I was able to see the solar eclipse this past August in Oregon (take a look at this person's amazing capture). Not only is the type and path of the one we saw rare (there hasn’t been such a perfect solar eclipse in this country since 1918 — and the next really good one won’t be until 2045), how data is used to predict with precision when it will happen is really amazing. How wild is it that three men using data were were able to determine the exact spot in Wyoming to get the best opportunity to photograph the International Space Station (IST) transiting the Sun during the eclipse. They calculated the time that to a half a second to be correct about the IST, housing real people, transiting across the sun with a computer that fits in a normal pocket. Twenty years ago, people would've called it improbable. 60 years ago; impossible. 90 years ago; magical. Today, it's just a normal advantage of the modern age. (insert link to DO marketing pillar page)
AI Is Here Today for Use In Digital Marketing and E-Commerce
So it should be with the use of AI in your marketing and sales processes. In 2016 they were talking about AI coming into outdoor brand marketing. It’s here and if you aren’t integrating it into your marketing and customer experience you are going to lose.
Is there "one big AI solution tool?" No. You need to adopt the approach of Sir Dave Brailsford, the manager of Team Sky. He refers to it as “the aggregation of marginal gains.” Rather than searching for the one thing that could vault them ahead of their competitors, Brailsford and Co. try to create as many tiny advantages as they can.
Similarly, you need to be seeking the small advantages you can gain by improving on your email campaigns, ad buys, development of social postings, etc. through the new software programs that are incorporating machine learning to generate the improvements. The culmination of each of these small percentage gains not only produce sequential percentage gains in overall goals, they can often times provide a compounding effect through their integrated implementation yield a sum greater than the expected return of any one individually.
You should be using these types of tools discussed below now.
AI Will Assist You In Being More Productive
If your in charge of outdoor industry marketing for an outdoors brand company, you probably wish you could find more time for higher-level projects and get rid of more rote tasks. You want more real time reporting. You not only want customers, you really want repeat customers who become evangelists. All those wishes can be had if you move now to implement AI into your marketing and sales process.
Just as our agency has been moving to stay in front of implementing and executing these AI technologies, if you are doing this yourself, then you need to do the same thing now. These technologies are changing the way the world goes to market.
People don't want to be sold, they want to buy and they want that buying experience to be personalized to them. AI tools can assist you in providing that experience. Learn more about how AI is used and the future of artificial intelligence from new HubSpot research.
Through machine learning, AI can form marketing predictions such as:
- What customers will buy next
- What customers don’t want to see
- How they want your website to be displayed
- Their preferred device and channel
- Their typical price threshold
- When they will be more likely to buy
- Based on the above conditions and numerous other data points — which of your planned marketing campaigns are set to perform (and those that aren’t)
What should be your plan for getting your brand in position to utilize these tools to win in this digitally driven shopping age? Here are the four components to our strategy you can follow.
1. Strategic Implementation -
It takes a plan, a process and most importantly, it takes the right people to oversee, manage and execute these new tools. We’ve hired seven times through eight months of 2017 so far. We've added some extremely talented experts to our team with skill sets we haven't had before.
With the addition of so many great minds we’ve been able to further specialize into discreet marketing tools and strategies. Changes in technology are happening at such a rapid pace, it is hard for a generalist to keep up. You will need to review your own personnel resources to determine if you have the right skills and capacity to grab, learn and implement these ever evolving tools. Buying these software tools for your company is the easy part, have the right resources, plan and processes to implement them in a strategic manner is the challenging part.
2. Solutions Architecture -
In working with clients we seek to clearly learn what their problems, challenges and goals are and then develop a specific solution. The solution is then integrated into the clients overall marketing and and sales system. Rather then creating a stand alone solution we create a solutions architecture that will fit and execute in the clients technology stack. If they don't have the right technology stack, then we work with them to acquire the right technology that will allow the solution to be implemented.
3. Masters of Technology -
"I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times". Bruce Lee
There is a lot talk about being passionate about X as way to distinguish your product or service. Passion is nice, but passion comes from mastery. As I mentioned in the above segment on Strategic Implementation, it still takes people to manage and execute. We use techniques gleaned from studies in both science and psychology to implement learning these new tools. These refined tactics and strategies are able to help us become proficient, expert, and masterful in these technology tools. You may want to focus on these same learning techniques. The are:
Create a Feedback Loop - create a feedback loop to more accurately spot your errors and identify potential improvements that are having an effect on learning.
Deliberate Practice - To go back to Anders Ericsson, much of his research has been focused on Deliberate Practice. This helps distinguish between the quantity of hours spent practicing, and the quality of that practice
Become a Teacher - The idea of learning through teaching isn’t new. But after a certain amount of research, participatory learning techniques have been proven to deliver results. Taking this approach means that you have to truly understand a very specific area of study before being able to teach it to others. This gives you the motivation and responsibility to really get to grips with that topic. We have each of our team members teach other team members, our clients and the digital world.
“If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.” – Einstein
4. Best of Breed Utilizers and Advisors -
As we work with our clients to finish out 2017 and plan for 2018 we’re scouring the technology system to identify the "best in breed" solutions that will give our clients an advantage. We have already added and implemented several new AI based software stacks to enhance our services in multi-media, paid media, outdoor sales enablement technology, email marketing, e-commerce services for outdoor products, order fulfillment services and social media content. As you read this we are adding more.
If you want to tackle this within your company, you need to develop the strategies and systems to keep your organization on the cutting edge of the latest technologies and capabilities.
We adjusted our foundation to reflect that inbound marketing is a given in any relevant digital marketing strategy needed to succeed.
Without overcomplicating it, your challenge for your company is the same as our challenge for our clients: Develop the strategies and systems to keep the organization on the cutting edge of the latest technologies and capabilities. Just as we need to position our clients in front of the best technology because the digital landscape is changing faster than we realize, you need to so the same for your outdoor brand.