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The skills smart marketers need to survive the AI takeover

(MARKETING) Quality marketers are constantly evolving, but getting your head around artificial intelligence can be a challenge – let’s boil it down to the most relevant skills you’ll need.

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When Facebook and Twitter were born, a new era of social media was ushered in, opening the gates for new areas of expertise that hadn’t existed before. At first, we all grappled to establish the culture together, but fast forward a decade and it is literally a science with thousands of supporting technology companies.

So as Artificial Intelligence (AI) takes over marketing, doesn’t that mean it will replace marketers? If you can ask your smart speaker in your office what your engagement growth increase was for your Facebook Page, and ask for recommendations of growth, how do marketing professionals survive?

Marketers will survive the same way they did as social media was introduced – the practice will evolve and new niches will be born.

There are 7 skills marketers (like you) will need to adapt in order to evolve. None of these are done overnight, but quality professionals are constantly grooming their skills, so this won’t be stressful to the successful among us. And the truth is that it won’t be in our lifetime that AI can quite process the exact same way a human brain does, even with the advent of quantum computing, so let’s focus on AI’s weaknesses and where marketers can perform where artificial intelligence cannot.

1. Use the data your new AI buddies generate.

In the 70s, the infamous Ted Bundy murders yielded the first case that utilized computing. The lead investigator had heard about computers and asked a specialist to dig through all of their data points to find similarities – a task that was taking months for the investigative team. After inputting the data, within minutes, they had narrowed their list of suspects from several hundred to only 10.

We’re not dealing with murderers here in the marketing world (…right, guys?), but the theory that algorithms can speed up our existing jobs is a golden lesson. As more AI tools are added to the marketplace to enhance your job, experiment with them! Get to know them! And continue to seek them out to empower you.

Atomic Reach studies your content and finds ways to enhance what you’re delivering. CaliberMind augments B2B sales, Stackla hunts down user-generated content that matches your brand efforts, Nudge analyzes deal risk and measures user account health, and Market Brew digs up tons of data for your SEO strategy.

See? Independently, these all sound like amazing tools, but call them “AI tools” and people lose their minds. Please.

Your job as a marketer is to do what AI cannot. Together, you can automate, do segmentation and automation, beef up your analytics, but no machine can replicate your innate interest in your customers, your compassion, and your ability to understand human emotions and predict outcomes effectively (because you have a lot more practice at being a human than the lil’ robots do).

2. Take advantage of AI’s primary weakness.

As noted, you have emotions and processes that are extremely complex and cannot be understood by artificial intelligence yet. Use those.

How? Compile all of the data that AI offers and then strategize. Duh. AI can offer recommendations, but it cannot (yet) suggest an entire brand strategy. That’s where you come in.

And more importantly, it cannot explain or defend any such strategy. One of the core problems with AI is that if you ask Alexa a question, you cannot ask how it came up with that information or why. This trust problem is the primary reason marketers are in no danger of being replaced by technology.

3. Obsess over data.

AI tools are young and evolving, so right now is the time to start obsessing over data. What I mean by that is not to use every single AI tool to compile mountains of useless data, but to start studying the data you already have.

The problem with new tools is that marketers are naturally inquisitive, so we try them out and then forget they exist if they didn’t immediately prove to be a golden egg.

Knowing your current marketing data inside and out will help you to learn alongside AI. If you aren’t intimately familiar, you won’t know if the recommendations made through AI are useful, and you could end up going down the wrong path because something shiny told you to.

Obsess over data not by knowing every single customers’ names, but be ready to identify which data sets are relevant for the results you’re seeking. A data scientist friend of mine recently pointed out that if you flip a coin five times and it happens to land on tails every time, AI would analyze that data and predict with 100% certainty that the sixth flip will be tails, but you and I have life experience and know better.

Staying on top of your data, even when you’re utilizing artificial intelligence tools will keep you the most valuable asset, not the robots. #winning

4. Don’t run away from math (no wait, come back!)

One of the appeals of marketing is that math is hard and you don’t need it in a creative field. But if you want to stay ahead of the robots, you’ll have to focus on your math skills.

You don’t have to go back to school for data science, but if you can’t read the basic reports that these endless AI tools can create, you’re already behind. At least spend a few hours this month on some “Intro to Data Science” courses on Udemy or Coursera.

