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5 tips to accelerate your company’s AI implementation



30-second summary:

  • The potential of artificial intelligence is almost boundless. AI solutions are starting to be introduced by organizations across many industries and fields.
  • A strong starting point for any AI implementation is to get buy-in from company decision-makers. If key stakeholders understand AI’s potential, they’ll properly resource any transition.
  • AI is particularly useful in the field of data analytics. If you are going to join the ‘Big Data’ era, you need robust data governance.
  • There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to AI implementation. You need to explore and test the different tools and solutions available to you.
  • Don’t neglect the human side of your business in seeking AI-driven answers to your problems. Make sure you train staff effectively in all automation or AI tools you introduce.

It’s not insider information to know the unmatched potential of company-wide AI implementation. Even with all the advancement in recent years, it still feels like we’re only beginning to see what artificial intelligence can do.

There are countless examples of enterprises across dozens of sectors using AI for diverse tasks and processes. Algorithms help firms to predict customer behavior and buying patterns, optimize supply chains, personalize experiences, understand your workforce, and even help you find Waldo

For some companies, though, implementing and accelerating full-scale implementation is a daunting prospect. Many have concerns over vendors, integration ability, cost, and privacy and regulatory issues. Is the juice even worth the squeeze given these challenges?

So, if you’re thinking of further adopting AI into your processes, or you have begun the transition and are finding it frustrating or tedious, here are five ways to reach your goals quicker.  

Source: McKinsey & Company

1) Secure executive sponsorship

Like SaaS examples before it, AI is ushering in a new way to do things compared to on-premise software. But with the change, comes challenge. Having C-suite buy-in is crucial for success.

The more informed and engaged the higher-ups are in the uses of AI, the better the chances of enterprise-wide adoption. “Strong executive leadership goes hand-in-hand with stronger AI adoption.

Respondents from firms that have successfully deployed an AI technology at scale tended to rate C-suite support nearly twice as high as those from companies that had not adopted AI technology,” according to this McKinsey Global Institute study. 

If there’s no business leader positioned to take the lead of your AI transition, you’re already off to a bad start. Make sure that those in executive positions are tasked with different facets of an AI integration program.

Each step also must be staffed appropriately to drive the process, without being afraid to change the management over the course of a campaign to be successful. 

Schedule a weekly teleconference with the key stakeholders to ensure roles are constantly refined, and everyone’s kept in the loop in terms of the adoption status. 

It’s also worth stressing that you – as the head of this campaign – need to be able to dictate resources, investment, and overall strategy across the organization. This includes actively engaging those around you for support with AI strategy, human and IT assets, and cultural adoption.

It would help if you made cultural adoption a priority by holding organizational leaders accountable as they execute the revisions needed to continue the transformation. C-suite must remove barriers and obstacles, both technical and cultural, to increase your chances of success. 

Once C-suite is aligned with your goals, you need to determine how you wish to manage and control the budget. That’s especially true if your current landscape is made up of competing internal analytics or AI efforts. 

Lastly, don’t forget to celebrate and communicate progress to your organization. This helps bolster the commitment from executives as well as gain support for the transformation.

Source: McKinsey & Company

2) Define data management and governance

Smarter and more accessible ‘self-service’ and team collaboration software brings with it an increase in data, data sources, and more end-user expectation.

As a result, the demand for proper data governance becomes essential. Without it, the data sits without a purpose in a data lake or warehouse. Look at it this way, more data without restriction can give businesses more freedom.

However, at an enterprise level, it can mean missed steps, inefficient outputs, and oversights. Faster analytics may become a problem before it feels like a solution.

It’s critical to address this with support from executives. This means defined resources to manage and enhance data collection, efficiency, and usage across all vital functions.

The data governance team must, additionally, set out and oversee data policies, standards, definitions, and manage data quality. 

Remember, not all data is equal. Define what needs executive control, and which data can be made publicly available for use. 

Given today’s availability of more user-friendly analytics and visualization tools, how much ‘self-service’ can be allowed to create better predictive models or different ways of creating new business processes? Who can define these datasets and use cases?

