Search Engine Marketing in Pretoria ; focus their efforts solely on experiential marketing; and others not do anything but direct marketing. Integrated marketing agencies, nevertheless, are a completely different kettle of fish.
Integrated advertisng companies are a little bit like Toys R South Africa. Ok, they’re not “magical places” with “toys in their millions all under one roofing system.” However, if you change the word “toys” with “marketing services”, you’ve pretty much strike the nail on the head.
Essentially, incorporated marketing agencies are business that can satisfy all of their clients’ marketing requires under one roofing system.
Integrated strategic marketing firms have the capability, resources and knowledge to carry out a range of various marketing methods in one cohesive effort. These companies boast big teams of experts with different locations of knowledge across a large range of marketing and interactions disciplines.
These various teams then work together to make sure their customers’ projects are as effective, meaningful, constant, harmonious and, for that reason, as efficient as possible.
The Future of Digital Marketing and AI
A lot of integrated companies provide a combination of all, or a few of, the following services: digital marketing, direct marketing, experiential marketing, PR, advertising, guerilla marketing, social media, sales promotion, B2B communications, mobile marketing, buyer marketing, sponsorship, CRM, graphic style, copy-writing and brand name strategy.
Our company is not just another advertising agency. Our method permits us to produce special projects that run across the board. We do not outsource a single element of our work. Every campaign is produced, handled and carried out in-house. A strong project requires a strong marketing strategy. What works best for them won’t work best for you. That’s why we strategise. Our proficiency extends beyond basic advertising. From social networks, print, outside and web, we develop everything needed to build extraordinary results. Having managed a few of the largest brand names in the South Africa and established campaigns throughout the country, we know what works best for you. Whatever we do is customised for your business. Always. You get the best results for your needs, and it’s always constructed for you.
The world of marketing is moving more towards digital. From marketing to inbound marketing, digital is an economical and adaptable medium to market your business in.
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Are you having a hard time to accomplish your marketing objectives? Call our consultants into take a look over your approach and recommend on more reliable ways to market your company. We offer hourly consulting services to review your advertising, branding and marketing techniques.
No marketing works without a detailed strategy. Our specialists are experienced at creating methods and plans for a broad range of markets, focusing on the best marketing aspects and messages that accomplish the company’s short and long term goals.
Brands enjoy us because we are an unique tactical marketing agency. We combine the technique and imaginative branding skills of a standard advertising agency with the production abilities of the world’s top-ranked event marketing firm. All our customer relationships are tactically handled – we’ve established our procedures and tools to join method and innovative so that even the smallest detail is vital.
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The more things change, the more they stay the same.
I spent a few days last week with 10,000 digital marketers, enveloped by all things Adobe at their Adobe Summit event. They paid me to cover the event as an insider. It was my first-ever Adobe event, and I was impressed. Adobe Summit is a classy confab in every respect.
The combination of speakers was especially well handled, with a combination of Adobe personnel, partners and industry types, and celebs (including George Clooney, Abby Wambach, Donny Osmond, and Thomas Middleditch — star of the HBO show Silicon Valley). It seemed like a too-eclectic mix at first, but Adobe did a very good job keeping a consistent messaging thread throughout the 3-day event:The business of the future is powered by customer experience.
In the opening general session, Adobe’s Brad Rencher defined the characteristics of an “experience business” as a firm that offers these four benefits to customers:
- Know and respect me
- Speak in 1 voice
- Make technology transparent
- Delight me at every turn
Is Customer Experience New, or Just Newly Buzzed About?
The analyst and futurist Brian Solis spoke at Adobe Summit too, also hewing to the customer experience is critical theme, and summarizing key points from his book on the topic (I reviewed Brian’s book “X” here).
Brian emphasized that customer experience is the new differentiator, but I’m not certain I agree.
Customer experience is of course a differentiator. People will willingly pay more to interact with brands that offer superior experience. Feelings as currency is real, as long as you live in circumstances where you can afford to prioritize them.Casting aside a product because another offers better emotional resonance and ease-of-use is the very best kind of #FirstWorldProblem.
