Clay, Inc., and Hillary Glaser of Campbell Ewald. “Michael King is not only entertaining, he’s WICKED smart. Coupled with the legendary Duane Forrester and seasoned SEO Hillary Glaser, this session WON’T disappoint.”


One…last…choice… And, of course, it’s impossible. Topping our list:

Link Building Clinic with Stephan Spencer of Science of SEO and Matt Storms of Viator. “Stephan is a cut-throat genius, in every good sense of the word. #MustSee.”

Paid Search Roundtable with Andrew Goodman of Page Zero Media, Larry Kim of WordStream, Kerstin Baker-Ash of OMD, and Katy Tonkin of Point It. “Donkeys and unicorns! Larry Kim! Great way to wrap up the day!”

If you made it this far, pat yourself on the back ‘cause your agenda’s COMPLETE! Now, go get a refill, kick back and relax. We’ll see you next week. Safe travels to NYC!

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