We want to give a quick plug for the Community Leadership Summit West, taking place in Daly City on January 15th (which, disclaimer, I'm helping with as Volunteer Coordinator).
CLS West is the best place to learn how to understand your customers. Sure, other conferences have big-name keynote speakers and panels. But what's powerful about CLS West is that it's the actual people who deal with these things day-to-day (instead of talk about them theoretically) talking and sharing as equals. In my opinion, that's the most valuable material.
CLS West is free and volunteer-run, so if you are at all interested in online communities, understanding your customers, or social media, you should try to make it out.