Which agency conferences will you attend in 2023?

See agency conferences in 2023
Written by: Karl Sakas

Trying to decide which agency conferences to attend in 2023? Here’s my 7th annual roundup, including virtual, in-person, and hybrid events. [Last updated: January 2023, including COVID impacts]

My curated recommendations include 25+ events to consider—in chronological order—with a focus on U.S. and virtual events. I’ve noted events where I have experience as a speaker or attendee.

Know any agency conferences that should be on this list? Let me know! I’ll continue to update this throughout 2023. They’re listed in chronological order, based on confirmed (or likely ) timing. Some are still “to be announced” or “to be determined” (TBD).

Want to pitch events as a speaker? Check out my book on speaking for agency lead-gen. But plan ahead—events typically recruit speakers several months to a year in advance.

Agency Growth Bootcamp: Work Less + Earn More

January 11 to March 29, 2023 (virtually)

My agency growth bootcamp is designed to help you grow in 2023 and beyond. The Q1 2023 theme is “Work Less, Earn More,” and the format is 100% virtual.

Participants will create a custom 90-day plan to jumpstart your growth in 2023—and connect in their cohort of 35 highly-motivated agency leaders from around the world.

During the 90-day program, agency owners get live training, group coaching, and hands-on assignments to help them grow—and you’ll connect between calls in the private Circle community. The six modules are: Work Less, Earn More, Enlist Your Team, Choose Your Growth Strategy, Create Your 90-Day Plan, and Take Action.

Participation is by application only, focusing on owners and top executives at agencies with 5 to 100 team members. Applications for Q1 2023 closed in late 2022. Sign up here to be notified when applications for 2024 open.

Understanding and Benchmarking Your Firm’s Financial Performance

January 30, 2023 in Atlanta

This in-person with expert David C. Baker focuses on financial benchmarks for agency performance… and how to start closing the gaps. The 2018 description noted:

“This unique seminar takes this further with additional research and the advanced element of prioritizing what you should watch and how to close the performance gaps. This is one of those boring topics…unless it’s your money or your job! And in that case you’ll finally find authoritative information about the business side of creativity.”

I regularly recommend David’s classic book on financial management for agencies; I’m glad to hear he’s planning to release a second edition in 2023, after the first in 2010.

The next event will be January 30, 2023, in Atlanta at Monday Night Brewing.

Agency New Business Virtual Conference

February 6-10, 2023 (virtually)

This virtual conference on agency new business is from RSW/US. The previous event ran February 7-11, 2022—focused on business development. The theme was: “On the Road to New Business: Frontline insights from marketers & agencies to help you win” Last year’s topics included trends predictions from agency leaders and CMOs, benchmarks and best practices, and client-win case studies.

According to RSW/US, the 2023 event will run February 6-10, 2023 from 12:00-1:30pm EST each day. Previous speakers included agency search consultants, marketing clients, agencies, and RSW/US team members.

Account and Project Management seminar

March 13, 2023 in Atlanta

This in-person with agency expert David C. Baker—and account management expert Jenny Plant—focuses on Account Management and Project Management. The 2023 description notes:

We have reconfigured our popular Account and Project Management seminar this year, making it longer (now it spans two days) and bringing in expert Jenny Plant as a speaker. The result is an intensive two-day crash course on all things account and project management. Those just starting to explore the subject and those who have been steeped in it will both benefit greatly.

Strong client management and project management is no substitute for great work, but it is key to the success of growing client relationships, and therefore growing a successful practice.

As of early January 2023, the next event will be March 13, 2023, in Atlanta at Monday Night Brewing.

Ad World 2023

March 29-30, 2023 (virtual)

For 2022, this virtual conference included a new Advertising Agencies track. Keynote speakers included Seth Godin, Ryan Deiss, and Danisha Lomax—plus breakout speakers from brands like Bonobos, Conde Nast, Disney, Google, MasterCard, Meta, TikTok, WNBA, and YouTube.

As of January 2023, further details can be found on their event page. The previous event was October 11-12, 2022 virtually.

