Call for speakers for MarTech 2015 — share your brain!

MarTech 2015 in San Francisco

The marketing technology world is on fire! And I mean that in a good way. Billions of dollars in investment. Billions of dollars in revenue. Big IPOs. Big partnerships. A new generation of marketing leaders. Hundreds of software programs entwined in marketing’s “new normal” of daily operations.

And those are just a handful of stories that I’ve touched on over the past two months since our last MarTech conference in Boston.

Imagine how much further we’ll be five months from now! No, really, imagine it — and then let me know what you see on that horizon. Because we’re planning the agenda for the next MarTech, which is just five months away, and we’d love your suggestions for speakers and topics.

The next MarTech will take place in San Francisco on March 31 – April 1, 2015. We expect over 600 attendees — marketing technologists, tech-savvy digital marketers, and marketing software entrepreneurs. It’s going to be an amazing two days.

Like our last event, the program for MarTech 2015 will be “single stream” — all sessions will take place in one main room, to create a shared experience across the topics that we’ll cover. Most presentations will be TED-style talks, from solo presenters, who are each well-prepared to communicate their experiences and ideas to you in 20-25 minutes of intense information transfer. There will be no fluff, no sales pitches.

We’ve already identified a number of our speakers, but between now and November 14 we are also eagerly accepting speaker applications from the broader marketing technology community. Here is what we are looking for:

  • Senior marketing technologists and marketing operations leaders who have tackled managerial, operational, and/or technical challenges to bring effective marketing technology infrastructure and amazing customer experiences to life. What did you accomplish? How did you do it? What lessons would you distill for others?
  • Marketing and IT executives — CMOs, CIOs, CDOs, VPs of marketing — who have led business transformation enabled by marketing technology, talent, and innovation. What’s your driving vision? How did you structure your organization to realize it? Who does what? Why? How did you manage change? How did you win broader C-suite buy-in? What results have you achieved?
  • Independent subject matter experts on marketing technology topics who are — forgive me for being blunt — not shilling a product or service. Enterprise architecture, user experience (UX) design, data science, agile management, talent development, innovation programs, the Internet of Things — forward-thinking technical, creative, or managerial topics that you can passionately teach, through the lens of marketing technology, that attendees will be able to apply.

I cannot emphasize the caveats of “independent” and “not shilling” strongly enough on that last point. Don’t get me wrong, marketing technology vendors — I’m one of your biggest cheerleaders, and we’d love to have you participate in the expo portion of this event. But it’s hard to have a vendor present a topic around which their business is based without it coming across to a skeptical audience as fatally biased. Not impossible. But very, very hard.

My recommendation to vendors is to encourage your customers — the marketing technologists and marketing and IT executives who use your products and services — to apply to speak about their experiences. It’s cool for them to describe how you’ve fit into their story, as concrete details like that are incredibly helpful. Just as long as the talk is about their story, not yours.

There’s also a special panel that we’re considering and would love nominations for:

  • The Journey from Engineer to CMO — marketing executives who started their careers in a technical field (especially software engineering), who are willing to share candid lessons from their winding path to marketing leadership and how that background shapes their management approach today. Are you one?

To apply to speak, send an email to with the following:

  • Your name, company, and title
  • Proposed title for your talk
  • A description of your talk, usually 2-3 paragraphs
  • If an independent subject matter expert talk, what makes you an independent expert?
  • How much public speaking experience do you have?
  • Links to any sample slide decks or videos of presentations you’ve given
  • A phone number to reach you at

If you’re submitting on behalf of someone else, please also include your contact information and the relationship you have with the speaker.

Just to set expectations, we’ll only be able to select a small number of speakers for this next MarTech — we’re simply constrained by the laws of time and space (and audience required bathroom breaks) for how many talks we can fit into two days of a single-stream program. We’re bracing for some tough choices.

However, having written many applications to speak myself over the years, I appreciate the effort that goes into them — especially the good ones. Even if we’re not able to select you as a speaker for this next MarTech, we will certainly keep you in mind for subsequent events and other opportunities such as Q&A interviews and subject matter stories here on

Thank you — I can’t wait to hear the stories you’d like to share!

P.S. Here’s a short promo video about “what to expect” from MarTech:

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