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AI marketing and business growth

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30-second summary:

  • AI is not only used for understanding data, but it is also used for understanding human behavior.
  • Businesses should look at AI as a means to problem-solving rather than a tool for understanding numbers.
  • Since this is an omnichannel world, AI can help with integration by creating an impactful experience.
  • A consistent message using AI will meet the audience in a natural way. Businesses that create consistency throughout the buyer’s journey will be able to generate growth.
  • Businesses can humanize AI by integrating it with storytelling, which helps connect the robotic function of AI to the emotions of your audience.
  • Audience behavior will always be a massive push for AI. So once businesses understand what goes into solving a problem from a marketing and customer perspective, they will be able to grow in a world drastically evolving in an unknown climate.

By now, everyone has heard of artificial intelligence (AI). From search engine algorithms to new tools for optimization, marketers are jumping on the AI bandwagon to understand how it all works together.

But AI is not only for understanding data alone. When implemented correctly, it can help you to grow your business by creating a personalized experience for your target audience.

Why AI is more than data

With the current health climate, artificial intelligence is more data-hungry than ever. The reason for this is the lack of historical data concerning COVID-19. But as we advance AI, the future will be less about data integration and more about solutions.

For example, Google incorporates AI into its algorithm to help understand search intent.

In 2019, Google announced an algorithm change that would impact 10 percent of queries because of its use of Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. The change is there to better understand the reason for the user’s search.

AI looks at more than data. As this technology understands intent, AI marketing will be used to discuss the reasoning behind a task. AI will become a primary tool used for problem-solving rather than a tool for understanding numbers.

Visualize a world where robots conceptually understand as much as humans. Some marketers are afraid of AI while others are embracing it to help improve business operations.

Instead of thinking of artificial intelligence as a form of “The Terminator”, marketers can look at it as a partner by guiding a user down the modern-day funnel.

There are some companies working with robots that utilize AI to understand everyday tasks, communicate naturally and handle unexpected situations.

Imagine what advanced artificial intelligence could have done for the world during COVID-19. AI could have helped with understanding human behavioral patterns in a short time, thus tracking the spread of the virus.

AI and your marketing strategy

Artificial intelligence helps gather insight into your target audience, which is why marketers must understand how data integration works to figure out the intent for doing a task.

An integrated marketing approach is essential in today’s omnichannel world, so AI can help marketers produce that integration.

You need to be consistent in producing the same experience and messages through each channel. A consistent message using AI will meet the audience in a natural way. Businesses who create consistency throughout the buyer’s journey will be able to generate growth.

The buyer’s journey includes the modern-day funnel, and it has many stages, such as awareness, consideration and decision. A user can enter the funnel at any stage because of all the many channels to receive a message.

Successful marketers will be able to grow a business by understanding how to create engagement and personalization at each stage of the funnel while turning leads into loyal customers, thereby constantly nurturing the relationship.

The funnel includes a flywheel approach. HubSpot believes that the funnel is failing businesses because the flywheel model is the better way to go.

However, when looking at a website, the funnel helps identify each web page according to the stage within the funnel. Every keyword that is added to a web page has an intent for search.

A user in the awareness stage will use different keywords than a user in the consideration stage. Therefore, you can look at the funnel as including the flywheel.

The funnel uses momentum to create a relationship with your customers. It is simply saying that business keeps spinning. But, if you look at the customer reentering the funnel, you will see that there is a circle or flywheel within the funnel.

The experience should never stop, and this is where artificial intelligence comes in handy.

AI can be used for comprehensive engagement in your marketing strategy. By constantly evaluating intent, your customers’ interactions will be determined across channels to create a true omnichannel experience.

Marketing is already analytically driven. AI can help businesses to grow by taking business back to focusing on what matters – the customer experience.

Elements of creativity will never go away

The businesses that utilize AI correctly will be the ones that stand out and grow. Storytelling helps connect with an audience on an emotional level. Businesses can humanize artificial intelligence by integrating it with the art of storytelling. Therefore, elements of creativity will never go away.

Storytelling will help businesses to create a memorable experience. But, the growth of audience engagement is not storytelling. True content creators will look at storytelling as a narrative to demonstrate what a business represents.

Marketers will look at what the business represents and how it fits into creating a solution.

As AI evolves in society and redefines the reason for producing solutions, the nature of creativity in marketing will continue to evolve. The measurement in marketing is the value of output, thinking more like innovators and less like advertisers.

Marketers must understand how the buyer’s journey incorporates both the funnel and the flywheel to properly make use of AI.

