UnGagged London Preview: Why CEO Greg Hayman Created a Secretive Event


Unfiltered truth and candid opinions are elusive beasts in the world of SEO and digital marketing. And while most professional conferences provide attendees solid tactics and the latest trends in the industry, presenters are very careful to stay within the lines. They hedge on sharing their deepest feelings and opinions for fear of offending or being subject to the wrath of the masses.  

Twice a year, top SEOs and experienced digital marketers gather for UnGagged conferences in two of the coolest cities on the planet — London and Las Vegas — to hear the truth exposed for a select few to absorb.

Traditional conferences thrive on people Tweeting, posting videos and sharing immediate feedback about mainstage and session content. UnGagged takes a wholly different approach with a strict “no recording” policy, creating a no-holds-barred environment in which presenters can speak their mind. The concept makes for an inner circle of experts and marketers on their way to becoming expert. No filters. No recording. Just truth and candid opinions.  

UnGagged London is about to commence, June 15-16, diving deep into SEO, technical SEO and mind-bending linking strategies. Smart marketers make UnGagged a must-attend event for their personal growth.

AIMCLEAR Masterclass & beyond

A grand opportunity at UnGagged London this year, AIMCLEAR experts Marty Weintraub, Megan Taggart and Merry Morud will present an all-day Masterclass on integrated marketing. Join us Wednesday, June 14, the day before UnGagged gets underway, to dig into elite PPC psychographic targeting, search, social and retargeting. Marty, Megan and Merry will share some of the best-kept secrets to help marketers find the leading edge in today’s competitive digital/social universe.

The following day, Marty will kick off the conference with his keynote, “Social? Psychographics? Data? SEO? PR? Content? PPC? What the Hell is Marketing Now ANYWAY!” Gone are the days we could accomplish marketing goals with simple channel tactics. From cross-device to cross-channel, everything is now inexorably wound. Join Marty as he demystifies the new, blended universe of search and social, paid and organic marketing, Thursday, June 15, at 9:00 a.m.

After lunch, Merry Morud hits the stage for her session, “Psychographic Display Revolution: Lead-Gen for Attention, Conversion & Community.” In this AI-driven world, marketers must master tactics that truly differentiate brands and cut through the cluttered digital space. Merry will dish the details on a case study that did just that, while sharing end-to-end tactics to successfully recreate and measure similar, scalable campaigns. Don’t miss Merry’s session on Thursday, June 15, at 1:00 p.m.

In the run-up to UnGagged London, AIMCLEAR caught up with the event’s top exec, Greg Hayman, for a Q&A.

AIMCLEAR (AC): Greg, tell us a bit about yourself.

Greg-HaymanGreg Hayman (GH): I’m the CEO of UnGagged. I have over 35 years of experience in the tech industry, which has involved working with SEMs, startups and major international organizations including Siemens, Compaq, Hewlett Packard and Getronics, all of which have contributed to my expertise in systems integrations, information technology and internet marketing. I have also held positions in the banking, medical, insurance and food industries. All in all, you could say I’ve pretty much covered every job position there is! Eventually, my business partner, Damien Trevatt, and I decided to venture out in the SEO/digital marketing conference industry by beginning a new phenomenon of conferences, called UnGagged.

AC: If you had only a minute or two to get someone interested in the UnGagged conferences, what would you say to them?

GH: I would ask them if they were interested in becoming the best in their industry. If the answer was yes, then UnGagged is for them! You see, UnGagged attendees are provided the latest strategies in SEO and digital marketing, particularly those carefully guarded industry secrets that can only be shared due to our “un-gagged” policy of no recording.

What’s more, the event attracts a high caliber audience of intermediate to advanced tech professionals looking to meet, speak and exchange ideas with like-minded industry experts. Our networking events and parties are well-loved by previous attendees, and are among the things they most appreciate about UnGagged. The open, laid-back nature of the event really comes into its own when attendees connect one-on-one.

AC: UnGagged has an edgy mystique that runs counter to a lot of digital marketing events. No recording. A bit more of a private “confessional” of sorts where people can speak candidly. Why did UnGagged go that route?

UnGagged-London-logoGH: We wanted to stand out and create a conference unlike any other tech or marketing event. As I mentioned earlier, our golden rule of no recording brings about, as you call it, a “confessional” tone to the event, which has had an enormous impact on attendees. People don’t want to hear information they can Google from the comfort of their couch at home. They pay to hear something no other conference, or person, can tell them. This unique approach relieves the speakers of constraints they might normally face when speaking at other conferences, as they are often told what subjects to avoid and what ideas or tools they need to include in their session. Regulations other conferences impose are simply to play it safe, but we want to tell it like it is, not toe the corporate line.

