SBM 076 : Predictions, Flash Briefings and Conversational Marketing with Chris Brogan

Today’s Guest

Chris Brogan is an author, journalist, marketing consultant and speaker.

This is the 76th session of Smart Brand Marketing.

I have looked through Chris’s books. He was right about a lot of things and seems to always be on the edge or at the beginning of new trends.

He already tackled building trust, building platforms, crating an impact and being unique. Now all of that is the norm.

I wanted to know what’s next.

MY BIGGEST TAKEAWAY: 

Alexa is becoming a huge thing. Chris explains how to get in on the action now before the masses.

This is a follow up question and answer I had after recording the episode:

(After hearing the interview… it will all make sense)

How do you pick the ideas and themes to produce the flash briefings? 
(Are you thinking of what people might ask? Are you newsjacking? Is it a completely different strategy? What is the thought process there?)

Great question!

I’m looking up ideas that might act as “serving suggestions” or potential onramp points for people considering whether they want to get started in AI, blockchain, chatbots, IoT or video projects. My goal is to give them something interesting to pique their interests and thus earn the right to help them further.
—Chris…

What are you waiting for…. press play

TOPICS DISCUSSED

  • Social Media Marketing
  • Conversational marketing
  • Flash Briefings
  • Alexa
  • Robotics and AI

What’s the Next Phase of Online Marketing (And What You Can do to Prepare for It)

If there is one thing that you can be certain that online marketing won’t be, it would be being stagnant. The online marketing scene has always changed in every year with every algorithm change in search engines, every technological marvel, and even upheavals in the communities of popular social media platforms.

However, being dynamic comes with the risk of becoming unpredictable. It does not help either that online marketing requires you to be as up to date to changes if you want to remain competitive here.

So, how’s any marketer going to keep up with an ever-changing industry? Since we can’t really determine what’s in store for all of us in online marketing, the best that we can do is at least try to predict what will come given the current track of things.

To borrow a phrase that Disney’s Marvel Studios has popularized, this is what might the next “phase” of online marketing will be.

What’s Going to Shape Social Media Marketing?

Undoubtedly, it was social media that dominated conversations when it comes to online marketing. After all, it’s one of the biggest sectors in marketing right now and tends to factor in almost every marketing campaign ever made.

Since it was the biggest thing to happen in this generation, it also makes sense that it is going to undergo massive changes in the years to follow. Here are some of them:

  • 1. Virtual Reality

    In 2017, the world was introduced to the notion that virtual reality is not only a gimmick but can become a viable market to venture into. Soon enough, social media might just try its hand at VR after the relative success of the VRChat videogame.

    Of course, this does not mean that virtual reality is perfect. There is still the human factor to consider which is quite unpredictable. With VR, you have the opportunity to create fully-realized virtual communities or, in the hands of less than socially-adjusted people, the ability to create weird or troubling trends (like VRChat’s Ugandan Knuckles meme craze, for example).

    However, this should cheapen the potential of the system for social media marketing. The ability to enter into a fully realized virtual world to interact with other “avatars” has been a long-time dream for many and, for marketing, is a great opportunity to offer products and services on a simulated yet still personal level

  • 2. Closing the Skills Gap

    On the employment side of things, it is expected that there will still be a disproportionate amount of job opportunities in relation to the number of marketers seeking for positions. What’s he reason? There is a massive skill gap for marketers when it comes to digital marketing strategies.

    There are three skills that marketers should quickly develop in the months to follow if they want to enjoy a stable career in the years to follow.

    • Data Analytics – Online marketing is actually about, well, analyzing data and not just creating and publishing content. If you want to be considered competent in the coming years, you should be able to read through tons of marketing data and formulate strategies based on how you interpret such data.
       
    • Digital Advertising – Let’s get this out of the way. Even if they are operating with the same mechanics, digital and traditional marketing are quite different from each other. The biggest trend in digital advertising is inbound marketing where you offer people something valuable through your content instead of constantly promoting the brand, A marketer should at least get the basics of this type of marketing right if they want to remain in business before the decade ends.
       
    • Adaptability – This might sound cliché but there is actually more to adapting than just being equipped with the newest skills and tools. It’s about not getting complacent when you finally mastered a new skills because chances are it is going to be obsolete within a few months. Always remember that a year is too long in the online world before something has to get replaced.
       
  • 3. Getting Personal

    The constant technological changes have pointed towards a massive change in consumers right now. Simply put, consumers today don’t care about things like brand awareness and brand loyalty.
    This was quite a shock for marketers during the mid-2010s as it goes against everything that they have ever learned in the art. So what is one supposed to with this massive change in consumer behavior? The answer is in taking in a more personal approach.

    The rules of the game are simple: give consumers a reason that they can hold on to your brand. Stop telling them why your brand is the best in the market and offer something of value like a solution to everyday problems or a story that appeals to their emotions.

    If this is any indication of where social media marketing is heading in the years to come, then marketers should consider dropping brand-based marketing altogether and start delivering content that is relatable or personable.

What is Conversational Marketing?

As one of the newer strategies in marketing these days, it’s safe to say that not a lot of marketers know what conversation marketing truly is and how to apply it. Its concept is actually deceptively simple and its application is not that complex if you understand the basics.

