Marketing and Sales; A Blurred Line Armed with Artificial Intelligence

SOON THERE’LL BE NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MARKETER AND A SALESMAN, THANKS TO AI

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So, me and a couple of my colleagues got into an argument about the differences between sales and marketing and we argued about which was more important. We eventually agreed that they both had their place as they both are important, however, the line that separates them is gradually being blurred out as AI is helping both end of the stick achieve same results in the same time frame. Marketers and salesmen would both be able to build brands over time and also make sales immediately as they are now armed with artificial intelligence.

AI does a couple of things but here are a few;

Data acquisition: one area artificial intelligence (AI) has been able to get right over the years is collecting data. Data has always been a holy grail for both marketers and salesmen as it helps with predicting the next point of action, purchase, and effective marketing strategy to deploy.

Automate repetitive tasks: in marketing there are certain tasks that are repetitive and trust me, they can be extremely daunting to undertake every now and then. AI allows you the opportunity to be more efficient and increases your productivity by availing you the opportunity to focus on more important tasks. A report by Mckinsey further buttresses this point as they say nearly 45% of tasks can be automated to achieve the afore mentioned benefits.

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Create a great consumer experience: what do consumers want? Many times, they want to save time, time is money, they say. Consumers want a vendor that can be swift and equally efficient. The more your brand or organization spends a lot of time dealing with mundane issues the more at risk you are to lose your consumer to your competition who is more agile. AI helps your organization attain agility quicker as it will deal with “mundane” issues while your staff can focus on dealing with consumers who require a more human approach to cater for their need.

Although AI is increasingly becoming the more intelligent with every new update it still doesn’t take away certain processes from staff. To adopt the right AI solution, you or a member of staff must devote sometime to brand audit – understand your strengths and weaknesses, also know what your competition is doing. Next, decisively outline what the desired AI tool should achieve and then adopt one.

In this age where the lines between marketing and sales are getting blurred with each passing second every marketer or salesman must be armed with AI to win.

Insta Millionaire

INSTAGRAM IS CURRENTLY TURNING PEOPLE INTO MILLIONAIRES AND DELIVERING ROI

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In the wake of smart phones, increased internet penetration, urbanization, gist, gossips and juicy scandals, social media has grown in leaps and bounds throughout Africa. Only one who is living under a rock or dangling somewhere on the edge of the planet isn’t on social media. My aunt just gave birth a few weeks ago and her cute baby already has a social media account – Instagram particularly – and I’m certain that before she turns 14 she would probably have at least 14,000 followers on Instagram – don’t you dare laugh.

Due to the drivers highlighted in the opening paragraph and more, social media, especially Instagram which has become a force to reckon with as many people are being turned into Insta millionaire or Insta celebrities if you like. Its highly visual interface and easy interactive features helps its affinity.

Also, the always on trend hugely observed among millennials and Generation Z is fueling online communities as people want to stay informed and follow everything these Insta sensations are doing on a daily basis.

This provides a great opportunity especially for brands and marketers as it makes reaching the desired TA easier – birth of online influencer marketing.

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Instagram communities have become highly interactive which is speedily making it the go to place for information about brands and people.

In fact, this is the time that businesses need to capitalize on brand expansion and business growth – and social media platforms. 

Instagram currently has over 2 million advertisers worldwide sharing contents on their stories and feeds to drive business results. 60% of people say they discover new products on Instagram. over the last few years, Instagram has grown so much, and today is influencing consumer behavior. With over 25 million business profiles that currently exist on the platform worldwide this leaves no doubt that it is delivering ROI to businesses - Bizcommunity.

I am of the opinion that everyone is a marketer as we are all selling something. This therefore means that we can no longer ignore Instagram as a major driver for sales and consumer connections.

Customer in the Data Shadow

DATA THEY SAY IS THE NEW CURRENCY BUT IT STILL CAN’T BUY PEOPLE

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What do I look like to you, a guinea pig or a lab rat? Make your pick because I need to know. Scratch that, truth is, I don’t want to know. It’s just that your marketing strategies are beginning to make me feel like one of either option. Brands and marketers these days are doing the right thing by gathering as much data as possible to fuel their marketing campaigns but they are doing the wrong thing by ignoring the human element – we all want to be touched at some point. Brands make the mistake of trying to be masters at collecting data but ignore the ability to be human therefore treating people like lab rats – if this strategy fails, try the next one, that seems to be the new mantra.

