Article | February 1, 2021
AI is everywhere. In ecommerce and digital marketing in particular, it’s likely you’re using AI to support your activities, whether you’re aware of it or not.
In most cases, AI supported practices are a great benefit to the business. They enable improved efficiency, a reduced administrative burden and help create more effective campaigns and services.
But Nate Burke, CEO of Diginius, a UK provider of proprietary software for digital marketing and ecommerce solutions, believes businesses could be getting more out of their use of AI. In this piece, he explains how businesses can use intelligent proliferation to their advantage and really stand out from the crowd.
Today, just about every business that has some online activity benefits from AI. Whether that’s how they appear in search engines or their social media reach, for example, AI is practically everywhere.
Generally, it works in the background and requires little input from the business, while offering some valuable internal benefits, including greater efficiency, fewer administrative tasks and more successful campaigns and services.
But with it increasingly being integrated into just about every digital tool, it’s no longer the case that AI can be used as a differentiator or a way to stand out from the competition. However, that’s not to say it can’t be.
In order to really reap the rewards of AI and place your business leaps and bounds ahead of the crowd, it’s time to start taking a more proactive approach.
Now, this might sound counterintuitive. After all, AI is supposed to relieve some of the effort and input required from you. And while that isn’t entirely wrong, no matter how much technology advances, we are all still human. And humans require some element of emotional connection with brands in order for them to create successful engagement and interactions.
Ultimately, businesses need to find the perfect balance between artificial and emotional intelligence. Activities and decisions should be supported by both technology to make life easier, and human judgement, in order for output to be received well by customers.
And this has never been more important than in the current market.
The multichannel model
Online business is thriving. The number of digitally transformed companies, online sales, ecommerce channels and engagement platforms are increasing. And businesses and consumers are adapting.
The pandemic has encouraged more to embrace the shift. But as physical retail and face to face business opens back up, the multichannel model will no doubt become the new normal. However, as well as increasing workloads for management, challenges will also exist in creating cohesive and high-quality customer experiences.
But AI integration does offer a remedy. For instance, commerce solutions provide retailers with a single, centralised platform on which they can combine activity across all sales and logistics channels, both digital and offline.
Data from all areas of the business, including supply chain, sales channels and end user experience is then available in one place. This rich data is often much more valuable due to its quality and quantity, and by leveraging AI’s ability to analyse such data, you can turn it into invaluable business insight. When translated into digestible reports, such as trends and benchmarks, you can really optimise both the business’s potential and your customers’ experiences.
This takes a lot of the guess work out of the equation, ensuring the output is just as high quality as the input, and providing an informed basis in order to justify decisions.
But, your business is yours for a reason. It’s likely you have knowledge, expertise and experience in your industry, things that AI can’t, and shouldn’t, replace. Put simply, if you don’t maintain your core data, such as product attributes and tracking information, in a timely and accurate manner, then you can’t expect AI to make sense of your mess.
Artificial vs emotional intelligence
Although data driven trends and patterns are important when making business decisions, consumers cannot be simplified to a mere statistic. Rather, their emotions and intrinsic behaviours are better understood by humans.
Therefore, business owners and employees play a vital role in interpreting such data and trends, applying their sense and experiences to really comprehend what their customers want and why. And then using this to make better business decisions.
It comes down to striking a balance between the benefits offered by AI and our own emotional judgements. This way, we can create more personal and positive brand experiences that encourage engagement.
For instance, over recent months this might have involved digital marketing campaigns that are sensitive to the current global situation, yet delivered at a time and place the data has shown you your customers will receive it.
Or, perhaps a chatbot service that utilises AI to collect basic information from a user, then passes them onto a real customer service representative who can help resolve the issue in a more friendly and sensitive manner. While the business benefits from greater efficiency, wasting fewer human resources in the initial stages of the interaction, the customer still gets the personable service they so often need and prefer.
But AI is advancing at an incredible rate. It might not be long before the technology begins to understand more complex human behaviours through verbal or written cues for example, and it will be time to readjust our practices again. However, until then, human judgement remains pivotal, even in an increasingly digital world.
Article | August 12, 2020
The depth of customer engagement depends, in large part, on how personalized the shopping experience is. If a customer feels like a brand knows them as an individual among thousands of other customers, they will purchase more from that brand, more often, and remain loyal.
The path to 1:1 marketing is paved with personalization, and while there are many personalization tools out on the market, it’s hard to understand which one(s) to pick. This can become particularly challenging when distracted by a shiny UI — though usability is, of course, vitally important to the marketing teams who desperately need personalization tools.
Article | March 24, 2021
Who would have thought one-year ago that popular high-street stores would now be closing their doors for good? Or, that some of the country’s biggest brands would decide to focus solely on ecommerce?
Well, neither did we. But due to the coronavirus pandemic, that is exactly what has happened for many businesses, particularly within the fashion industry.
Now, we are living in a world completely dominated by social media and ecommerce, but what exactly does the future hold?
Here, we speak to Amelia Neate, Senior Manager at influencer marketing agency, Influencer Matchmaker, where she shares her predictions for the future of shoppable social media and social commerce.
The rise of ecommerce
As we have seen throughout the last 12 months or so, there has been a huge influx in the number of ecommerce businesses coming to the forefront of their respective industries. And this probably wouldn’t have happened without Covid-19. In fact, it definitely wouldn’t have.
The effects of the coronavirus pandemic have had a tremendous impact on several industries and sectors, many of which have been negative. However, it has accelerated the growth of ecommerce by approximately four to six years.
And, following the closure of numerous brands within Arcadia Group and physical stores in the form of Debenhams, it is proof that brands must ensure they stay relevant and adapt to the ever-changing needs of their consumers.
