Elite Business Live has gone on tour to some of the best events and expos across the country, with our last and final stop at the Technology For Marketing expo at London Excel.
Host Oli Barett MBE welcomed an exciting panel including Jake Mason, Chief Marketing Officer and Co-Founder of Scoreapp, Nick Dormon, Managing Director and Founder of Echo, Michelle Hastings, Head of Digital, Vodafone Business, Flavilla Fongang, Brand Advisor, BBC and Founder of Global Tech Advocates and Flavia Colombo, EMEA North Leader, HubSpot, who took centre stage to speak about new emerging technology – and how entrepreneurs can use these tools to scale their MarTech. As technology continues to improve and cross barriers, Oli quizzed the panel on what they think is changing the most with their customers interacting within the tech space.
Michelle said: “We probably notice customers taking in more technology. Customers used to choose one and then stay with it for quite a long time. We’re now seeing businesses shifting, evolving and moving really rapidly. And I think it’s definitely got its pros in that there’s so much choice out there, but what’s really important is that you’re getting the very best of what you got and that you’re maintaining your data in that process.”
With so many choices in the tech space, it’s easy to get confused about which marketing technology to employ in your business. Flavilla explained how it’s not about the type of tech you use, but how it integrates in your business and marketing plans depending on your target audience and brand. She said: “There’s a lot of choice with tech, you can do so many things with all the technology available out there. But I would say before you even think about the technology or tools, think about the people and people you want to serve. How much do you understand how your audience comes to you? How do you understand where they go next? Do you know what they want to achieve? I will say to any business here, that you are a data company first. If you’re able to analyse your data, you will always be ahead. If you don’t understand your customer’s behaviours and the customer’s journey, you are missing out on a lot of opportunities. You need to understand the amount of opportunity we have and the right creative tools to spearhead your business. When you think about technology are you able to really understand your audience? Then you can find the right tools for you.”
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become the talk of the town in the business world. How can SMEs use these tools to their advantage? Will there ever be a point when AI takes over the human experience? Flavilla gave her two cents on the matter, adding: “I’m excited about AI but there is also a lot of concern that people should be aware of. There is a lot of fear about what AI is capable of doing, such as people losing their jobs etc. But really what you want to think about, AI will not replace the person using AI. When Chat GPT came out people got excited, I told my team to figure out which tools that will allow them to do their work better. And each of them went out to explore how they could improve their performance through these tools… You don’t need a lot of AI tools. The key is to know how to supercharge existing tools and integrate them into your business. You really need to understand the full customer journey with all these tools working together.”
Jake believes there is a problem in the way that AI is being used, in that businesses are not using AI to effectively engage their customers and personalise the technology to cater to their audience. He explained: “I think there’s a huge problem with AI in general and I think it’s been misused to an extent by many businesses that are utilising it because they’re using it to help automate tasks that are already done. They might have levelled up their content game by using ChatGPT to create content much faster and do the relevant keyword research. But what many businesses aren’t doing and haven’t yet clocked in is that it enables you to do so much more. The two dominant marketing factors from my perspective are engagement and personalisation, if you can deliver both at scale, imagine a Zoom call with your client. What you can do on that Zoom call is incredible. You can diagnose their issues, you can talk to them about what really matters to them. We need to be able to use AI to do that. And some businesses are integrating AI in a way that enables you to do that.”
Adding on to Jake’s point, Flavia shared her perspective on how AI is changing the way customers interact with companies, in that they prefer a more personalised approach when being sold products or services. She explained: “Artificial Intelligence has been around for years but now we’re seeing a massive change in technology. The way that we see it is how the customer journey is changing. If you think about the four steps that customers go through, it’s completely changing. Until last year the first step would have been to search but now, they leverage social to find what’s the best technology. When customers go on a website, they don’t really click links, they want to interact with it, they want information. When customers buy, it’s personal. They want to be treated as a person. And when they use the product, they want you as a company to be proactive, not reactive anymore. So that’s how we thought to build AI in our sectors to do things more efficiently, reducing costs and reducing time.”
Would AI ever make jobs obsolete? And in particular, those in the creative spaces? Artificial Intelligence does what a user asks it to do, Nick explained. It cannot create but rather listens to users’ commands depending on the brief. Nick said: “It is interesting when you think about creativity because a lot of people say AI can come in and take the creative element away. But the thing is, the creative element is in the thinking, not in the doing. AI does the doing for you. The work is only as good as the brief. If you put a good brief together to work out what that ad campaign is going to be, you get some good content on it. But if you put a bad brief you’ll get rubbish out. So, creating a good brief is key. If you’re thinking about branding, you’re trying to create differentiation and you’re trying not to be like everyone else. There is a danger in using mass amounts of data to find the average or something to fix, it’ll probably be like everyone else. What human beings are really good at is going left and doing something very different from everyone else. And that is where you’ll see change.”
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