Although Greek mythology hinted at AI, it wasn’t until the 1980’s that it was introduced for commercial application. Public opinion then was somewhat skeptical, if not negative, about AI. However, advancements over the years and the current pandemic have created an environment of growing support and acceptability both from marketers and consumers.

A pre-pandemic survey by Demandbase, a B2B targeting, and personalization platform, revealed that 84% of sales professionals and marketers were either employing AI for their business operations or already planning and applying AI strategies. Today’s advanced algorithms provide great potential to be invaluable assets, but marketers also need to be constantly and personally engaged in the process. Here are other findings and recommendations to make AI successful.

Change is coming. 63% of nearly 2,300 global leader subscribers polled in the summer of 2019 by MIT SMR Connections said they expect AI to drive significant or dramatic change in their organizations. The important component to drive such success is collaboration, and 75% said they also expected to see increases in collaboration across departments. Another 70% anticipated more cross-training, while 55% said they would increase efforts to organize staff into multidisciplinary teams.

MIT SMR’s findings also confirmed Demandbase showing 23% already using AI and 55% en route to employing it. 62% also said they were spending more on AI in 2019 than they had in 2018.

Brands implementing AI can expect to see huge impacts on their technology leadership, particularly CIOs and chief analytics and data officers. This is where cross-training will be invaluable. Adopting Ai will place higher demands on IT staff and a need to be more agile. Software development and deployment are also likely to be affected. 61% of MIT SMR’s respondents expect AI to drive significant changes to software development processes. Respondents also agreed that as more data is collected, human oversight is important to review the results and initiate changes, where necessary.

In using AI, the top two issues driving data governance are compliance and security. However, only 46% of those polled by MIT SMR had a data governance program. Brands must install programs that ensure that data is secure and managed in compliance with regulations and that the data is used ethically and that its quality is trusted by those evaluating and using it.

Consumer trust toward brands using AI is important, and some brands have taken proactive measures to get in front of such concerns. 42% of those already using AI told MIT SMR they formed an ethics-focused AI review board. Another 40% have adopted a code of AI ethics, and 21% hired ethicists. It’s equally important that brands adopting one or more of these measures communicate this to their target audiences to allay any anxieties and nurture trust.

While some brands may elect to trust their algorithms totally, it would be wise to conduct regular A/B tests that will either confirm the strategic plan or suggest that adjustments need to be made. …

Brand new businesses or startups can integrate various social media marketing strategies in their campaigns to develop better selling strategies.

Although in the past, it was enough for smaller businesses to have a company website with a good search engine and a secure checkout experience for their customers, this has drastically changed in recent times.

Having these few elements used to be efficient for businesses mainly because customers only visited the website to make a purchase, which has also changed in the past few years.

These days, consumers spend most of their time on social media platforms, which means the entire buying process has changed. …

COVID-19 changed lives and business forever. Brands that had planned to introduce new products also decided to make when the pandemic was declared. Do they postpone the launch or go ahead anyway? United Sodas of America was one such brand that launched anyway and saw sales exceed pre-pandemic forecasts 500%. Ghia, another non-alcoholic beverage, postponed its March launch in restaurants to refocus on online sales beginning in June. Their new strategy resulted in hitting their pre-pandemic projections.

An earlier article reported on a study done after the pandemic began showing that more consumers were willing to try new products. Whether it was because they were quarantined or not is unknown. What other studies did show, however, is that more consumers relied on digital media for their searches and shopping than before, with many saying they would likely continue to do so after the pandemic is over. For companies thinking about launching a new product now, here are some tips to consider.

Customers are loyal for many reasons, and exclusive previews can be priceless. One reason is that they feel valued and special. Extending a special invitation for them to sample a product before it’s on the market is like inviting a loyal moviegoer to the preview of an upcoming movie. Not only are these loyal customers likely to purchase the new product, but they’ll also promote it within their own networks.