Social commerce: why is it so important?
Not only has ecommerce taken a front seat recently, but we have now welcomed a new industry trend aboard. A similar concept to ecommerce, social commerce consists of the buying and selling of a product or service within a social media platform.
With the number of social media users continuing to rise, and with 53 million active social media users in the UK alone, it is no surprises that brands and businesses have implemented a brand-new strategy to help boost sales.
And, with 75% of businesses intending to dedicate an entire budget to influencer marketing throughout 2021, it makes perfect sense for them to be targeting their consumers more directly - which is exactly what social commerce does.
Social commerce was well on its way to success in 2019, way before the pandemic had even hit, having generated an impressive $22 billion in the US alone. Social media is no longer simply a place to be confronted with tailored and personalised ads, but is a destination to shop and make purchases, too.
Currently, Facebook and Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) have a shoppable feature within their apps. This allows brands, businesses, and anyone else with a business account to link directly to a product within their image, taking consumers straight to the product page of their website.
What’s more, they are able to do all of that without even leaving the app they were originally on! Brands such as Zara and John Lewis are just two of the huge names that are utilising the apps and their new shoppable features.
In doing so, this allows consumers to shop and purchase products without having to sacrifice their time on social media.
We are all familiar with the likes of Instagram Stories and their popular swipe-up links. Well, this is taking it just that little bit further, and I don’t think it is going to stop there.
The future of social commerce
Shoppable social media is only going to become more widely used, and before we know it, we will be able to purchase an item with just one click – making it even more streamlined than it is currently.
With features such as IGTV, Guides and Reels becoming increasingly popular on Instagram, it won’t be long before we are replacing hyperlinks with direct purchase links here, too.
It comes as no surprise that currently, video is the preferred way to consume content, so just how long will it be until such features are integrated into the likes of YouTube and TikTiok?
My thoughts? It will happen sooner than we think.
Brands are continuing to steer away from traditional marketing methods and are working hard to build relationships with social media influencers to focus their budgets and campaigns on influencer marketing.
This is just the beginning for shoppable content and social commerce, and I for one, can’t wait to see where it takes us.
Article | August 26, 2020
The last 6 months have been a whirlwind and keeping up with customer expectations is almost impossible, let alone getting campaigns together in a timely manner. (You’re not alone, it’s been a tough slog.)
Consequently, most of the marketing community - not unlike the rest of the world - are exhausted and anxious to get their strategy back on track.
Here’s where we come in… Reuters Events: Strategic Marketing USA (Nov 5-6, Online & On-Demand) brings together 5000+ CMOs and marketers to set benchmarks, showcase innovation, and map the future of marketing – a future where brands are purpose-driven, campaigns are intelligently data-backed, and innovation drives growth.
Sign up now!
Strategic Marketing USA (Nov 5-6, Online & On-Demand) is another edition to Reuters Events strategic series of board level meetings. Rather than discussing the how to’s of marketing, this is the meeting place of the world’s most influential CMOs where news will break, benchmarks will be set, and marketing leaders attending will pioneer the way forward. With a huge focus on interactivity, this meeting is set to be a 2020 must-attend.
Four essential themes for 2020:
• CMO Strategy & Trends: CMOs share their plans for keeping brand relevancy in an ever-changing world, honing brand purpose, reinventing a legacy, and creating a culture of innovation.
• Customer Insights & Understanding New Consumer Behavior: Customer needs, wants and expectations have changed. It’s time to fully understand your customer and their journey to unlock data-driven personalized experiences.
• Agile Content & Creative: Cut through the noise with impactful interactions that inspire and create a lasting connection. Use this shared global experience to connect on an emotional level, telling stories that are hyper relevant, but grounded in brand.
• Digital, Social & Influencers: As we follow social-distancing guidelines, the channel of choice for many is social and influencers are at their most impactful. Video, influencers and the formula for social success.
Check out the detailed Strategic Marketing USA agenda here!
“Thinking it terms of functional boundaries – where marketing produces “traffic” and product drives “conversion” and customer service “saves” the experience, is very much outdated. The role of the CMO, or a chief growth officer, is to do everything it takes to drive the growth of the business – be it through advertising, PR, product, or customer service. We need to stop being functional specialists, often speaking about the brand most of the time, and become true business leaders, who are able to use a wide toolbox of functional expertise to grow the business.” - Alex Weinstein, Senior Vice President, Growth, Grubhub
CMOs and marketing leaders shaping the future of marketing weigh in as speakers, including:
Penny Baldwin, CMO, Qualcomm
Ira Rubenstein, CMO, PBS
Evan Jones, CMO, Fender
Leela Srinivasan, CMO, SurveyMonkey
Kevin Peck, SVP, Global Branding, AT&T
Andrew Strickman, Chief Creative Officer, com
Doug, Jensen, SVP, Estée Lauder
Alex Weinstein, SVP Growth, Grubhub
Connie Chan Wang, Director, Global Brand Marketing, LinkedIn
Erica Chan, Head of Brand and Marketing, com
View the full speaker line-up for Strategic Marketing USA!
“Brilliant brands, brilliant missions, and brilliant minds all in one place to share, listen, and learn from – it’s a collaborative, crowdsourced economy” – Alison Herzog, Director, Global Social Business & Digital Strategy, Dell
Reuters Events: Strategic Marketing USA will be live November 9-10th and available on-demand for a limited time after. Primarily made up of CMO case studies and panel discussions, the agenda will feature discussion streams and Q&A from the audience consistently throughout the two days. Additional workshops and roundtables will also be run sporadically throughout and following the summit. Attended by 5000+ marketing leaders, this is the must-attend meeting of 2020.
Registration is free for a limited time only, so check out the website here!