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: November 2023]
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.
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.
January 30, 2023 in Atlanta (and May 22, 2023 in Dallas)
“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.”
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.
March 13, 2023 in Atlanta
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.
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.
April 24-25, 2023 (virtual)
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 March 2023, speakers included Alyson Caffrey, Danielle Fauteaux, David C. Baker, Kayla Baretta, Larry Waddell, Liz Ott, Rob Harr, Tom O’Neill, and Traci Barrett. My colleague Kate attended in 2022, and again in 2023.
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—and he drafted me as a speaker; I’ll share interactive advice from my Work Less, Earn More book.
May 8-10, 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.
Here’s the 2023 agenda. 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.
May 15-17, 2023 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.
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. Here’s the agenda, including a keynote by the co-head of Ryan Reynolds’ agency, Maximum Effort.
As of June 2023, Mirren shared: “Back in New York for 2024, 60 industry innovators in 30 sessions will share how they’re innovating to future-proof their shops and generate new revenue growth.”
June 7-8, 2023 in Chicago
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.
June 14, 2023 (virtual)
“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.
Here’s the 2023 speaker lineup; I’m on a panel about how employees can best contribute to agency profitability. The previous event ran virtually on August 25-26, 2022.
July 25-26, 2023 in Atlanta
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.
For 2023, award applications will be accepted February 14 to April 26, 2023. As of March 2023, the event will be July 25-26, 2023 in Atlanta.
As of early July 2023, the speaker lineup included agency and brand-side people from 4A’s, Coca-Cola, Hanson Dodge, NBA, Ocean Spray, The Variable, Via, WPP, and more.
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.
The 2022 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 mid-June 2023, keynote speakers included Andrew Huberman, Derek Jeter, and Kim Scott.
September 24-28, 2023 in Montreal
This long-running deluxe experience for agency owners is happening in Montreal this time. This third Bureau event in Canada is members-only; learn more about membership. (I’ve been a member for years, and recommend the Bureau frequently.)
As of mid-June 2023, it appears the event is sold out early. Details for 2023 can be found on the event page. The previous event ran (in two “sections”) in Costa Rica in late 2022.
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.
October 11, 2023 in London
On Wednesday 11th October 2023, we’re going back to basics…
An awful lot has happened in recent years – a global pandemic, the emergence of Web3, a hyper-focus on AI, customer attitudes and needs have evolved. The basics of scaling and leading our businesses have changed too.
From marketing and pipeline building to profitable service delivery. From retaining and hiring talent to managing cashflow and finances – these are the greatest challenges. Whilst these basics haven’t changed, how you tackle them have. Just like people and tech, things change, develop.
Across the day, we’re going to address what these new fundamentals are of growing your agency. We’ll consider mindsets, sales and marketing, financial intelligence, operational delivery, client centricity, people and culture – all the vital ingredients to running and scaling a healthy and happy agency.
What worked 5-7 years ago has evolved. What are the new basics you need to have in place in 2023?
As of late September 2023, the keynote speaker lineup includes: Phil Blackmore, Sarah Brewster, Jo Reid, Jenny Plant, Lucas Bergmans, Kathryn Strachan, Jon Craddock, and Daryll Scott. Panelists include Dan Archer, Camilla Honey, Jennifer Szczepaniak Sloane, Vimal Patel, Luci Perry, Rob Dando, Joe Walton, and Alfie Wenegieme. Clair Heaviside will serve as emcee.
October 16-18, 2023 in Atlanta
“Mind Your Own Business (MYOB) Conference is back after a successful return in 2022. 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 2022 topic was “Managing Humans vs. Managing Robots.” Last year’s 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.
As of late June 2023, this year’s keynote and breakout speaker lineup includes: Adrian McIntyre, Alyson Caffrey, Andrew Barry, Anese Cavanaugh, Blair Enns, David C. Baker, Jack Skeels, Jonathan Baker, Rochelle Moulton, Wil Reynolds, and Zack DeLisa. Here’s the full schedule; from my experience last year, you can expect great content and great networking.
