I've been on a whirlwind travel tour these last few weeks: The DMA's B to B conference, MarketingSherpa's Email Conference, ad:tech in San Francisco, and the eMarketing Association conference also in San Francisco.
The first conference I attended, MarketingSherpa's conference, was the first of it's kind - a dedicated email marketing-only conference focused primarily on companies who use email for relationship marketing (e.g. permission and anticipation). Bottom line, the conference was great. While there were some first-time conference logistics hiccups, the content, the attendees and, most importantly, the discussions outside the meetings were all top notch. The conference covered the usual hot topics from deliverability to design/layout to list building. But given it's exclusive focus on email, the depth and breadth of those topics reached a new level. I was also pleased to see that the conference was not a "vendor fest". There seemed to be many more practitioners than there were vendors. Like Shop.org, this keeps the dialog far more interesting and everyone walks away learning a great deal more (and spends less time selling).
I had the privilege of hosting a panel with IBM, Vail Resorts and Air2Web were we discussed next generation communications technologies (RSS, desktop apps and mobile, respectively). A lot of these topics were new to the audience and I thought some of the follow up questions were great.
For a more in depth review, I recommend reading the wrap up from Anne Holland, the Publisher of MarketingSherpa: http://www.marketingsherpa.com/sample.cfm?contentID=3238