In-Ear Insights MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2023 Takeaways

In-Ear Insights: MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2023 Takeaways

In this episode of In-Ear Insights, the Trust Insights podcast, Katie and Chris discuss key takeaways from the recent MarketingProfs B2B Forum conference. We cover topics like AI, digital marketing tactics, and generative content. Katie shares insights on non-AI focused sessions and the importance of remembering that technology is just a tool. Chris discusses legal implications around AI and copyright. We talk about the risks of over relying on AI, forgetting basic marketing skills, and striking a balance between technology and fundamentals. Overall, we provide an informative recap of B2B Forum while emphasizing the need to use AI wisely and maintain core competencies.


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In-Ear Insights: MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2023 Takeaways

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for listening to the episode.

Christopher Penn 0:00

In this week’s In-Ear Insights, we are back from a whirlwind tour at the MarketingProfs B2B forum and 2023.

Katie, you spoke, I spoke, and we had a bunch of really great sessions.

So let’s start off Katie with what are some of the things from the sessions and things you went to that you that you’ve learned some lessons learned, that you think are worth sharing?

Katie Robbert 0:23

I think the big thing, I mean, obviously, everyone is obsessed with generative AI right now, that was probably one of the larger themes that I noticed at the event, including with the opening remarks, and then the two follow up sessions to that we’re also focused on AI.

But the focus was more so how to make AI work for you not to be afraid of it and not to let it sort of take over everything.

As in, it’s just going to do your job.

No, it’s just going to do this.

But it was more around really understanding it.

That being said, because it was the thing that everybody was focused on.

The sessions that didn’t folk didn’t feature anything AI tended to be less attended.

Because everybody wanted to know the tools.

Everybody wants to know all the shiny objects and gadgets.

And so if I look objectively from the outside, I think that that is a risk.

Because the tools change so fast.

And it means that you’re not focusing on all of the other skills and things that go along with generative AI.

What was your takeaway?

Christopher Penn 1:40

The session where I learned the most was attorney Ruth Carter session, Ruth, they brought they brought their dog Lucy, which is adorable beagles, I spent more time with Lucy at the conference.

But there were a couple things that I learned that I did not know.

And again, I am not a lawyer.

So what I learned may not be reflective of the truth, you consult your own lawyer.

But a couple of things were interesting one, the USA has ruled that AI generated works cannot hold copyright.

There are five countries where that’s not true where AI agenda works can hold copyright.

Hong Kong, India, Ireland, New Zealand and the UK, which was news to me, I thought it was relatively universal, but machines can’t hold it.

But apparently these five countries and you know, the UK and Ireland particularly stand out to me because Ireland is part of the EU.

So the question then is like, does that extend to the EU at some point, that’ll be really interesting.

And the second thing that I learned that upgraded my knowledge from what I thought was previously true, is that if you put your work into a machine, and have it generate from that work, what results is a derivative work under copyright law, and so you retain the copyright on it.

I didn’t think that was case I thought anything machine generated, you forfeited copyright on that was wrong.

Ruth was saying, if you take a transcript of say, this podcast, and you put it through an AI and have it write a summary, even though the machine generated copy is a summary, it is a derivative under law, at least under what they presented.

That is a derivative work.

So you retain the rights to that derivative work the same as if you had hired a copywriter to write a summary or write a blog post from from this podcast episode? I was like, Oh, well, that’s that clears up a lot of things.

Because I’ve been wondering, you know, how much if I write a rough draft, complete, you know, just bad grammar and whatever.

And I have to like Grammarly clean it up.

Do I lose my claim to that, and according to what Ruth was saying, that is not the case, the that you obtain the rights to derivative works.

That is different than a generative work where you give it a prompt, but not the original work.

And it spits out a blog post, for example, that would be a case where copyright does not apply in the USA.

Katie Robbert 4:11

Well, I would imagine to it’s very similar to hiring an editor or anything like that.

And so the editor doesn’t suddenly retain the copyright to your work.

It’s still your work someone else just edit it.

I always saw it as the same thing, where it’s either a human or a machine editing the work, but you still did the work.

And so that to me makes sense.

Christopher Penn 4:35


I thought that was that was a super useful session.

Also many of the court cases about whether the training data used to create AI models is a violation of copyright or not.

