The Agency AI Conference

Thursday 11th July 2024 – 9.30am to 5pm
The Royal Institution, London

• Get inspired to deploy AI in your agency
• Learn how other agencies are using AI to improve their work and help their clients
• Discover new ideas to improve your copy and creative workflows

It’s only been a few months since our last event, and already we’ve seen AI make unprecedented leaps and bounds:

  • After four iterations, ChatGPT has very nearly been replaced.
  • HeyGen has managed to replicate our faces and voices.
  • Some agencies are crafting their own SaaS products.
  • Others are creating dedicated teams to stay ahead of the AI curve.

While most are viewing these developments through a positive lens, others are, quite rightly, scared. 

IP law doesn’t cover AI-generated content, and clients are pausing projects to see if they can create the same work in-house with AI tools (and some come crawling back). AI tech may well shake up the traditional agency structure as we know it – and remove it completely. 

Despite these worries there are still opportunities for agencies to grow and make their lives easier through automation and a diverse range of AI models.

Our aim for this event is to understand both sides and, hopefully, you’ll walk away with a little more confidence in your agency’s future.

Five Rooms of AI Learning and Inspiration

Demonstration Room
Georgian Room
Lecture Theatre
Writing Room
The Library

Who you’ll hear from…

How Agencies Can Leverage AI to Its True Potential

AI isn’t coming, it’s already here – and it’s here to stay.

The question is, then: are you taking advantage of it in the best way possible? 

A lot of people talk a good talk, but when it comes to it, they’re not actually using the AI tools properly,” says Peter Heneghan, founder of The Future Communicator.

Peter is on a mission to get more businesses using AI through his ‘AI Halo’ framework.

It looks like this:

  1. Awareness and inspiration: “First, we help businesses open their eyes to the incredible potential of AI and inspire them to reimagine what’s possible in their industries.”
  2. Hands-on training: “Then, we dive deep into a company’s DNA. Our experts audit their workflows, identify inefficiencies, and pinpoint where AI can make the biggest impact.”
  3. Select the right tools: “We act as a trusted guide, helping companies navigate the complex landscape of AI tools.”
  4. Integration: “Integrating AI isn’t just about technology – it’s about people learning it.”
  5. Ongoing optimisation: “Adopting AI isn’t a one-and-done deal. It’s a continuous journey of optimization and adaptation.”

👉 At The Robots Are Coming, Peter will walk us through how your agencies can make the most out of AI, the steps you need to take to integrate it into your team and why it’s absolutely vital that you do.

This is for: agency leaders who want to learn how they can integrate AI more effectively into their business using a clear, well-thought-out framework.

How We’re Harnessing  AI for Smoother Operations and Enhanced Creativity

Your processes can make or break your business. If you have too much going on behind the scenes, things become overcomplicated and mistakes happen.

So many agencies are looking to AI to help lighten the load.

But how do you cultivate a culture that not only accepts but also drives innovation and the use of AI in daily operations?

Tea Duza, head of operations at Pitch121, might just have the answer for us.

“Our copywriters have been developing GPT environments for our clients,” says Tea. “They can mimic the client’s tone of voice and how they want to be perceived on LinkedIn, helping us to prepare a first draft of posts or messages.”

“The outreach we do on LinkedIn is automated too. We use two different tools, try to plug them in together. So there are even less manual inputs in the workflow.”

👉 At The Robots Are Coming, Tea will delve into what’s made Pitch121’s operations so streamlined and well-functioned – exploring how AI and automation have made such a massive impact on creativity and decision-making.

This is for: marketing, social media, PR and copywriting agencies who create content for multiple clients – or businesses looking to implement AI within their creative operations.

Build Your Own AI Co-Pilot in 30mins

For some, the AI landscape is becoming overwhelming. New tools and AI-powered platforms seem to pop up by the second – and so many of them do the same thing. 

It’s hard to know which one to choose. It’s even harder to ask about it without ruffling the feathers of AI tech gurus on LinkedIn. 

