Over the weekend, it was revealed that Online Market World, a two-year old conference in San Francisco, has been discontinued.
I’m sad to see it go, as my business partner had spoken at both conferences, and my firm, Apogee Search had exhibited at the most recent one last month. It had been a good conference for us. There may still be some chance that it is revived under new management, but that doesn’t appear all that likely.
I expect 2009 is going to be a hard year for many conferences. In tough economic times, educational budgets are often the first thing slashed. And many marketing departments pull away from conferences and events, even though they are often a source of one’s best leads.
The news won’t be bad for everyone, however. The last two shows I’ve attended (Sean Lowrey’s Innotech Oklahoma and Brett Tabke’s PubCon) were extremely well attended, although the exhibit hall at PubCon was a bit anemic (an issue I’ll address in a later posting).
What separates these two shows from others is their focus on tactical and execution issues. In both cases, they were about achieving one’s marketing goals in the real world. The quality of content was high for both (although I’m biased as I spoke at them).
Hopefully, companies will realize that even though the economy is hurting, the world is not going to stop spinning, and education of employees is still important. Even if you’re not educating your employees, you competitors may be so, and you may fall behind. And your best employees may well go to another company that supports them in their career development.