Ruth was saying those are going to take years to resolve so we will not have clear answers for quite some time.

Ruth said there are three major cases Anderson versus stability I Silverman versus OpenAI and Cadre versus meta, and all them.

They’ve the AI company has already filed motions to dismiss.

And let’s so the courts have to work for that.

And then they have to go to to go to trial, essentially.

So it will be a very, very, very long time.

Before before that, because so I thought that was super helpful because it answers a lot of the questions I have about AI, obviously, are not technical in nature, they are process based, you know, what processes are allowed? How does AI fit into our existing frames, particularly around legal things I did ask was one other thing, which was, we had read from other legal counsel that using AI in client work would be a breach of copyright, because you can’t assign if you’ve had an inner client work if you assign your rights to the client as a work for hire.

And Ruth said, That’s not that clear cut.

And Ruth’s advice was to be clear in your client contracts, maybe do an addendum to your scopes of work, whatever, saying, These are the conditions under which we will and won’t use AI.

And this was that should be true for everybody in the industry.

Every contract from now on should have some clause about how you will and won’t use AI.

Katie Robbert 6:19

Well, and if I think about all of the sessions that happened at B2B, you know, there was a lot of teaching how to use generative AI.

And so if you think about the way that we use it, we use it to help analyze our data, we use it to help write code.

Do we have to disclose that? Is that now something that we have to put into our contracts? And say, generative AI actually analyzed your data? Not us?

Christopher Penn 6:48

I think that’s a that’s a question for us as a business as the business owners to say like, how do we want to disclose that? Because I think that’s, I think, it’s certainly useful to be able to say like, here’s what we did.

And here’s how we use machines to, because we use it a lot, I would say, kind of like a sous chef doing the preparatory work, like generative AI is doing the the effective equivalent of slicing the carrots, right making julienned carrot strips, it’s not making the final dish, but it’s cutting out that two hours of prep time slicing carrots, because it can do it for us.

It will do, for example, the client report all the basic analysis, and then we have to add the value add we add is looking at the results, making sure they’re correct.

And then saying, hey, client, here’s what this means.

And here’s what you should do about it.

I think that’s where it’s it’s, it’s essentially a lot of ways, like a really smart intern that we have on team and we should use it in that fashion like, Hey, intern, fixes PowerPoint slides, Hey, intern, you know, copy all the text of this PowerPoint and summarize, it’s not stuff that requires your in my level expertise to do those basic tasks.

And then we can spend the time with the client saying, here’s what we do, here’s what you should do next.

Katie Robbert 8:12

So, where we’ve been using machine learning, for the entire time that Trust Insights has been operating, we haven’t put into our contracts any sort of clause.

And so now, because everybody’s aware that machine learning and AI are a thing now they’re paying attention.

Christopher Penn 8:34

It seems that way.

And I think, you know, the way we’ve been using machine learning, which is called Classical AI, to do stuff like attribution analysis, I think folks have would have realized that that’s the technology at play.

I mean, we literally tell people, this is a valid attribution model.

But I think now that people understand more about just the general concepts of AI, it wouldn’t be bad to reinforce that to some degree.

But also, Jeff says, like, Hey, this is the thing that we created based on our knowledge and expertise to do this attribution analysis and contractual yet should be in there at some point.

But more importantly, I think it’s it’s a marketing point for us as an agency to be able to say like, yeah, not only do we use AI, we’ve been using AI since the day the door is opened.

And if you want to work with a, a, a partner that actually knows what they’re doing, as opposed to someone who just jumped on the bandwagon three months ago.

There’s a reason the first word in our company’s name is trust.

Katie Robbert 9:49

In terms of the sessions that I attended, I tried to go out of my way to attend the sessions that were not AI focused.

Because I was curious to see So how digital marketing tactics were being presented? Without it? Obviously, digital marketing is absolutely doable without AI.

absolutely doable.

What I was curious about was to see in at an event that is so generative AI heavy now and that you know that I don’t think that that was their intention.

It just sort of how it worked out.

What did it look like to talk about and teach digital marketing and not focus on generative AI and so there were a couple of sessions and so actually Zack bins influencer B2B influencer session did not focus on generative AI.

I attended an ABM session that did not focus on generative AI.