Relevancy is not a new concept. Rather, being relevant in the moment is a new concept. To provide a good experience, you must adopt an agile mindset for the process of problem-solving.

Audience behavior will always be a massive push for AI. So once businesses understand what goes into solving a problem from a marketing and customer perspective, they will be able to grow in a world drastically evolving in an unknown climate.

Ashley Schweigert is the owner of Marcom Content by Ashley, LLC. 

The post AI marketing and business growth appeared first on ClickZ.



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Marketing Strategies

Questions to Ask When Planning for Personalization (5 W’s and 1 H)

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Thinking about deploying personalization or strengthening your program? You may be looking to improve your digital experiences and take advantage of personalization’s proven benefits, related to increasing loyalty, conversions and more. When you treat your audience members like the individuals they are, these benefits often soon follow.

Now more than ever, technology enables you to deliver relevant messages, offers and experiences to your audiences across touchpoints, and automatically trigger next best actions, all at the 1-to-1 level.

It takes some coordination and planning to establish the foundation for success. Especially for companies just getting started, it’s helpful to ask – and, of course, answer – a variety of questions. We’ll look at the 6 key questions as they relate to your personalization planning efforts.

WHO…

  • are we targeting? Think about who you want to reach with your various personalization efforts. This will impact your campaigns and the type of personalization employed (e.g., rules-based, machine-learning-driven or both). In some cases, your targets will be audience segments, personas or industries. You may also want to distinguish between customers and prospects, and new vs. returning visitors. Many times, companies also look to map recommendations and experiences to each individual – and that person’s unique behaviors, history, preferences, stage in the buyer’s journey, etc. – to drive deeper connections.
  • is involved? Who will help? The size of your company and your marketing organization – along with the channels and touchpoints where you’ll be deploying personalization – will impact the size of your team. We’ve also seen many companies, particularly large organizations, establish an internal Personalization Management Office (PMO). PMOs function as the main personalization strategy, solution and technical resource for the company – serving as the main point of coordination across business divisions.

WHAT…

  • skills do we need? You likely already have some people on your team who can help implement your personalization strategy – including in roles such as web marketing, email marketing, product marketing, merchandising and analytics. If your personalization solution doesn’t require coding or the involvement of large teams, you can likely leverage the skills and talents of your existing staff. As you dive into more sophisticated strategies, you may want to hire additional resources – such as a director of personalization, to maximize the impact of your efforts. The ideal candidate would have a background in personalization campaigns, as well as experience with other digital marketing campaigns too.
  • content and creative do we need? You probably already have a lot of the content assets, geared toward different personas, industries, etc., within your organization. Still, there may be some gaps, and it’s good to identify these early on, and allocate resources toward their development. For example, if you want to create multiple homepage experiences for different audience segments, you’ll need to write new copy and design new images.
  • data sources will we use? Data underpins a successful personalization strategy. Behavioral data, attribute data, explicit “zero-party” data and third-party data, related to your customers and prospects, will likely fuel your efforts. (See more information on those data types in this recent article.) Organizations often amass and collect that data across their channels, but it can be siloed across teams and systems. Start thinking early about bringing your cross-channel data together into a central system, so it can be part of each person’s unified customer profile (UCP), used to trigger in-the-moment experiences. Even if you’re only deploying personalization in a limited number of channels (for example, just email and in-person), it’s still helpful to collect and synthesize data from other channels (e.g., web and mobile app behavioral data), to determine the most relevant and timely experiences for each individual.
  • campaigns will we start with? Go for some easy (but still important) projects and wins, such as reducing your homepage bounce rate with a dynamic hero area or boosting clickthrough rates by tailoring calls-to-action. Rather than attempting to boil the ocean, it’s often easiest to start in a single channel, demonstrate success, and then expand the scope and sophistication of your efforts.
  • resources are available to me? It can be helpful to see how other companies in your industry (and even outside your industry) are using personalization, for some inspiration.

WHY…

  • are we deploying personalization? In other words, what are our goals? Though it’s toward the bottom in this article (because: who, what, where, when, why…), this is actually the most important question to ask – and the first one you should tackle as you begin your efforts. Document your goals with personalization (e.g., improving engagement, increasing email sign-ups, driving more revenue, optimizing conversion rates, etc.), and tie them into larger, corporate goals. Keep these goals front of mind as you evaluate and plan potential campaigns.

HOW…

  • do we know if our campaigns are working? Many platforms natively include A/B testing and multivariate testing capabilities, so you can evaluate your campaigns against a control, measure lift and optimize your efforts.
  • can we measure success? Think about the goals you set and how you can measure them. For example, do you have a method for scoring customer engagement? How do you measure lift? Is revenue tracking tied to the success of your website? Mapping out the analytics that are essential to supporting your personalization initiatives will enable you to put the reporting aspects in place starting from Day One.



