What is the Hamilton Digital Marketing Summit?

The Hamilton Digital Marketing Summit is a marketing conference where local digital marketing leaders and business owners network and present at Liuna Station on April 13, 2017. But if you are a small business or startup in Hamilton, is it worth it to shell out the $200 price tag for admission?

Let’s take a look at other conferences that have brought guru’s to Hamilton…

An example of a local conference is Tweetstock, which presented itself as Hamilton’s premier source for social media information. Ultimately the attendance and lasting effects of the event are what measures success in Hamilton.  A year later, does social media indicate that anyone has produced results? Let’s look for “Actionable info that you can implement!”.

Lots of followers and zero content can be a warning sign for a purchased audience. With no activity, this appears like a dormant account.

What happened to Tweetstock? Did people forget?

As of February 17, 2017 there have been no updates since July 2016. For any successful event, a follow up is necessary to continue building off of the hype and efforts of the initial conference. Here we have an example of a company specializing in social media that is not managing it’s own social media account. As Hamilton develops economically, our digital landscape will also be forced to evolve.

To support this, we will show the echo effect that a conference can have. This is where SEO is helpful to make a case.


If we compare the conference in 2015 vs 2016, the interest for Tweetstock echoes organically despite no social media presence.


Too bad these queries are not being answered effectively. Short term insights are not enough to host a conference.



Scarcity Pricing for Conference Deals

We believe that scarcity marketing can be a powerful tool when you are selling a quality product that is in demand. When it is abused to inflate pricing it can really backfire as a sales tactic.




Costs of Hamilton Digital Marketing Summit



The pricing for the Hamilton Digital Marketing Summit conference ranges from $150 to $399, which is almost the same price as a MozCon early bird ticket.


“Join 300+ Digital Marketers and Influencers from across Southern Ontario at Hamilton’s historic & luxurious LIUNA Station for a full day of developmental workshops, panels, product demonstrations, and keynote speeches. These events are designed specifically to have you leaving with digital strategies and skills that you can implement immediately!”

If we look further into the official Hamilton Digital Marketing Summit eventbrite, we can see that scarcity marketing tactics are being used to create a sense of urgency or crisis. But is this really a one-stop conference to solve your digital marketing problems? What is the promise?

You will:

-Learn the most current digital marketing strategies from industry thought leaders and experts

-Leave the conference with real, implementable skills

-Meet and network with local, national, and international digital marketing experts

-Have the opportunity to see live demonstrations of the most innovative digital marketing products on the market

-Be fed the most amazing breakfast, snacks, and lunch courtesy of Liuna Station

-Receive a game changing digital swag bag that will change your perception of what a swag bag should be

This one day single track conference will follow the theme of “Current and Future trends” to equip decision makers in businesses with the right information to capitalize on the digital marketing landscape. We have selectively picked speakers from companies that have shown dominance in the digital marketing world, and they are coming to teach you what they know. Not only will you get insights to current and future trends of digital marketing, you will actually leave inspired and with implementable skills that will help you succeed in the digital areas of your business.


Based on our research, we are still skeptical of digital marketing conferences that over promise life changing coaching strategies. The world is filled with enough of this guru nonsense– provide something with value and stop using conferences to pitch an agency. For the price tag of 150-400 dollars we think your money could be better spent watching YouTube videos or reading reputable content on digital marketing in 2017. Trust us, the web is full of it. Last year, we outlined SEO trends in 2016 that are becoming essential for business to run. Read that, for free.

What about Organic traffic as a means of measuring success?

Let’s go back to Hamilton digital marketing conferences in general, because we need to establish what a successful conference should look like. The potential of organic traffic is only apparent when data is available, so by analyzing organic keyword data in Canada, we can observe that the organic value of Tweetstock is actually improving, yet their marketing channels are not following up with this information.

Organic keywords have been steadily improving but the recent drop suggests a penalty, a side effect of neglected SEO.


We break down our favourite digital marketing conference, MozCon, and investigate what SEO trends indicate a successful digital marketing summit.

This is a brand that understands the value of organic traffic. Notice out how they foster growth leveraging their conference buzz to increase brand awareness, also securing VC funding.

TLDR; Want to learn? Save up for MozCon. Better value for money.

Moz is a great community of people providing transparency and common sense in the SEO community. For beginners learning about SEO, they provide some of  the best content to start understanding how search engines work. More importantly, they provide this information for free. It’s no wonder they had a really good year in 2015.


What makes Moz Different?

They maintain the integrity of their brand. It is consistent and reliable, making it easy to trust what they are selling. Conferences are expensive and Moz understands that in order to provide the best possible experience, they need to leverage SEO insights and listen to their community.