So I can certainly agree that customer experience shifts customer preference (and just published my own book that touches on the theme). But hasn’t customer experience always been one of the ways we choose where to spend?
Liberal return policies. Drive thrus. Open 24-hours. Bags fly free. Dogs welcome. Free dessert for kids. These are all business components that have been around for years (decades, in some cases). We used to call them “building a better mousetrap.” Now, the world of marketing and business has collectively agreed to call them elements of “superior customer experience.”
Fair enough. But let’s not pretend that giving your customers a better, faster, easier interaction is some 2016 invention. It’s not.
The Power of Analog Customer Experience
Particularly striking, in fact, was a session with the legendary musician Donny Osmond. Osmond remains a strong draw in Las Vegas even though he’s been in the business for a full 50 years, and just released his 60th album (!!!).
Osmond talked about how he stays relevant in changing times by expanding his audience and repackaging his content. Smart man.
My favorite part, however, was when he talked about the “purple cards” segment he incorporates into his live show at The Flamingo. Before each, his team finds two dozen or so interesting audience members, and gives them a purple index card and a marker. They are invited to write down a question or request for Donny.
During the performance, Osmond reads the purple cards, answers questions, does requests, sings Happy Birthday, etc. delivering a remarkable customer experience to the card-writing fans, and due to the extreme customization and personalization of each show, creates a bespoke version of a seven times per week gig.
Donny Osmond needs no software to deliver a great customer experience. He understands that customer experience is first and foremost a human-powered endeavor. For Donny Osmond, customer experience lives in your DNA, not your marketing cloud.
The Battle Between Hearts and Minds
This is the challenge faced by modern business.
We have more software than ever to provide the scaffolding for heightened customer experience. Adobe announced some very nifty innovations at Summit, and their “smart shopping bag” technology and new “immersive retail experience” could revolutionize bricks and clicks businesses if and when it’s widely deployed.
But software alone will not create great experiences. It’s just the gas in the engine.
As always, marketing that wins customer hearts and minds is about the wizard, not the wand.
And the wizards aren’t ready to meet the challenge. The irony was thick when vendors at Adobe Summit spammed the hashtag with marginally relevant tweets DURING a keynote on the need for personalized marketing and better customer experiences.
The smart and savvy marketers, Pam Moore and Ken Burbary were also at Summit as insiders, and the three of us had a fun and fascinating dinner where the topic turned to this issue:
Why, when they have at their disposal technology that is easy(ish) and affordable(ish) do so many companies still rely on techniques and tactics that clearly do not meet the test of great customer experience?
I believe it’s because for premise of personalized customer journeys and 1:1 marketing to take root, brands must commit to experimentation. And experimentation requires an appetite for risk that most brands do not have because it’s not culturally acceptable to fail.
Said in a shorter, tweet-friendly way:To deliver great customer experiences brands must embrace experimentation, risk, and failure. (highlight to tweet)
Pam had lunch the following day with several representatives from a large insurance company, and they inadvertently ratified this thesis (which I also witness consistently in our consulting practice here at Convince & Convert). Pam asked them why they weren’t making use of more of the outstanding Adobe technology to improve their marketing, especially in personalization and customization.
Paraphrasing, the answers were:
“We want to, but we can’t get budget. The CMO just wants to constantly study new software, but nothing gets implemented. Our job is to run reports that help the CMO keep his job.”
So this is the state of modern marketing. Technology is outstripping our ability to adopt it because the pace of change on the software side is so much faster than the pace of change on the organizational and corporate culture side.
For us to be able to actually harness the power of experience-led businesses, we need to focus as much on the wizard as on the wand.
Any meaningful improvement in customer experience through marketing tech must start first in the heart, and then move to the head. If your organization doesn’t really and truly believe at the molecular level that customer experience is transformative, you’ll never embrace the risk enough to reap the reward.
Thanks again to Adobe for bringing me out to Adobe Summit. I learned a lot and restoked some fires.
