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For leading brands and competitive businesses the digital transformation has already happened. What we can see is that many consumers are quite digital savvy.
At 3.8 billion, the number of internet users comprise more than half of the world’s population. Mary Meeker, Internet Trends Report 2019
Competitive businesses have to execute fast, deliver strategies, implement innovation and keep up with macro market developments.
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Adaptive businesses are thinking seriously about how to grow steadily and influence their markets whilst staying ahead in this digitally disrupted environment.
Reactive and short-term tactics are not sufficient enough to compete and lead in today’s hyper connected market. Knowing your macro-business environment and customer trends will determine your competitiveness.
Before we look at the top digital trends, here is a brief review of winning brands in 2019.
According to PricewaterCoopers (PwC) LLP the “market capitalization of the largest company worldwide has nearly tripled in the past ten years — from US$337bn in 2009 to US$905bn in 2019. The gap between the largest and smallest companies in the 100 largest public companies has continued to grow, currently at $806bn."
It should not be surprising that technology companies dominate at the top. Research from PwC lists Microsoft as the most valuable public company for the first time, after a seven-year reign by Apple.
Who are the top leading brands?
Recap: A brand is an intangible asset (name, term, design, symbol or any other feature) identifies one seller's product from another and is often a corporation's most valued asset. Strong brands enhance business performance primarily through their influence on three key stakeholder groups: (current and prospective) customers, employees and investors. They influence customer choice and create loyalty; attract, retain, and motivate talent; and lower the cost of financing. Source - Statista
The top most valuable brands in 2019 include Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and Samsung, to name a few.
Technology companies most likely rank at the top as they are integrated into daily business operations and day-to-day life. Convenience, connectivity and enhancing customer experience is what today’s hyper digitally connected market necessitates.
Digital trends to advance your business and drive demand
Smart Businesses are always looking for creative ways to stay ahead and ensure future competitiveness. With messages bombarding us on multiple channels daily via many platforms from email, social media, personal online chats, news, advertising and more, we are constantly being disrupted.
Now you can imagine how this busy and digitally connected environment impacts businesses that want to engage with their customer base. Leading businesses know that marketing has to constantly evolve for growth and demand generation. Creating exceptional customer experiences and seamless user design should be the driving force of digital marketing.
Today's winning brands are impacting their target markets by leveraging latest technology, social media trends, creative marketing campaigns, working with the right talent, investing in resources for growth, deeper research, latest insights and so much more.
Top digital marketing channels
Digital marketing channels include email, websites, blogs, online chat apps, videos, video livestreaming, social media platforms, podcasts, search, voice search, online shopping and more. Winning businesses are leading by implementing innovative marketing on digital channels where their target customers are already engaged.
Mary Meeker, Bond Capital founder and former Kleiner Perkins general partner, highlighted some interesting trends in her acclaimed 333-slide Internet Trends report 2019.
Here are a few key highlights
Dynamic Social media marketing
Words have always been used to write, communicate, influence and share stories. What has changed is the interactivity on social platforms that now use images, videos and live streaming to communicate. Social media has influenced how we engage with each other, share our activities, tell our stories and more.
Effective social media marketing is based on how well you can get your message across and influence your target audience. Keep in mind that on social platforms attention spans are short and distraction is the norm. An article in Live Science explains “we get bored when we have difficulty paying attention to the internal information, such as thoughts or feelings, or outside stimuli required for taking part in satisfying activity…”
Smart social media marketing tips
Focused social media marketing strategy
Stand out in a noisy space by being relevant, having a unique voice and increasing engagement. Average brands tend to follow what their competitors and everyone else is doing or saying. Winning brands are focused on leading, being fresh and authentic.
If you want your target audience to pay attention and buy into your message, you have to create a strong brand presence by being timely, ahead and new. That is if you want to use social media for growth and not just to push average content in an already cluttered space!
Rise of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) to showcase products
AR and VR present an exciting channel to enhance customer experience by integrating virtual content into the real world. Products can be viewed in an immersive format rather than flat images.
The AR market is expected to reach $133.78 billion in 2021. Global VR revenues are estimated to reach $75 billion by 2021. Greenlight Insights
The IKEA AR Place app and Shutterstock’s "View in Room" app for Apple mobile devices are good examples of how AR technology allows customers to view products in a more interactive layered context.
