I spent most of last week trying not to cry in front of the digital marketing community…
Last week I spoke at SMX West in San Jose, my first speaking gig back after recovering from burnout, beating cancer, opening my own firm, and returning to agency-side from a few years spent brand-side. I was incredibly nervous to dust off my personal brand and jump back into the digital marketing community as a thought leader and now, an agency owner.
Speaking after a 2-year hiatus is nerve-wracking, the last time I spoke at a conference was at HeroConf Portland in 2016. In addition to participating in the Mastering Social Advertising workshop, talking about Facebook ads that convert, I took a gamble and put together a presentation about CRM campaign tracking that I delivered during the Multi-Touch Attribution Models that Move the Needle panel. Attacking the attribution conversation from a completely different angle then I’ve ever seen covered in the past. On top of this change in topical focus, I was also representing my own venture for the first time ever, having formally announced HDC Digital to the world only a month prior to SMX West. So yeah…I was nervous.
Old Friends – Warm Welcome Back
Turns out, I didn’t really need to be nervous after all. What I got when I arrived at SMX was the warmest welcome back ever. All of the regular speakers I used to network with (and even some folks who had seen me speak in the past) not only remembered me, but were so happy to see me. I was met with lots of bright smiles, long hugs (hense the trying not to cry all week) and lots of excitement and curiosity about my restored health and new direction. Even turned out that several of my old ad friends are now CEO’s of SaaS companies serving the advertising community and can use our demand generation services.
New Friends – Enthusiastic Introductions
I made lots of new friends and contacts. I met people I had never met in person but knew about from the online digital community. I didn’t realize many of them actually knew who I was!
We geeked out on all the digital things, heckled each other during presentations, and had awesome lunch conversations and shenannigans.
Attendee Feedback – Positive Experiences
I also got lots of love on Twitter and from attendees about my presentations. Attendees seemed to be excited about the different angle I took on attribution and got a lot of value out of the material. Folks in B2B were happy to see someone talking about their day-to-day struggles in attribution.
The digital marketing community is an incredibly supportive and inclusive community. Full of intelligent, innovative, and positive energy. I definitely left the conference completely exhaused with a very full heart. I’m so lucky to have the opportunity to be part of such a vibrant network of professionals in a super fun and engaging space.
I’m so happy to be back and excited to keep the momentum going!
Thank you so much to everyone who contributed to an amazing week at SMX West! See you at the next one!