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Innovation continues, life goes on. Old jobs are made obsolete, new jobs are created. When the greatest minds of the world decide to create something new, their engineers set out to find a way to do it. Concepts are created, wireframes are built, prototypes are designed, algorithms are written. In essence: these ideas start to take shape. These ideas become the innovations of the marketplace. They become disruptions to the status quo. These innovations are technological inventions: steam power, electricity, the light bulb. They are social developments: The Magna Carta, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights.
These earthshaking innovations take all forms, and they are adopted into society and business as “the new normal.” Then new innovations shake those old ones off the pedestal. The cycle continues. New things are created, become normal, and get replaced.
Back in time somewhere between the invention of the light bulb, and Back to the Future 2’s version of 2015, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning started taking a forefront in the minds of the world’s technology leaders. Google is investing more heavily than ever in those technologies. Apple has apparently been using it for their Siri program for years (though they didn’t tell anyone until recently). Qualcomm is building much of the hardware this new era will need. Just to mention a few. Though there are many others who are doing the same. There are even some companies whose entire business is based on using AI in places where manual time-consuming work was required since their inception. I can think of a couple places where my own perspective has shifted.
When I was first learning web design, there was a lot of painstaking work, a lot of manual HTML and CSS work, and a lot of picture cropping and resizing to make it all fit just right.
When I first started working with paid advertising I had no clue what A/B testing was, much less multi-variable testing. When I did finally figure out what it was, it was also a time-consuming task. Mostly because I lacked the tools to do it efficiently.
When I was working with content for our company blog, I could never come up with the right things to say. I couldn’t think of the right way to word things.
Don’t even get me started on my first analytics experience… *shudders* I don’t want to relive that.
All of these experiences had something in common. Besides the fact that I was thrown to the wolves and not given any information/education on them before starting. They are all time-intensive tasks that require a certain level of creativity and have a degree of monotony. Oh, and all of these now have some sort of tool or platform that allows you to utilize AI to make better use of your time and resources, while getting better results.
Have you ever thought about how AI could affect your company’s digital marketing strategy? Maybe through AI analytics that progressively learn more and more about you and your customers to provide better insights? How about through AI content creation that consistently outperforms man-made content? What about intuitive web development? You might already be using an AI platform without even knowing it, because it’s become the norm.
This is a topic that interests me immensely. So I’ve done some research and compiled a small collection of companies, what they’re doing, and how they are breaking the mold of digital marketing.
Let me give you a little background on what prompted this…
I was interviewing for a digital marketing position, when the interviewer posed the question: Where do you think the future of Digital Marketing is going? I’ll give you the same answer I gave him. Machine Learning and Automation through AI. And I’m pretty sure Skynet agrees with me on that.
I see AI most notably taking place in 4 different aspects of Digital Marketing. Content creation, A/B testing, Analytics, and Web Design. We’re going to cover all 4 here.
If you feel there are more categories, technologies, or companies that should be mentioned, please let me know!
Side note: sometimes I like to think in a British accent, especially on emphasis words like “onward!”
Side-side note: I’m from California, not the UK.
Persado. Maybe I’m behind the curve, but I just learned about this company a few months ago. They use AI and machine learning to create better, more engagingcontent. Here’s a quote directly from their website…Persado’s cognitive content platform is a smart system that combines natural language processing and machine learning technologies to machine generate the precise words, phrases and images that can inspire any given audience to act, every time.Persado’s cognitive content outperforms man-made messages 100%* of the time.
…When I first heard about the company, I was like “uuhhh… this can’t be real.”
Then I visited the website. I read that quote.
This is me: “Mind=Blown”source
If there is at least one company out there who’s creating a platform like this, there are probably others who are developing another take on it. I have no idea how much Persado charges for their platform. But I’m gonna guess that if you’re using an intuitive content creation platform, you’re gonna pay for it.
Some of their clients include: Intel, Esurance, LivingSocial, American Express, Citi… to name a few.
Another section on their website, talks about their platform’s marketing solutions. Their software tests millions of words, phrases, and images. It collects data, and it understands consumer reactions to targeted language in calls to action.
