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AI: Your Marketing Wingman

Cathy, Sharon, Emily, and Anthea at the Social Next conference

The Blue Elephant team spent the day with 300 other digital and social media marketers at Social Next Toronto: The Future of AI in Marketing.

Aside from having a great day together, we took a TON of notes, checked out "selfie-ccinos", and maybe ate a few cookies.

What the heck is a selfie-ccino?

First, one of the coolest activations we've ever seen at a conference......Meltwater, the conference sponsor, offered "selfie-ccinos". Literally, your face on a cold brew cappuccino.

Using super cool "food printers", they turned a photo into a selfie in the foam.

Here's Emily's!

But on to the conference CONTENT....

Our Top 10 (with two random thoughts...)

We sorted through our notes and here are the top 12 things we want to share from the event.

  1. AI doesn't know how a strawberry tastes. There is still so much involved in our work that only humans can do. Humans understand touch, feel, taste, smell, and sight. Humans have empathy and imagination. If you use AI effectively to automate tasks, analyze data, and generate ideas, etc. you can free up time to focus on creativity and enhance the content.

  2. Your customer promise can (should?) also be your strategy. The promise your brand makes needs to focus on the customer - their feelings and aspirations. It should talk to what your customer truly cares about. Then, that idea should drive all departments and functions.

  3. 95% of your audience isn't buying right now, especially in B2B, and we spend too much time on the 5%. Build content for the 95%, reminding them of your customer promise and showing how you can make their lives better/easier. Get on their list for consideration NOW.

  4. There were two very different takes on influencer marketing:

    1. it will continue to grow across platforms - including LinkedIn with thought leaders taking bigger roles

    2. it's unclear how it will grow, especially with the advent of influencers created by AI - will people stop trusting influencers?

  5. AI allows us to create creative, personalized, and adaptive funnels and campaigns, leaving behind the previous rigid funnel model of one-size-fits-all all.

  6. Trays of cookies at 9 am are not just something Cathy thinks is a good idea. 🍪🍪

  7. Spaces online and offline where audiences gather are disappearing. Where do they gather now? Audiences are opting for the “dark social” (blocking tracking from app to app) or joining micro-communities, which makes it difficult to gather data on them. Speaker Sarah Stockdale talked about "whisper marketing" - connecting with specific advocates and evangelists to help you get your message across. Brand evangelism has gone from word of mouth to digital and now back to word of mouth, but now as DMs, texts, and What's App chats.

  8. Mindblowing stats:

    1. Over 1B users watch a movie length of content on TikTok daily

    2. 463 exabytes (463 million trillion) of data will be created every day by 2025

    3. 55% of GenZ watch super niche content that none of their friends watch. They aren't sharing content and recommendations.

  9. Get weird and take risks! If everyone is using AI to create content, then you need to be prepared to be "extra" to be memorable. Alexandra Toulch asked us to consider why 14-year-olds creating content in their basement go viral. It's because they don't follow rules. They create, PLAY, and have fun. They're weird. And it works. Brent Chaters from Accenture says we should make sure all our marketing plans include "a budget for lunacy and comfort with risk".

  10. Google really needs to talk to their marketing team to name their products. Also, Facebook.

  11. Alt-text is important in email messages. Many email systems are using AI to filter out image heavy messages with no alt text in them. (Which is interesting because readers like images to break up the text. And also readers don't like images because they have to scroll too much to read is very contradictory sometimes.)

  12. AI isn't scary or threatening. It's not going to take our jobs - it makes parts of our jobs easier. As with any tool or device, we need to be thoughtful in its use, and remember that it's only as good as the people using it and the information it receives. Our job is to review, approve, and verify what AI generates and use it as a springboard, not an end product. For the team members who have hesitated to use AI, "after today's conference, I'm way less hesitant to experiment with it."

And we'll leave you with this thought from Jeff Lancaster from LinkedIn:


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