What you need is to be able to tell someone, or something, your problem – and get them to build you a tool to help you solve it.

Thankfully, that’s exactly what Cien Solon and Tanveer Mohammed have done.

“You want to bring AI into your business – rather than go and try to figure out the tech,” says Tanveer. “So we’ve created a platform called Launch Lemonade that allows anyone to go in, define what they need help with, and it will spit out a chatbot to help you with that problem.” Then, you can either monetise it, keep it to yourself, or share it with your team.”

👉 In this workshop session, Cien and Tanveer will show you how to create your own AI co-pilot – in tune with your specific needs – to help tackle your problems, speed up your processes, and make your job easier.

This is for: non-techies and AI rookies who would like to utilise the new tech but don’t have the capacity to develop their technical knowledge of AI – or agencies looking to build a tool to help with a specific problem.

How to Integrate AI into Your HR Function

HR has a reputation of being too far removed from the techies or the marketers of their agencies. They exist in their own world, ensuring the ship runs smoothly.

But this means they can miss out on the latest AI tools that could make their jobs easier.

Tess Hilson-Greener, CEO and founder of AI Capability, is here to get you up to speed:

“In HR, we need to consider what people are doing now with AI,” she says. “Many HR people might not notice because they don’t have as much involvement with the tech side of things.”

“For example, we have a recruitment tool that allows you to download all your first, second and third connections via LinkedIn into a system.”

👉 At The Robots Are Coming, we’ll be picking the brains of different agency leaders to learn how you can make your HR function run smoother with simple and accessible AI tools.

This is for: HR leaders who want to integrate AI into their workflows but aren’t quite sure how – or those looking to improve upon the AI tools they already use.

How We’re Leveraging AI  Tools On a Budget

Gone are the days where AI adoption is a choice for agencies. If you’re not using it, you’re losing.

But what if you don’t have the budget for each new AI tool that pops up? Or the capacity to create an AI research and development team?

Turns out you don’t need buckets of cash to leverage AI in your agency – you just need a bit of time to set it all up. 

“People say you can’t use AI for content creation, but LLMs are great for content creation jumping off points,” says Matt Collins, MD of Platypus

“It’s all about quality and quantity. I can do more proposals, I can do more minutes, I can do more emails. But this is quality stuff as well – this makes the quality of what we do our offering just that much higher, because of the knowledge that each of the models can tap into.”

“We need to roll out AI, skills wise and interest wise, within our organisation as much as anyone else needs to. So this is a start for that.”

👉 At The Robots Are Coming, Matt will take us through how he’s using public LLMs to supercharge his agency’s processes – from marketing content and LinkedIn posts, to client proposals and competitor analysis – without breaking the bank.

This is for: smaller agencies, or agencies who specialise in non-profit clients, who are looking to harness AI tools – without spending loads of cash. (Matt has some really savvy ways of using LLMs for marketing content and sales – so this one is for everyone really!)

How To Harness AI in Digital Marketing

“I’ve been in digital marketing long enough to realise that there are just many turning points – and for every single one of them, everybody said, ‘Digital marketing is finished. SEO is dead’,” says Matt Janaway, CEO of Marketing Labs. “But it’s not, you just have to adapt.”

Matt Janaway has been in the SEO business since he was 16 years old. He’s seen trends come and go, yet the industry, and his business, is still standing. 

So while others are concerned AI will see the death of digital marketing, how is Matt’s agency – and its clients – still growing?

“Of all of the changes within digital marketing, there’s probably been about ten in the past 20+ years that are really big – where people were panicking about the future of digital marketing,” says Matt. “I would say there was probably some validity in some of those worries. But with AI, I actually completely disagree.”

“It’s about adapting and using those opportunities. If you can find ways of capitalising on that and making yourself more efficient, but also using it in a way that can benefit clients – that can only be a good thing, surely?”