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Sixty orbits

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Birthdays are contagious. No one actually remembers the day they were born, other people remember it for you. And the way we celebrate them is cultural, a shared process that keeps changing.

People keep track of birthdays, and today used to be mine.

Sixty of them.

It doesn’t feel like it’s been that many. Time flies when you’re busy. Lots and lots of projects. Countless friends made, lessons learned and ideas shared. Quite a journey, with lucky breaks and advantages again and again, beginning with my parents, the cultural identity, time and town where I was born… I wouldn’t have been able to go on this journey without you, thank you.

But today’s not my birthday (no need to send an email or a card). I’ve never really liked my birthday (it’s a long story involving a non-existent parrot), and the only reason for this post is to talk about who owns my birthday now.

What happens if we start celebrating our birthdays differently? Today belongs to the 20,000 + people who are on their way to a permanent supply of clean drinking water because readers like you brought their birthday (and mine) to charity:water. Thank you. Now, particularly now, when the world is in pain and when so many people are wrestling with health, the economy and justice, it’s more urgent than ever to think of someone you’ve never met living a life that’s hard to imagine.

And today, because it celebrates a round number, I’m hoping you will join in and help us break charity:water’s birthday record. And maybe donate your birthday too. Better still, if you subscribe as a monthly donor, you become a core supporter of a movement that changes lives with persistence and care.

How it works:

If you have the ability, I’m hoping you’ll click here and donate to charity:water to celebrate what used to be my birthday.

And either way, I’m hoping you’ll also donate your birthday to them. Because when it’s your turn to celebrate a missing parrot or a lost cake, you can ask your friends, and they can do what you just did.

It’s hard to visualize 21,000 people, mostly kids, fighting illness because the water in their village is undrinkable. That’s about three times the population of the town where I live. Thanks to all of you, my projects, including this blog, have already raised nearly a million dollars to build long-term solutions to this problem.

Will you help me double that?

Even one kid who lives the life he or she is capable of is worth this blog post and worth your support.

Thank you.



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SEO Negotiation: How to Ace the Business Side of SEO — Best of Whiteboard Friday

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Posted by BritneyMuller

SEO has become more important than ever, but it isn’t all meta tags and content. A huge part of the success you’ll see is tied up in the inevitable business negotiations. In this helpful Whiteboard Friday from August of 2018, our resident expert Britney Muller walks us through a bevy of smart tips and considerations that will strengthen your SEO negotiation skills, whether you’re a seasoned pro or a newbie to the practice.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hey, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. So today we are going over all things SEO negotiation, so starting to get into some of the business side of SEO. As most of you know, negotiation is all about leverage.

It’s what you have to offer and what the other side is looking to gain and leveraging that throughout the process. So something that you can go in and confidently talk about as SEOs is the fact that SEO has around 20X more opportunity than both mobile and desktop PPC combined.

This is a really, really big deal. It’s something that you can showcase. These are the stats to back it up. We will also link to the research to this down below. Good to kind of have that in your back pocket. Aside from this, you will obviously have your audit. So potential client, you’re looking to get this deal.

Get the most out of the SEO audit

☑ Highlight the opportunities, not the screw-ups

You’re going to do an audit, and something that I have always suggested is that instead of highlighting the things that the potential client is doing wrong, or screwed up, is to really highlight those opportunities. Start to get them excited about what it is that their site is capable of and that you could help them with. I think that sheds a really positive light and moves you in the right direction.

☑ Explain their competitive advantage

I think this is really interesting in many spaces where you can sort of say, “Okay, your competitors are here, and you’re currently here and this is why,”and to show them proof. That makes them feel as though you have a strong understanding of the landscape and can sort of help them get there.

☑ Emphasize quick wins

I almost didn’t put this in here because I think quick wins is sort of a sketchy term. Essentially, you really do want to showcase what it is you can do quickly, but you want to…

☑ Under-promise, over-deliver

You don’t want to lose trust or credibility with a potential client by overpromising something that you can’t deliver. Get off to the right start. Under-promise, over-deliver.

Smart negotiation tactics

☑ Do your research

Know everything you can about this clientPerhaps what deals they’ve done in the past, what agencies they’ve worked with. You can get all sorts of knowledge about that before going into negotiation that will really help you.

☑ Prioritize your terms

So all too often, people go into a negotiation thinking me, me, me, me, when really you also need to be thinking about, “Well, what am I willing to lose?What can I give up to reach a point that we can both agree on?” Really important to think about as you go in.