Social responsibility initiatives that make a difference
You earn a good reputation by not only delivering consistent and quality products but by going beyond to cultivate authenticity. Key factors for favorable brands include integrity, accountability and social awareness.
Zara, the leading fashion brand, has engaged in a series of sustainable initiatives. The apparel brand intends to stop using fibers that are from endangered forests to make fabrics by 2023. Zara plans to end its use of plastics and Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC). The apparel brand has implemented a “Join Life Collection” that includes eco-stores to underline the brand’s focus on sustainability and improved customer experience.
Amazon, the online retail giant, is donating products from sellers in the U.S. and U.K. They will be providing helpful items to people in need. Amazon will work with charity partners to manage logistics to streamline the donation process for independent sellers.
IKEA, the leading furniture brand, through its IKEA Foundation has contributed $8 million to McKinsey & Company’s Generation initiative to help youth develop skills. With the new resources, Generation will be equipped to train and recruit nearly 50,000 young professionals in India and Kenya.
Key Artificial Intelligence (AI) trends
AI is creating opportunities for businesses to increase efficiency, product innovation and hyper personalization. Data analytics, algorithms, voice search and language processing are a few examples of how marketers are using AI to gather information and create relevant marketing initiatives. AI based insights means marketers can dig deeper into the customer’s buying cycle, analyze behavior patterns and much more.
General AI is advancing
OpenAI is a research lab that was founded by Elon Musk and Sam Altman. OpenAI has a mission “to ensure that Artificial General Intelligence (AGI)—by which we mean highly autonomous systems that outperform humans at most economically valuable work—benefits all of humanity. We will attempt to directly build safe and beneficial AGI, but will also consider our mission fulfilled if our work aids others to achieve this outcome.” OpenAI.com
Microsoft recently invested $1 billion in OpenAI’s mission to advance General AI. The startup Lucidworks has raised $100 million to expand in AI-powered search-as-a-service.
Here are a few sources to help you stay ahead of AI and tech trends
Creativity and innovation delivered in the now
“But the big feature of human-level intelligence is not what it does when it works but what it does when it’s stuck.” — Marvin Minsky
Emerging technology, new digital tools and social platforms has changed customer demands. Dynamic customer experiences are based on hyper personalization across all channels that your customer is already engaged in, from emails, social media, shopping, website experience, customer service, social apps and more.
The questions is – how are you adding value to your customers, standing out in the market and driving demand compared to your competitors?
Smart brands such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, are constantly creating new tools and channels to keep their customers engaged by providing innovative customer experiences, services or products.
Customer interactivity in the new
Increasing your business interactivity requires specific strategies to help you maximize on your growth potential. This means looking into deeper research, dynamic digital campaigns, generating demand, reinventing your marketing, working with the right talent, latest industry insights and more.
To be competitive in a digitally disrupted environment, it is necessary to think of business sustainability and high impact marketing to ensure future growth.
For additional insights, winning marketing strategies, top digital trends, brand case studies and smart social media tactics, get your copy of my book on Amazon.
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Winning businesses have to constantly add value, be innovative and leverage the right type of marketing campaigns.
In this hyper digitally engaged world, competitive marketing strategies and effective social media tactics are necessary for growth. Great marketers are always looking for new ways to create excellent customer experiences and effective campaigns.
To be a competitive business or brand you need to focus on deeper insights, innovation and influence. I have created a guidebook that will take you through:
•strategic marketing plans
•social media tactics
•key brand examples
•creating value and authenticity
•customer experience strategies
My hope is that you will stay inspired and implement high impact marketing tactics for growth.
Please get your copy of my book on Amazon or take a look inside my book today!
MAKE AN IMPACT WITH KEY DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGIES: Ultimate Competitive Marketing Guide For Driving Growth by Shairoz Az
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In this hyper digitally connected space, where everyone is inundated with messages from emails, social chats, advertising and more, businesses are facing challenges when it comes to getting attention from their target market. Research shows that people are reaching ‘fatigue’ from communication overload and constant engagement on digital platforms.
There are varying viewpoints on digital consumption and its consequences on health. What we do know is that humans are social beings who need to interact with one another. Relationships and positive social communities are generally key factors for overall happiness. Statistics show an increasing number of people are engaging with one another on social platforms.
How can businesses lead in a hyper engaged market?
Digital marketing has always been about relevance, adding value and increasing customer engagement to drive growth. I have written a few key blogs covering the basics of marketing strategies such as brand authenticity, clear communication, unique business value proposition, social responsibility, exceptional customer experience and interactive marketing strategies.
