What’s your marketing strategy for the next generation Alexa?

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14/08/2018

by gigCMO MD Mark F. Magnacca

To date AI when it comes to marketing has mixed results. Amazon is one of the most effective users of our data habits and while it’s all incredibly clever, the execution is still rather clunky.

One person I spoke to lately, a very active, high flying man in his seventies with no evident signs of retiring found himself subject to regular adverts for funeral homes, while another, a single girl in her thirties, bought a present for an expectant mum only to find herself bombarded with baby products for the rest of the week.

When it’s not vaguely amusing, the marketing technologies that are clearly showing signs of being on their way to more refined versions of themselves are frankly a little sinister. At a recent conference about smart cities, they raised the idea of billboards that spoke to you directly as you walk past, and in the here and now, as one gigCMO team member watched TV online the other evening the appearance of a personalised advert was just a little bit creepy when it first appeared. Nonetheless, much like Facebook, these are things that will be refined and will become second nature to all of us in no time at all.  In fact, with the popularity of Alexa, those days are pretty much upon us.

The Internet of Things comes to the mass market

Arguably the first example of the Internet of Things really taking hold in a mass market, Alexa has opened the door to the way we interact with AI in a whole new way. I wonder whether its success to date (25 million Echo smart speakers sold and counting), has something to do with its human name – something that feels less ‘techy’ and more friendly than perhaps Google Assistant, and that therefore the door for other industry leaders to follow suit and escalate the race towards the next generation versions that will really change the way we live, work and of course, buy.

What is already a little less alien today than it was a few short years ago, is clearly set to become the norm in the average household in no time at all, and it is easy to see how future versions of Alexa-style bots will be instrumental to the daily running of our lives. With that, it goes without saying that marketing will also have no choice but to change.

Will the power of brand loyalty become obsolete?

Will the power of brand loyalty become obsolete in a world where consumers entrust product choice to the bots that have learned their personal values? That alone would dramatically shift a marketer’s remit. Naturally, there is also a myriad of questions around use of data when it comes to the every increasing intelligence of technology, and that in itself will present some interesting crossroads in the future that go well beyond GDPR.

Today the options, technologies and processes to invest in are as overwhelming for most marketers as they are for the consumers, but as the market’s oligarchs make themselves known we will all have a clearer direction of where to go.

That process of refinement gives companies a little time to consider their strategy for the coming years; how they plan to navigate AI and the ways in which it can work for them. The management of that transition presents challenges to organisations, but it is an evolution that can take place in stages as long as a plan is in place with the right minds at the helm.

The time to consider a marketing strategy for the future

As our team at gigCMO are already supporting organisations in navigating the future of marketing through AI, we found the article Marketing in the Age of Alexa on hbr.com – to be an informative, accessible and intelligently articulated discussion on the topic and we highly recommend that you read it yourself if you have a moment: click here.

Alternatively, to speak to a member of the gigCMO team about supporting your business in the age of Alexa, do contact us.

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