And I know that there were some email sessions and Nancy har HUD who I actually saw speak at Content Marketing World the previous week, she focuses on ROI of your marketing.

And as far as I can remember, she doesn’t focus on generative AI there she, it’s very more like logical behavioral marketing of this is what your audience expects.

And so I was really happy to see that those sessions were still happening.

Because I do think that we collectively as marketers run the risk of just thinking, well, generative AI is going to do it for me, well, I don’t have to think about how to write an email now because generative AI can do it.

Well, I don’t have to worry about what the audience wants, because generative AI is going to tell me and none of that is true.

Christopher Penn 11:37

None of that is true.

And yet, if you were if you were judicious in the use of the technology, generative AI can assist you with some of the sub tasks and each of those categories.

Katie Robbert 11:54

No, it absolutely can assist you.

But I what I’m saying is that people, marketers are going into it thinking that it’s just going to do the whole thing start to finish.

So yes, it can do a sub category task.

That’s not what I’m saying.

What I’m saying is that there was a lack of understanding that, you know, generative, generative AI is just going to do the thing.

And so, for example, Andrew Davis gave a really great talk on the first day about creating your doppelganger, basically, you know, the AI version of you.

But because he was only on stage for 40 minutes, what didn’t happen was, it didn’t go into all of the work that it took to actually create and refine this generative AI version of you.

You know, he rightly so presented it, and it made it look easy, breezy.

But that’s not how it works at all.

And so someone who then goes home and tries to recreate it, is going to get mediocre results or struggle through it and just give up.

Christopher Penn 13:01

Yeah, people will actually had that issue, they before even leaving, I sat down at lunch on day two, with a person who works in the ag tech space, and was saying, like, Hey, I was trying to do what Andrew showed on stage.

And I just can’t seem to make it work.

And so I sat next to this person, I said, well show me what you’ve done.

And it became immediately clear that what was shown on stage, like Andrew didn’t show any of the internal workings and that was all what was missing.

So this person, for example, didn’t have any kind of Prop structure.

So I gave them a free copy of our prompt sheet which you can also get for free with no forms, fill out anything go to trust sheet to get your copy, and then said, Okay, here’s what else is missing.

You know, you have you don’t have your race structure.

And what he was showing, he didn’t call it this, but what it’s it’s called from a technical perspective is called few shot learning.

Here are the samples, and that you want to train the machine on.

And what what kind of got lost along the way, again, because it was the keynote was even the process of picking those samples of deciding which samples you want to use, isn’t just Oh, it’s a copy paste the first things that come to mind it’s no actually you have to be very judicious in the use of that.

You have to look at the quality and variety of the words particularly jargon because you want jargon in your few shot learning prompts, so that the machines can key in on it.

So all that stuff after like 15 minutes, we got I got this person’s prompts to actually function correctly.

Like, oh, it works.

I’m like, Yes.

And you now see just how much detail and implementation stuff there is.

That was not presented.

Katie Robbert 14:57

And I think that that’s some One thing that attendees of conferences need to keep in mind is that you’re not unless you’re signing up for the eight hour workshop, which marketing profs does absolutely offer.

And I wouldn’t be surprised if next year, there were more how to do AI, like typical workshops.

But the the 45 minute sessions that you’re attending, you’re not meant to get every single step of the process.

And so that’s something from an attendee side to be mindful of the presenters, their responsibility is to introduce an idea.

And excuse me introduce it in such a way that you want to know more.

So you follow up with them is essentially one large sales pitch for each individual speaker.

And if we’ve done our jobs, right, we’ve introduced an idea to you and you said, Oh, my gosh, I really need that I need to know more.

Let me reach out to you speaker afterwards, so that I can engage you in some kind of, you know, business relationship.

That’s the point.

That’s the whole goal.

Yes, it’s education.

But within 45 minutes, we can’t teach you every single step.

And so I think it’s, it was interesting to see, you know, people walk away from events, they’re like, you know, they’re buzzing, they’re excited.

They have all these ideas.

But that’s all they are.

They’re just ideas, no one has given you the step by step by step.

And that’s when the actual work has to start.

Christopher Penn 16:29

Yeah, it’s kind of like the equivalent of going out for a really great meal, and going home and realizing you don’t have a cookbook.