The change we are seeing on a macro-level is that consumers are hyper engaged on various digital platforms. Before we look at trends, let us examine the market from a business standpoint.
Communications is not slowing down but increasing from social media conversations, messaging apps, live video streaming and so much more. For businesses, this means your consumers are hyper interacting with one another on digital platforms.
Harvard Business Review (HBR), recently published an insightful article that reviews how ‘Digital Growth Depends More on Business Models than Technology.’ The article explains, ‘a digital platform, or a digital solution, may enable a new epoch of transformative growth, but when you get under a company’s hood and look to see what’s really driving it, the engine of transformation turns out to be its business model.’
Most businesses are facing some challenges in incorporating emerging digital technologies. Artificial Intelligence (AI), smart machine learning and a hyper digitally connected future is here. The HBR article notes that ‘any consumer or service company that doesn’t have a digital component certainly should…But the key to transformational growth is still a powerful and coherent business model.’ Harvard Business Review
Moving into 2019, business competitiveness will be based on strategic business modelling, integrating new digital tools and hyper focused marketing strategies. Key components for growth should be structured around increasing operational business performance, long term growth planning, customer value creation, personalized customer experience strategies and more.
Strategic marketing in a 'hyper everything' world
A key factor for driving business growth is the concept of hyper experiential customer interaction. What businesses need to focus on is to lead with deeper insights, innovation and influence.
Driving substantial and meaningful customer connections will give businesses competitive edge in this hyper connected digital space. Statista research reports that there are 3.4 billion social media users globally, as of October 2018. On average people spend an estimated six hours per day on their digital devices, according to Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report, 2018.
Here are key marketing strategies for hyper interaction
Drive deeper connections
Markets change, new tools emerge, new information is discovered and so on. As a result, there are endless buzzwords and trends of the day. What remains constant, is the need for businesses to create and deliver superior customer experiences.
Competitive businesses cannot afford to fall behind by providing poor customer experiences that will inevitably result in decreased brand value. Basically, at the end of the day, a business has to deliver and go beyond what it promised to its customers.
Great customer experience aims to create a fluid and seamless journey from when your customer lands on your website, downloads your app, engages with you on social channels, receives your email, orders your product, chats with customer service or sales, uses your products and more. Each one of your customer touch points has to deliver a consistent, easy and integrated experience.
Mobile apps are enhancing customer experience
According to statistics, there are almost six million apps available worldwide through the Google Play and Apple App stores. Apps can be effective for creating valuable customer experiences based on innovation and usefulness.
Almost every business can extend their services on apps, from restaurants, travel, online commerce, social media, mobile gaming, sports, music, real estate, fitness, health, audio books, mobile TV and much more.
Statista research estimates that mobile apps are expected to generate $188.9 billion global revenue by 2020. Businesses are creating user-friendly mobile apps to enhance customer experiences via mobile devices, increase conversions and sales.
The success of mobile apps depends on key factors such as creativity, ease of use, personalization, on-demand communication, value add and more.
Podcasts are in demand
Podcasts function as ‘internet radio’ based on digital audio files that can be downloaded on the internet from computers and mobile devices. Podcasts sometimes also include video formats and like radio, serial new episodes are created consistently. Most podcasts can be accessed on websites, where show episodes can either be listened to in real time or downloaded for consumption at a later date.
Podcasts are effective in reaching niche target audiences who subscribe to specific podcasts. Most people listen to and follow podcasts based on topics they are interested in. Specialized content means you can get your message across to a ‘narrower’ but highly interested audience.
Chatbots are providing excellent customer experience
Many companies have integrated chatbots into their customer service and digital channels. Chatbots are a valuable communication asset that helps drive marketing strategy and improve customer support. It is estimated that 85 percent of interactions will be with Chatbots in 2020, according to Gartner, the leading research and advisory firm.
Chatbots are driven by predefined workflows, this helps drive customer engagement and facilitate faster conversions by answering questions or offering suggestions. Use of chat apps has actually surpassed the use of social media apps. Digitally engaged customers expect businesses to be available via chat and messenger apps.
Hyper local geo-targeting
Advertisers find tools such as geo-targeting very useful for reaching specific target markets with highly targeted ads based on locale. Geo-targeting identifies where a target market is located from region down to neighborhoods. With data points from digital devices, it is fairly easy to pinpoint locations, especially from smart devices.
