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The Content Marketer’s Guide to Marketing Nation 2017

When you think of Marketo’s Marketing Nation Summit, content marketing may not be the first thing to spring to mind. But this event has come a long way since it’s humble origins as a Marketo user conference. The depth and breadth of topics covered in the keynotes and sessions promises something for everyone, including the marketer committed to content.

Whether you’re responsible for your company’s content marketing strategy or just want to learn more about content marketing, The Content Marketer’s Guide to Marketing Nation 2017 in San Francisco has something for you. It’ll help you find the best sessions, vendors, and fun that this year’s event has to offer.

It’s beautiful, but be careful when the clouds of smug roll in.

With four Marketing Nation Summits under my belt, let’s start with some general advice for getting the most out of the conference.

Talk to people… and continue the conversation when you get home

Add like-minded Marketo minds to your network this week. Introduce yourself, share your marketing successes and aggravations, and bond over a few cocktails at the events. You’ll learn plenty at the sessions, but having a group of smart marketers to reach out to throughout the year when you need tips, tricks, or even your next career move is the most valuable thing you can take away from Summit. Set up a monthly chat with your new squad when you get back to the office.

Riding the Moscone Center lightning.

Remember that sponsors are there to help you

No one wants to be sold to; it’s human nature. But every single booth in the expo hall is full of people trying to make you a better marketer. Review the sponsors before the show (see our picks below) and make sure to take some time to visit vendors during the week. Not only will you walk away with some great swag, you could come home with technology that takes your organization to the next level (and make you look really smart too!)

Don’t be hard on yourself

You’re going to hear from a lot of really smart people doing really sophisticated marketing. But they all have a secret… they started out just where you are. Soak up their ideas and experience and get fired up to implement some of their programs at your organization!

Sunday, April 23rd: Kick Off

Marketo isn’t wasting any time this year. The Marketing Nation Summit kicks off on Sunday with a Fun Run, University Day, Certification and, most importantly, the Opening Reception in the Expo Hall! Even if you’re local, make the trek to Moscone. The reception goes from 5:00pm—7:00pm. It’s a great way to start the conference, meet up with your marketing friends (or make new connections), and see what fun sponsors have cooked up to make the week special. (Hint: follow the smell of cupcakes to Curata’s booth.)

Monday, April 24th: It’s Content Time

Avoid the snooze button—the conference kicks off in earnest this morning. One of Marketo’s 3 Can’t-Miss Learnings at Marketing Nation Summit 2017 is The Art of Storytelling. Grab your coffee and note-taking apparatus and settle in. Monday boasts the most sessions for marketers committed to content.


Day 1 Marketing Nation keynoteKeynote

Speakers: Steve Lucas, CEO, Marketo | James Corden, Tony-Award-winning performer, host of The Late Late Show on CBS
3rd Floor

You might know James Corden from his viral sketches for The Late Late Show. These include Carpool Karaoke and Role Call, where he invites guests such as Matt Damon and Tom Hanks to act out their entire filmography in 6-7 minutes. (I suggest starting with Adele.) Before that, he rose to prominence in the UK with the hit series Gavin & Stacey, which he co-wrote.

Our Take? Get ready to laugh and learn a thing or two about storytelling.


What’s Your Story? How Powerful Narratives Drive Great Companies

Speaker: Deb Lavoy, CEO, Narrative Builders @deb_lavoy
Room 2002/2004

Keep the storytelling theme going! A strong, structured narrative is the backbone of any long-term multi-faceted marketing effort, guiding business, content and even product decisions. Narratives aren’t vague constructs—you can actually measure them.

Our Take? No one wants a scattered content marketing strategy. This session arms you with the tools to help you step back, assess, and strengthen your company’s narrative. Bonus: see below for the corresponding workshop!

After lunch, things really heat up. You’ll have some choices to make for some of these session blocks. Here are our picks:


Content & Social Are For Everyone (Marketo @ Marketo)

Speakers: Ellen Gomes, Sr. Content Marketing Program Manager, Marketo @egomes1019
Lisa Marcyes, Sr. Social Media Marketing Manager, Marketo @lisa_marcyes
Room 2014/2016

Read Marketo’s blog? Follow @marketo on Twitter? You’re in luck. Marketo’s Lisa Marcyes and Ellen Gomes share tried and true tactics and examples for creating stellar content that work whether you’re a team of two or a global enterprise.

