SearchFest to change conference name to Engage for 2017

The final act of this year’s SearchFest was to announce that SearchFest as we know it would be ending. This was a dramatic jest as the event will continue in 2017, but under another name. However, the event as we know it is changing. SearchFest is no longer. Why? The industry is changing and you either change or die, right Alan (Deutschman or George take your pick)?

Why change the name?

SearchFest is so much more than search. We can justify using “search” in just about every digital marketing activity. That’s what the internet is for! Your search doesn’t even have to be on a search engine (Google) or social media site (Facebook, Twitter)…one may be searching for something to do, or someone to interact with or an opinion to confirm.

However, having search in the title was becoming restrictive. We’ve heard that many people automatically disregard the conference because they think it is “just” a search conference and not applicable to them. Once they looked at our agenda and speaker lineup, the issue typically shifted to “how do I attend more than one session at a time,” a problem we remedied with the video bundle…


SearchFest sold-out again, what the hell are you thinking? It has been a great run!

This year marked the 10th anniversary of SearchFest, it was a good great run. Could we continue to put on a world-class search conference that features the same speakers as international conferences do at a fraction of the cost to attend? Absolutely and we will continue to do that! Along with continuing to add additional content across the marketing spectrum. Expect more cross-functional and cross-device programming. Expect more on content and mobile and branding and strategy and whatever comes up between now and next year.

How will the programming change? We aren’t entirely sure yet. We may add another track or change one or more of the tracks. Add a second day. We’d love your ideas, please leave them in the comments.

Why Engage? How did you get there?

Not only did we want to get away from specifically being branded as a “search” conference, we simply believe this is where marketing is headed. It’s not all about shouting from the rooftops (or billboards or even the top of the SERPs), but increasingly more about what you do once you have an impression. How do you move that potential customer down the funnel? What about micro-conversions, attribution, advocates and influencers? All of these are a vital part of today’s marketing landscape and we feel that Engage much better encompasses it.
Engage Wordcloud

Engage WordcloudOf course it started with a few whiteboard sessions, some internet research (yes, we did a lot of searching to rename SearchFest) and, of course, quite a few emails among the board. Once we had an initial list we got feedback from SEMpdx members, past SearchFest attendees and some branding and event folks we know. We wanted a name the was distinctive over descriptive (although Engage is kind of both).

Engage Whiteboard

Engaging with target markets is what digital marketing is all about.

What’s Next?

Be sure to join us at the Rooftop Networking Party in August. We’ll have the new name and logo ready by then, along with the date for Engage 2017 and a special ticket offer. We are excited to announce we are partnering with Watson Creative to guide us through this next phase and can’t wait to share what we come up with!

Special thanks to the renaming committee, specifically Alan George, Anna Hutson, Darin Fenn, Kevin Getch, Robert Frost, Scott Hendison and Trish Carey!

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