This is very exciting for businesses, brands and services that want to interact with their target market based on location. Innovative brands are finding new ways to create interactive customer experiences by providing hyper relevant promotions and offers.
Many industries from retail, food restaurants, food stores, beauty shops, car dealers and more, can integrate geo-targeting into their marketing. Most consumers report that they don’t mind sharing their information in order to receive relevant promotions.
Voice search is mainstream
Google data reports that one in five searches are voice-driven. In 2020, fifty percent of online searches will be conducted via voice. Home assistants and voice apps such as Siri, Google Voice, Amazon Echo, Amazon Alexa and more, are an integral part of many people’s lives. We are increasingly relying on tools such as voice search to help us efficiently manage daily tasks.
Voice search is changing how people get information and where they look for information. Google data shows that people are searching for information based on something being ‘near’ them. Target your product or service information around the ‘near me’ concept. Create relevant voice search by including specific tags, descriptions, addresses, proper links, contact information, business listings on google and much more.
Deliver unique brand value
Brand value is created when you deliver exceptional customer experience. If you don’t meet customer expectations, the value of your brand will decrease and so will your market share. Your brand promise not only has to be meaningful but you also need to ensure you meet commitments at every customer interaction.
Competitive brands are hyper focused on creating experiences that matter to their audiences. In my blog, how to be authentic and build trust, I explained that consumers are looking for genuine experiences and interactions. Consumers don’t want to simply buy products and services, they want to relate to their favorite brands.
The type of causes that you decide to champion should be unique according to your business vision and aspirations. Starbucks, the leading coffee brand and chain, focuses on creating a community experience where ‘it’s not unusual to see people coming to Starbucks to chat, meet up or even work. We’re a neighborhood gathering place, a part of the daily routine – and we couldn’t be happier about it.’ Starbucks
For the 12th year in a row, Starbucks has been recognized as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies® by the Ethisphere Institute (2018). To stay true to their community and global ethical standards, Starbucks constantly creates initiatives such as 'making coffee the world’s first sustainable agricultural product by doing their part to improve the lives of 1 million people in coffee communities around the world, building and operating the world’s largest green retail business, minimizing environmental footprint and inspiring others to do the same, strengthening communities by welcoming all and creating impact on issues that matter and many more intiatives.
Hyper purpose driven partnerships
Strategic marketing is more about making an impact where it matters most rather than aiming for mass level ‘hype’ marketing.
In order to be effective, work with the right partners from niche agencies, influencers, consultants, digital experts, social cause groups, industry thought leaders and more.
There are no set rules such as ‘big is best’ or ‘mass attention’ leads to increased profitability. Be selective and focus on how to drive value with hyper targeted strategies. Marketing like everyone else, on every platform with generic messages, will most likely deliver poor results.
Collaborate with partners who are specialized and can offer you specific services to help you reach your objectives. In a hyper and evolving digital space, businesses have to hyper target their marketing and create innovative customer experience strategies. Your partners should align with your mission and add authentic ideas to increase your business competitiveness.
What can you do now?
Create more personalized and experiential marketing initiatives across all channels, such as websites, social media, mobile experience, instore experience and digital marketing.
The aim is deeper and meaningful connections with your target market in order to build loyal relationships. This means you need to be hyper connected to your target market where they are spending their time.
Gather smarter insights that will help you drive deeper customer interaction. AI, data science, machine learning and predictive analytics are tools that marketers are leveraging to create hyper targeted marketing. AI based insights means marketers can dig deeper into their customer’s buying cycle, analyze behavior patterns, predict expectations and so much more.
In 2019, we can expect evolving trends in technology, Artificial Intelligence and digital platforms. Leading businesses will not only have to keep up with changing trends but they also need to be hyper innovative and deliver exceptional experiential marketing.
“Competitive advantage is a company’s ability to perform in one or more ways that competitors cannot or will not match.” Professor Philip Kotler
Get in touch with me if you are interested in deeper marketing insights and driving growth in a hyper engaged market.
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Digital is changing consumer behaviours and expectations.
The key question is how do businesses leverage marketing effectively for creating growth and loyal customers?
Brands that dominate in their markets share a few things in common - they are innovative, they have a unique brand presence, they are relevant and authentic.
In this digital disruption era, consumers are looking for genuine experiences and interactions. Consumers don’t want to simply buy products and services, they want to relate to their favourite brands.