In the case of Tweetstock, we have established that social marketing channels have fallen dormant. The brand is now a digital asset that is losing traffic every day. Why do so many people ignore SEO if they are gurus in this industry?

Digital Marketing Gurus with absent On-Page SEO

This is a sloppy miss for anyone expecting quality actionable insights. When we see a professional conference with a sub par website, we really feel inspired.


What’s wrong with this picture?

The first place people are going to look is a search engine. Anyone that is technical will immediately notice that there are elements on the page not optimized for Google. Why are the top search marketers unaware of this? When we Google the organizers, A.D & Associates, a Ghanan financial management company is all we can find. That doesn’t seem local to Hamilton. A poor SEO strategy has left us wondering if this company is even real, so we dig further.



Red flags

We are now starting to suspect that there is more to this conference than meets the eye. So we continue to investigate.

Broken Links to Sponsors

By analyzing the site hamiltondms.com, we can see that some 404 errors likely due to misuse of relative links. That is why on this page their outgoing link to the Canadian Association of Marketing Professionals does not pass any link juice or help users find out more information about the sponsor.

The broken link can be found here.


Five Thousand Dollars for your Logo on a Bag

We analyze the sponsor package for the Hamilton Digital Marketing Summit and found no evidence of value for the “VIP” level. The cost of the package was 5,000 more than its mid point counterpoint, with the only benefit being a logo added to a swag bag.


Here we notice that the presenters have actually paid to appear at the conference. The question is, how long would it take for a consumer to realize this information? The Lion Eater team was able to research within hours, saving over 300 dollars in potential conference spending.


The page for the sponsorship pricing structure is here.

How a Conference Should Show Up In Search

Lets type “MozCon” into Google and see what happens. Beautiful site links for segmented portions of the MozCon brand (evergreen content!) as well as the dates for the next Mozcon. This is really important for SEO and selling conference tickets without resorting to scarcity marketing tactics.


Remember: You should inquire if people paid sponsor fees to speak at conferences. If not, it qualifies the authenticity of the speaker and the conference.

The Vetting Process for presenters at Mozcon

Getting quality presenters for any quality marketing conference takes time and due diligence. They take large teams of people working together to ensure that the content covered is as close as possible to evergreen. After all, what’s the point of hosting a presentation without offering more than a Google search and a few clicks on page one?

According to Erica, getting a position to speak at MozCon requires some of the following:

  • Previously speaking at other Moz recorded events (super high-value)
  • Moz internal suggestion form sent to some external people (low-value, most speakers internally known)
  • Offhand, random recommendation emails from founder Rand Fishkin(medium-value, often people unknown)
  • Stalking conversations on Twitter about great speakers in topics or when some dudebro says, “there aren’t any great woman SEO speakers” and we tell him better (medium-value, often people I don’t know don’t have videos, slides, etc., online)
  • Other online marketing conference lineups (medium-value, the closer they are as a MozCon “competitor” the less value they have as it’s either my rolodex or their own they program from)
  • Attending conferences (medium-value, super easy to tell if the person’s a good fit, but time intensive, and there’s always another “real” reason I’m going)
  • Conferences focusing on diversity in technology (low-value, often speakers aren’t going to be able to talk technical marketing or aren’t even marketers)
  • Good ole searching YouTube for videos from other conferences or on topics (low-value, most of it is crap)

Did they pay to present at the conference?

The problem with networking events and conferences is filtering out the good from the bad: the money-makers from the educational and authentic. There is already an issue of transparency in digital marketing, especially SEO, so when you are investing $200 for a conference you should make sure you aren’t going to get pitched. More often than not, scarcity tactics are used to reel in potential customers. That’s right, you pay to be pitched! Crazy stuff. Not really a marketing conference at that point.

This was a challenge for the team at Moz, who strive to bring in the best presenters that will provide value beyond the initial conference. How do they achieve this? A really transparent post by Erica McGillivray describing the difficulty when selecting quality digital marketing presenters.

So there you have it– MozCon has a very stringent application process for presenters. The ticket price covers food and a 3 day conference in Seattle with some of the most current minds in the PPC, SEO and Technical segments of digital marketing. Just check out their 2014 line up. These people are still relevant in their fields, and continue to appear at Moz events.

So is the Hamilton Digital Marketing Summit worth it?

We don’t think that the Hamilton business community really benefits from outsiders selling their services and charging locals to sit through their pitch. At the end of the day these speakers paid to be there as well, so its difficult to determine the integrity of the event. We expect that the price will drop with last minute discounts (again, scarcity marketing) so if you really think its something that can help your business, wait until the last minute for a ticket. We estimate that they will be 30-50% off by the time mid-March rolls around.

Have something to say? Thoughts about the upcoming conference? Let’s continue the discussion on with the Lion Eater Twitter.