Helping marketers meet, learn and do their job a little better

We started out organising a gathering in a pub that became the world’s biggest (and we reckon best) search conference and ended up launching a bunch of other popular marketing conferences.  It’s been a fun journey so far and we’re only just getting started.

How it all started

Once upon a time, Kelvin decided it would be cool to get a group of SEO mates together in a pub to talk shop. The idea was to share ideas and chat about all the interesting stuff that we can’t really talk about with anyone outside the industry for fear of them falling asleep.

Word got out and more people showed up than he expected. So, next time he booked a larger room… again, more and more people showed up.

We realised we might be onto something

A free industry conference, talking about real issues, with practical advice from people who actually know what they’re talking about. brightonSEO was born.

Since then we have seen the conference continue to grow into the beautiful, if scarily large, thing we have today.

Taking place at the Brighton Centre, the biggest conference venue in the city, brightonSEO is the largest search marketing conference in the world.

We now have over 4000 delegates scrabbling for tickets from all over the UK and further afield. We give away thousands of free tickets which we now have to run via a ballot because we kept crashing ticketing websites with demand!

Of all the search conferences in the world, we reckon it’s biggest and also the most fun (but then we would say that wouldn’t we).

“A long way from a room above a pub”

Branching Out

With such a high demand for tickets we decided to branch out and help people go deeper into a particular topic with our smaller conferences; MeasureFest, Affiliate Huddle, the Paid Social Show, and the Search Advertising Show.

We also run training workshops the day before brightonSEO where people can learn directly from experts in their field.

brightonSEO has its own series of fringe events covering socialising, networking and seeing our beautiful city.

What we’re about

We’re about having fun, about being real, and, most importantly, educating as many people as possible on the ever expanding, fast-paced industry that is digital marketing.

If we had to sum our mission up in one sentence we say

“Helping marketers meet, learn and do their job a little better”

Our Events

The main way help digital marketers meet, learn and do their job a little better is by organising a series of digital marketing events.

These aren’t like your usual digital trade-shows where you’re herded round a bunch of exhibition stands while business cards are shoved in your hand by over-zealous sales people.

And they’re not like most digital conferences where you need to re-mortgage your house to sit in a generic hotel or football club function room and get generic advice.

We’re digital marketers, not event organisers who organise SEO conferences one week and pharmaceutical conferences the next.

We worry about how to put on a decent event first and worry about how to make money later, which is pretty much the opposite to the rest of the industry.

brightonSEO was our first and is our most popular event. It brings 4000 people to Brighton twice a year. It’s a large scale, in-depth SEO event, you won’t find more intelligent and passionate search marketers in one place anywhere else in the world.

MeasureFest - a brightonSEO fringe event

MeasureFest is dedicated to data driven marketing and has laser targeted focus on web analytics and conversion rate optimisation. If you want to make more from the visitors you already get to your site this event is genetically engineered just for you.

Paid Social Show - a brightonSEO fringe event

The Paid Social Show covers all things social media advertising from the platforms you’d expect like Facebook and Twitter to some you might not have considered before.

The Search Advertising Show is for PPC people. If you pay to advertise on the SERPs you need this event to make the most of your time and money. Plus it’s next to the beach which is a bonus!

AffiliateHuddle is an event all about discussion of what works in affiliate marketing. It’s an event for publishers, networks and merchants. Relaxed, friendly and focused.

The Team

Kelvin Newman

Kelvin Newman - Founder

Kelvin Newman is the Founder of Rough Agenda, the company that arranges specialist digital marketing events including BrightonSEO.

In 2014 Kelvin was voted by econsultancy as the most influential individual in digital and in 2013 won the Search Personality award at the UK Search Awards.

Tom Bailey

Tom Bailey - Head of Operations

Tom is a live event producer and event manager, with a background in large-scale live events, conferencing, arts festivals, theatre, and community projects.

With us he oversees the planning and on the day management processes across the Rough Agenda event portfolio.

After nearly 10 years with Rough Agenda, he’s getting quite good at sense checking Kelvin’s continuous ideas, and turning the good ones into successful events.

Dre Pratt

Dre Pratt - Head of Sales

Dre is our Head of Sales and thrives on advising our clients on the best packages across our portfolio to ensure they realise their objectives and achieve results.

Prior to Rough Agenda, Dre spent 11 years at Informa holding various senior commercial positions including Head of Advertising at Lloyd’s List.

When not working or looking after her 3 energetic children, Dre can be found pounding the streets of Oxted or enjoying good food and wine with friends.

Kenny Taylor

Kenny Taylor - Production Manager

Kenny is Production Manager for brightonSEO, ensuring all the production, technical and venue related matters fit seamlessly together throughout our time on site, as well as eating more than his fair share of chocolate.

Emmeline Caines-Gooby

Emmeline Caines-Gooby - Head of Training and Ticketing

Emm has been working in event management/production since 2007, including stage management for brightonSEO since 2013. She heads up the training (coordinating all trainers, training sessions, and trainee comms), handles our ticketing process, orders the merch, and coordinates the Friends desk at the conference. 

She’s at her happiest with multiple tasks, lots of lists, and an occasional clipboard. Often known to wear sparkly sneakers.

Andrea Short

Andrea Short - Head of Speaker Relations

Andrea looks after all things speaker related. When not loving being part of brightonSEO, she can be found in her kitchen cooking up a storm, relaxing with a glass of something home-made or walking them off by the river.

Julie Sharp

Julie Sharp - Event Manager

Julie is a freelance Event Manager with over 15 years event experience. She has been working with the team since 2013 in various roles from Stage Manager to leading on MeasureFest and other Fringe events and most recently, as the Production Manager for Affiliate Huddle.

Jo Walters

Jo Walters - Community & Marketing

If you’ve seen a tweet, Facebook post or email from us, that was probably written by Jo (though Kelvin gets the credit for the sassy Twitter memes and anything with a typo in it).

Jo makes sure you all know about the conference, want to come along and have all the info you need to make the most of it. She got involved with brightonSEO by lending Kelvin a hand managing the @brightonSEO Twitter account when it got too much for him to keep an eye on whilst also hosting the event. Several conferences and venues later she works part-time on the conference all year round and finds the hardest part is keeping all the weird ideas and plans a secret until the event!

When she’s not working on brightonSEO events she runs 25 Dots, a communications and marketing agency for students’ unions and other small organisations, and posts too many cat gifs on her social media accounts.

Grace Allwright

Grace Allwright - Visitor Experience

Grace joined the events industry in 2008 and never looked back, falling in love with the fast pace and never-ending lists. Over the last 12 years, she has led teams organising and marketing many award-winning, large-scale B2B exhibitions and conferences.

Grace joined the brightonSEO team in 2019 and helps to make the visitor experience as smooth and as enjoyable as possible.

Kary Fisher

Kary Fisher - Graphic Designer

Kary makes sure everything is on brand at brightonSEO – from designing the exhibition graphics to merch, brochures, presentation slides and more.

She’s obsessed with colour and pattern and has a background in branding and helping companies find their visual identity.

Having fulfilled her dream of going back to live in France, she works for her UK clients from her mountain home (with super fast wifi of course) and never misses a live brightonSEO event!

The community

The community - The reason we put on events

It might sound cheesey but the community around our events are the reason they’re successful. They help us plan the events, they help us promote them and they turn up and make them the most welcoming and friendly events in the industry.

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