These are vital aspects to consider, as there’s a balance that needs to be struck between being rigid and protective and being flexible. This, again, highlights the importance of a useful data governance model.

Too much control can mean slow processes, lack of response, red-tape, the need for things like email verification, and overt use of business-led IT solutions.

Too much flexibility can mean different versions of the truth, leading to no real ownership or responsibility, conflict, and a reduction in productivity. 

AI 3

Source: KPMG 

As you make decisions about AI, a data governance process allows you to implement and manage said decisions. Including who can access what, how much access, and what that access entails. 

3) Take a consider and test approach as opposed to success or failure

All AI adoptions are unique and present their own sets of challenges. And so, you need to begin all AI introductions with a ‘test and refine’ method as opposed to a ‘success or failure’ approach. 

Conventionally, analytical methods infer a defined relationship between variables. Trialing a one-sided hypothesis will either validate or reject it, but won’t uncover the hidden connection between the variables; the why

Creating hypotheticals for each step, and then using these learnings and experiences through the next ones is critical. It means refining and curating your AI deployment until it feels like a workable solution that delivers meaningful results is a much easier process. 

And, while this approach will inevitably extend deployment deadlines, it also allows you to fine-tune the outcome to incorporate real-life lessons learned.

If you’re integrating AI into computerised customer service like automated chatbots, it’s vital no matter where the customer goes there’s an answer waiting for them. It can’t work up until a certain point, it needs absolutes. Ultimate solutions will then align with the employee and end-user needs. 

AI 3

Source: PWC

4) Spend time on change management and training

Deploying an AI API to ingest a new dataset is straightforward. However, altering the management and training for analysts who’ll be using these processes going forward is a challenge. 

Most forms of AI create automated decisions – “yes” or “no.” However, it is often the case that the integration of ML algorithms can allow for more subtle responses as well. These responses may be used in conjunction with existing processes to deliver the best results. 

For example, if an AI decision scores say, a loan application on a 1-10 scale of suitability, scores from 7-10 may yield an automatic yes.

However, anything lower will still require human input to grant or deny the application. If you’re integrating AI to analyze voice commands in a call center over VoIP communications, how can it distinguish commands deeper than just “option 1 or option 2”? 

Just as you would spend time training employees on how to use a specific process, the same is true for AI-based outcomes. 

Human employees may need to spend a few weeks analyzing the results coming back from the AI algorithms. That would give them a frame of reference in terms of how to interpret the scores best.

If you’re using an AI vendor, they can guide in terms of how to understand results and how employees can get the most out of the new system. Otherwise, learning how to create an online learning platform could be a worthwhile investment to get team members up to speed. 

AI isn’t ‘magic.’ It’s just a way to understand patterns and behaviors to deliver more accurate results and make predictions. AI only works when it has a defined problem to solve and the right metrics to succeed. If you haven’t clearly defined the issue you’ve bought AI in to solve, you won’t get the right solution. 

AI 2

Source: Harvard Business Review

5) Consolidate and assimilate automation

As you ramp up enterprise-wide AI adoption, what these processes look like in the future will change with the introduction of a multitude of types of automation. From complete manual processes all the way to the adoption of RPA, and even more advanced AI protocols. 

It’s best to just (and I know it’s a big just) re-invent business processes from the ground up with AI in mind. You can then apply the best tool for the job at any given step.

Merely inserting RPA or AI into established processes may mean you miss out on all of its potential. You also need to consider the handoffs that need to happen as you further integrate. 

This includes human-machine or machine-machine learning. By streamlining the handoffs and making them more seamless and reliable, you can further enhance your future processes to be cost-effective, competitive, and agile. 

AI 1

Source: Harvard Business Review

AI implementation can be sped up. However, it’s not necessarily about being smarter; it’s about making the right choices. Having executive buy-in combined with a defined data governance team is vital.

As is becoming fixated with data quality, dedicating enough time to change management, and having a test without defined expectations approach. 