What does it mean to be Authentic?
Simply put, authenticity is about integrity, accountability and standing by your values.
How to create Authenticity
Align your Vision
Your brand vision and goals must be clearly communicated internally and aligned with what you deliver externally. Your brand promise should be reflected across every customer touch point.
Create Customer Value
If you want to dominate in your market, you not only have to deliver on your brand promise but you have to go beyond customer expectations and create excellent customer experiences.
According to Winston Churchill, "the price of greatness is responsibility."
To be a leading brand you need to be accountable when things don’t go as planned. Have strategies in place to resolve customer service complaints or product issues.
“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” Jeff Bezos, founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Amazon.
Amazon, the retail giant, has more than 310 million global users. Most people claim to shop on Amazon because it is easy to find products and speed from click to delivery. Amazon also provides after sales customer support online and resolutions for customer issues.
Your brand persona and communications should be consistent across all customer channels. Your brand “look” should be easily identifiable. You can be slightly flexible and tweak your messages according to the type of platform you are engaging in.
What you want to avoid is creating the wrong type of brand attention and end up sparking a social backlash. This happens when your brand is not in alignment with your vision and customer expectations.
Pepsi and 'Lady Doritos'
In the Freakonomics podcast, Pepsi CEO, Indra Nooyi explained PepsiCo was considering releasing "Lady Doritos" and brainstorming women-specific snacks. She explained in the interview, "as you watch a lot of the young guys eat chips... they lick their fingers with great glee...Women I think would love to do the same, but they don’t. They don’t like to crunch too loudly in public..."
This conversation ended up sparking ridicule and jokes across social media. PepsiCo issued a statement to confirm they were not creating gender specific Doritos - "We already have Doritos for women – they're called Doritos."
Make an impact with Strategic Collaborations
Be open to collaborating with Business Partners, Social Media Influencers, Consultants, Digital Experts and Agencies to gain momentum where it matters most.
Evaluate what specific goals you want to achieve and work with the right talent or partnerships to help you achieve your objective.
Influencer marketing will continue to be effective in 2019.
Influencers have trust and attention from their audiences. They strive to maintain a credible relationship with their follower base. A good practise from both sides is to be upfront about paid sponsorships.
You don’t have to engage Hollywood stars, musicians or top athletes to create an effective Influencer marketing campaign. Niche Influencers who have the attention of your target market can be very effective in getting your message out there.
Collaboration for Social Causes
Investing in social causes is an effective way for businesses and brands to make a genuine impact within their communities and globally.
According to the 2018 Edelman Earned Brand study, almost two-thirds (64 percent) of consumers globally will buy or boycott a brand solely because of its position on a social or political issue.
Adidas, one of the leading sports brands, launched a campaign to raise awareness and promote the prevention of plastics from entering into oceans.
Adidas partnered with Parley for the Oceans to create “Parley A.I.R. Strategy - Avoid plastic wherever possible, Intercept plastic waste, and Redesign your life."
Adidas plans to have its UltraBoost running shoes made out of Parley Ocean Plastic.
Consumers expect brands to be relevant and engaging. This is especially true on social channels that are already saturated with information. Top brands create engagement by creating valuable experiences.
NYX Cosmetics is a leading beauty brand that has an impressive online following, including more than 13 million Instagram followers. The NYX Cosmetics brand is visually appealing with a vast library of real images that gives its audience a “feel” for what their products look like on different users.
Post Relevant Content
Your content should be personalised according to the channel where you are engaging your audience. For example, your posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, should have tailored content strategies.
Your blog posts, articles, website content and video content, should be interesting with the latest information related to your brand and also market trends.
“The power in authenticity, whether in your brand or person, is that it leaves no questions unanswered. People know where you stand, what you’re made of and what is important to you." — Jason Falls
To build long-term brand value, create customer experiences that are valuable. Brands that make life more enjoyable and easier seem more genuine.
Consumers are already busy and lead hectic lives. Make it is easy for them to research your product, get answers to questions, leave comments, share information with friends and engage with your brand.
Building trust means you have to be open and responsive. If a customer shares a negative experience, take steps to address the issue immediately.
Consumers are getting busier and more digitally engaged. This is increasing the desire for experiences and interactions with brands that are authentic. The right marketing strategies are key for creating brand value and customer loyalty.