Our Take? Do you, like us, admire Marketo’s content strategy and social presence? Check this session out to learn how they build and execute on their content marketing strategy.


Human to Human #H2H: Learn to Speak Human, Share Human, and Market Human

Speaker: Bryan Kramer, President/CEO, PureMatter @bryankramer
Room 2005/2007

Are you B2B or B2C? Whatever you answered, you’re wrong. Business and products don’t have emotions; humans do. That’s #H2H marketing. Bryan explores why and how communication needs to be adjusted to exude simplicity, empathy, and imperfection. He delivers practical tools to connect with other humans and be better marketers.

Our take? Content feeling a little impersonal? This session helps you develop tools for more human marketing.

The Three Pillars for Potent Content Marketing

Speaker: Jeff Bullas, Founder/CEO @jeffbullas
Room 2001/2003

Coming at you all the way from Australia, Jeff shares the core content marketing pillars to embrace and master in 2017. Learn how to attract traffic to your content, create content people engage with and love to share, and how to produce content ROI. Understand the content marketing trends you need to beat the competition.

Our take? Check out this session to learn new tactics and tricks for keeping up with the ever-changing digital marketing landscape.


[Workshop] How Strong Is Your Corporate Narrative? Come Find Out!

Speaker: Deb Lavoy, CEO, Narrative Builders @deb_lavoy
Room 2010

Try your hand at assessing your own narrative using the Narrative Strength Assessment scorecard. You’ll get a snapshot into your narrative’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s the first step toward building a deliberate and powerful corporate narrative.

Our take? Get your hands dirty. Rather than a high-level overview, get personalized insights into your own corporate narrative and take action when you return to the office.

Photo of The Battery courtesy of TripAdvisor

Monday Night: Time to Party on the Sponsor’s Dime!

After the networking reception in the Expo Hall from 5:30pm-7:00pm, there are several partner parties to hit up! Don’t be fashionably late unless you like waiting in line. Here are my favorites:

Taking You To The Top, The Battery Club Penthouse, 7pm-10pm
Turn your Snapchat followers green with envy—these views are spectacular.
(717 Battery Street, 7 minute Uber from Moscone)

The Tiki Experience, Pagan Idol, 9pm
Who doesn’t love a Tiki Bar?
(375 Bush St, 15 minute walk from Moscone)

Tuesday, April 25th: Afternoon Delight

Tuesday really picks up after lunch with some great sessions for the content marketer. We’re not recommending you blow off the morning and sleep in. But maybe take this time to check out some sponsors when the Expo Hall isn’t too crowded.


Day 2 Marketing Nation Keynote

Chandar Pattabhiram, CMO, Marketo
Queen Latifah, Grammy Award-winning musician and critically acclaimed actress
3rd Floor

Get ready to bow down to rapper, songwriter, singer, actress, model, television producer, record producer, and talk show host, Queen Latifah! She’ll be joining Marketo CMO Chandar Pattabhiram for the Day 2 Keynote.

Our take? Expect to hear more about the art of storytelling at this keynote. (Just don’t hold your breath for a duet.)


2017: The Year of Tough Choices

Michael BrennerSpeaker: Michael Brenner, CEO, Marketing Insider Group @BrennerMichael
Room 2001/2003

How do successful marketers decide what to create, where to distribute it, and how to measure it? Marketing expert Michael Brenner offers a simple framework for deciding which activities (and content) will have the biggest impact on your bottom line.

Our take? Brenner boasts that brands big and small have re-invigorated their marketing by using one simple question. Don’t you want to know what that is?


How to Build a Killer Content Marketing Strategy

Speaker: Amanda Todorovich, Director, Content Marketing, Cleveland Clinic @amandatodo
Room 2009/2011

Cleveland Clinic boasts the most visited healthcare blog in the country, 1.3 million Facebook likes, and 750,000 Twitter followers. Learn how they achieved rapid success, grew their content team, and used marketing automation to get more from their content.