Who doesn’t like specials? Whether it’s BOGO or a discount or double points on the loyalty program, announcing a special introductory deal will generate excitement and sales. Reduced prices for a bundle of gifts for referrals also appeal. Just be sure to place a deadline on the offer to create a sense of urgency.

Brands with Google My Business accounts should take advantage by adding the new product on their “What’s New” and “Offer” posts. Also, be sure to add it as a new item in the product/services tab and include a photo.

Yet another option is hosting contests on social media. They’re fun and attract potential customers. A consumer survey by EasyPromos, a promotion and contest platform, showed that Facebook helped brands average 34% new customers per campaign. This could have a domino effect when applied on every platform on which the brand publishes. A good thing about contests is that it also provides brands with a valid excuse to follow up with customers by announcing the winner, his/her prize, etc., on every platform they announced the contest.

Email continues to be a reliable channel to get the word out about a new product. Open rates remain high among subscribers, especially when the brand’s logo and name are clearly displayed and a pre-header text is employed. Highlighting the offer in the subject line can also help generate interest.

And if it’s not already being done, publish a blog that goes in-depth about the new offering. Include its features and benefits. …

A company with no commercial operations that are created just to raise capital through an initial public offering (IPO), to acquire an existing company, is a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC), or also known as a “blank check company.” These companies have been around for many decades but have become increasingly popular in the past few years. They have attracted many notable investors and raised a record amount of funds.

They’re generally created by sponsors or investors with expertise and experience in a specific industry, to pursue lucrative deals in that niche. Although the investors have at least one planned acquisition when creating a SPAC, that target isn’t identified to avoid detailed disclosures during the IPO process.

However, for public relations teams involved in SPAC, which can be referred to as a type of IPO, these teams have to follow a different set of rules to successfully execute the deal, especially in telling the company’s story through a strong PR campaign. …

With competition increasing since the pandemic and more than half a billion users visiting the Stories platform each day, getting seen and found on Instagram can be a challenge. What’s a brand to do? Here are some ways to increase the odds.

New fonts were recently introduced for Stories and are nice. What’s even better and more appealing is adding and using the brand’s own font. Several graphics design apps can be downloaded and utilized for that purpose. Brands with their own fonts increase visibility and foster stronger recollection.

From the brand’s photo library, select a picture, and create a solid monochrome background to help make the text pop. Use this as the background for a call to action or a note.

Jazz things up a bit! The color selection in Instagram Stories is limited and offers up to 27 colors to work with. What’s not known to many is that touching on any color and holding a finger to it brings up an even larger palette. Dragging one’s finger around gives users a selection of innumerable colors. Similarly, the same color wheel trick can be used to change the background behind fonts.

Although Instagram recently increased their choice of fonts from five to nine, there are many other font options available. One such option is, which can be directly accessed from Instagram Stories. With its fancy text option, any text that’s entered can be transformed into any number of fonts.
To further enhance things, downloading and opening hyper type enables brands to also animate text on any photos they download.

Another effect that makes an Instagram Story stand out is the use of the ombre/rainbow text effect. Once the text is written, select all of it and hold a thumb on one color in the palette while holding the other thumb on the text cursor. By sliding both fingers to the left simultaneously, the colors of the letters will change into a rainbow effect.

While hashtags may enhance the chances of a brand being featured on the Stories page, some consumers perceive them as spam. Making the hashtag invisible alleviates that concern while still accomplishing its purpose.

Achieving this requires nearly the same practice and dexterity as using the ombre/rainbow effect. Once a photo for Stories has been selected, type a hashtag, and position it in the corner of the photo with a solid background. Highlight the hashtag as text. Tap on the drawing pen and drag it across the screen until the hashtag matches the background.

Finally, because Instagram is a part of Facebook, be sure to maintain an active and visible presence on Facebook and encourage users to link both platforms. According to some observers, a brand’s connections on Facebook may also influence the ranking on the Instagram Stories view list.