☑ Flinch!

This is a very old, funny negotiation tactic where when the other side counters, you flinch. You do this like flinch, and you go, “Oh, is that the best you can do?” It’s super silly. It might be used against you, in which case you can just say, “Nice flinch.” But it does tend to help you get better deals.

So take that with a grain of salt. But I look forward to your feedback down below. It’s so funny.

☑ Use the words “fair” and “comfortable”

The words “fair” and “comfortable” do really well in negotiations. These words are inarguable. You can’t argue with fair. “I want to do what is comfortable for us both. I want us both to reach terms that are fair.”

You want to use these terms to put the other side at ease and to also help bridge that gap where you can come out with a win-win situation.

☑ Never be the key decision maker

I see this all too often when people go off on their own, and instantly on their business cards and in their head and email they’re the CEO.

They are this. You don’t have to be that, and you sort of lose leverage when you are. When I owned my agency for six years, I enjoyed not being CEO. I liked having a board of directors that I could reach out to during a negotiation and not being the sole decision maker. Even if you feel that you are the sole decision maker, I know that there are people that care about you and that are looking out for your business that you could contact as sort of a business mentor, and you could use that in negotiation. You can use that to help you. Something to think about.

Tips for negotiation newbies

So for the newbies, a lot of you are probably like, “I can never go on my own. I can never do these things.” I’m from northern Minnesota. I have been super awkward about discussing money my whole life for any sort of business deal. If I could do it, I promise any one of you watching this can do it.

☑ Power pose!

I’m not kidding, promise. Some tips that I learned, when I had my agency, was to power pose before negotiations. So there’s a great TED talk on this that we can link to down below. I do this before most of my big speaking gigs, thanks to Mike Ramsey who told me to do this at SMX Advanced 3 years ago.

Go ahead and power pose. Feel good. Feel confident. Amp yourself up.

☑ Walk the walk

You’ve got to when it comes to some of these things and to just feel comfortable in that space.

☑ Good > perfect

Know that good is better than perfect. A lot of us are perfectionists, and we just have to execute good. Trying to be perfect will kill us all.

☑ Screw imposter syndrome

Many of the speakers that I go on different conference circuits with all struggle with this. It’s totally normal, but it’s good to acknowledge that it’s so silly. So to try to take that silly voice out of your head and start to feel good about the things that you are able to offer.

Take inspiration where you can find it

I highly suggest you check out Brian Tracy’s old-school negotiation podcasts. He has some old videos. They’re so good. But he talks about leverage all the time and has two really great examples that I love so much. One being jade merchants. So these jade merchants that would take out pieces of jade and they would watch people’s reactions piece by piece that they brought out.

So they knew what piece interested this person the most, and that would be the higher price. It was brilliant. Then the time constraints is he has an example of people doing business deals in China. When they landed, the Chinese would greet them and say, “Oh, can I see your return flight ticket? I just want to know when you’re leaving.”

They would not make a deal until that last second. The more you know about some of these leverage tactics, the more you can be aware of them if they were to be used against you or if you were to leverage something like that. Super interesting stuff.

Take the time to get to know their business

☑ Tie in ROI

Lastly, just really take the time to get to know someone’s business. It just shows that you care, and you’re able to prioritize what it is that you can deliver based on where they make the most money off of the products or services that they offer. That helps you tie in the ROI of the things that you can accomplish.

☑ Know the order of products/services that make them the most money

One real quick example was my previous company. We worked with plastic surgeons, and we really worked hard to understand that funnel of how people decide to get any sort of elective procedure. It came down to two things.

It was before and after photos and price. So we knew that we could optimize for those two things and do very well in their space. So showing that you care, going the extra mile, sort of tying all of these things together, I really hope this helps. I look forward to the feedback down below. I know this was a little bit different Whiteboard Friday, but I thought it would be a fun topic to cover.

So thank you so much for joining me on this edition of Whiteboard Friday. I will see you all soon. Bye.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com


Scoop up more SEO insights at MozCon Virtual this July

Don’t miss exclusive data, tips, workflows, and advice from Britney and our other fantastic speakers at this year’s MozCon Virtual! Chock full of the SEO industry’s top thought leadership, for the first time ever MozCon will be completely remote-friendly. It’s like 20+ of your favorite Whiteboard Fridays on vitamins and doubled in size, plus interactive Q&A, virtual networking, and full access to the video bundle:

Save my spot at MozCon Virtual!

Still not convinced? Moz VP Product, Rob Ousbey, is here to share five highly persuasive reasons to attend!

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