When we were scouting for interest in this type of conference, we found a huge cadre of world-class experts who wanted to share exclusive information, but had no way of sharing it without coming under fire from various corporate interests. Barring all recording devices was the only way we could get these top pros to honestly reveal their exact steps to success, or talk about how they attacked a widely experienced problem in the industry, regardless of who was in the audience.

AC: The London event will be held at an amazing location, not a typical hotel or convention setting. Why the fuss?

GH: Why not? If you’re going to go to an event, you may as well enjoy yourself! We don’t want attendees to endure another ordinary conference center, where they sit in a sweaty room for an hour and leave. UnGagged is an experience, not just in the delivery of content, but in the atmosphere, the type of attendees, the networking and the venue. This year we’re holding it at the famed etc.venues County Hall, overlooking the River Thames and Houses of Parliament. Every location we choose for UnGagged we choose with the comfort of our attendees in mind. The food, size and feel of the rooms, the space available for exhibitors, and area attractions are all considered to ensure a great experience.

AC: Great speakers and topics are on the agenda for UnGagged London in June. We know you can’t say “choose this session over that session,” but what are the hottest, top-of-mind topics that will drive engagement this year?

GH: Tricky question! As you said there is no one session I would recommend over another, as each speaker brings something new, advanced and cutting-edge to London; depending on what an attendee wants to hear will heavily impact what session they choose.

However, if I have to make a couple of suggestions, I would say Russell McAthy’s session on “Machine learning in CRO” would be a key session to note in the latest developments in CRO. Bastian Grimm also brings a new perspective to SEO, titled “Technical SEO: The 2017 Edition.” If you want to see a layout of the session titles and descriptions of every speaker session, visit our agenda on our London home page for a breakdown of all topics.

AC: For the uninitiated, is UnGagged only for advanced digital marketing pros or is it geared toward a broad range of skill levels?

GH: I wouldn’t lock anyone out from attending UnGagged. Yes, it is geared more for intermediate to advanced digital marketers, tech professionals and web developers, but there are sessions offered for the novice or beginner. We all have those questions we’re too afraid to ask, so this UnGagged is a perfect opportunity for everyone to get the answers they need. Whether at the conference or our after-hours events, UnGagged attendees are a diverse group, representing a wide range of skills and interests. Creating great contact and networking opportunities is our business.

AC: Let’s talk about the emergence of Masterclasses at events like UnGagged. It’s tough enough for people to step away from work for two days of sessions. Why should someone tack on an extra day for Masterclass experiences?

GH: A Masterclass is a different experience altogether. It is a focused group, a targeted session held by some of the most insightful professionals in the industry, offering personal advice and step-by-step methods to attendees one-on-one. If you’re already out of the office for two days to learn, why not further improve your skills and gain a real competitive edge? A three-day expedition might seem long, but the Masterclass will continue to benefit you years from now. Not all content can be delivered and covered on a granular level during a keynote or normal speaking session. A Masterclass is more of a classroom-style learning experience requiring a higher level of involvement and participation, along with opportunities to elicit those “too afraid to ask” questions. Due to this different style, Masterclasses are full-day events held outside of the conference. Get schooled the UnGagged way, or just come to get your mind blown.

AC: There’s two Masterclass sessions on the agenda for June in London: one with AIMCLEAR marketing pros talking about integrated marketing and social psychographic targeting, and the other on advanced SEO-ninja stuff. Are these sessions for the faint of heart? Who SHOULD attend them?

GH: UnGagged as a whole isn’t for the faint of heart, let alone the intense one-day Masterclasses. Marty Weintraub’s Masterclass will teach attendees how to integrate top-of-funnel psychographic, search and retargeted traffic to their websites. Attendees who have at least three years of experience in digital marketing are recommended to attend, particularly those eager to increase their skills significantly.

For Jim Boykin’s Masterclass session, attendees will embark on a fast-paced learning experience in all things SEO, as he covers nine topics within the area. I would say attendees who are beginner to intermediate would suit this Masterclass. Overall, Jim’s and Marty’s respective Masterclasses are suitable for digital marketing managers, IT managers and anyone interested in SEO. With both Masterclasses, all attendees should expect hands-on, full-disclosure tactics and actionable methods.

Still time to attend

UnGagged London kicks off with Masterclasses on June 14 then goes unfiltered and candid for a new level of sharing about SEO and digital marketing June 15-16. Find out more and register today.

Only attendees know the true power of attending an UnGagged event. Experience it for yourself.

Image credit: Cristian Gusa/Shutterstock.com

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