5. Content is God.

We’ve all said for years that content is king and that feeding the search engines was a top way to reach consumers. You’ve already refined your skills in creating appealing content, and you already know that it costs less than many traditional lead generating efforts and spending on content is way up.

Content can be blogging, video, audio, or social media posts. Artificial intelligence will step in to skyrocket those efforts, if only you accept that content was once king, but is now God. What is changing is how customized content can be. For example, some companies are using AI tools to create dozens of different Facebook ads for different demographics, which would have taken weeks of human effort to do in the past.

Because content is what feeds all of these new smart devices, feeding your brand content effectively and utilizing AI tools to augment your efforts will keep you more relevant than ever.

6. Get ahead of privacy problems

Consumers now understand what website cookies are, and know when they’ve opted in (or opted out) of an email newsletter, but to this point, humans have made the decisions of how these data choices are made. Our teams have continually edited Terms of Service (ToS), all done not just with liability in mind, but to offer consumers the protections that they want and have come to expect.

But AI today doesn’t have morals, and consumer comfort is not a factor unless humans program that into said AI devices. But it still isn’t a creature of ethics like humans are. Ethical challenges going forward will be something to stay ahead of as you tap into the AI world. Making sure that you know the ToS of any tool you’re using to mine data is critical so that you don’t put the company in a bad position by violating basic human trust.

The takeaway

You’re smart, so you already knew that the robots aren’t taking your job, rather augmenting it, but adding AI into your marketing mix to stay ahead comes with risk and a learning curve. But seeing artificial intelligence for what it really is – a tool – will keep your focus on the big picture and save your job.

Real Estate Marketing

Happy Grasshopper helps real estate folks by offering free content

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) The one stop shop for real estate communication with clients, Happy Grasshopper, has extended it service for free to help with COVID-19 problems.

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Happy Grasshopper provides high quality, helpful, and timely content to real estate professionals to help them keep in touch with their client list and other potentially interested parties. Up to now, their content was only available to their paid members. For the first time, in response to COVID-19 and social distancing, Happy Grasshopper is offering up their premium content for free to every real estate entity.

Welcome to HG Free. It’s kind of a big deal.

The country–and the whole world–is topsy turvy due to the awful spread of the novel coronavirus. The real estate industry, along with many others, has basically slowed down to a mere trickle of business. Social distancing may be what saves us, but for many industries, the loss of income is a crushing blow. Real estate agents are trying to figure out how to connect with leads and clients while staying at home.

Happy Grasshopper’s content is all messaging based. They provide ways to start and carry on conversations with prospects. Offering true value to people is the best way to earn loyalty. With scads of people facing job loss, furloughs, or a sharp decrease of income, nobody is looking to be “sold” right now. It’s abrasive and insensitive. That doesn’t mean to stop reaching out, though, to people. People are craving connection more than ever, as they deal with physical distancing from nearly all others and a complete shutdown of any social life.

HG Free is available via the HappyGrasshopper.com home page, and will offer free content on a regular basis to help those working in the real estate industry keep in touch with their contacts in relevant and appropriate way.

Their content includes:

  • Email Message Templates
  • Text Message Templates
  • Social Media Posts/Quote Graphics
  • Voicemail Message Scripts

Happy Grasshopper features

CEO Dan Stewart states, “Our mission – to connect the world in conversation – has never been more important. In this unprecedented time of social distancing, we must continue to hold conversations with each other through the communication media available to us. For our largest client base–real estate agents, brokers, and franchises–staying in touch with leads, their sphere of influence, current and past clients and others is always important. Today, in the face of this world-wide, self-quarantining pandemic, it is crucial.”

Happy Grasshopper CEO

People need people. HG Free can help real estate people connect with their people. Don’t sleep on this, real estate folks! Take Happy Grasshopper up on their generous offer. It’s thoughtful for Happy Grasshopper to do this, and in turn, they’ll surely convert more loyal customers of their own when times are better.

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Real Estate Marketing

COVID-19: Should real estate pause “days on market” featured on sites?

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) MLS platform rely heavily on a constant market. With the current pandemic, certain features can negatively impact buyers, sellers, and their listing agents.