👉 At The Robots Are Coming, Matt will take us through how his agency has been integrating AI into its services for the last five years – from speeding up processes to addressing client pain points – and how you can do this too.

This is for: digital marketing, SEO and PPC agencies who are looking to leverage AI and automation within their processes – as well as any agencies concerned about the impact this tech may have on their business.

How We Built Our Own AI Forecasting Platform

“I thought we could do it in a year for a million quid – but it’s taken us £2.5 million and two and a half years,” says John Readman, CEO and founder of Modo25.

John Readman is a tech man. Despite growing and exiting several agencies, his background has always been in building software. So creating his own AI platform in-house seemed like a no-brainer. 

But it wasn’t quite as smooth sailing as he expected…

“You’ve got to make sure you’re solving a big enough problem for enough people. Developers will build a widget or a little saas product, and think that this is going to change the world. But actually, the problem isn’t big enough,” says John.

“Whereas our total addressable market for AskBosco is all marketing agencies with clients who spend money on Google, or any client who does it themselves. So it’s quite a lot of people.” 

👉 In this session, John will take us through how he and his team developed his own AI-powered forecasting and reporting platform – more specifically, where he went wrong, and what he did right. He’ll be joined by his product director Emily Hakner, who will be on hand to give a demo of the platform, and take questions about its development.

This session is for: agencies interested in AI-powered forecasting and client reporting – and leaders who would like to build and monetise their own AI SaaS products. (It’s not as easy as it looks!)

How To Protect Your IP From AI Thieves

It’s every creative’s worst nightmare: “We’re going to pause this project with you and do it in-house with AI.”

The only thing that’s worse is if they use YOUR IP as a prompt. 

This has happened to Ben Wild multiple times this year. 

“We had one project that was essentially greenlit – funds had been agreed, and we’d also sent the first contract for the project,” says Ben, founder of Ben Wild Studios

Out of nowhere, Ben got an email from the client’s creative director: “She put, ‘At the moment, we’ve decided to develop the 2D concepts in house using our specialist AI service. But you’ll be pleased to know we used your work as a prompt.’”

Legally, there was nothing he could do about it. 

“There’s absolutely no way to copyright the work. Because, essentially, there isn’t anything to copyright.”

If your lawyer turns round and says there’s nothing you can do, that’s when you know you’re absolutely scuppered.  But is there a way to prevent this from happening?

👉 At The Robots Are Coming, Ben will be joining us alongside Sacha Wilson, partner at Harbottle & Lewis, to discuss the options agencies have when it comes to protecting their IP from AI thieves. 

This session is for: creative agencies who are concerned about losing projects to AI, and those worried about the impact AI tech will have on the industry.

What Should Your Agency’s AI Policy Look Like?

When it comes to AI, many agencies believe honesty is the best policy. And with growing concern from clients about data breaches, they may just be right. 

“More and more clients are asking us about this,” says Emma Mackley, marketing manager at Bespoke HR. “The problem is, staff could be using it – but do the employers know that they’re using it? Even if they’re just using AI to speed up work, there are so many implications.”

Bespoke HR created an AI policy template to help businesses communicate their usage – both internally and externally. 

According to Emma, the policy was born out of two main concerns:

  1. The data you put in, could output somewhere else. “You would not want to be responsible for a data breach!”
  2. ChatGPT can be biassed. “How do you know that’s not going to damage your reputation?”

👉 In this session, we’ll be joined by BespokeHR’s Katy Wade, PB Creative’s Lloyd Moffat and Ian Miller, founder of Crafted, to discuss what your agency’s AI policy should look like, what it should include, and how you can get started on developing your own.

This is for: those who are concerned about the impact of introducing AI into their workflows, leaders who are concerned about their team’s usage of AI tools, and agencies who are being asked about how they are using AI by their clients.

How We Built Our AI Research & Development Team

AI is evolving fast; it’s not enough anymore just to use it every now and then, and hope for the best. 

You’ve got to put in the time – and do your research!

