The hype around AI is ramping up, and most leaders and senior marketers in B2B media/events companies are still trying to work out how to react. There is a palpable fear in some businesses that competitors and future disruptors will ‘eat the lunch’ of those who don’t adapt quickly, as well as great excitement in those who see embracing emerging tech fast as a means of gaining a competitive advantage. Some of the most progressive businesses are seriously considering how they should disrupt themselves before someone else does. From MPG’s perspective, we see the following as some of the most important questions B2B media/events businesses and those responsible for their marketing should be asking themselves: What tools should our team start using straight away to increase efficiency and productivity? How should AI tools be added to our existing tech stack to enhance what we already have in place? Do the tools in our current tech stack offer AI functionality we’re not yet using? And for all tools in our tech stack, what is their roadmap to introduce more useful AI? How should we manage the risk around ‘betting on’ AI tools? How do we mitigate this risk? How can we get all our staff on board the AI journey, especially the most skeptical, and those who fear they will be replaced with AI? How fast do we need to move to adopt AI? How much time do we have to figure out our AI strategy? How quickly will today’s best AI tools be replaced by the next generation of best AI tools? How much is ‘getting AI’ going to cost us? How do we build an investment plan to pay for this, and build a strong business case for each investment to gain board approval? And probably the most important question of all based on personal interest of senior executives, and how they can put themselves in a strong position to answer all the questions above: Where do I find the most relevant information about what AI means for me and my business? And how can I stay plugged into this valuable source of relevant information to help me stay up to date with AI developments? It’s the last two questions that B2B media/events business leaders should be considering more laterally… Your B2B media/events brand puts you in a great position to be the conduit of AI learning and information sharing for your community. You have probably already published reports and articles on AI for your audience, sold AI focused webinars to your clients, and incorporated AI into your event programmes. But…have we considered yet how incredibly important live events are going to be in a world where AI becomes mainstream? In-person business meetings will be where professionals can be confident they will connect authentically with real, highly relevant people with whom they can build real relationships, and from whom they can learn in a trusted, ‘safe space’. AI will certainly help enhance the in-person event experience, and smart event organisers are already using AI to engage and serve their event audiences more efficiently and ‘personally’, i.e. based on what each audience member finds most valuable – en masse (e.g. matchmaking tools). AI will also deliver even more valuable marketing solutions for sponsors and exhibitors as data and analytics can be used to deliver a better and more visible ROI for clients’ marketing spend. But, as the early aftermath of the pandemic has shown us, people will always love attending a gathering of their ‘professional tribe’ – in real life. AI will not replace live events. If anything, AI will make live events even more important for the B2B media/events businesses who want to ‘build a moat’ around the communities they serve. This will be especially important for brands that have built membership offerings where events are a key part of a membership package. As generative AI tools such as ChatGPT reduce the need for search engines, businesses that rely on search traffic to drive visitors to content-heavy sites may find digital engagement from web traffic falling off a cliff. Engagement with events will probably need to fill the gap. Therefore, information brands with ‘flagship’ annual events they rely on to engage and serve their community members should recognise that the accelerated adoption of AI will make it more important than ever for their flagship events to take, and hold, a market leading position. A strong, content-led, annual flagship event will always successfully drive community engagement, membership growth and overall revenue – as long as the marketing of the event is planned and executed well. As we approach the halfway point of 2023, here are the two things event organisers should be putting in place now (if they have not done so already) to ensure their flagship events in 2024 will hold or take the market leading spot: #1 A strong event product development strategy and team: Your subject matter experts (i.e. editors, analysts, etc.) and event programming experts (i.e. conference producers) should already be doing the work needed to create a valuable programme for your 2024 flagship event. The earlier a strong product is created (with strong speakers confirmed), the better chance you have of capturing the 2024 budget your customers will be putting towards sponsoring, exhibiting or attending events. #2 A strong go-to-market strategy and marcomms plan: Analyse your target market Define your total addressable market, as well as the size and profile of key segments. Consider both your event audience buying tickets, as well as vendors who will buy your exhibition stands and sponsorships – both markets need to be defined and well understood. Evaluate your current database in terms of data contained and how it is structured in relation to the size and shape of your overall target market and key market segments. Will your database give you the targeted reach you require to attract all the visitors/delegates and exhibitors/sponsors you need for commercial success and a market leading position? Get in touch to find out how Team MPG can help you audit, structure, grow and maintain your database to create business value and ensure your database gives you a competitive advantage. Define your value proposition i.e. unique selling points (USPs) and benefits. How will your event be differentiated from competitors in a way that makes customers choose yours? Determine what key messages will resonate with different market segments. What tone, words and phrases need to be used in all your marcomms to attract, engage and convert customers so they not only register for your event, but also turn up on the day? Get in touch to find out how Team MPG can help you develop more relevant, compelling and engaging messages than your competitors. Martech, data and analytics: evaluate your martech, salestech, database and analytics tools in terms of how well you can reach your target market in a scalable way. Where are the gaps in your data? Which tools need to be better set up and optimised to work as they need to? What integrations are needed for real-time, efficient data flow and compliance are missing? What tools are missing in your tech stack? If your data, tech and analytics tools are not set up in the right way, you won’t have an efficient and scalable business so that your flagship event can get and keep the ‘top spot’. It is also worth bearing in mind that to use marketing automation and other AI tools you need a good tech and data setup. Get in touch to ask for case studies on how Team MPG have helped many B2B media/events businesses improve their martech and data to enable scalable growth (MPG are official partners to HubSpot, Marketo and various other leading martech platforms) Create a better event marcomms plan than your competitors… The detail on how to do this will be in our next blog post! Sign up here to get an email notification every time MPG publishes a new Insights piece like this on. Team MPG can help you accelerate the growth of your B2B events AI can only revolutionise your business if you have a clear marketing strategy, strong value proposition, growing database, integrated tech stack, and well-optimised website. Get in touch with Team MPG today to see how we can help you build a resilient marketing function that is well set up for future success. “MPG did a great job assessing our digital marketing and marketing operations requirements – considering our business goals. They developed a robust strategy, followed by a practical operational roadmap to help us further improve how we use technology to support marketing and sales performance. It has been a pleasure working with the MPG team!” Jonathan Perry, Global Marketing Director, PEI – Alternative Insight Take a look at this short video by MPG’s own Dominic Bird at a recent Gleanin event that explains how AI is being used to gather insights, understand customer behaviour, and personalize marketing strategies. Watch the full video here.