Outside of Hilary Clinton’s Keynote, what other awesome sessions should you attend?

With 90 sessions this year and a likely count of 3500 attendees, how do you know which sessions and parties to attend? (of course you attend the parties, but don’t tell your boss). As you may have heard, I gain a lot with each Summit I attend  and you can too.

Each session you attend is a learning opportunity and a networking opportunity. Let’s discuss both aspects, and then I’ll tell you which sessions you should seriously consider attending.

How to Network at a Marketo Session

If you want to network well during the Summit, there are plenty of articles out there. Here are a few suggestions:

What I do is find a seat near the front (if you can!) or sit near people I recognize. Always chat up the people near you because they could be your colleagues, manager, or new hire one day. Your neighbors might have great insights too. And I’m sure they are also fun people that you will karaoke with later.

The next step is to introduce yourself to the speaker or panel. At the Marketo Summit, some speakers will arrive early and be open to quick chats, so watch body language. Speakers often have a pre-game ritual they don’t want to break.

Pay close attention to speakers you want to meet. Ask questions during Q&A and hang around afterward for the inevitable post session discussion. (Here’s an interesting take on how to approach a speaker – go to #4). The key is to be different than everyone else by asking clear, insightful questions—demonstrating you know the speaker’s work or domain well. Your goal is not to impress or one up the speaker, but to spark a useful discussion that shows you are also knowledgeable and worth the speaker’s time. Offer them something new and interesting. You might find yourself a new friend in short order.

How to Choose a Session

Now for the sessions. If you are new to Marketo, choose sessions that explain how people are using Marketo in ways that you are implementing now or in the near future. If you have a specific question you need answered, find that session.

This year, the Marketo Champions are offering several Champion Sessions geared toward hands on, advanced work in Marketo. These are big opportunities to find out how other marketers are solving real problems in Marketo – problems you have. Champions are by nature happy to network and answer your questions in detail. We also have office hours at the Marketo booth.

Here are my top picks for this year’s sessions. Stop by – you might find me there too!

Perkuto’s Top Marketo Summit Sessions for 2014

Ann Handley’s Content Marketing Makeover

Wait, Ann Handley, the doyenne of content marketing is doing a session at the Marketo Summit? I am changing my schedule.

Accelerating Your Freemium Strategy

I like this one because so many firms can take advantage of this offer to build a funnel and email list. My favorite opportunities are premium content firms (media, publishers, consultants) and of course software. One of the first things I learned back in 1993 as I explored copyright law was freemium – including the old shareware and freeware options. Now that consumers and businesses are fully accepting of these models, businesses should use them whenever they can.

Create Gorgeous Marketing Dashboards Your Executives with Love

With Revenue Master and Marketo Champion, Pierce Ujainwalla. He knows how to make Marketo and Salesforce sing.

How to Turn Every Bounced Lead into Two Warm Leads

This session is by Steven Moody of Beachhead Marketing. Since I have written extensively about bounced email management, I am excited to learn how one can turn bounces back to MQLs.

The Full Cycle: How to Budget, Plan, and Measure Effective Marketing Campaigns in Marketo

If you want to know how to use the Marketo Vision – the full RCA suite, learn from Moody’s experience. I am curious to know how different large firms approach the planning and execution process while building reports. The session description doesn’t have the details, but this could be a good example of Marketo’s MFM tool.

More Efficient, More Zen – Your Dream Marketing Team

With Perkuto’s Alexandre Pelletier who will explain how to streamline Marketo use with rapid fire asset creation and program setup. These tips and tricks to using Marketo will result in at least 20 hours of savings each month.

What’s Driving Your Leads?

With Jeff Coveney of RevEngine Marketing and Mark Farnell of NewVoice Media.

This session covers some key methods for ensure data is available to report on. I find that many marketers haven’t completely thought through how the data they collect affects their reports. Jeff and Mark review how to setup many of the key items in Marketo to provide this data to you. Before you go here, you should check out my post on Lead Sources.

The Art and Science of Aligning Sales and Marketing

This is with my good friends at Qvidian who will be on a panel discussing building the relationships and reports that bind sales and marketing together. I know this area has been belabored by Marketo and other firms, but I continue to find organizations where they have yet to have the “talk” between the two departments. If you need ideas on alignment, this is the session to be at.

Generating the Most Qualified Leads with Account Based Marketing

This is with Kaushik Patel of Bluejeans with Mike Telem of Marketo.

Clearly, this is Marketo’s advertisement for the Insightera module they acquired in late 2013.  I’m genuinely curious to learn more about ABM approaches and how that could work in Marketo. I suspect that you could develop ABM without Insightera, however, it might be a bit harder to do. I’d love to hear from a fellow Champion on how they developed an ABM strategy to handle Influencers, Champions, Detractors, Decision Makers, and Purchasing with just Programs.

Product Team Presents – Customer Love Release

Cheryl Chavez, Director of Product for Marketo is busy this Summit with several presentations, including this much-anticipated new feature release. Expect tons of goodies from Cheryl this time. How do I know this? Because she told me

Agile Marketing – Managing Marketing in High Gear

With Scott Brinker of Ion Interactive

We’ve all heard about agile software techniques, but what about agile marketing? I know of an orange colored Marketo competitor that practices this technique, so how can you? From what I hear, this is not an easy process. It is well worth it though if you can organize your team and your process to deliver faster content and programs, rapidly iterate and deploy in line with a larger strategy.

If done right, you can stay on top of trends, shift course faster than competitors, and deliver revenue faster. Go beyond the annual plan. I recommend taking the time to learn what you can from Scott so you can implement agile techniques in your organization.

That’s it for this year’s recommendations. Be sure to reach out to me and Perkuto at the Summit: @jdavidhill and @perkuto.