To really understand what conversation marketing is, you need to establish the basics of, well, a conversation. What’s the one thing that makes a conversation different from a speech or a monologue? If you answered “participation of another person”, then you’d be totally correct.

A conversation-style marketing, then, involves the participation of your audience through real-time, one-on-one talks with them in order to generate leads. It’s actually this multi-media, multi-level strategy which should make full use of all your inbound and outbound marketing tools in the hopes of starting a dialogue with your target audience.

Why Should You Use Conversation Marketing?

Here’s a hard truth about conventional marketing that it has a hard time shaking off through the years: it’s cold and impersonal. Whenever you watch an ad in any platform, you get this feeling that you are being talked down to. You are always told how to do this, why this is the best, why the rest are trash, and where to get this product or service.

If you think that’s kind of demeaning, it’s because it basically is.

This is why the performance of many outbound marketing strategies are dismal these days. No more than 40% of people in America actually answer cold calls, 20% of email subscribers actually open email ads or even subscribe to the same email list for a year. Worst of all? Conversion rates in traditional landing pages right now are at a appalling 2.35%.

So, the future of marketing actually paints a pretty picture. In a few years, the norm for marketing is one that does not talk TO the audience but one that talks WITH the audience.

Simply put, conversational marketing is the next logical step towards a more personalized brand of marketing online. Since it’s showing signs of becoming the norm in the coming years, it is best that you start incorporating inbound marketing strategies to your campaigns and then slowly find ways to use them in tandem with your outbound marketing tools.

Alexa, Siri, and Artificial Intelligence: How Would They Affect Marketing?

Now, we come to the more futuristic stuff. For much of the 2010s, companies like Google, Apple, and Amazon have been toying with the concept of a self-sufficient AI system that can aid customers using any of the platforms that these companies are offering.

Amazon’s Alexa, for example, has been constantly compared to Apple’s Siri program for their ability to not only accurately respond to queries but also predict what a person wants based on their behavioral pattern. For example, if you are browsing through Amazon’s different catalogues, Alexa might recommend similar products that you can purchase or assist you in the checkout process.

On the flip side, some companies like Coca-Cola and Disney are using voice-operated AI to enhance their online services As of now, these AI are still in their most basic iteration and their makers are promising new features to make the AI self-supporting or, better yet, self-learning.

So, what role does AI play in online marketing?

With online marketing shifting towards a more personalized approach for the years to comes a new set of problems. The most glaring of this is actually providing those personalized services without leaving the marketers, content creators, and site administrators swamped.

A quick look at online help desks will tell you that servicing several hundreds of people every hour is not only difficult but, at some times, impossible. With the current tools provided, conversational marketing can be difficult as you are technically asking a market to provide 1,000 unique customer experiences to 1,000 customers. If that is not the definition of overkill, I don’t know what is.

So, the new form of marketing will require an entirely different system to rely on. So what tool out there has been proven to have the ability to not only respond to each customer query in an instant but can simultaneously work on different people at a single instance? You’re right, Artificial Intelligence.

How marketing agencies will implement this is still not clear but there are two distinct possibilities.

  • 1. AI-Assisted Marketing

    As of now, this is the most feasible path to take since it’s a mixture of both human and artificial intelligence. Basically, a human marketer will be there to do the conversational marketing while an AI will assist them in performing a number of tasks.

    For example, an online marketer will do all the marketing and real-time conversing with users while the AI will do the more technical stuff like reading metrics and providing the marketer with data that they can use to completing tasks. On the flip side, the marketer can guide the AI in performing several tasks.

    An advantage of this is that both marketer and AI can complement each other’s work since there has yet to be an AI that can fully carry a proper conversation with an actual person in recent years.

  • 2. Full AI Marketing

    This is perhaps the more implausible of the two but one that might just become possible with the right technology. In essence, everything in the process from creating content to the handling of interactions with customers will be done by the AI. A clear advantage of this is that the program is capable of doing multiple tasks simultaneously whereas a human marketer will do it slowly, inefficiently, and, of course, stressfully.

    Of course, the only downside to this is that current AI systems still don’t have the, well, intelligence to really carry out a simple conversation with another human being. They still have to learn that “human” factor or telling apart sarcasm from sincerity, semantics, idioms, and even the differences in tone. Add to that other intricacies found in other language and you have a task that current AI are still not smart enough to handle.

A New Frontier

If it is not yet apparent to you, everything that has been discussed here is purely speculative. The reason is that even if every element has been put in place, nobody has actually succeeded in implementing even the most basic of features for these upcoming marketing schemes.

So are these new marketing strategies the future of the industry? That really depends since everything from now on will be untested territory. In short, nobody knows how effective these strategies will be until somebody can fully implement them.

However, what is clear is that future really favors those marketers who are smart enough to anticipate the slightest of changes in their field. If you happen to be one of those marketers, then now would be a good time for you to start learning new marketing techniques as they might come in handy come a few years.

What do you think the future of marketing will be? Which marketing strategy do you believe will have the best chances of dominating the industry in a few years? The comments section below is open for all kinds of discussions.

References:

 

RESOURCES

BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS: 

 

CHRIS IN ACTION

 

THANK YOU FOR LISTENING!

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Part 2: Multiple Income Streams

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