Operations Summit

April 24-25, 2023 (virtual)

This virtual event for agency operations leaders is hosted by the Bureau of Digital. The 2023 description notes:

Let’s spend two days going deep on how we take operations to a higher level. Let’s get strategic with the information we already have to pave the way for the extraordinary. And let’s do it in a way where you go back to work with an actionable approach that can start improving the way your team works right away.

We’ll dig into each discipline; Operations, Business Development, Delivery, and Finance. Of course, we can’t forget that ultimate operations wild card, humans. So team dynamics will be on the agenda. Finally, we’ll discuss scaling operations up and down without causing any costly disruptions.

With that base of shared knowledge to work from, we’ll spend day two focused on challenges and solutions that reach the heart of operations. Through workshops and small group discussions, you’ll find your path to getting very good at ordinary operations. Then you too will be ready to seize those extraordinary opportunities. 🙌

As of late January 2023, the speaker lineup was TBD. In 2022, speakers included: Rob Harr, Elia Milan, Larry Waddell, Traci Barrett, and Adam Kurzawa. My colleague Kate attended.

Ontraport’s Agency Summit

TBD for 2023

This three-day event from sales and marketing platform Ontraport focuses on agency growth. Last year’s topics include: “find out how top agencies are attracting more leads and closing more high-ticket deals, discover tech innovations that you can leverage to differentiate your service offerings, [and] learn how to shift to strategic services that bring in more profits with less maintenance.”

As of late January 2023, the 2023 conference details were TBD. The 2022 event ran April 25-27 virtually. The speaker lineup included agency experts like Jody Sutter and Lee McKnight.

PRSA Counselors Academy

May 8-10 and May 17, 2023 in New Orleans

This annual conference by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) focuses on C-suite issues, case studies, and research that leads growth. The conference draws primarily from PR and communications agency owners. I spoke at the 2016 event in Puerto Rico.

In late October, PRSA shared that the 2023 event would be in New Orleans. The spring 2022 event was in-person in Scottsdale, Arizona, over May 15-17; vaccination or a negative PCR test was required.

Owner Summit

May 8-9, 2023 in New Orleans

This two-day agenda conference from the Bureau of Digital is tailored to digital agency owners. In 2022, the event ran February 21-22 in a hybrid format—a small group in-person, and a streaming ticket for those joining remotely.

Several of my clients have attended past Owner Summits—they reported good learning and networking. I attended in 2022 via the streaming ticket.

Last year’s speakers included: Nancy Lyons (Clockwork), Mike King (iPullRank), Tom O’Neil (The Nerdery), Boyuan Yao and Jahan Mantin (Project Inkblot), Dan Cederholm (Dribbble), Carl Smith (Bureau of Digital), Traci Barrett (Navigate the Journey), and Rob Harr (Sparkbox).

As of late January 2023, Owner Summit will be May 8-9, 2023, in-person in New Orleans. I’m helping organizer Carl Smith with programming.

Mirren Live

May 16-17, 2023 (Kansas City + virtual)

Mirren Live focuses on agency growth. Topics include aligning agency and client incentives, the latest tools to run your agency, how to turn your website into an active lead-gen tool, and agency pitch demonstrations.

In 2022, the event moved from New York to Kansas City, at the headquarters of agency Barkley, plus a virtual broadcast. The conference ran May 17-18, 2022, with pre-conference on May 10 and post-conference on May 24.

As of January 2023, the event location is in Kansas City with virtual options.

Build a Better Agency Summit

May 15-17, 2023 in Chicago

This third annual Agency Management Institute (AMI) event is from long-time agency owner and consultant Drew McLellan. Last year, the BABA Summit was held in-person in Chicago.

The 2022 speaker lineup included Amber Naslund, Adam Carroll, Adam Pierno, Andrew Davis, Andy Crestodina, Carla Johnson, Drew McLellan, Jody Sutter, Len Herstein, Molly Eyerman, Molly Rose Speed, Pamela Slim, Stephen Woessner, and Susan Baier.

The 2023 agenda and speaker lineup are posted.