If you’re finding your AI project taking up too much time, be patient. Like any kind of digital transformation, just as you’re approaching the finish line, you’ll likely encounter another hurdle. Overcome it, though, and the possibilities are boundless.   

John Allen is the director of global SEO at RingCentral, a global UCaaS, VoIP and video conferencing solutions provider. He has over 14 years of experience and an extensive background in building and optimizing digital marketing programs. He has written for websites such as Hubspot and BambooHR.

The post 5 tips to accelerate your company’s AI implementation appeared first on ClickZ.

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Marketing Strategies

Five Google Trends charts that show the impact of COVID-19



30-second summary:

  • The world is now starting to open back up and we are marketers are adjusting to how we can be effective in this new reality.
  • Search data can help inform the strategic decisions around store locations, hours, payment methods and so much more so that your business can make smarter and more informed decisions on how to be successful.
  • As marketers struggle to grasp the magnitude of changes, Jason Tabeling highlights five Google Trends that can serve as immediate insights.

We all already know that the impact that COVID-19 is having on the world. We have all been under stay-at-home orders for about 90 days. The world is now starting to open back up and we are marketers are adjusting to how we can be effective in this new reality. It’s really hard to grasp the magnitude of changes that are occurring around us right now and it will take some time and perspective for us to truly understand. Search data is a powerful tool that can help us understand how consumers are feeling and reacting to situations. Here are five Google Trend charts that I think help us zoom out a bit and understand some trends that I believe will change the way we operate forever.

1. Retail vs Digital businesses

The world of traditional retail is changing forever. Here is a comparison between Instacart and Whole Foods. Now I know you can say Whole Foods is really Amazon and ecommerce, but that’s sort of the point. Every business is a digital business even if those particularly aren’t owned directly by Amazon. Quickly each business has had to move to a digital model and as you can see from this chart Instacart had a massive surge, has since tailed off, but has significantly closed the gap on Whole Foods. Instacart and other like businesses (Ex. Chewy or Doordash) now have a customer base that is much more comfortable in a digital world and won’t be going back.

2. Store hours

If and when a store is open is a big deal during COVID-19. Many stores, restaurants, and other businesses were forced closed. Some were deemed essential, and as states re-open are deciding when they should open. This leaves consumers searching to find out how their favorite shops are responding.

For businesses and marketers, this makes keeping your Google My Business (GMB) and other Location Data Management sources (Facebook, Yelp, Apple Maps) up to date. Knowing consumers are seeking information and relying on this information to take action is key. Google has even created new tags like, “Temporarily Closed” to help businesses communicate with their customers easier. Making sure this data is accurate and up to date has always been important and is just magnified by the uncertainty this situation has created for all businesses and consumers.

Google Trends - Store Hours

3. “Contactless”

Check a Google Trends chart for anything “contactless” and you will see a very similar graph. The growth of all things contactless has spiked, delivery, payments, and pickup. This further accelerates the digital revolution. Cash has always been dirty, and in these times people are especially cautious. According to Times article paper money can transport a live flu virus for up to 17 days. This data point, plus all the CDC and WHO recommendations make anything contactless of interest for consumers.Google Trends - Contactless

4. “Curbside”

Curbside is very similar to “Contactless.” Both demonstrate the new ways consumers want to interact with brands. Having this type of pickup option allows consumers the ability to shop with their favorite brands, but not take the incremental risk of going inside the store. Consumers are looking for ways to continue with some sort of normal behavior, get out of their house, and not have to wait for shipping.

Best Buy for example had a curbside pickup at 100 stores in December and quickly accelerated to all 1,200 stores during the pandemic. Much like Contactless, curbside wasn’t even a term consumers were using until recently and we don’t expect it to go away any time soon.

