You Can’t Take the Human Out of Automation

AI is merely a tool and like all tools it exists for humans to use effectively or not.  The message from Emily Ketchen, HP’s regional head of marketing, Americas, is that automation without humanness is less effective.  AI can ferret out the signals of customer intentions, but if there is no human intervention or there’s the wrong intervention, chances for a sale are reduced.

Intent behavior may be signaled “when customers make purchases, look for products online, click on banner ads or leave comments about a brand on a social media site.”  But the signal alone has little value if it is not acted upon.  It’s time for the humans to read the tea leaves – to know where in the buying cycle the potential customer is and to respond in kind. Earlier in the process suggests one response while later in the process requires another.

Ketchen says its has been HP’s experience that when the right response delivers a “personalized ad or landing page combined with humanness, response rates jump an average of 20 to 30%.”  By contrast, if the response in not timely, if the response takes “more than 10 minutes [it] can decrease the odds of qualifying that prospect by up to 400%.”  Source: AdExchange

Three Rules for Social Media Content

Blasting social media content without regard for how its being delivered and where its going is not a marketing approach.  Here are three guard rails designed to keep your social media marketing on track.

  1. Assume that all social media posts are a sales pitch though the content may not be very aggressive in tone and make sure that your story supports the interests and concerns of the kind of people who buy your product(s).
  • Sixty years ago Marshall McLuhan wrote, “The medium is the message.” The adage still applies. Understand each social medium for what is.  The long form content that works on Facebook is not suited to Twitter’s limitations.  Instragram demands pictures over copy and You Tube prefers video over copy.  Lesson: Just as the content has to fit the audience (rule 1), it must fit the delivery medium.  Both have to be in sync.
  • Finally, your social media content needs to reflect your business.  Keeping it close, keeping it in-house will assure it’s written from a personal point of view.  That will keep it original and most likely interesting to your customers.  Source: Forbes

In AI: It’s all about the Rule Set

Tom Ohanian, global sales executive for IBM Watson Media & Weather. speaking at the Smart Hollywood Summit reduced the AI challenge to its essence when he said, “It comes down to these two questions: Can we produce content in a way that’s acceptable, and can we break these down to rule sets?”

In real life it is necessary to switch these questions around because to get acceptable content out of the machine, one must start with a rule set that can deliver a simulated human expression – which leads to a realization that we have come to understand while working with AI content creation.  AI can produce content, but just as a pool of writers needs an editor, a human editor, so does the machine.  The more sophisticated the machine, the closer it can get to natural language – Watson is among the best – but still, before synthetically created content goes out, a human needs to be the last reader.  Source: Smart Content News; Bidwin analysis

The Ratio: Traditional v. Digital Marketing

It has been obvious for some years that digital marketing has been siphoning off ad dollars from traditional media.  Print media has suffered the most, especially among those publishers that did not make the digital adjustment made by The New York Times and the Washington Post.

For marketers, the question is how to proportion their ad dollars between the two.  It appears the pendulum is still swinging toward digital because marketers know instinctually, if not actually, that 60% of us check our Facebook timeline once a day, that 66% of last year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases were made via mobile phone according to Shopify and that 97% of business-to-business marketers favor LinkedIn.

So, where are you on the digital-traditional scale? 60% -40% or 70% -30%?  Source: Business Insider

Video: the New Word-of-Mouth

For those of us who spend inordinate amounts of time watching You Tube videos about the obscurities of life or the momentary interests of life (Samurai Carpenter is the best) know the instinctual truth of the researcher who claims that videos are shared 1,200% more than web links or text.  For marketers that fact is should be a light bulb.  If social media and content marketing are an attempt at artificially re-creating word-of-mouth, then video dramatically ups the ante.

In a Forbes article, Scott Darrohn suggests that to make the most of your video marketing, keywords should be inserted in a video’s title, description and URL.  They will draw more search responses and search responses will lead to more link sharing, hence expanded “word-of-mouth.”  Source: Forbes

Maximizing a Core Mobile Advantage: Location

Reality: With all the next level, automated marketing schemes that are claimed today, the most fundamental of all, location targeting, is still at the core – particularly with mobile devices.  Location is the most basic feedback we get from mobile phones.  Everything else is one step removed from an educated inference.

Given that reality, there are a couple ways to get more from location data than we do:

  • Geo-Fencing – identifying and pushing a message to a phone based on their current location.
  • Geo-Targeting – identifying and pushing a message to a phone based on a past location.
  • Geo-Conquesting – identifying phones that have been at a competitor’s location and messaging them.

In all cases, advertisers do need to take care not to target individuals.  Rather, to protect privacy, they need to “aggregate and anonymize [data], to prevent any individual tracking.”  Source: MarketingLand

The 5G Future

5G’s advantage is simple: speed.  The predictions say the new generation will range from “10 times and 1,000 times faster than 4G.”  This pattern of continuously faster technology has been seen before in ever advancing desktop computer speeds.

Reality is there’s never enough speed because it’s speed that allows all other benefits such as more, better data.  True to form, 5G promises more immediate data.  Based on where we are with today’s level of data – the vast majority of which is not used – this fresh data dump carries lots of promise, but is likely to be more hyperbole.

The most immediate advantage of added speed for advertisers will be with load times for images and video.  Instant video is appealing and, in itself, could increase viewability and change the balance of content from written to visual.  Game time is next year.  Source: AdExchanger

Cars as Lifestyle: China’s NIO Goes After Tesla

60 Minutes ran a story about the Chinese electric car company NIO (pronounced Neo) that was founded by billionaire William Li.  He’s successfully selling a car that combines technology, lifestyle and national pride to the upper-middleclass in China.  Watch 60 Minutes Overtime video for a flavor of the report.  Sources: 60 Minutes, CNBC

IAB is Upping the Ante for Data Reliability

We have made the point before that the toughest regulations from the big players rule the market.  Such is the case with Europe’s GDPR regulations, which are driving buying practices in all Western markets.  An example of its power is seen in the new IAB Tech Lab proposed framework outlining new “required disclosures for those collecting data to be used for targeting, personalizing and measuring digital ads, [which] also lays out minimum disclosures that data sellers must offer their possible customers.”

Quality advertisers can be expected to demand details such as the origin of the data, the data’s age and data associations like individual, household or business.

In addition, the IAB is offering a standardized lexicon for key terms, which is intended to assure that both buyers and sellers are speaking the same language.  Together, the framework and the lexicon raise the game for digital advertising reliability.  Source: AdAge

Familiarity and Interesting Creatives are Keys to Mobile Success

According to a survey of 1,000 adults by AKI Technologies attention grabbing mobile ads benefit from several elements, key among them are familiarity and interesting creatives, which are often interlaced.  While familiarity is often the result of longevity in the market, it can also happen very quickly with great, compelling advertising.  Many old brands have learned the hard way that tired creatives can turn their good will sour, particularly compared to the newest shiny object in their category.  Keep it fresh. Source: MediaPost