4A’s Management Practitioners’ Forum (MPF)

TBD for 2023

This members-only agency management conference is hosted by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s). The previous event ran in-person in Chicago over June 8-9, 2022.

Previous themes have included: creating inclusive work and cultures, pitching and new business in the virtual era, the future of work, building your agency for growth, and how agencies punch above their weight. The speaker lineup typically includes both agencies and brands.

As of late January 2023, the 2023 dates were TBD.

Operations Camp

TBD for 2023

This two-day virtual conference from the Bureau of Digital is tailored to operations leaders at digital agencies. Last year, the speaker lineup included agency leaders and industry experts with agenda topics that included studio operations, delivery, outbound sales, revenue forecasting, team health, and ops tools.

In 2022, the schedule included “two days of moderated discussions based on topics you request.” My colleague Kate attended the 2022 event, and I’ve recommended the program to several of my clients for their Ops leader.

As of late January 2023, details for 2023 were TBD. The previous program ran June 23-24 virtually.

Ad Age Small Agency Conference & Awards

TBD for 2023

This annual Ad Age event is designed for small- to mid-size agencies. Pre-pandemic, the schedule typically combined an evening of networking and cocktails, plus a day of conversation and talks that tackle challenges and opportunities in small agencies. Things have shifted back in-person again since 2022.

As of early January 2023, details for 2023 were TBD—but award applications will be accepted February 14 to April 26, 2023. The previous event was July 26-27, 2022 in Chicago.

Agency Summit: A Masterclass for Agency Owners

TBD for 2023

This free virtual agency conference from social platform Agorapulse focuses on scaling your agency. The 2022 description noted:

“Just like climbing a summit takes time, effort, and patience, growing your agency takes the same. But the rewards are worth it, as you’ll learn at Agency Summit ‘22. Join us and find out how to grow & scale your agency to new heights.”

The 2022 speaker lineup included live keynotes and workshops from Andrew Davis, Ekaterina Walter, Jonah Berger, Rand Fishkin, Robert Rose, and more. I did a breakout about handling difficult clients.

As of late January 2023, details for 2023 were TBD. The previous event ran virtually on August 25-26, 2022.

INBOUND

September 5-8, 2023 in Boston + virtually

The 2021 event was held completely online, with more than 100,000 global attendees—up from 70,000 in 2020. Past keynotes have included Oprah Winfrey, Spike Lee, Adam Grant, Beth Comstock, Brené Brown, Ed Catmull, Michelle Obama, and Shonda Rimes. The 2021 breakout tracks included: Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, and HubSpot Academy.

I spoke at INBOUND in 2015, 2017, 2018, 2020, and 2021. My latest talk was an “Ask Me Anything” Q&A session about how to keep your best clients happy.

Announced in February 2022, last year’s event had brand new Breakout tracks… and in-person and digital (virtual) speakers:

  • BUILD Your Business. Do you hear that? It’s your inner voice reminding you that your expertise can capture the attention of any audience.
  • BUILD Your CRM. Knowledge is power and education is the key. You’re more than a teacher — you’re a coach, a leader, and a subject matter expert in your field — especially when it comes to HubSpot.
  • BUILD Your Workplace. Whether your office is one from home with your dog always begging for playtime or in a socially distanced cubicle, your learning and collaboration don’t miss a beat.
  • BUILD Your Purpose. You prioritize growth and balance (also known as mindfulness) to become the best version of yourself. You seek wisdom outside of your day to day in different industries and love to share what you’ve learned.

This year will include a new track lineup. As of January 2023, the 2023 speaker lineup was TBD.

Content Marketing World (CMW)

September 26-29, 2023 in Washington, D.C.

The annual Content Marketing World Conference & Expo (CMW) includes learning and networking with content marketing industry leaders. The 2022 event was held in Cleveland, Ohio—including an Agency Strategies track.

I emcee’d the in-person Future Content Keynotes in 2016 and spoke about agencies in 2018. The 2022 speaker application noted: “This will be an in-person event where sessions will be recorded for on demand viewing after the event.”