Google Trends - Curbside pickup

5. Remote work

The way people approach their jobs has been forever changed. As you can see from the chart below remote work has been steadily growing since 2004, but has reached a peak over the last few months. This is especially interesting when comparing it to unemployment searches, which is a very sad side effect of the economy shut down. I’m hopeful that for those of us in digital marketing we can see this as a growth opportunity for talent across the country and world to work together to help make marketing stronger for these brands. To help them drive into a digital age that was a differentiator just 90 days ago, and has now been rushed into mandatory status for survival.


So much of our world has been changed forever. It is our job as marketers to help leverage the tools at our disposal. This is especially true for search engine marketing. Where we have the ability to understand how customers are thinking about our brands and the experiences they expect from us just be understanding how they search. This data is not only helpful for search campaigns but business strategy as well. Search data can help inform the strategic decisions around store locations, hours, payment methods and so much more so that your business can make smarter and more informed decisions on how to be successful.

The post Five Google Trends charts that show the impact of COVID-19 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Marketing Strategies

Why IMPACT video training is a marathon, not a sprint




I have a confession to make; outside of IMPACT, I’m addicted to fitness. If I’m not at my home office, I’m at my CrossFit gym training, training, and training some more. 

And not only am I training myself, I coach group classes as well. My classes all have a variety of fitness levels; it’s not uncommon that I have a 74-year-old grandfather and a collegiate gymnast taking the same class, performing the same workout. 

As a trainer, it’s my job to take the workout presented, and not only teach my athletes how to modify it for their fitness level, but also to break down the purpose and show them how it fits in overall with the plan they have made to invest in their long term health and wellness.  There’s an understanding that we’re all on the same fitness journey, but we’re all at different stages. 

Since joining the IMPACT team as a video trainer, it’s remarkable how much coaching CrossFit classes and video training are related. 

But more importantly, like fitness, whatever the regime, a long-term plan is important to remain successful and to stay on track with your goals. 

In comparison to my fitness clients, our video training clients come from different backgrounds of the video world. They have their own unique styles and abilities but by investing in video training, they all have a similar goal. 

What’s the goal of your video strategy?


The goal of video training at IMPACT is to establish a culture of video using the principles of They Ask, You Answer.

Investing in three months of video training is a good start, but I would equate that to a new athlete coming into the gym, having never touched a barbell and telling me, their trainer, that they want to qualify for Olympic Weightlifting. Or someone who comes in with a 14-minute mile saying they want to run a marathon in three months. 

As a video trainer, I can give you the tools to be successful on this journey: in three months we can cover the basics, review the concepts and implement the content and be on our way. 

But there is so much more to master that is focused neither on the skill level of the videographer nor the understanding of the types of videos to create. Production quality, process creation, and the general strategy of inbound sales and marketing video is easy to learn and understand. It’s simple information transfer.

But to consistently take action on that understanding is another story entirely. These habits that must remain long after working with IMPACT involve a cultural change, which happens much more slowly than the informational understanding.

To really adopt a culture of video, we need to think of it as a marathon and not a sprint; there are many factors that come into play, nuances to master with team personalities and stylistic techniques to conquer that really require at least six to nine months to embody adopting a video culture in a company.  

If we look at the Michael Phelpses, the Tom Bradys, and the Mat Fraserses of the world, they all have coaches who pick apart the small details of their game to make them better athletes and overall optimize their performances.  

What is video training? 

Let’s get this out of the way, when you start video training, we’re not teaching you how to be a videographer. 

True to the TAYA principles, video training is centered around creating video content that answers your customers’ questions, and using those questions to build a library of video content that positions you as an industry leader in educating your customers. 

Even though this journey is one you can take on your own, enrolling in video training can get you to where you want to go faster. 

Hold up, didn’t I say earlier that this is a marathon, not a sprint? I did, and that’s still true. Working with a video trainer will shorten the learning curve to producing the best educational video content for your company, but refining that content and producing it is still going to be time-consuming.  

We’ve worked with top-class videographers who needed more than a year of weekly meetings to create the change in their company they required to be successful.

Previous video training clients who truly become the most trusted visual educators in their space have invested $22,500 (nine months) to $45,000 (18 months) in weekly training sessions and offline video review.

