12 essential sessions for B2B marketers at Advertising Week Europe

How can B2B marketers make the most of Advertising Week Europe? Here are the sessions we’ll be making time for…

March 17, 2017

advertising week europe

My Advertising Week Europe brochure dropped onto my desk about a week or so ago. It took a couple of days to get a new desk and replace the items that were unfortunate enough to be underneath it when it landed – but I’m there now. You know you’re dealing with a serious marketing event when the preview guide causes collateral damage through its sheer mass.

Seriously though, Advertising Week Europe feels bigger than ever this year. I’ve been told there are more than 200 events packed into the four days, which helps to explain why I’m flicking through a preview guide that feels like something from a Yellow Pages ad in the late 1980s. It’s impossible to get to all of them of course – and once you’re in the thick of the event, it’s almost too late to start deciding which sessions you need to be at, and which queues you desperately need to join before they become intimidatingly long. However, if you’re a B2B marketer at Advertising Week Europe, there’s an even bigger challenge. You have to identify the sessions with most value to add for B2B – and they are not all immediately obvious.

One session I know I’ll be at is our own Advertising Week Europe panel show: Go Home B2C, You’re Drunk at 10.15am on Tuesday March 21st. It’s going to be a blast. We’ve got some of the most provocative and engaging marketers I know bringing a distinctly B2B perspective to the issues dominating the Advertising Week Europe calendar. If you can’t make it to the event itself, then you can still watch it on the live stream through the Advertising Week Europe website. Make a date in your diary – and click on this link to watch live on Tuesday morning.

Our session is one of very few during the festival with a B2B agenda – but that’s not to say there isn’t a lot of value for B2B marketers to find elsewhere. You’ve just got to know where to look. Here are 12 sessions that I’ll be doing everything I can to make time for during Advertising Week Europe:

Understanding People Through Music – You are what you Stream!

Monday 20th March, 12.30pm

Workshop Stage

I’m usually a bit suspicious of advertising festival sessions that feature one company talking about what they have to offer – but this one has a really intriguing concept at its core. Any marketer needs to consider how they can engage audiences on a more emotive level. That means incorporating emotion into your creative, but also potentially incorporating it into your targeting. That’s what Spotify data claims to offer – and I’m interested to see how it could work.

AI: Changing the Future of Marketing

Monday 20th March, 3.00pm

IPA Centenary Stage

I expect this session to be packed – but it’s well worth turning up early to try and get yourself a seat. AI is one of the subjects that’s dominating marketing discussions at the moment – but often in a frustratingly vague and hypothetical way. This session promises to get far more practical about exactly how brands and agencies can work together to get value from AI – and what exactly they should be aiming to achieve through it. There’s some good, varied perspectives on offer: Google, Aviva, PicassoLabs (a startup that we met at Mindshare’s Huddle last year, with a business model built around AI) and the media agency Zenith.

Mental Manifestos

Monday 20th March, 3.00pm

Shutterstock Stage

The Picturehouse Central is going to be chaos at around ten to three on Monday, because besides the big AI session, we’ve got another very important one on mental health. I’m going to either have to split myself in two or cast lots with the team to decide who covers what.

It’s never been more apparent that you can’t build a diverse, supportive, creative and effective team without paying attention to mental health – and in particular, to the impact that work can have on it. Ours is a high-pressure industry, with constantly shifting demands, deluges of deadlines and a combination of emotional and physical pressures. As a marketing leader, if you want to get more from your team, you need to put this issue at the top of your agenda – and this session is a great place to start. It’s presented by Psyched, and it has a really varied and credible panel line-up.

If the queue for Mental Manifestos looks a little long, you could get another great perspective on mental health in marketing-related industries from Danny Bent, who’s billed as one of the happiest people in the UK. Bent’s philosophy is centred on being true to yourself – something any marketing team should be looking to empower its members to do. It’s a pity that this is yet another valuable session that’s crammed into the same time-slot around 3pm on Monday. Bent’s starts at 2.45pm on the NewGen stage.

MAKERS: For The Female Leaders Of Tomorrow

Monday 20th March, 4.15pm

Fast Company Stage

Diversity remains a huge issue for marketing. Gender equality gets more attention than any other diversity issue, yet despite this the data still shows how far we have to go where real equality of opportunity for women is concerned. Of the diversity-related sessions at Advertising Week Europe, this is the most focused on the task of empowering women in leadership roles. That’s far from the only diversity issue we should be discussing as an industry – but it’s one that's certainly worth your time.

