5 Things we loved about SMX London

By Kenda Macdonald | Speaking Events

Jun 14
5 Things we Loved about SMX London - featured image

What it is

SMX is a worldwide series of Search Marketing Conferences. Sounds like super nerdy stuff right - well you'd be correct in assuming that. But it's important stuff. SMX incorporates SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and a touch of Online Marketing - covering both advanced and beginner levels. 

What it all boils down to is being found online, by the right people, at the right time. As Search is so fundamental to your online presence - you can't afford to waste time money and effort on it. So putting experts from across Europe, the UK and the Americas, all in one room - is a great way to get ahead of the competition. 

What we expected

I’m comfortable with tech and computers. I am very very comfortable with what I do and that involves knowing the ins and outs of some software. That means people very often assume I'm a coding whizz, but when it comes to development - I know I’m beat.

That's okay though - because I believe in experts.

I believe that there are some things you just simply don’t have to time to learn how to use properly and keep a business running. Does that mean that I couldn't learn it all? No, of course not. It just means I understand that my expertise is best used in specific areas of the business.

And boy were there a lot of experts. SMX London had an amazing line-up - and the knowledge bombs dropped were golden. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my talk, and the other talks I attended. 

In order to recap properly, here are the 5 things I loved the most about both talking at, and attending SMX London 2018

1.The Vibe

Attending a tech conference can be a daunting prospect if you don't feel like you're a techy, and it can be confrontational if you're at that level. 

This is where SMX London Surprised me.

I have never been to a digital conference of this kind that is more open, inclusive and friendly. 

The mix of people was fabulous too - there was an amazing range from SME's to Enterprise. Not to mention a really good mix of vendors. There seemed to be meetings happening all over the place.

I love a laid back and friendly vibe, that still means business - and I think SMX London nailed it.

2.The Presentations

When you're speaking at an event, it's really hard to get to see all of the talks. Because the talks were bite sized and digestible, I got to see some awesome presentations. I didn't get to see as many as I liked, but here are some of my highlights.

Arriane Donoghue

@ArianneDonoghue rocking it with reporting 🤩 #smx pic.twitter.com/HFYiTYdXrd

— Automation Ninjas (@AutomatioNinjas) 23 May 2018

Jeroen Maljers

@jeroenmaljers showing us how B2B search integrates with the customer journey. We're nodding along happily - awesome job #smx pic.twitter.com/rSlBDCJKlT

— Automation Ninjas (@AutomatioNinjas) 23 May 2018

Ann Stanley and Mark Meijs

@AnnStanley and @Mark_Meijs bossing the tough questions on ecommerce #SMXLondon pic.twitter.com/lcRs4Yj2Zv

— Automation Ninjas (@AutomatioNinjas) 23 May 2018

Andraz Stalec and Kenda Macdonald

Then of course I had my own talk, which I tag teamed with the lovely Andraz. It was a blast, we got awesome feedback - and highland cow pictures

Here's some hairy coo pictures for @AutomatioNinjas - we appear to have a shared love of highland cattle and behavioural economics!

Hi from the dual-screener in the front row 🙌 (Weirdly people often think I'm South African but I'm not!)#smxlondon #smx pic.twitter.com/ZTnGYGt952

— Arianne Donoghue (@ArianneDonoghue) 22 May 2018

3.The Food

Conference food right? Usually synonymous with "yuck" right? 

Well thank you SMX for breaking the mould on that one - the food was lovely, plentiful, and with many snacks in between meals. A lovely pleasant surprise on that front!

4.The Audience

Sometimes it's hard being in the audience of a conference, you're tired, you've slept in a hotel room, the food is pants and the coffee is weak... and that translates to a pretty poor level of engagement with speakers and topics. 

Thankfully this was not a problem at all at SMX London. The audience was chipper, engaged, and scribbling notes in all the sessions I attended. 

Twitter was busy and people were putting their social graces to good use during breaks.

I even got some rad feedback from my talk later on LinkedIn:

Nothing better than that to show that you enjoyed yourself. 

5.The Range

Sometimes I find that conferences can either be a but "samey" with not enough variation around topics, or they are all over the place - totally disjointed and confusing. 

SMX London found a good medium. There was enough for the uber techies, a decent amount for the beginners, and loads for those of us in between. Everyone had the chance to learn, improve and action - which is exactly what you want from a conference...

What could SMX London have done better?

I can't just say good things now can I? That's not how life works, no one is perfect 🙂 

I only have two suggestions. 

1 - Tables for eating/ seating please

It was hard to eat the lovely food that was made for us, as there wasn't anywhere to put the trays... This meant that all the speakers kept disappearing off into the speaker lounge to eat, which is a bit anti social. 

2 - Give us the slides

The content discussed was of such a high calibre - it was hard to keep up with the notes. I would love to get my hands on a slide pack of my favourite speakers 

The Big Take Away

Distilling everything I learned at SMX London to one take away is hard. 

But here it is: 

Search Marketing has now become so complex, and convoluted, that it's easy to forget that you still need to have your roots in decent marketing strategy. 

It's easy to become overly reliant on technology, and forget that the audience you're targeting is made out of people. Don't forget that there is a person at the end of the keyboard. 

Further to that, if you're an agency, don't forget that your clients still need you to be putting decent marketing strategy behind all the SEO and SEM work. 

All the conversations I had ended up in the same place - Search Marketing will lose it's Why if we're not careful. 

Thank You's

That all being said, it's time for Thank you's. I met so many amazing people at SMX London, that it would be tough to thank all of you individually. 

So thank you to the SMX team for putting on a well run, educational and fun event. I can't wait for SMX East! 

And then thank you to all the amazing speakers below that made the event what it was:

Arsen Rabinovich - @tophatarsen

Mikkel deMib Svendsen @demib

Brad Geddes @bgTheory

Matt Van Wagner @mvanwagner

Michelle Robbins @MichelleRobbins

Tom Anthony @TomAnthonySEO

James Finlayson @jamesfinlayson

Andraz Stalec @andrazstalec

Aleyda Solis @aleyda

Nick Wilsdon @nickwilsdon

Navah Hopkins @navahf

Marcela De Vivo @marceladevivo

Mark Meijs @Mark_Meijs

Ann Stanley @annstanley

Anders Hjorth @soanders

Jeroen Maljers @swydo

Kathryn Parsons @urbanwebkat

Bastian Grimm @basgr

Wijnand Meijer @wijnandmeijer

Arianne Donoghue @ArianneDonoghue

Bethan @BethanVincent

Did you attend SMX London? What did you think?

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About the Author

Kenda Macdonald is an Automation Ninja. With a background in Forensic Psychology and an affinity for statistics and behaviourally intelligent automation – she’s not your average expert. She’s been living and breathing Infusionsoft since 2011 and has spent over 14 500 hours learning new ways to automate what people think is impossible. She’s a true nerd, and spends her waking hours helping businesses understand behaviour for super effective marketing, and relishes in simplifying over complicated processes for truly intelligent automated marketing. She’s the founder of Automation Ninjas - Experts in behavioural automation. Expect enthusiasm and a wealth of knowledge – not normalcy.

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