A snapshot of a long-term video training relationship

Below, you’ll find a breakdown of what to expect when you commit to video training for a year. It’s important to point out that the first three months might feel a bit clunky; this is where we’ll do a lot of experimenting with video in our organization and really hone in not only our brand style, but our voice as an educator in our industry. By the end of the first three months, we should have a clear bird’s eye view of what our plan to implement video for our organization looks like. 

In the next six months, we’ll put our process to the test and create videos to be used on our website and YouTube channel. We’ll also integrate with our sales team and build the foundation of video as part of the company culture. 

Missing out on three and six months would dramatically decrease our productivity, and could be overwhelming to the videographer once they realize how much content they really do need to create to be successful. Having an established relationship with a video trainer for at least a year will ensure that adopting a video culture can be a smooth transition, and set clear goals and expectations for the journey of creating consistent video content. 

First 3 Months: 

  • Define Production quality standards and video creation processes
  • Produce the basics of website and sales enablement videos
  • Determine the common subject matter experts that will be on-camera
  • Streamline what is required during pre-production to begin filming
  • Master the Video 6 Formula to ensure that all videos have a specific purpose and value.

6 Months: 

  • Create a YouTube channel that educates your prospects at an industry-level
  • Produce Big 5 content for your website and YouTube learning centers
  • Improve the communication between sales and marketing teams so that sales team members begin to request videos needed for their processes
  • Refine the tone of your videos to feel as unbiased, honest, and highly produced as possible
  • Introduce 1:1 video that your sales team uses during sales processes to assign content and humanize interactions
  • Produce a consistent two to three videos per week that are being properly published and maintained online

1 Year: 

  • Challenge the creation process to ensure that habits have been formed and tested so that two to three videos will be able to be created in perpetuity
  • Identify ways for a video culture to be better implemented in the organization’s sales & marketing teams
  • Meet with Sales leadership to ensure that best practices are being followed with 1:1 video and assignment selling video
  • Ensure that communication channels are as solid as possible and video is being adopted and leveraged by the entire organization
  • Review video viewership analytics to identify how they should adapt the sales process with specific prospects and how the marketing team should improve the production of future content.

The end goal of video training

This is an oversimplified statement, but generally, a company is ready to stop working with a video trainer once they have successfully adopted a culture of video and have become the most trusted visual educators in their industry. 

Video training graduates understand how to measure the ROI through their videos, they are able to produce two to three videos each week, and their sales team members are both asking marketing for new videos and are also effectively using video throughout the entire sales process.

I recognize that a service like “video training” can sound vague and difficult to buy into without understanding exactly what you’re going to be covering, but the truth is that this journey is very consultative and the path for each client is very different. 

What stays consistent across clients is the outcomes that we strive to achieve together.

We created our 6-Month Video Training Roadmap for new clients trying to wrap their heads around what they will receive from video training. This roadmap is a general overview of the topics that will be covered during Video Training. 

To be clear, no one follows this roadmap exactly. There are many clients who are able to skip entire months worth of training in this document. But the important information to understand here is the outcomes that we’re striving for from each month. 

That’s where we’ll keep our gauge of what’s important for your team, and what’s not. Everyone’s path is different to achieve the same end goal.

Is video training right for my team?

Just like starting a new fitness routine, you can do it yourself. 

You can go online, educate yourself using free resources, and start creating video content. And you’ll hit plateaus and milestones. You might even master it on your own, but creating all that content will most likely take years of frustration, trial and error. 

If you’re committing to invest at least six to nine months in a relationship with a video trainer like me, then you’re agreeing to implement a culture of video the right way, the fastest way, and the most permanent way. The relationship requires a lot of work on your end, and your team will only be successful if there is buy-in for this change from the top-down.

When one of my athletes hits a milestone in their training, we celebrate, but we also look forward to the next milestone. 

Video training is a journey that takes time, effort, honesty, and an open-minded attitude. The investment in changing your company culture to include video — in a world that relies heavily on this medium — will set you up for success for years to come. 

