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Prolific North Live 2023

The annual event that discusses the latest trends and insights in media, marketing, and digital you should know heading into 2024. 

Attendees joined us at UA92 in Manchester on the 22 November for a day of actionable insights that helped take your business forward! 

The next big thing in marketing?

The pace of change in consumer behaviour and technology is quicker than ever. We are bombarded with the next big idea or marketing solution every day. Cutting through the noise and growing your brand share is hard.

Prolific North Live aimed to demystify and arm you with the tools and knowledge you need to take your brand into 2024. We heard from some of the leading thinkers and doers who’ve been there and achieved impressive results. 

This event was fully booked. Check out the photos from the day!

Headline sponsor

What was on the Agenda?

1 day. 2 dedicated content streams. 20+ speakers. Limitless opportunities...

Track 1

Track 2

Marketing and creative teams haven’t been short on challenges in 2023. Changing consumer behaviours, rapid advancements in tech and the need to drive performance with limited budgets are just some of the pressures they face daily. 

Looking forward to 2024, what are the ways you can set your team up for success and create a bold and brave culture? Join us for this keynote session to learn:

  • What are the changes we’ve seen in the marketing landscape in the past 12-18 months?
  • Top challenges marketers are facing in 2024 and how can you overcome them?
  • How diversity has the potential to enhance productivity and make brands more relevant;
  • Spotting opportunities and key take-aways for marketing leaders.

Presented by Mirage Islam, digital strategist & Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing and Innovation Lead at Salford Business School, The University of Salford 

Social media marketers are getting larger slices of the overall marketing budget and after more than a decade of growing pains, social media marketing has finally matured as a profession. But keeping up with changing social trends in the ever-evolving world of social media can be a challenge. Join us for this special panel discussion that will explore the current state of social media, highlighting key trends, challenges, and opportunities that are shaping the digital landscape. You will hear from:

  • Claire Hoang, VP of Social Media at ITV Studios
  • Sam Thomas Alexander Royle, Co-Founder & CEO of SoSquared
  • Stacey Anderson, Director Marketing, University Academy 92

Chaired by Alexandra Balazs, Managing Director – Prolific North.

A talk on what new features and products should be considered for your paid strategy in 2024, and what is already there that you shouldn’t forget about! 

There are many new product and feature releases across paid platforms incorporating machine learning and AI but it’s important to understand how to integrate them successfully into your current strategy and if they’ll actually be conducive to achieving business goals. And whilst new product testing is exciting, I’ll also be discussing which foundational elements of your strategy should be revisited for peak performance.

Presented by Courtney Scrivens, Head of Paid Media at Candidsky

Alton Towers Resort was closing its much loved and globally acclaimed Nemesis rollercoaster.

Consumer research showed the threat to brand sentiment of theme park ride closures was huge. With a turbulent economy, a diverse range of stakeholders in play and a fantastic brand platform to live up to,  a coherent narrative and truly integrated marketing communications plan was required to be successful.

Hear how the internal marketing and PR team collaborated with a team of northern agencies to turn potential negativity into a legendary celebration which has gone down in Towers folklore and bagged 12 industry awards and counting. 

Presented by Larry Roles Marketing Director at Alton Towers Resort
& Rick Guttridge Founder & MD of Smoking Gun

11:30 - Networking break (20 mins)

A group of people walk into a bar. They have to make a choice. Soft drink, wine, beer? A pint, a can, a bottle? Heineken, Hells, Punk AF? Their usual brand? A new brand? Your brand?

This session, brought to you by Clear Channel, focuses on market share and how you can turn more customers into ones that choose you. This blueprint for media planning is based on no less than 3 of Byron’s laws of growth. Learn why Out of Home is fundamental for reach, how that reach will help you talk to the buyers that will make a difference to your bottom line, how buyers in your category seldom vary to those of your competitors and why that’s good for your planning. Plus, there’s a brand-new framework to unearth the Category Entry Points your brand can attack to gain all important market share.

Presented by Lindsay Rapacchi, Research & Insights Director at Clear Channel

New hybrid working patterns often limit the time clients and agencies have to shape bespoke media plans. The complex economic climate adds growing pressure on advertisers to drive ROI on campaigns with a quick turnaround. Cookie cutter solutions can deliver disappointing results, but what is the alternative? Enter… AI. This session, brought to you by leading media platform Teads, delves into the latest AI planning capabilities, creative content generation and contextual targeting technology.

Come along to learn how the world’s most sophisticated advertisers and publishers harness AI technology to save time and engage their audience more effectively. Opting for an AI powered platform can make all the difference to your marketing goals and the time saved can be given back to focusing on strategy, ultimately driving growth for your brand.

Presented by Stephen Bullivant, Regional Head of Sales at Teads

The search landscape has evolved significantly over the last 12 months, and having a solid SEO strategy helps give your brand the visibility it needs to compete in the digital world. We’ll explore the latest trends and techniques to enhance online visibility and keyword rankings. From content optimisation to link building and technical improvements, gain in-depth insights to propel your SEO strategy in 2024.

