B2B Ignite USA 2023 Wrap-Up: The Importance of Being Human
Please take it easy on me, fellow human. I wrote this entire blog post myself, without the assistance of AI. In the spirit of man vs. machine, I’ve organized my recap of the B2B Ignite USA conference in Chicago around 3 things that ChatGPT can’t — currently — do:
- Think about something for 2 days and reflect on what it learned
- Look for opportunities to smile
- Ask unprompted questions
2 things that made me go “hmmm”
3 things that Made me smile
4 questions that I really want to ask you if you can please just make it to the end of this post
2 things that made me go “hmmm”
1 — AI AI AI AI AI AI AI AI AI AI AI
A majority of the content at the conference sprinkled in or fire-hosed us with discussions about AI in marketing. The arrival of AI as a useful tool for content creators has apparently brought about a lot of fear and uncertainty.
Things like AI enter our peripheral consciousness when we first hear about them. And it could be days, weeks, or decades before something science-y becomes so immediately relevant that you need to form an opinion, a stance, a game-plan, or an underground bunker to directly address the coming marketing opportunity and/or hostile takeover by our robot overlords.
Science fiction writers have been writing about AI for a century, while scientists and engineers have been advancing actual capabilities for decades. But recently, with the launch of ChatGPT in late 2022, it became immediately relevant to marketers and creatives. At B2B Ignite, the programming was full of opinions, stances and game-plans for AI. There were no serious talks of underground bunkers — yet. So that tells you right about where marketing is at with regards to AI right now.
“With the launch of ChatGPT in late 2022, it became immediately relevant to marketers and creatives. At B2B Ignite, the programming was full of opinions, stances and game-plans for AI.” — Ryan Arnholt @ArbenAngstrom
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A great insight came from Dr. Carmen Simon, chief science officer at Corporate Visions. In her presentation “Could a Robot Replace Your Marketing Team,” she managed to drop some real neuroscience knowledge, book-ended with passably relevant references to George Costanza and Kim Kardashian.
Dr. Simon posited that humans will not be replaced by AI. But humans may be replaced by other humans that embrace the use of AI. The feelings of “fear” relating to AI are rising due to its ability to be deployed across the human domains of art, music, and love. We fear that our creative and emotional brains can be replaced, much in the same way that robots are replacing physical laborers.
2 — So, umm…are we still going to replace the humans with spreadsheets and CRM’s?
There were limited discussions around the creative side of B2B marketing, and I feel like that is usually the biggest opportunity for brands to differentiate and win. So I really tried to focus my attention when those discussions did happen. Of course, many of those discussions also mentioned AI’s role in creativity, which is going to be exciting, then disappointing, then exciting again to watch.
While it’s generally understood that having the best tools, the biggest budgets, and a complete database of insights on all prospects on planet earth puts you on pretty good footing to hit your numbers, successful marketing will always need a message.
Successful marketing lives and dies on the backs of our ability to spin a compelling value story — a clear value proposition, proven claims, all wrapped up with great creative, and delivered by real humans.
“Successful marketing lives and dies on the backs of our ability to spin a compelling value story — a clear value proposition, proven claims, all wrapped up with great creative, and delivered by real humans.” — Ryan Arnholt @ArbenAngstrom
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I appreciated presentations from Melanie Deziel, chief content officer at StoryFuel, Andy Crestodina, co-founder and CMO at Orbit Media Studios, and Michael Brenner, CEO at Marketing Insider Group, that touched on the importance of content.
3 things that made me smile
1 — Rise & Run
Thank you Richard O’Connor, CEO at B2B Marketing, for organizing the Rise & Run on Wednesday morning. What was billed as a little 5.5K stroll through the streets of Chicago turned into a 9 mile run out to Lake Michigan, through the prairie, and nearly to Indiana before we decided to head back. It was a great start to the day. And there was an extra bonus smile on our adventure — I ran into a running buddy from Minnesota, running right by me, In a city of 2.5 million people.
2 — CatGPT
Michael Brenner had a thoroughly entertaining and informative presentation on the future of B2B marketing. But I’m all smiles because he introduced me to CatGPT and my whole worldview has changed.
3 — Keep Your Chin Up!
Karen Cooper, Director of Marketing, Content Experience at Wolters Kluwer Health, had an enlightening presentation about “imposter syndrome, perfectionism, fear and certainty”. Considering the low numbers of conversion rates and close rates that sales and marketing professionals encounter everyday, we’re all probably in need of some self-help and support groups to help us regularly re-center ourselves on what success and failure really mean. When we’re down in the data, we can lose sight of the people we impact and the inspiration we can be to others. I came out of Karen’s session with a rosier outlook on life than when I went in, and I appreciated Karen sharing her perspective.
4 Questions from a human, to other humans, about humans, to convince you of the importance of humans
Who are the top influencers in your industry?
Who are the top influencers for your brand?
Do any of these people work at your company?
Would it absolutely blow your mind if the most trusted experts and voices in your market were talking about you?
In a marketing environment that is becoming increasingly automated and robot-fueled, creating and promoting influencers for your brands and products is as important as ever. Influencer programs provide a great platform for your employees and advocates to make real connections and tell the stories about the impact your company, products, and people have made.
If you’re open to chatting about influencer marketing, CatGPT, Imposter Syndrome, or running – give me a shout or schedule some time!
You can also learn more from our additional B2B Ignite USA coverage here:
- Evolving and Elevating B2B Marketing in 2023 – Top Marketer Insights from B2B Ignite USA
- Explore the New Frontiers of B2B Marketing at Ignite USA 2023
- B2B Marketing Event Speaker Spotlight: Paul Roetzer for Ignite USA
- B2B Marketing Speaker Spotlight: Melanie Deziel on Content as Evidence for Ignite USA
- Where to Find the New Frontiers of B2B Marketing at Ignite USA
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