Just back from SES Toronto. What a great turnout for the first SES show in Canada. One of my talks (one of 4 sessions I did!) had 220 people in it. Rumours were that 400 paid attendees were there.
Canadians are a different lot. It made me very aware of why I moved from Ottawa to Palo Alto, CA many, many years ago. I was doing the Intro to Search Marketing talk and I just wasn't feeling the energy back from the crowd like a usually do. Mind you I was doing a talk I had never done before and a lot of it was hijacked from Danny Sullivan's presentation. Danny didn't make it to Toronto so I was asked to step in. I was so flattered. But, I was talking about the audience. They were polite and passive. At the end the applause was timid, not minimal and just as many people were clapping as normal, but each one was clapping more quietly than their American counterparts.
And the Q&A session. Hands did not shoot up immediately. At least 30 seconds went by before someone hesitantly put up their hand, and then many people starting asking questions. Good questions.
The composition of the attendees was also very, very different than, say SES New York. They were mostly website owners who wanted to learn about local search and geo-targeting. The frustration of IP addresses and what Google you get was obvious, and media vendors like Overture that don't let you target just Canada so all your ads go to US as well, don't help.
Andrea Hadley, of NetSetGo marketing, contends that Canadian companies just don't have that much money to spend on internet advertising in general. I contend that they don't understand much about it yet and do have budget they could move to Internet Advertising and SEM. SEMPO resources may help Canadian companies shift some money from print/tv/radio to Internet Marketing and ultimately to SEM.
If you went to SES Toronto, drop me a note and tell me what you thought of the show (bcoll at webmama.com).
Next stop Ad-Tech where 80% of the exhibitors have something to do with search and less than 10% of the conference sessions cover search marketing! I hope that changes for Ad-Tech Chicago where I am also speaking.
Remember www.sempo.org has amazing resources to help you sell SEM to your clients, eh!