Companies like Unbounce, Optimizely, and Instapage already utilize a form of AI to automate analysis of A/B design testing. Multiply this by several million tests a year… These platforms now have millions of users’ worth of page analyses that will power their strategies moving forward. This type of machine learning is extremely helpful for people who use their platforms for optimizing their digital marketing.
Ignoring the conspiracy theorists for a few minutes… Machine learning and AI are actually a good thing for the marketing profession. This will allow talented digital marketers to thrive in their roles. The data-intensive heavy-lifting has just been done for us. These platforms make it possible to make even better informed, data-driven decisions.source
Along the same lines of A/B testing, we’ll take a look at two of the most popular analytics tools. Google Analytics and KISSmetrics.
Both of these analytics tools provide a robust platform with incredible capabilities. Google Analytics is the most used, most well-known, and most complicated Analytics tools. It has a steep learning curve. But when harnessed by a knowledgeable user, it’s one of the most powerful tools your company can utilize.
KISSmetrics, in my opinion, is not trying to replace Google Analytics, but complement it. Personally, I like that while still providing a ton of useful data, it makes actionable insights more accessible. That’s why so many successful digital agencies use it! Bonus: you don’t have to go through a 4-year program and get certified to use it.source
What both of these platforms have in common — besides being amazing analytics tools — is that they use machine learning and automation. Utilizing machine learning and AI, they are able to analyze the way their customers and the users of their customers interact with websites and apps. They then take this data and continue to build their own platform upon that.source
Ready to have your mind blown again? The Grid has a treat for you. They use AI to build websites. They’re currently in beta. The Grid really opened my eyes to the world of AI and where technology really is headed.
Side note: it was also the first time I ever saw the “.io” domain used. I thought it was kinda weird. Then it started showing up everywhere. Not so weird anymore. They describe themselves better than my own ramblings ever could…The Grid harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to take everything you throw at it — videos, images, text, urls and more — and automatically shape them into a custom website unique to you. As your needs grow, it evolves with you, effortlessly adapting to your needs. Want to add e-commerce? Social feeds? A different layout? The Grid just takes care of it. This is not a website builder. This is your personal AI web developer.
…Their tagline is “AI websites that design themselves”
Wow. Just wow.source
I’ve built my fair share of websites. My current favorite platform is Wordpress. I understand that some people like to use SquareSpace, Wix, or some other platform. And some other people actually have some money, so they might use an enterprise-level platform, or even a custom solution.
I have yet to use The Grid’s AI web development platform, but if they live up to even 72.6% of the hype I’m giving them, they’ll be doing a great job in my book. If nothing else, it’s an innovative technology. Not only that, but it’s an innovative use of an innovate technology. I’m not trying to say they’re the only ones who have thought to use it. But I am saying that they’re the only ones I’ve seen.
Bonus: a really cool tool to learn what technologies a website is using: WAPPALYZER. It’s available as a Chrome extension. If nothing else, it can help feed and fuel your curiosity.
The human element
Yes, facets of the future of Digital Marketing belong to the machines. But it still requires the human element. Who creates the AI? Who tells it what to take in, keep, and analyze — and what to throw out?source
Unfortunately for the machines, just like humans — they lack the fundamental ability to become their own God.
Innovation will keep coming in every space. Business Intelligence, Marketing, Sales. Sometimes that innovation will be in the form of AI. But there’s one other important thing to remember about AI — it is simply another innovative man-made tool. To be used by man in creating something even greater than before.
Innovation: embrace or be forgotten
We’re already seeing some of these platforms used in Enterprise applications. Some digital marketing agencies are grabbing these opportunities by the horns to optimize client results.
How do you think people first reacted to the discovery of steam power? Electricity? The invention of the light bulb? Those who embraced it were empowered by it and profited. Those who rejected it are now forgotten.
Innovation will continue empowering those who embrace it.
AI is today’s innovation. Embrace it.
If you enjoyed reading, please let me know by tapping that little heart!