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Marketing Strategies

8 Books to Help Make You a Better Writer



Every good marketer is also a good writer—or at least, they should be.

Whether you’re on the content marketing team and it’s your primary role, or if you’re in management and you’re tasked with writing blog posts, almost all professionals need to have a decent level of writing competency.

But even the best writers need help sometimes. Whether you feel like the words aren’t flowing like they usually do, or your commas and apostrophes seem very out of place, we’ve got you covered.

Here are 8 books that will help anybody hone their writing skills. 

Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley

Everybody Writes is a guide to attracting and retaining customers in an increasingly digital world. Although it seems like the digital landscape is filled almost exclusively with clickbaity headlines, hashtags, and gifs, the need for good writing has never been greater. It’s important for businesses, especially digital ones, to choose their words carefully when they communicate with their customers. Whether it’s a blog post, lead magnet, or anything in between, good writing is now more important than ever. This book gives you all the information and tools that you need to write well in the digital world.

The 3-Minute Rule By Brant Pinvidic

As technology has advanced, it seems people’s attention spans have gotten shorter. Just as consumers have become accustomed to everything else in their lives being streamlined, you need to streamline your writing and presentation skills. Cutesy, fluffy, and schmaltzy is quickly being replaced with concise, tactical, and clear. The quicker you can capture your audience’s attention and get your point across, the better. Learn how to say more with less words, and get your message across in under 3 minutes.

642 Things to Write About by The San Francisco Writers’ Grotto

Practice makes perfect, and this book enables you to do exactly that: practice your writing. This book is filled with prompts or phrases that are intended to help you not only practice, but get out of your writing comfort zone. The prompts range from happy, to sad, to scary, to hilarious, and they all will give you plenty of things to write about. If you think writing about dying is scary, try writing about your first kiss… 

You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins

This book provides a lot of tips and good practices for writing, making it a must-have for writers everywhere. But, at its heart, this book is geared toward the people that are either burned out on writing or are scared they don’t have what it takes to become a good writer. Intertwining his tips throughout his story of self-actualization, Goins talks about the steps he had to take to become a professional writer and overcome his own self-doubt. He explains to you what he did, and why you need to do it too. This book is not only tactical, but it’s a genuinely good read. 

The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need: A One-Stop Source for Every Writing Assignment by Susan Thurman

There is a lot that goes into being a great writer, but it’s impossible without having a solid understanding of grammar. Grammar may seem boring and pedantic to some people, but it’s the foundation that all good writing is built on. That’s why it’s important for writers to have a place where they can get all of that important information. Your message doesn’t matter if you can’t clearly get it to your audience. This book is timeless, and will be as helpful 50 years from now as it is today.

Persuasive Writing: How to Harness the Power of Words by Peter Frederick

Marketing is a profession of persuasion, so it makes sense that every marketer should learn what goes into persuasive writing. Not only do you need a good product, but you have to convince people to buy it. Frederick provides 27 rules of persuasion that are used in massive ad campaign writing and have been proven to work over time. If you properly implement these rules in your other content, your writing team will quickly start to feel like a sales team.

Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller

Stories are engaging. They make people listen and remember. And as a New York Times best-selling author, there aren’t many professionals more qualified to tell you that than Donald Miller. Miller’s StoryBrand process has been proven to generate results for businesses by harnessing the power of a great story. By teaching the 7 universal story points that people respond to, how to simplify a brand message, and how to effectively communicate through anecdotes, he shares critical information that helps businesses grow faster than ever before. Who knew the secret to copy writing was thinking like a novelist? 

On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser

This book has become evergreen, constantly updating throughout the years. It’s often praised for its advice, as well as Zinsser’s insights into the process of writing. It’s a classic book that has only become better over time and has sold over a million copies. From writing a book, to a blog post, to an email, On Writing Well is intended to any writer—or person who simply needs to write—improve on their prose.

The post 8 Books to Help Make You a Better Writer appeared first on DigitalMarketer.

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