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With more and more states, counties, and cities issuing “shelter-in-place” orders, it looks as though this will be the new normal for a while. For real estate professionals, this leaves a lot of unanswered questions and apprehension. With shelter-in-place, naturally, there will not be as many people looking to buy or sell homes, but what about the homes already on the market? How will they be affected?

Maybe it is time to review certain listing features: days on the market, tours, and open houses, to name a few. These features are heavily dependent on an active market. When the market is in a slump, recession, or facing a crisis, like pandemic, natural disasters, or in an area where people have been experiencing extensive furloughs and layoffs, this data can be unfairly impacted.

When there are not as many homebuyers/sellers in an area due to these events, days on the market will rise, tours will sit unviewed, and open houses will not receive any foot traffic because people are not financially in a place to partake.

Typically, buyers use the “days on the market” feature to leverage better deals; the longer a home has been on the market, the more likely the owner will be to strike a better deal (in theory). During these shelter-in-place orders, the longer a home looks as though it has been on the market, the more likely a perspective home buyer will be to think, “if it’s been on the market this long, what’s wrong with it?” Also, it can give the false impression that the listing agent isn’t doing all they should be to sell the home, as the days on the market increase, which unfair both to the real estate professional and to the homeowner.

In California, where there is currently a shelter-in-place order, the MLS Listings Board of Directors has issued an order to suspend days of the market for active listings. Active listings will no longer accrue days on the market, effective March 17 (the day the shelter-in-place was issued). The Board also disabled broker tours and open house listings effectively keeping the listing marketplace from being adversely impacted.

This change should happen across the board, in my opinion, so other markets aren’t negatively impacted by a continual “days on the market” count when we are all dealing with the pandemic. Perhaps other MLS listing services will follow suit and it will soon become standard to suspend the features most impacted by the shelter-in-place order.

The MLS Listings Chairman in California, Karl Lee, stated, “This action is intended to relieve pressure on sellers and buyers during the coronavirus pandemic and to underscore public compliance efforts during the shelter-in-place. The health of the public is priority number one. We are actively reviewing policies to identify ways to support buyers, seller, agents, and brokers in these unprecedented times. We continue to collaborate with other MLS listing platforms for best practices under the impact of coronavirus.”

However, not all MLS listing agencies agree with this policy. In fact, some agencies are not addressing the inadequacies the shelter-in-place has presented. Instead, they are telling their agents to carry on as normal, which is a violation of the shelter-in-place order. What do you think MLS listing agencies should do? Should the days on the market continue to accrue during the pandemic, or should it be suspended until business can resume as normal?

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Real Estate Marketing

Quickly turn any text, link, or tweet into an Instagram post

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) If you have wondered how to share the same ad across multiple social platforms, Remix is your answer for the brand unity every company needs.

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Developing unique and “likeable” Instagram content is a crucial objective for any brand. This involves being aware of outside apps that help one develop the best content for their brand. These apps include a myriad of purposes, from additional filters to repost abilities to creating eye-catching stories.

Now, an app exists that allows users to transform any link, tweet, or product into beautiful Instagram content. Remix by Buffer is designed to help people share their content across every channel in an effort to give their content consistency.

Bring tweets to Instagram. Put your products into Stories. And much more,” says Buffer’s landing page for Remix. “With Remix, you can share information quickly, efficiently, and completely on-brand. Remix is fully free. No watermarks. No in-app purchases.”

One of the best aspects of this is that the content you’re designing can be altered to include your brand’s colors to ensure that every post is, as they said, on-brand. After selecting your colors once, you can keep them on file to use for future posts.

To create a post, you grab a link from a tweet or a product and bring it into Remix to generate an image that you want to share. After choosing the colors, you select a size and style as different layouts are available to match your content or brand.

Then, you have the option to customize the background by uploading your own image or selecting one from Unsplash. Remix is available for both iOS and Android.

Buffer recaps the purpose on Product Hunt by writing, “Share tweets to Instagram. Turn links & products into social media content. You can create on-brand assets from any tweet, link, or product & share to your favorite social network. We hope this can streamline your workflows and help you engage with your audience.”

Audience engagement is obviously the main point of social media, and people love fresh content as well as consistency from brands. This can be a difficult line to walk in order to create content that is both eye-catching and hits your brand’s mark every time. Having outside tools like Remix can help you to accomplish this goal.

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