Go Home B2C, You’re Drunk

Tuesday 21st March, 10.15am

Shutterstock Stage

You really don’t want to miss this one. Not only is it hosted by my good self, but it’s the only panel show that you’ll get to be a part of at Advertising Week Europe – and it features some of the most quick-witted and provocative minds in B2B marketing. We’ll be taking on all of the buzzy concepts that you’ll be hearing about over the four days of the festival, including AI, VR, Live Video and more. And we’ll be debating exactly what value, if any, each has to offer for B2B marketers. For the final round of our panel show, we’ll be involving you, the audience, in our own version of Room 101. Our panelists will vote on the marketing concept they’d most like to lock away for all eternity.

Using Data to Increase the Creativity Quotient

Tuesday 21st March, 12.30pm

The Guardian Stage

It’s great to hear events like Advertising Week Europe getting over the whole Data vs Creativity debate thing – because as a B2B content marketer, that supposedly adversarial relationship has never made any sense to me. Used the right way, data is the most effective spark for starting creative fires that I know of. Dave Shing, the digital prophet of AOL, has got a great panel together to explore how to use data more creatively across a whole range of brand and personal objectives. If you’ve heard Shingy on the Sophisticated Marketer’s Podcast, you’ll know just what an engaging and provocative mind he has. It’s guaranteed to provide an imaginative take on a very important subject.

If that’s not enough inspiration on fusing data and creativity, I predict it will be worth making time later on Tuesday for Renaissance: A new creative value system on the Fast Company Stage at 3.15pm. Mashing up perspectives from Dentsu Aegis and VICE UK sounds like a pretty good way to explore how creativity is evolving in the data era.

Marketing to the Future: A CMO’s Roadmap to Digital Transformation

Tuesday 21st March, 4.15pm

Fast Company Stage

I can’t imagine two better people to discuss the evolving role of the CMO than Grad Conn of Microsoft and Simon Morris of Adobe, a regular contributor to our LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog. They’ve both got real authority on the evolution of marketing as a revenue driver, the role of AI, the importance of the cloud, and a host of other issues that are being discussed in the C-suite this year. Expect some valuable views on the purpose of marketing that will be relevant no matter how senior your role.

Thoughts from the Head of Advertising: A Talk by Mark Denton Esq

Thursday 23rd March, 1pm

IPA Centenary Stage

Advertising Week Europe covers a whole range of marketing-related subjects these days – but every now and then, it’s worth getting back to the heart of advertising, and tapping into the thinking of people on the creative edge. Mark Denton, creative partner in the legendary agency Simons Palmer Denton Clemmow & Johnson is one of those people. If you want inspiration for injecting more creativity into B2B, this is somebody you want to listen to.

Mayor Sadiq Khan Live

Thursday 23rd March, 2.15pm

Fast Company Stage

No doubt about it – this is one of those setpiece occasions that Advertising Week Europe is all about. Expect queues up and down the stairs of Picturehouse Central to hear the London Mayor interviewed by The Evening Standard. Sadiq Khan has expressed forthright views throughout a hugely turbulent year in politics – and his pitch that London is open for business is a hugely relevant one for both B2B and B2C marketers.

I Think that Worked: Measuring the Success of Content Marketing

Thursday 23rd March, 2.15pm

Shutterstock Stage

Once again, the team and I are going to be casting lots about who gets into which queue at 2.15pm on Thursday. I want to hear what Sadiq Khan has to say – but I always want to hear different perspectives on measuring the effectiveness of content marketing. This session brings together the FT, Mindshare, native agency Adyoulike and media agency Mindshare. Should be interesting.

Emotion: Is Programmatic Taking The Crucial X Factor Out Of Advertising?

Thursday 23rd March, 2.45pm

The Guardian Stage

It’s going to be tight – but I think I can sprint across from my session on measuring content marketing and still make most of this one on balancing emotional engagement and programmatic buying. I think it’s well worth you doing the same. As programmatic becomes an increasingly important buying strategy for B2B advertising, the big challenge will be ensuring real relevance. This session promises to take on that issue.

The Girlie Show: Truth And Lies Behind The ‘Women At Work’ Narrative

Thursday 23rd March, 5.15pm

Fast Company Stage

The ‘Women at Work’ narrative has a lot to answer for – and it’s as dangerously influential today as it has ever been. The core problem is unconscious bias, and the way that the same actions in the workplace are interpreted very differently for women than they are for men. It’s a hugely relevant theme for marketing today – and this looks like a really good line-up of pan

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