Get in touch with me to learn more on how you can make an impact in 2019.
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AI continues to be a top trending topic because it is impacting everything. Our future may very well look like a science fiction movie, which can be rather “cool” or “scary,” depending on your take.
I have been writing a series of articles on the broad topic of AI. If you want an overview read my article - How Artificial Intelligence is changing how we live, how we do business and how we market.
The future of Democratised AI
The anticipated Gartner 2018 Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle Insights Report revealed five distinct emerging technology trends that will “blur the lines between humans and machines.”
“AI technologies will be virtually everywhere over the next 10 years. While these technologies enable early adopters to adapt to new situations and solve problems that have not been encountered previously, these technologies will become available to the masses — democratised. Movements and trends like cloud computing, the “maker” community and open source will eventually propel AI into everyone’s hands.”
-- Gartner Inc.
How AI is changing work
Universal Basic Income
According to Elon Musk, Tesla and SpaceX founder, “we are headed toward Universal Basic Income (UBI), if AI takes over most human jobs.” The best way to approach AI according to Elon Musk is to be proactive and create regulations to manage AI.
Automation of work involves repetitive tasks that can easily be coded. Routine jobs can be performed efficiently by machines, such as autonomous self-driving cars, factory work, manual labour and more.
A recent McKinsey report found that 30 percent of “work activities could be automated by 2030 and up to 375 million workers worldwide could be affected by emerging technologies.”
Industries that are already being impacted by AI systems include finance management, insurance, architecture, security, law, accounting, administrative work, marketing, radiology, healthcare, manufacturing, supply chain and more.
AI and smarter phones
Google, Apple, Samsung, Huawei and other phone companies are constantly unveiling new features to make phones much smarter with enhanced mobile experiences.
AI systems are based on deep learning that analyses sensory patterns to create speech translation, image recognition and more.
AI chips in phones digests large amounts of data based on signals and algorithms. Your daily habits on your mobile phone creates a pattern of your mobile behaviour. AI can learn about your interests, behaviours, emotions and interpret this information to predict your future actions.
A positive example is the ability for your smart phone health app to sense any imbalance in your body and create alerts such as blood sugar level changes, blood pressure and more.
Phones are getting quite sophisticated with features such as image and face recognition. For example, Apple uses an AI algorithm as its Face ID unlocking feature.
Innovation from technology titan Google
At the Google annual I/O, Sundar Pichai showcased some impressive AI based products and features.
Here are some of the latest Google products
To learn more about upcoming Google products watch the Google I/O presentation.
How AI is changing business and marketing
AI is transforming how businesses work and interact with customers. Leveraging technology is challenging for some businesses who are behind in adapting new tools for growth.
According to Gartner digital business is about “harnessing the opportunities of innovative new technologies to create new business opportunities, such as new products and services, or ways of operating the business.”
Marketing is moving fast. Competing brands and businesses are strategically leveraging new tools to not only stay ahead but also be the leaders in their industries.
Here are key marketing highlights
According to Salesforce, Marketers are using AI to gain valuable insights on customers, automating tasks and managing their workflows. Nearly half (51%) of marketers are already using AI, and an additional 27% are expected to incorporate AI by 2019. -- Salesforce.
Artificial Intelligence is a rapidly evolving industry with billions of dollars being invested by technology titans such as Google DeepMind, Facebook AI Research, Apple, IBM Watson, Baidu, and Amazon.
Smart businesses and marketers will need to stay ahead of disruption by being innovative, creative and strategic in order to be competitive.
Advances in AI has created opportunities for businesses to be more efficient and produce target specific services. Leading companies are leveraging technology for competitive advantage.
Get in touch with me if you are interested in learning about strategic marketing and how to take your brand forward.
“This, then, was the religion that I was raised with: veneration for human creativity and the power of ideas.” ― Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology
“There is no reason and no way that a human mind can keep up with an artificial intelligence machine by 2035.” —Gray Scott
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State of the Internet – Key highlights from Mary Meeker’s highly-acclaimed 2018 Internet Trends Report
Mary Meeker, a respected partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, delivered her acclaimed 294-page Internet Trends Report at the Code Conference. The Report highlights trends in E-commerce, mobile, social media, internet usage and more.
According to Meeker, “we’re living in a period of unprecedented change and unprecedented opportunity.”
Digital is in constant flux and with Artificial Intelligence touching everything, we can expect more disruption.