If you feel there are more categories, technologies, or companies that should be mentioned here, or if you disagree with my opinions, please comment below!
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What is Digital Marketing?
Seriously though…what is it?
This is a question I get asked when I have to try and explain to people what I actually do for a living. Surprisingly, most people don’t really have an understanding of what marketing is at all.
I usually end up telling them that I am responsible for the banner ads they see online after looking at a nice pair of shoes or a new washing machine or something. Their response is usually exasperation because they find these ads annoying or, a slight look of worry as they ask me how ‘the internet’ know what they have been looking at. This is closely followed by an brief explanation of cookies and a swift move into another subject.
At one point I just decided to tell people that my company builds website because…well because everyone knows what a website is.
You industry folk will probably be huffing saying something along the lines of ‘Everyone knows what marketing is’.
Sorry industry folk…you are wrong.
In fact, I would hedge a guess that lots of our clients aren’t that far removed from the general public in terms of actually knowing what marketing is…or certainly digital marketing.
Our trusty friend google defines marketing as:the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.
That’s pretty concise as Google often is. I also asked Siri who promptly got confused about the whole situation so I decided to ask it to do a rap for me instead.
So marketing is about the promotion and selling of a product or service. Again, I have tried similar explanations with friends and family and they instantly jump to the conclusion that I work in some kind of call centre cold calling people trying to sell them some PPI cover.
You might ask why it matters that my friends and family don’t understand what I do. Einstein said:If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough
Let’s face it, Einstein was probably right. He seemed like a well rounded intelligent guy. Though I never met him personally, I’m pretty sure he knew his stuff.
So the problem that presents itself is the ability to explain what I do in one simple, all encompassing statement that was simple enough for even my grandmother to understand.
What I would really love to do is show them a clip from the show MadMen and tell them “That’s what I do” making me seem both more glamorous and creative than I really am. Sadly, long gone are the days of pouring myself a stiff drink and lighting up a lucky strike in the early afternoon. I don’t think I have enough suits or hair to even compete in the 60’s advertising industry anyway.
Now, to rewind from my deviation and get back to the point.
First of all let’s talk about marketing and advertising.
Google has it right. It’s really about presenting a product or service to consumers at the right time, in the right place at the right price. In the early days this would be done via a full page spread, on a billboard or on the radio. Then, through the magic of television, these products started to appear on the small screen. These are all tactics of advertising that still exist today and still demand a high percentage of our clients budgets.
The vastly different world of digital marketing attempts to present a product or service to a consumer at the right time, in the right place at the right price.
Wait…hang on…that can’t be right.
Surely digital marketing and traditional marketing can’t be the same thing? Can they?
When you think about it, the purpose of marketing hasn’t really changed since it’s inception. We are still trying to connect people with products and services. We still try to show people how they can solve a problem, how they can make their life; easier, prettier, quicker more enjoyable. The products have changed, the price points have change but the motivation, the principals remains the same.
Digital Marketing is JUST Marketing
One of the key differentiators is that we now have access to far more data than we have ever had before.
In the past we may have had a creative director sitting on a throne of tag lines and scamps raining a shower of thoughts and concepts down onto the peasants to book the media whilst the accounts team took the clients for drinks and a meal.
That still exists but to compliment it, we also have teams of developers building intuitive/interactive platforms and analysts interrogating data and providing detailed customers insights and proof of ROI.
It is much more common to have a campaign with strategy, data and insights at it’s core but walks hand in hand with creative to make all of the 1’s and 0’s look and feel engaging to a user.
If a great marketing campaign was once a happy accident, digital gives us the opportunity to become more accident prone.
In conclusion, it’s time to stop thinking in silos. It’s not digital vs. traditional. DM’s, Billboards and print ads et al will always play a part. All that’s happened is that we now have a whole bunch of new platforms to play with.
You still need to think about presenting your target audience with the right product, in the right place, at the right time. If your audience responds really well to a leaflet through the door then do that. If they are all talking about you on social media then be there…join the conversation. Your advertising should put your user at the centre of the story so find out where they are and talk to them there.
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