Katie Robbert 16:42

That one was, that wasn’t your most solid metaphor,

Christopher Penn 16:45

probably not.

Shameless plug.

If you do want a workshop on AI, let us know we do this.

So it in terms of others of the event, I definitely agree that the the non AI sessions I went to were were less popular in terms of just number of butts and seats.

I mean, this the session I gave at the end of the of day one should have been half empty, because it was 5pm.

It was like right before the bar.

And yet, it was you know, it was it was standing room only because it was an AI talk.

And I agree that there’s there is risks at for people forgetting, I think two things I completely agree that there’s, there’s a risk of people over focusing on AI just like, you know, two years ago, people like everything is web three year like now.

How’s your blockchain journey going? But secondarily, and I think this is a bigger question that there isn’t an answer to.

But in the martial arts, to become a black belt, you have to do a lot of white belt techniques a long time, you know, punch, kick, now, and so on and so forth.

And it can be boring at times stuff, but that builds up your skills so that you can eventually do green belt techniques, or brown belt tactics, and eventually Black Belt techniques.

And I think there’s a there is a risk for people who are in the profession of marketing, if you offload the white belt techniques, you know, the basic stuff to machines? Yes, that is efficient.

Yes, that can be effective, particularly if you’re not very skilled.

But in that intern means you’re not developing your own skill.

So it’s much harder for you to become a green belt, and much harder for you to become a brown belt.

And much harder if you do become a black belt when a machine is doing more and more of those basic intermediate tasks.

And I don’t think that we figured out collectively, what a good balance looks like, because, for example, how many people under the age of 30, who have not been in the military can use a paper map to navigate? Right, that is a skill that has been damaged by technology?

Katie Robbert 18:54

Well, it’s, you know, it’s something we’ve talked about a lot before is that AI is not a new problem.

It’s just a new symptom of the same problem.

And so what you’re describing is very similar to leaders who have offloaded all of those, if you call them the white belt techniques.

You know, they become so out of touch with what’s actually happening day to day with the employees and the customers.

And they’re just making decisions on a whim or they’re making the decisions that they think they should be making without really consulting.

You know, what does this actually mean for my team? What do people actually have to do with this decision? I mean, it’s the same problem.

So it’s, you know, someone who’s going to succeed is going to be well rounded.

They’re going to retain some of those more basic tasks.

They may not do all of them but they will stay up to date.

They will do them occasionally they’ll keep their hands you know, in the dirt, but they will also learn how to use the technology they will also learn how to use the data to make decisions.

And so it’s it’s not that we’re asking people to be unicorns, we’re asking them just to, you know, stay grounded, while they have their, you know, head in the sky thinking about all these great things like, you still have to think about what’s going on around you.

And you know, and not just again, it’s the will AI can do it for me.

Well, sure.

But then what does that mean for you, as the person when that comes back around, and the technology is no longer working?

Christopher Penn 20:36


And I think the final thing that at least I learned from Mark and crossfeed before him is I am not well suited to being a character from the Barbie movie.

Katie Robbert 20:50

Oh, no, you were you were the perfect Alan.

Christopher Penn 20:56

Any final lessons and thoughts from you, Katie, on things you learned from this use marketing process, B2B form.

Katie Robbert 21:03

I think the big thing is, you know, as marketers, I think it’s good that we’re trying our best to stay up to date on new technologies.

But, you know, like everything else, like, you know, SMS marketing, like email marketing, like social media marketing, they are, they all have a shelf life, they are things that you will need to know how to do.

But they will not forever be the only thing that you focus on.

And so you know, learn what’s going on with generative AI.

But don’t make that your sole focus, because there are other things that you still need to be aware of.

Christopher Penn 21:43


And if you were at marketing, prosperity reform, or if you weren’t, and you have some thoughts you want to share about these topics, pop on over to our free slack group.

Go to trust for marketers, where you have over 3500 other marketers asking and answer each other’s questions every single day.

To our knowledge, there’s no AI running things in there yet.

Wherever it is, you watch or listen to the show.

If there’s a challenge, you’d rather have it down, go to trust podcast, you can find us on most other channels.

And while you’re there, please leave us a rating and review on the channel of your choice.

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Thanks for tuning in, and we’ll talk to you next time.

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