As of January 2023, the agenda for 2023 is posted—but in a big shift, the event is moving from Cleveland to Washington, D.C. The previous event was September 13-16, 2022 in Cleveland, and September 21-22 online.

Agency Leadership Intensive (ALI)

Fall 2023 (virtually)

You can’t up-level your agency without up-leveling your leadership. My Agency Leadership Intensive (ALI) will help you do just that. The 100% virtual program is:

  • Exclusive: This isn’t a leadership program open to any generic business; it’s agencies-only. And it’s not for first-time managers. The by-application-only program is custom-designed exclusively for agency owners and executive-level leaders.
  • Transformational: Get personalized 360° insights into yourself (plus insights on your team), so you can prioritize where to up-level, based on the unique challenges at your agency.
  • Action-Oriented: It’s not just learning new ideas. You’ll practice what you learn, and you’ll create a custom 60-day “choose your own adventure” plan to start 2024 strong. And since it’s not enough to just create the plan, you’ll get accountability support to make it happen.
  • Supportive: Your value continues beyond the program itself. You’ll get access to a private network of fellow agency leaders. This means you’ll get re-energizing support before, during, and after the live sessions. And you’ll get time-saving templates to create a “multiplier effect” for the future.

If accepted, you’ll create a custom 60-day plan to jumpstart your growth in 2024—and connect in your small cohort of highly-motivated agency leaders from around the world.

  • Over six weeks, agency owners get live training, group coaching, and hands-on assignments to help them grow—and you’ll connect between calls in the private community.
  • And it’s not just the six weeks—accountability support continues in November and December, including group calls every other week to help you troubleshooting challenges as you implement your 60-day plan.

Participation is by application only, focusing on owners and top executives at agencies with 5 to 100 team members. The sooner you apply, the lower the investment… and the higher your odds of being accepted. Learn more here.

We will announce 2023 details by mid-2023.

Traffic & Conversion Summit (T&C)

September 12-14, 2023 (format TBD)

After moving online in 2020, Traffic & Conversion Summit went hybrid for 2021 and 2022. Previous speakers have included Magic Johnson, Martha Stewart, and Marie Forleo. I spoke in the previous “Agencies Only” track in December 2020, on how to fix “profit leaks” at your agency.

As of January 2023, the 2023 agenda and speakers were TBD. The previous event ran September 27-29, 2022, in San Diego and virtually; the event did not include the prior “Agencies Only” track.

Digital PM Summit

October 23-24, 2023 (Orlando)

This long-running digital PM conference is hosted by the Bureau of Digital. If you have PMs, they should go there… and ideally have already pitched you on going. (It’s a sign they’re not a “reluctant PM.”) I spoke at DPM Summit in 2014.

The 2022 speaker lineup included both agency and in-house experts, and my colleague Kate attended.

As of January 2023, details for 2023 can be found on the event page. The previous event ran October 17-18, 2022 virtually.

Digital Mastermind Group (DMG): Annual Summit

TBD for 2023

Hosted by the Digital Mastermind Group (DMG), this three-day agency conference features a mix of expert speakers, in-depth roundtable discussions among agency owners, BarCamp sessions with quick tips, and networking.

I was the keynote speaker at the October 2021 event, where I shared my advice to help agency owners “Work Less, Earn More.” It’s a nice group; they’ve found the right balance on learning, networking, and sharing.

As of January 2023, details were TBD. The previous event ran October 17-19, 2022 in St. Augustine, Florida.

Advertising Week New York

TBD for 2023 in New York

This week-long event features seminars and workshops on topics like storytelling through different mediums, creating connections in the industry, what brands want, and influencer stories and lessons.

The New York events are part of an international network that reports reaching 98,000 people. In mid-June 2022, the organizer announced new dates and a new location: October 17-20, 2022. Pricing remained the same.

As of January 2023, details for 2023 were TBD.