Owing to the speed with which the consumer (not a lab rat or guinea pig) is changing, brands are adopting a more agile framework – design thinking – which helps them change at the same pace the consumer does. However they tend to keep the consumer in the data shadow, this means that brands tend to take the standpoint of addressing the consumer needs as they see it on paper and/or research reports. For example, the fact that there is usually an insane amount of terrible traffic condition in Nigeria doesn’t mean that if you sell a product to them they’ll purchase it but if you can connect to their emotions at that point, you are likely to record a higher amount of sales.

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Therefore, what any brand should do is never to neglect the fact that the customer is first a human being and not a collection of data.

Consumer first (Consumer Centricity), that’s basically what design thinking is about. If you don’t believe me, you could ask Google, Amazon, Apple, and any other successful brand that has employed this strategy.

The Sauce and the Spice

DESIGN THINKING – THE INGREDIENT YOUR BUSINESS NEEDS TO KEEP UP WITH THE FAST-PACED EVOLUTION IN TODAY’S MARKET PLACE.

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The world is consistently changing and the speed can be likened to that of Arya Stark when she stealthily moved in on the Night Kind and drove a dagger through his belly in the recently concluded Game of Thrones series. Like the Night King, if businesses fail to take a hold of this speed or anticipate the next change (trend) then a dagger might be driven through its belly and put it out of business. Design Thinking is the ingredient businesses need to keep up with the pace (become agile) of customer evolution and ensure sustainability. My friend, Vin Diesel said in Riddick “if you can’t keep up, don’t step up”.

What is Design Thinking?

This is the art of adopting a process that keeps the consumer (target audience) as the focal point of your business. Many times businesses employ strategies as a result of data they dug up about their existing competitors – wrong move. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to know what your competition is doing to reach your audience but it is more important for you to watch and anticipate what your audience is doing or what they might do. This way you’ll have a more pragmatic approach to reaching them, otherwise, you’ll struggle to adopt the right strategies to reach the consumer; you’ll become reactive instead of proactive.

Design thinking makes you proactive, not reactive – it eliminates the knee jerk phenomenon.

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Why Design Thinking?

It gives your marketing communication a direction and lays emphasis on designing marketing materials on purpose – brand proposition.

Designing on purpose builds relevance and leads to a culture that will resonant with the target market. Consequently, using purposeful design will also create a connection which will broaden the impact of all brand activation programs, and brand experience. The brand that uses design thinking as a strategic advantage creates things that people have to have - Bizcommunity.

This approach really can’t be overemphasized especially in this digital age wherein everything is ‘supposed’ to be connected.

International brands like Nike, Google, Apple, and Amazon have adopted the Design Thinking strategy and it’s a no brainer how they come up with products every now and then that you and I always have to have.

What is your Profession? Freelancing!!

WITH ORGANIZATION ADOPTING THE TREND OF WORKING REMOTELY, WE ARE SURE TO SEE THE RISE OF FREELANCERS.

Source: Unsplash

Source: Unsplash

Late nights, mugs of coffee, and take outs are characteristics of the life of a freelancer. These days, there are freelancers everywhere you look; everyone is ready to do everything and anything from a remote location. Certain organizations in Africa – Nigeria and South Africa precisely – are embracing this mode of operations. Organizations in a view to attaining agility are employing means and strategies to make their team leaner, meaner, and more nimble.

Source: Unsplash

Source: Unsplash

The opening paragraph simplifies the reason we TINK freelancing is the new trend wave brewing to blow across Africa. As we currently invest in building top talents in every facet of the economy, freelancing seems be the go to source as they have a large network of fellow freelancers who are equally top talents.

So until organizations are able to bring in such quality of talent they may have to resort to freelancers. However the case, we need these freelancers to consolidate efforts and mental capacity in order to build successful companies as well – this will definitely impact the economy a lot more, but until this is done, freelancing is the new cool.