The second talk on the Albert Hall Stage was Susan Hallam, founder and owner of Hallam. Speaking about the AI wave, she discussed how we as marketers, can thrive in these revolutionary times.

We are living in revolutionary times

New platforms and technologies are constantly appearing, and as digital marketers, we need to think about – and take advantage of – these new opportunities.

“Eventually… everyone’s business car will have an electronic email address” – Bill Gates, 1998.

Technologists don’t always get it right, but keep in mind that some things may or may not happen, but we need to bear in mind what’s important.

We don’t know what’s around the corner – WhatsApp has taken over from SMS in popularity. How many of us saw the WhatsApp revolution coming? Now, it’s being used in a number of different guises.

HubSpot found that C-Suites are most interested in using WhatsApp for communication – 39% to be precise. So, you may consider using WhatsApp for business, not just personal communication.

There is a tsunami of change. Things we took for granted may no longer exist. What we thought was science fiction is now happening. As marketers, we must accommodate this.

The question is: how do we manage the change? How do we know what is and what isn’t going to work?

  • 1997: information revolution
  • 2007: mobile revolution
  • 2017: AI revolution

We’re on the third wave of revolution in digital marketing. Search Console now lets you see the exact date your website switched to mobile-first indexing.

Now we’re in the AI wave. For 2019, this is what we need to think about as marketers. The problem is, it means so many different things – from machine learning, to artificial intelligence, various tools.

AI is looked at with a mixture of fear and excitement. What is AI going to do? How do we control it? Is it an invasion of my privacy? But there are so many cool experiences you can give your customers. We need to get on-board with AI.

However, we can’t forget the most important part of the equation: our customers. So, rather than using AI for the sake of it, question what they need, and how you can make their lives easier. Customers are technology rich and time poor.

People Per Hour is a great example – their recommendation engine shows you the best proposal for the job you’ve posted. It makes your decision much easier – you choose the recommendation.

Convenience is the new loyalty. Convenience for your customers will engender loyalty, no matter what sector you work in.

One example is Babylon. Available through the NHS, it’s an online service that enables you to see a GP in a few minutes for free online, as opposed to having to book a face-to-face appointment.

Another example is HelloFresh, with a subscription-based convenience. They drop your recipe box at your door, so you don’t have to go to the shops to buy the ingredients. Great if you’re time poor.

Whether you’re B2B or B2C, you’ll find that convenience is key.

Voice search

We’re  now using voice search actively. Voice-activated “gatekeepers” are the new decision engines for our clients.

For example, if you were to say to Alexa “order me some tea”, Alexa gives you one result, not loads. It determines what the customer wants, so this algorithm acts as a decision maker.

How do we influence the decision makers?

Appreciate the impact being the chosen recommendation will have on your business. Interestingly, 35% of Amazon’s sales come from its AI recommendation engine.

We’re not just marketing to humans – we need to market to the machines. The point of marketing is to influence people, give them ideas, content to consume. When it’s time to buy something, customers are highly likely to be influenced by the algorithms.

SEO is the original machine marketing – you tell Google what you want to rank for. So first and foremost. Machine marketing isn’t new technology, but it’s transforming.

Google is constantly renewing their algorithm. The most recent one saw traffic to the Daily Mail drop dramatically. All marketers need to accept the fact that these changes are the new normal.

15% of searches have never been searched before. You can use dynamic search ads to capture relevant queries. Essentially you say to Google “here is my website”, and it will create ads based on what your customers are searching for.

There are concerns about algorithms – especially in social media. There are 8,000 complaints every day from people thinking they are being treated unfairly by the algorithm.

Perhaps we should add machines to our marketing personas.

More marketers are scared of job loss in 2019 – this is up 38% from 2018. That’s 42% of marketers. However, our jobs aren’t threatened – we just need to transform the way we work.

“Start with the customer experience, then work backwards” – Steve Jobs.

“In God we trust, all others must bring data” – W. Edwards Deming.

You need to demonstrate the assumptions you’ve made via data – whether those assumptions are old or new. We all need to be data-driven marketeers.

The human interface will become the premium service. There will be thing that happen through automation and an algorithm, but you can charge more for the human service.

  • Operational excellence
  • Emotional intelligence

Together, this achieves customer intimacy.

Susan Hallam, Nottingham Digital Summit

 


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