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 | March 30, 2020
You may not agree with the fact that B2B marketing and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are a match made in heaven. The truth is, Artificial Intelligence as it is today is changing a lot of things in our lives, and B2B marketing is no exception. Artificial intelligence is all about equipping machines or computers with certain algorithms and cognitive ability that enables them to perform tasks that are usually executed with human intelligence. Today, we see manifestations of AI technology already impacting our day to day lives. So many home appliances and children’s toys we see today are already leveraging AI technology. Thus, it doesn’t come as a surprise that AI is poised to change B2B marketing forever.
AI is already being used by B2B marketers to find solutions to the marketing challenges they face daily. Over 80% of B2B marketing executives already agree to the fact that AI will completely transform B2B marketing 5 years from now.
Moreover, a recent survey undertaken by a group of marketers recognized AI as the most likely technology to be utilized by marketing professionals in 2020.
Article | February 18, 2020
Learn how SaaS marketing strategies including, email marketing, content marketing, online quizzes, referrals, influencers and free premiums can boost lead generation. Modern SaaS businesses are facing a real challenge when it comes to generating more leads. It’s more affordable to reach new audiences than to invest in retaining old ones. While this may be so for well-organized businesses, startups have little to no benefit to gain from this strategy.
Startups have to make things work in a fiercely competitive SaaS environment.
Improving lead generation becomes a top priority, especially if your consumer pool includes only your closest collaborators, partners, and friends.
Article | December 13, 2020
One of the greatest changes we have seen with virtual selling is the inevitable change in meeting location. No longer in a traditional office setting, location is now entirely dependent upon each participant’s environment and choice. This can range anywhere from your kitchen table to the captain’s seat on the Starship Enterprise. The choice is yours, so choose wisely.
Your background makes a strong statement about you. You are quite literally projecting an image, whether professional or otherwise, to your customer. So make sure that your real or virtual background supports that image by being neat and clutter free, well-lit, and perhaps with a spark of personality.
Real vs. Virtual Backgrounds
Virtual selling offers a whole new avenue of creative control when it comes to selecting a backdrop for your next video call. But which should you choose? Here are some considerations:
The Benefits of Authenticity
You now have the opportunity to welcome clients and/or coworkers into your home, making sales calls more personal than ever before. Video meetings, whether held in your home office or at your kitchen table, can reveal quite a lot about you to your customer. Just as their background reveals a lot to you.
This can be a great advantage to sellers as it both humanizes you and levels the relationship. Instead of vendor-to-prospect, it becomes more human-to-human. Personal elements, like books, pictures, furnishings, can stimulate conversations and deepen connections.
When to Use a Virtual Background.
That being said, sometimes your home simply is not quite conference call ready! That’s the time to consider using a virtual background or green screen for personal privacy or professionalism. When might you want to consider a virtual background? Here are a few questions to help you decide:
Questioning if your background is too cluttered? (Hint: if you’re wondering, then yes, it probably is)
Clashing with busy patterns, stripes or artwork?
In the middle of a home repair project?
Providing TMI with your environment? (“Hello bedroom Zoom callers! I’m talking to you!”)
Anticipating scene-stealing pets or children?
In these cases, a virtual background may be your new best friend.
Considerations when using a Virtual Background
While a green screen allows you to have a little (professional) fun, keep it on the side of realism, i.e., the office of your dreams vs. the space station, or simply a backdrop that allows you to briefly live in a home that is not at the mercy of your children’s toys. In need of a little inspiration?
Pro tip: Canva has a wonderful selection of customizable backgrounds you can download for your next video call.
Be aware that overtly busy or fantastical backgrounds can present distractions that may detract from the overall quality of your presentation. When it comes to backgrounds, you are the star, and your background should quite literally be, “the background.” You’re already competing for the sale, you don’t want to also be competing for the attention of your customers! So select a backdrop that promotes your sales goals, not one that detracts from them.
Avoid Motion Blur
Another common problem seen when using virtual backgrounds or green screens is motion blur. This is when a presenter gestures or moves too quickly when in front of a green screen resulting in blurred elements. It is important to move slowly and with intention when using a green screen to avoid blurring or entire body parts disappearing into the background. Losing an entire hand is quite distracting, is it not?
Bottom Line: Take advantage of the benefits authentic or real backgrounds can provide whenever you can. If that’s not possible, virtual backgrounds are a great option as long as you choose one that supports you and your brand.
Get more virtual selling tips on the Selling On-Video Channel!