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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is set to transform our online behaviours as the ease of accessing precisely the right information improves, and AI can interpret our needs better than the traditional search bar.
This behavioural shift, in turn, will affect what we emphasise in marketing. But how?
I've been closely observing the race between tech giants like Google and Microsoft and the explosive surge in services centred around AI.
AI will elevate the baseline of what marketing entails because it's available to everyone. Content can be produced at lightning speed. The challenge will no longer be about the quantity of content but its quality and a company's ability to distinguish itself through its unique perspective. Consequently, a distinctive brand will become even more central.
The shift away from the search bar
Over the past years, a significant driver in marketing planning and implementation has been the evolution of search engines, spearheaded by Google. By investing in search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine advertising, many businesses have enhanced their discoverability in their respective categories or business domains. Offering useful content on websites in an SEO-friendly manner allows businesses to rank higher in searches done by potential customers. Customers then may further explore the products or services on the website via this content.
However, search engine behaviour will undergo changes due to AI's influence. Conversational AI might take over these information-centric searches or perhaps assist users in locating information directly, be it in text or voice. It's plausible that users might not want to exit the search engine to visit a website for information.
Thus, websites with content similar to competitors—content driven by SEO—might be visited less frequently, as information is already acquired through interactions with AI. There's no desire to delve further unless the business provides a compelling reason. Consider this: do you foresee a significant decline in your business's traffic?
This is the AI transformation
How should one prepare for tomorrow? And from which angle should one consider this? Reflect on this for a moment, especially regarding the strategies for marketing and sales.
The importance of a company's brand, distinguishing it from competitors, and a clear message delivered consistently throughout the customer experience will be more crucial than ever. The significance of a distinct brand as a company's asset and primary growth enabler needs to be communicated right up to the boardroom and executive committees.
Businesses must be ready to invest in a distinctive, personalised brand and the creative storytelling surrounding it, spanning the entire customer journey in marketing, sales, and customer service. Stand out, be memorable, be engaging, and be accessible. AI, as of now, can't fulfil all of these goals.
Putting successful branding aside, the winners are those with the capability or the right tools to deliver that message. This isn't mere nuance. The failure to act on this transformation might not only stall your business growth but may obliterate it.
Four themes to act on:
1. CONSIDER YOUR CUSTOMERS, AUDIENCE, AND DATA
- How will AI's changes affect your clients?
- Is your customer data up-to-date and enriched to efficiently utilise it in sales and marketing?
- Does your business have the strategies to expand and enrich your existing audience to ensure growth?
- Are you available and known to a broad audience?
2. THINK OF YOUR BRAND STRATEGY AND IDENTITY
- Do you have an identity, and does it set you apart from competitors in this transition?
- Have you managed to carve a position and vision that resonates with customer behaviour and values?
- Do buyer personas exist, and do they align with behavioural changes in the desired way?
- Does your current identity, brand book, and brand elements enable a consistent brand experience and message at different customer touchpoints with enough impact?
- Is your visual style static or dynamic? Do you rely solely on stock photos, or are they tailored to your brand? Do you use motion graphics (animations or videos) with elements that tell compelling brand-consistent stories throughout the customer journey?
3. THINK ABOUT YOUR STRATEGY FOR SALES AND ADVERTISING
- Are marketing and sales strategies thought of together, through a customer journey and customer-centric perspective, or are functions still separated and siloed?
- Do these strategies address the challenges posed by AI-driven change?
- Is the creation and development of a distinctive brand integrated, or is digital marketing mainly centred on ensuring discoverability and tactical actions?
4. THINK ABOUT YOUR WEBSITE AND ECOMMERCE PLATFORM
- If AI effortlessly diverts searches based purely on information retrieval from your website, does your site or online store function in a brand-enhancing manner, offering a memorable and distinctive experience that visitors return to based on the impression it made?
- Is your website or online store efficient and converting for those intending to make a purchase or needing support in choosing your brand?
Tomorrow is only one day away, so how will you proceed today?
Now is the perfect time to start contemplating the implications of these changes, especially through the lens of these four themes, and consider how to leverage the benefits to support your growth. How about we grab a cup of coffee and discuss? We can provide you with experts from every area to join you around the roundtable for discussion and brainstorming. I believe this will help sharpen your thinking towards your business goals.
Don't hesitate to reach out. Pick a time that suits you from my calendar or send me an email expressing your interest, and we'll find a suitable slot for our chat.