The 2023 event will run October 16-18, 2023. For further information, visit the conference website; buy your ticket sooner than later, to get the automatic early-bird price. See you in Atlanta!
October 16-18, 2023 in St. Petersburg, FL
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 near Las Vegas, 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 September 2023, the event is scheduled to run October 16-18 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The previous event ran October 17-19, 2022 in St. Augustine, Florida.
October 16-19, 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 mid-June 2023, the next NYC event was scheduled for October 16-19, 2023.
October 19, 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 2023 speaker lineup is Andy Crestodina, Chrisopher Penn, Jay Baer, and Joanna Wiebe. Last year’s 2022 speaker lineup included: Andy Crestodina, Casie Gillette, Mike King, Diane Kulseth, and Joanna Wiebe.
As of September 2023, the event was October 19, 2023. The previous event ran October 25, 2022 in Chicago.
October 19-20, 2023 in Philadelphia
This new event from the Bureau of Digital focuses on how to apply AI at your agency:
“Feeling like you’ve missed the AI train? Good news! You haven’t. AI & Your Agency is your chance to get smarter on AI fast and plot your shop’s course to a better tomorrow. Both in how you run your company and how you create your products and services.
You’ll leave the event with a plan to accelerate your AI adoption, automate admin tasks, amplify your thought leadership, eliminate tedious work, train your staff, deploy AI-enabled workflows, write code and develop content faster all the while enhancing your strategic thinking.
Experience a unique, new four-stage format at AI & Your Agency that combines presentations, interactive discussions, hands-on workshops, and open Q&A sessions over two days.”
Speakers and facilitators include: Britney Muller, JP Holecka, Mike King, and Wil Reynolds. I’ll be attending the 2023 event… and taking lots of notes.
October 23-24, 2023 Virtual
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.
As of August 2023, the Bureau published the speaker lineup. The previous event ran October 17-18, 2022 virtually.
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.
The speaker lineup is now online. HighLevel estimated attracting 800+ attendees for 2023. The previous event ran October 24-27, 2022 in Dallas.
November 7-8, 2023 in New York
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. The last event was in November 2021.
As of August 2023, Mirren published the speaker lineup. The event has shifted from virtual to in-person in New York.
December 4-5, 2023 in Atlanta
“Our retooled “Succession Planning” 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 an intimate 1.5-day 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. Previously, this was a 1-day seminar, but content and agenda has been reworked based on past event feedback to include more time for workshopping, questions, and content expansion. 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.”
Session 1: Wed, November 29, Session 2: Wed, December 6 (virtual)
In this two-part workshop hosted by the Bureau of Digital, I and Tom O’Neill of Parallax will be facilitating this Agency Growth Workshop: Going from Anxiety to Clarity, where you’ll learn the key ‘levers’ to grow more smoothly… and create a structure to support your future progress.
What if you could feel more confident about your growth? As a digital agency owner, your actions—or inaction—today will impact your growth in 2024 and beyond.
In an uncertain world, one thing is always true: a strong revenue pipeline makes everything easier.
If you currently feel anxious about your agency’s future, you’ll leave with more clarity. That clarity leads to confidence… and that confidence (with a good plan and some luck) leads to growth.
Why a two-part virtual workshop? In the first two-hour session, you’ll learn tips and frameworks to help you grow. Then, we’ll review your progress and optimize your plan in the second two-hour session, to help you grow better in 2024.
Inactive Events for 2023
As of early October 2023, these previously-operating events were inactive for 2023:
- Ontraport Agency Summit (previously in April 2022)
- Operations Camp (previously in June 2022)
- AgencyCon (previously in September 2019)
- HeyOrca! Agency Conference (previously in October 2020)
- SMX: Agency Operations & Management (Agency Operations & Management, previously in November 2019)
- 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 November 14, 2023).