We live in a digital world, and automation affects our everyday life. From the automated call centre voice sending you to the department you don’t want, to automated emails from your utilities supplier, we’ve arrived in a world of automation. It seems like yesterday that I was curating content and recruiting senior executives to keynote Internet World – and now everything’s the internet, and the show no longer exists.
I’m already totally sold on how soft-touch automation can minimise the grunt-time spent on marketing and maximise nurturing relationships till the client is ready to buy, although I think the relationship-heavy nature of my sectors – professional services, wealth, investment, finance – means that nothing will replace the depth of relationship a seasoned executive can develop, supported by the right marketing activities.
Or will it? A timely and fascinating article from the Harvard Business Review on how AI is streamlining marketing and sales looking at how telcos, analytics providers for data scientists and print suppliers are harnessing chatbots, AI and the smart end of robotics. They’re getting close to truly replicating the customer service level of sales and both maximise sales people’s time with the right customers, and find those “needles in a haystack” in the first place. I’m very interested to learn more about the two technologies here, the Conversica AI, a virtual assistant named Angie and Drift bot, which provides one of seven potential follow-up answers in a customer chat, routing clients in the right direction.
BBC Business just showed a video of Sophia, a truly life-like robot with emotional intelligence, created by Hanson Robotics. She apparently looks like Audrey Hepburn (without hair, or in fact a skull), and although it’s interesting, I don’t see immediate benefits for professional services – yet.
I think the smart marketing money is on working out which technologies – most of these are supplied as-a-service, so no great investment if a trial doesn’t work – can make the difference to your processes, and getting the buy in from your people to make it happen.