In fact, some agencies have even started to build their own AI research and development teams in order to stay ahead of the curve.

“We have an AI taskforce in place that is reviewing, testing and reviewing various different AI tools and platforms.” explains Rob Jones at WPR Agency

“We have people from different facets of our business exploring how AI can be applied in their areas, and we’ve got some test exercises planned where we’re going to use AI for tasks like writing press releases, doing research, and coming up with social content.”

👉 In this session, we’ll be exploring why you should have a dedicated AI research and development team, as well as looking at how it’s worked out for other agencies. If you’re interested in adding some more eggs to your AI basket – this is not one to miss.

This is for: agency leaders who are interested in building their own AI ‘task-force’ – or leaders who are interested in going ‘all in’ on AI, but are still apprehensive or don’t know where to begin.

TOOL SHOW & TELL: Building AI Tools In-House

ChatGPT – as well as the myriad other AI tools out there – is great,  there’s no denying it. But if you’re an agency, you can’t rely on it forever. 

Public AI tools can either be:

  1. Too broad.
  2. Too inaccurate.
  3. Too uncontrollable.

So, if you want a thing done right, do it yourself.

One person who has done this already is Measurelab’s Matthew Hooson – who has created his own AI chatbot named BRIAN.

“I didn’t want this to be considered a bot – I wanted something more intelligent than a bot,” says Matthew.

“I was worried we were in danger of not acting, because I don’t think AI is going anywhere. I don’t think it’s a flash in the pan. I think it’s permanent.”

👉 At The Robots Are Coming, we’ll be showcasing custom-made AI tools developed in-house by different agencies. If you’re thinking of creating your own in-house AI tool but not sure where to start, come along to this workshop to get your questions answered.

This is for: agency leaders and tech-heads who want to create their own in-house AI platforms or tools, but aren’t sure how to go about it. Come along to get an idea of what’s possible.

🤖 Line-up subject to change – more to come…

Meet agencies who are using AI to evolve and succeed

The Robots Are Coming is an afternoon that will help you get inspired, and meet other people that you can learn from. It’s aimed at agency leaders and their leadership teams – but anybody can come. It’s a blend of interactive talks and group discussion.

  • We dot you around the venue so you can interact – and we mix up the groups so you meet different people.
  • We poll you before the event to see what you want to talk about.
  • We make sure all the talks are original and interesting. We facilitate questions and reflections throughout.

The Robots Are Coming – FAQs 🤖

Q: What actually happens on the day?

We start the event at 9.30am, so try to arrive by 9.15am.

The afternoon’s format is pretty simple: you will spend some time hearing from guests with interesting stories that you can learn from, and you will also spend some time in small groups discussing your journey with like-minded agency leaders.

The event is hosted by an Agency Hackers facilitator who makes sure that everybody with something interesting to say gets heard. (We poll attendees before the event, so we know who to ‘pick on’ on the day.)

We will serve tea, coffee and sweet things to keep you going, but please eat a sandwich before you arrive. The schedule doesn’t leave us time to serve lunch, unfortunately.

Q: Who will I hear from? Who are the speakers?

The people you’ll hear from are all agency leaders with interesting stories to tell about using AI in their processes workflows.

We also decide who to spotlight based on the information we capture in the weeks before. (Look out for our emails!)

We will publish the line-up a few weeks before, but mostly we hope that you will trust us to select interesting folk from our audience. We find that the people who choose to attend our events are overwhelmingly on fascinating journeys that will resonate with you.

Also, the ‘talks’ aren’t really linear presentations. They’re more like structured case studies, with lots of questions and reflections from the audience.

You could potentially call them ‘fireside chats’, but these are not rambling cosy conversations. They are planned and structured . We put a lot of work into researching our guests, out of respect for your time.

Q: Who can attend?

This event is for anybody in your agency who cares about AI and processes.

The event is mostly pitched at agency founders and their operations teams, but anybody can attend if you think it looks up your street.