Presented by Hayley Powell, Director Of SEO at Candidsky

Affiliate marketing has evolved past the traditional views, playing a key role during the pandemic for digital marketing teams, and should now be considered a key channel within the marketing mix. 

This session explores what affiliate marketing can do and why it’s a key channel to nurture. We’ll dive into the trends we’re expecting to see in 2024 and shine a spotlight on brand partnerships. All brands, no matter their industry or size, should be considering brand-to-brand partnerships as they look to elevate their acquisition and loyalty efforts into 2024. Hear how brand partnerships provide an opportunity for brands to leverage their own retail media marketing strategy.

Presented by Nicole Bradbury, Brand Partnerships Consultant at Awin
& Gemma Ng’ona, Global Team Leader at Awin.

In today’s rapidly changing landscape, the customer journey has undergone a profound transformation. No longer a linear progression, the customer journey has evolved into a dynamic, cyclical experience shaped by the explosion of the digital ecosystem.

Join Sophie & Ant as they share how the digital evolution has killed the traditional AIDA funnel, the new normal born in its place and how the emergence of AI technology is set to disrupt it all – and – crucially, how brands can get ahead of the curve.

Presented by Sophie Cork, Senior Planner at Boutique
& Anthony Kenny, Head of Digital at Boutique

13:00 - Lunch included with your ticket!

Generative AI is rapidly reinventing how we approach work, endowing our teams with new superpowers to perform tasks more efficiently, effectively, and creatively. 

With a plethora of new technologies available, each offering its unique advantages and considerations, it can be overwhelming to determine where to begin and how to approach adoption across an entire business.

Kenny and Louis have been rolling out Generative AI across EssenceMediacom and will share very practical, actionable steps to help start your journey which should inspire your people to engage with AI to supercharge your team performance and business growth.

Presented by Louis Georgiou, Chief Creative and Technology Officer at EssenceMediacom North
& Kenny Skelton, Managing Partner & Head of UK Google Practice at EssenceMediacom, part of WPP

Most new ‘trends’ in the industry are unhelpful distractions that leave marketers obsessing over things that don’t matter. Instead of looking at what’s new, Adam Irwin explores the habits of the unchanging marketer and how, by applying some data and best practice principles, we can buck the real trends that are holding us all back.

Presented by Adam Irwin, Strategy Director at Ponderosa

2023 has seen the rise in many areas of industry of AI. Non more so than in digital marketing world where Open AI and ChatGPT have created hype that has moved Google to react. The reaction has seen one of the biggest and most exciting changes to the way Search Engines work and display their results. The impacts for some brands could be significant. Are you ready for these landmark changes? Come along and find out more.

Presented by Liam Chappells, Organic Performance Director at Wavemaker

In this interactive talk, we discuss trends in the podcasting landscape, debunk myths and highlight the opportunities podcasting can present when viewed as a content engine for your marketing strategy. We also look at success stories and acknowledge where branded podcasts can fail. Learn how to stand out from the crowd with an effective branded podcast that engages your target market week in, week out.

Presented by Mike Carr, co-founder & CEO of Crowd Network
& Amy Thomson, BDM of the Branded division of Crowd Network

A year on from the launch of ITVX, ITV’s streaming service has seen strong growth in viewing and digital revenues as the market transforms. Join us for this special session where Jason Spencer, Business Development Director at ITV, will share the lessons learned and insights into how streaming habits are evolving, plus the implications for brand marketing strategies. Jason will then be interviewed by Rachael Hesno, Deputy Editor of Prolific North, to uncover more about ITV’s overall investment plans, commercial strategy and innovation pipeline as the broadcaster strives to drive innovation and creativity across broadcast and streaming. Members of the audience will also have a Q&A opportunity.

15:50 - Networking and drinks reception


Rick Guttridge
Founder & Managing Director,
Smoking Gun
Larry Roles
Marketing Director,
Alton Towers
Anthony Kenny
Head of Digital,
Sophie Cork
Senior Planner,
Gemma Ng’ona
Global Team Leader,
Global Team Leader
Nicole Bradbury
Brand Partnerships Consultant,
Liam Chappells
Organic Performance Director,
Kenny Skelton
Managing Partner, Head of UK Google Practice,
EssenceMediacom, part of WPP
Hayley Powell
Director of SEO,
Courtney Scrivens
Head of Paid Media,
Sam Thomas Alexander Royle
Co-Founder & CEO,
Mike Carr
Chief Executive Officer,
Crowd Network
Amy Thomson
Branded Business Development Manager,
Crowd Network
Louis Georgiou
Chief Creative and Technology Officer,
EssenceMediacom North
Jason Spencer
Business Development Director,
Adam Irwin
Strategy Director,
Claire Hoang
Vice President of Social Media,
ITV Studios
Jonathan Warburton
Lindsay Rapacchi
Director of Research and Insight,
Clear Channel
Stephen Bullivant
Head of Regional Sales,
Mirage Islam
Lecturer in Digital Marketing & Innovation Lead,
University of Salford

Event Partners


Crowd Network