Here are key highlights from Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report 2018.
E-commerce is skyrocketing
Mobile shopping is on the rise, with mobile shopping app sessions growing 54 percent year over year. It is no surprise that more people are shopping on their mobile phones.
More time on Mobile
Digital media usage in the US grew four percent in 2017 to 5.9 hours per day. Mobile is the main driver, accounting for 3.3 hours of daily digital time. Mobile usage is not slowing down any time soon.
Trends on the Internet
As of 2018, approximately 3.6 billion people are on the internet, making up half the world’s population. On average people spend an estimated six hours per day on their digital devices.
The increase in digital consumption is mostly due to affordable Android phones, increase in WiFi availability and networks globally.
Product Discovery - Social media is enabling efficient product discovery in commerce with increasing number of people who find products on social media. E-commerce referrals from social media are at six percent versus two percent in 2015.
Most people search for products on Amazon, Google or other search engines. Social platforms are also gaining traction for product discovery and online shopping. Facebook, Instagram and social platforms are proving to be effective tools for finding products.
Advertising - Advertising revenue for Google, Amazon and Facebook are on the rise. Google saw a three-time increase in engagement for top mobile Product Listing Ads (PLAs). Amazon’s ad revenue reached a significant four billion dollars. Facebook has more than 80 million small-to medium-sized businesses on its site.
Artificial Intelligence spend will rise rapidly
Artificial intelligence (AI) platforms are growing, based on the cloud and data processing. Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) are the top competitors in this space. Mary Meeker’s Report points out that AI is not a priority for increased spend but it is rapidly rising.
Meeker cited Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, who has previously stated that “AI is one of the most important things humanity is working on. It’s more profound than electricity or fire. We have learned to harness fire for the benefits of humanity, but we had to overcome its downsides too. AI is really important, but we have to be concerned about it.”
China’s digital volume is significant and it is growing fast. China has the largest number of internet users in one country, and their users are willing to share data for benefits. This large digital data volume and government focus is helping China advance in AI. The Chinese government is focused on developing AI, according to the Report findings.
Changing work trends
According to the Internet Trends Report, technology disruption is nothing new in the workplace, however the pace is accelerating. The key drivers are cheaper computer power, storage capacity, and cheaper connectivity and data sharing.
Job expectations are evolving. The most desired non-monetary benefit for workers is flexibility. Technology is making freelance work and other forms of work easier to find.
On-demand job growth is high. On-demand workers are estimated to be at 6.8 million in 2018. Etsy has two million sellers, Upwork has 16 million freelancers, with similar numbers from other players in the marketplace.
Key market trends
The Internet Trends Report found China, India and the U.S. were the only markets with relative GDP rising. Globally, U.S. platforms lead in numbers with more than two billion users on Facebook platforms and Google. In China Tencent and Alibaba have one billion and 700 million users, respectively.
China leads in terms of the volume of usage and users on Tencent and Alibaba. Tencent’s mobile messaging app, WeChat, has impressive features such as its an in-app payment service called WeChat Pay that can be used for utility bills, taxis, groceries and peer-to-peer (P2P) payments. eMarketer predicts WeChat will have 543.7 million users by the end of 2018.
We are in an information era where educational content usage is rising fast. According to the Report findings, YouTube has more than a billion views of daily learning videos, 70 percent of users use the platform to help solve work, school or hobby problems. Coursera has 33 million learners, up 30 percent year on year. The top courses include machine learning, neural networks and deep learning, introduction to mathematical thinking, algorithms and more.
To learn more about health care trends, data privacy and other industry trends, review the full Report on this SlideShare link.
We can expect more disruption from Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Technology advancements. Businesses, Industries and Marketers will have to adapt to changes by taking responsibility, being agile and staying ahead of trends.
This is an exciting time but it will also be challenging on some levels. I find that many businesses are behind when it comes to long-term strategic growth and adaptation of digital opportunities. Get in touch with me to learn more about strategic marketing.
Read more - Six dynamic strategies to boost your digital and social media marketing in 2018
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Artificial Intelligence is here and it is transforming everything
At this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) technology conference in March, Space X and Telsa founder Elon Musk, delighted the audience with a Q&A session, where he discussed the colonisation of Mars and his warning that Artificial Intelligence “poses a far greater threat than nuclear arms.”