MYOB Conference: Mind Your Own Business

October 16-18, 2023 in Atlanta

Agency expert David C. Baker re-launched his MYOB Conference (aka “Mind Your Own Business”) for 2022. After launching the event in mid-July 2022, he noted:

“After a long hiatus, the The Mind Your Own Business (MYOB) Conference is back. Making the transition from writer or designer to successful business owner can be challenging. Establishing your business, achieving growth, and balancing your roles as CEO, CFO and HR director… it’s a stark contrast to the blue sky culture of marketing and communications. MYOB was built specifically to address the business side of your creative-service business.

Get the business savvy you need from experts who specialize in working with creatives. Conference sessions cover everything from recruiting and keeping talented employees to managing your finances to winning new business—all geared specifically for principals and directors of design and creative-service firms.”

David invited me to lead a Breakfast Roundtable; my topic was “Managing Humans vs. Managing Robots.” The 2022 speaker lineup included: David C. Baker, Derek Walker, Jenny Plant, Jonathan Stark, Mark O’Brien, Mike Michalowicz, Nathan Allebach, Nika Kabiri, Philip Morgan, Shannyn Lee, Sharon Toerek, and Tom Yorton.

The 2023 event will run October 16-18, 2023, with a new lineup of speakers. For further information, visit the conference website.

HighLevelUp Summit

October 23-26, 2023 in Dallas

This conference is run by marketing platform HighLevel. The 2022 event had dozens of speakers on a range of marketing topics, including keynotes by people like Frank Kern.

As of late January 2023, the speaker lineup was TBD; HighLevel estimated attracting 800+ attendees for 2023. The previous event ran October 24-27, 2022 in Dallas.

Content Jam

Fall 2023 in Chicago

This long-running event by Andy Crestodina features national-level speakers (e.g., Ann Handley, Gini Dietrich, and Joanna Wiebe) while providing the intimacy of a regional conference. Compared to conferences with thousands of guests, think of it as “big names in a smaller setting.”

The 2022 speaker lineup includes: Andy Crestodina, Casie Gillette, Mike King, Diane Kulseth, and Joanna Wiebe.

As of late January 2023, details were TBD. The previous event ran October 25, 2022 in Chicago.

Mirren Executive Leadership Summit

November 7-8, 2023 (virtual)

This event focuses on agency CEOs and their top lieutenants. Previous topics included: profit margins, breakthrough innovation, engaged remote workforce, operational strategy, revenue growth, and account profitability.

As of January 2023, event details are TBD. The last event was in November 2021.

Landing the Plane: Your Exit via Valuation, Internal Transfer, M/A

December 4, 2023 in Atlanta

This in-person agency M&A seminar with expert David C. Baker focuses on owners who want to sell their agency. The 2022 description noted:

“Our all-new ‘Landing the Plane’ seminar is a must for principals looking to maximize the value of their creative and digital firms by building towards a succession process… whether it happens or not. We are holding a 1-day intimate seminar in Atlanta, GA to help you plan an exit, whether that means a sale, an ownership transfer, or simply a better work/life balance. If you are ready to pick your head up and think about your particular future, consider joining us. Lunch, dinner, and all beverages (alcoholic and otherwise) are included.”

As of late January 2023, the next event will be December 4, 2023, in Atlanta at Monday Night Brewing. The previous event was on June 28, 2022, at the same venue.

Inactive Events for 2023

As of January 2023, these previously-operating events were inactive for 2021-2022 and (so far) 2023:

  1. AgencyCon (previously in September 2019)
  2. ClientCon (previously in September/October 2020)
  3. HeyOrca! Agency Conference (previously in October 2020)
  4. SMX: Search Marketing Expo (Agency Operations & Management, previously in November 2019)
  5. The SoDA Academy (previously in 2018)

If that changes, I’ll post updated information here.

Pick the Right Agency Conferences

Conferences can be great, but they can also be a time-suck—even if they’re fully or mostly online. Read my article on how to get more out of your next conference, including things you need to do before, during, and after the event. And if you’re thinking of organizing your own lead-gen event, see my 47 tips.

QUESTION: Which agency conferences are you planning to attend in 2023?

Note: This post was originally published October 25, 2022. We’re updating it regularly with the latest event info (currently: as of January 25, 2023).

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