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How Are You Leveraging the World’s Most Valuable Commodity? (Hint: It’s Data)

If you haven’t enjoyed the Netflix documentary, The Great Hack, you’re
going to want to sit down and ensure you’ve done your homework. In this
documentary, they unpack how Cambridge Analytica
played a major role in getting Donald Trump elected in the US and to persuade
key voters in the UK the vote for Brexit.

What startled the journalists interviewed in the documentary
(but may not come as a surprise to you as a digital marketer), is that
Cambridge Analytica was bragging about the fact that they had in their database
5,000 different data points on just about every American. That’s a truly
terrifying stat for most people who are blind to the fact that so much data has
been collected on them.

Data Has Surpassed
Oil As The World’s Most Valuable Commodity

As the Economist pointed out, the
world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data
and “concerns are
being raised by the giants that deal in data, the oil of the digital era.” Today,
the bulk of the world’s most valuable companies all deal in data: Amazon,
Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Netflix. It doesn’t matter if you’re
selling goods (such as Amazon, Apple and Microsoft), delivering ads (such as
Google and Facebook) or streaming tv and movies (i.e. Netflix). These companies
are crushing it because of the data they have collected on us.

So what data have you collected on your customers? While
most large enterprise companies have scrambled to keep up, smaller and medium
sized companies have fallen woefully behind. That’s can’t continue in 2020.
Simply put, if you’re not mining your customer’s data already, you’re at a
stark competitive disadvantage.

That’s because of relatively new legislation including GDPR and CCPA
that will impact what data you collect, how you manage it and how you empower
your customers to take back control (all as part of these new regulations).
Assuming you DO have data to work with, you may have a very different problem:
too much data and not enough insights. That’s where artificial intelligence
(AI) and Chatbots come into play.

For Your 2020 Digital
Marketing Look to AI & Chatbots

Think about the massive impact that E-Trade had on brokers
and dealers of the stock market. Before buying and selling stocks was as easy
as buying something from Amazon, we had to call (and have a relationship with)
a broker who would buy and sell stocks for us on massive trading floors.

Today, the NYSE is more financial theater than place of
business. Companies still go there to ring the opening or closing bell, but
that’s all a PR stunt. No one needs the NYSE real-estate – just the electronic

It’s only a matter of time until the same thing happens in
marketing. We’re already seeing it with programmatic media. Today, you can go
directly to Facebook or Google to buy ads. Otherwise, every other ad purchase
is done on an exchange and the only way to compete is to use programmatic
technology to help you buy and sell inventory efficiently. That’s only the
beginning. Where the real value will be when the AI algorithms become the
dominant way we send email, create content, build web pages and provide customer
service. All of this is available today, but far too few companies have adopted
these technologies as primary.

Marketing in 2020
Will Require AI to Be Effective

In order to compete effectively, we need AI. Think about it.
As the Netflix documentary, The Great
, pointed out, having 5,000 individual data points on every person
isn’t all that useful unless you can make sense of it all and act on it. That’s
what Cambridge Analytica did. They were, in essence, a propaganda machine. They
figured out which voters were most susceptible to messaging, then targeted them
as a means to sway their opinion in the direction their political clients

Without the ability to sift through data and make sense of
it in real-time, how can anyone hope to capitalize on it? Did Cambridge
Analytica go too far? That was essentially the case the movie was making. But
the larger context for marketers is that we’re all swimming in a sea of data.
Without technology to make sense of it all, we’re hopelessly lost.

What AI does is allow individuals to clearly state what they
are looking for and then allow the technology to figure out these complex data
models as a means to deliver outcomes. AI empowers marketers to understand the
difference between The Signal and the Noise
(to coin the book title from Nate Silver). Any predictive modeling requires a
clear signal and the ability to ignore the noise (i.e. all the other data that
isn’t relevant to the problem you’re looking to solve).

Chatbot Are the Very
Real Extension of All This Intelligence

In terms of consumer benefit, we’re seeing the continuous
rise of the chatbot as a means to leverage a company’s warehouse of
information. According to research by Innovation Enterprise, Chatbots will
power 85 percent of customer service by 2020
. Why is that? Because of the
top benefits of chatbots

  • 24-hour service (64 percent)
  • Instant responses to inquiries (55 percent)
  • Answers to simple questions (55 percent)

Oh yeah, and Chatbots
are expected to cut business costs by $8 billion by 2022
, according to
Impact. You can sift though all the research and marketing insights yourself,
but the bottom line is that chatbots provide real and tangible value to
consumers while cutting costs for business. It’s a win-win and they are here to

You can launch your first chatbot on your website or your
Facebook page – wherever your customers spend the most time with you. Pro Tip: if you end up launching your
chatbot on your Facebook page, you can get permission to quickly and easily
build your customer list with opt-in buttons and permission for future
communication. On your website, you can add buttons to your chatbots to support
fast responses and feedback and limit the amount of typing from your customers.

What’s next? Natural language interaction with your
artificial intelligence responses (think Siri and Alexa) where the text
responses are spoken. In the not-so-distant future, we’re not going to need our
keyboards to interact with our AI platforms. It’s all fine and well to have
Alexa play music, but what’s coming up soon is asking Alexa to help you launch
and manage your next marketing campaign. But that’s for a future article.

Bill Carmody is a
Master Trainer, Executive Coach and a badass marketing consultant. Reach him at or book your free 1-hour coaching call with him.

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