“AI is advancing rapidly and is capable of so much more to come. I’m not normally an advocate of regulation, but there needs to be a public party with insight and oversight to confirm everyone is developing AI safely. It poses a far greater threat than nuclear arms and yet no one would ever suggest anyone should be allowed to build a nuclear warhead.” – Elon Musk
AI is already working in the background to some extent in running digital platforms, social media, healthcare, manufacturing, finance, security and much more.
Artificial Intelligence is here
AI continues to be a hot and broad topic. We already rely on smart assistants such as Alexa, smart cars, smart homes, healthcare apps, security systems, online banking, social platforms, digital news content, online customer support and more.
Deep learning, neural networks, algorithms, autonomous and self-aware robots are just a few areas that Computer Scientists are focused on improving rapidly. Tech titans such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft are investing millions of dollars on research and advancement of AI. For example, Google bought artificial intelligence start-up, DeepMind for $400 million in 2014.
Amazon, the online retail giant is transforming into an AI giant.
“At Amazon, we’ve been investing deeply in artificial intelligence for over 20 years. Machine learning (ML) algorithms drive many of our internal systems. It's also core to the capabilities our customers experience – from the path optimisation in our fulfilment centres, and Amazon.com’s recommendations engine, to Echo powered by Alexa, our drone initiative Prime Air, and our new retail experience Amazon Go. This is just the beginning..." AWS
AI and Social Platforms
AI based Content
What we see on social channels such as articles, blogs, images, trending news and advertising, is influenced by AI algorithms that push targeted content. Machine learning is becoming more sophisticated and accurate at predicting user preferences. Using language processing, AI can analyse user interests and geography to create content that is specific to the target audience.
Data and User Experience
AI systems can crunch through massive amounts of data very quickly. AI based systems can then adjust their patterns accordingly. This means data gathered by AI systems not only detects user behaviour but it adjusts its algorithms to be more accurate.
For businesses and brands, gathering user data is gold. A personalised customer journey is one of the key factors in influencing buying decisions. With vast amounts of user data, it is possible to create targeted advertising at the right time, in the right context. For marketers this means using data to create relevant marketing initiatives such as apps, website content, targeted messages, push notifications and design elements that are specific for the target user.
According to research, Consumers are willing to share personal data for better experiences and personalisation.
In this age of vast user data gathering, there are some challenges related to privacy policies and data collection. Cambridge Analytica, a data consulting firm that worked for President Trump's 2016 campaign has recently come under fire. The data scandal involves more than 50 million Facebook users.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, apologised for the Cambridge Analytica scandal in full page print ads with the message, “We have a responsibility to protect your information. If we can’t, we don’t deserve it.” This story is still unravelling with new developments. Christopher Wylie, who worked at Cambridge Analytica revealed that the consultancy accessed the data of 50 million Facebook users without their knowledge. Wylie recently gave evidence to the British parliamentary committee over the scandal.
Bots, Virtual Assistants and Messaging
Bots and Virtual Assistants are efficient in responding to customer queries in an accurate and timely manner. For example, visitors to your website can chat with your Virtual Assistant (VA) in real-time. Natural language processing technology enables VAs and Bots to understand words and also get a sense of your customer’s intentions. VAs can act as customer service guides on your website by directing your website visitors, providing product information and helping with purchase decisions.
Facebook has been innovating ways to help businesses reach its 1.32 billion daily average users and its more than 2 billion monthly users. Facebook Messenger reaches 70 million daily users and is proving to be an effective way for businesses to get in front of their audiences. According Sprout Social, Facebook’s M or chatbots are providing brands with better ways to connect with customers and making them high priority. There are roughly 100,000 chatbots in use on Facebook Messenger and that number is growing.
Future trends in AI
An interesting trend to watch is AI and cloud computing tools. Microsoft announced that it wants to transform healthcare using AI and the Cloud. “Providing cloud and AI-powered tools will unlock the vast potential at these points of convergence. It’s why our focus is threefold: developing foundations for precision healthcare, enabling the health industry’s move to the cloud, and empowering the people that make healthcare work.” – Microsoft Blog
Artificial Intelligence, smart machines and robots are not science fiction concepts for the future. AI is here now and it will soon be everywhere. CB insights put together a list of 14 AI trends, which includes social robots in our daily lives, cybersecurity, facial recognition and autonomous cars. AI is already transforming healthcare, manufacturing, business, security systems, jobs and more.
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How Artificial Intelligence is changing how we live, how we
do business and how we market