Our take? We love hearing from marketers who are in the trenches, fighting the good fight. Amanda is no slouch—she was the Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 Content Marketer of the Year. This session is not to be missed.

Wednesday, April 26th: Highly Sessionable

No keynotes on Wednesday, but there are some great sessions on the last day of Marketing Nation. If you haven’t yet, check out the Marketo Champion Bar to get your toughest Marketo questions answered!


HOOKED: How Clever Brands Create Addictive Content That Drive Revenue

Speaker: Andrew Davies, Founder/CEO, Monumental Shift @DrewDavisHere
Room 2002/2004

We live in a world where our customers are drowning in content. How can you stand out? Former television producer and agency executive Andrew Davis will teach you how to create content so good it’s addictive.

Our take? I heard Andrew give a similar talk at the MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum. He’s a high-energy speaker, and you’ll walk away inspired to create content with a hook. It involves Muppets, so…


How Allocadia Squeezed More Demand Gen, Sales Enablement, & ABM Juice Out of Our Content Marketing

Speaker: Matt Davis, Director of Content & Digital Marketing, Allocadia @matt_vancouver
Room 2022/2024

Do you have a lot of content? So did Allocadia. Learn how they built a better home for their content using Uberflip and Marketo. And the positive impact it had on their MQLs, ABM programs, and sales teams.

Our take? I know, I know… a vendor session! But marketing technology is here to help, and it’s valuable to hear how other marketers are making the most of their tech stack.

Expo Hall Guide

You’re attending sessions, frantically scribbling all the ideas you want to implement at your own organization. Need some help? Head on over to the Expo Hall on the first floor to talk to vendors that can help take your content strategy to the next level. Keep some room in your suitcase for great swag!

Expo hall view the morning after the sponsor parties.

Content Marketing Platforms

Content Hubs

Content Curation

Interactive Content
ion interactive


Curata is hosting a Demo Zone throughout the conference. Sign up to see a quick demo of our Content Marketing Platform and Content Curation Software. (Bonus: you walk away with a sweet Tuxedo t-shirt!)

Extracurricular Activities

The Marketing Nation Summit is back in San Francisco. While Vegas was a bold change of scene, SF is not lacking when it comes to things to see, eat, and imbibe. Fair warning: what happens in San Francisco might not stay there…

Have you tried the infamous sushiritto? Head to the aptly-named Sushiritto to try this buzzy new item. 59 New Montgomery St., eight minutes walk from Moscone.

Long line at Starbucks? Check out the robot barista at Cafe X, just across the street in the Metreon. It might just spell your name right… 135 4th St., two minutes walk from Moscone.

Do you know the password? San Francisco is known for speakeasies, and Rickhouse is a classic option for cocktails. 246 Kearny St., 11 minutes walk from Moscone.

Prefer ballparks to crowded bars? If you’re not feeling the parties, the SF Giants are hosting the LA Dodgers at AT&T Park on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evening. Grab your coworkers and some new friends and root, root, root for the home team! Tickets start at $18.00 on StubHub and (24 Willie Mays Plaza, 21 min walk from Moscone)

Have a little too much fun? You might want to grab a juice at Joe & The Juice (301 Howard St., 13 minutes walk from Moscone). We suggest the Hangover Heaven. Need something more decadent? The Bird keeps it simple: fried chicken sandwiches and curly fries. Opens at 8am. (115 New Montgomery St., 6 minute walk from Moscone.)

Want more? Check out Eater’s map of Where to Eat and Drink in SoMa.

Marketing Nation Summit 2017

There’s plenty to satisfy content marketers at the 2017 Marketing Nation Summit. Come visit Curata at booth #S742 or our Demo Zone. And let us know in the comments if you have hot tips for navigating the conference or fun things to do outside Moscone. Hope to see you there!

Jenna Keegan

Jenna Keegan is the Director of Demand Generation at Curata, where she wears such hats as account-based marketer, events master, and operations guru. Prior to Curata, she marketed to marketers (AKA meta-marketing) at Lattice and Attend. Also known in some circles as Demand Jenna!

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