Employing these tricks should enhance a brand’s chances of popularity as well as being more seen and remembered on Instagram Stories. …

The odds are that the biggest reason why more people aren’t purchasing from a certain business is simply that they don’t even know that the business exists in the first place. These people probably don’t know that a company out there can solve their problem in particular, even though that product or service is perfect for them.

It doesn’t really matter how good the product is. If people don’t know about its existence, they aren’t going to be making any purchases. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways for businesses to attract customers faster — and the strategies below can get any company note traffic, attention, and customers quickly and easily.

Everyone enjoys being involved in a contest. Organizing what people can win, how they can enter the contest, and selecting the winners is an easy process. The prize can be a box of the company’s products, or a month of the services the organization is providing, or even something unrelated. In the end, the prize doesn’t really matter, as long as the audience finds it valuable enough to get involved in the contest.

Once that’s established, the business should promote the contest as much as possible. While one participant will get something valuable, the company will benefit from all the attention it receives. The details of the contest don’t matter on the business side as much as the attention does.

Another way to attract more customers and attention to the business is through a mailing list — which every business should have at this point. In an age where third party information is dwindling and targeting audiences will become increasingly difficult, having several people that the company is certain they’re interested in the products or services is very beneficial.

Through a monthly or a weekly blast, the people on the mailing list can receive different business benefits, such as special prices or discounts or even interesting and informative content from the company.

However, one thing that’s really important when it comes to emails is the subject line, which is the first thing people see when they open their inbox folder — the line has to be interesting and attention-grabbing to get them to open the email in the first place.

Finally, the last way to attract more attention, customers, and sales are through education. Teaching the customers something they don’t know, but will be helpful to them, especially if it involves the company’s products or services, is a surefire way to get everyone interested in those products or services. This can be done through written or video content, and it can address questions or concerns that customers regularly have for the business.

Video content fares much better than written content these days, so the goal would be to record several short videos, only a few minutes long, and make sure they have some valuable information. …

It’s time for companies to get creative when it comes to creating a memorable holiday season for their consumers, who are still mostly stuck in their homes, as they have been throughout this year. With many consumers and businesses cutting their spending at this time, businesses should be thinking outside of the box when it comes to cutting down their own marketing spend, and making sure they have enough funds for the next few months.

The holiday season means that many businesses will have holiday prices. Customers have been looking forward to making these purchases all year, which means companies should be making this holiday season the merriest of all previous ones. All businesses are already looking to get their audience’s attention, which means marketers should both understand what their audience is searching for and the best way to reach those people. …

If one good benefit can be attributed to the pandemic, it’s that carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. will reach a record low by the end of 2020. BloombergNEF recently reported that emissions will be 9.3% lower than 2019 and would have been even less had it not been for a series of disastrous wildfires this fall in the west.

This is welcome news for environmentalists as well as the incoming administration since President-elect Joe Biden earlier announced his intention to rejoin the Paris Agreement. The decline puts the U.S. back on pace to fulfill its pledge to reduce emissions up to 28% by 2025. But despite this good news, activists say it’s still not enough and that the drop was temporary. In fact, a recent Pew Research survey found as many people concerned about climate change as they are about COVID-19. …

The pet industry is a big market, and business owners are constantly looking for new ways to take advantage of the industry’s various trends. As nearly 70% of households across the United States own pets, and the population of pet owners is growing steadily, the sales in the pet market have also been growing.

Although the largest pet category is always going to be food, there are plenty of other products that can be very successful in this niche. …

Augmented reality (AR) has come a long way since the virtual yellow line markers were displayed in televised NFL games back in 1998. Today, in part to the pandemic, AR has rocketed in popularity and boosts customer engagement and sales.

Enter web-based AR, the latest kid on the AR block. Unlike app-based AR, which requires users to download and store the app on their phones, web-based is app-less and can be accessed via a hyperlink or QR code. This advantage encourages even more engagement and will likely be the AR poster child in the ’20s.

Retail Dive’s latest statistics went back to 2017 and revealed that shoppers looked up information on their smartphones while shopping even then. The number was 60% then and is likely higher today. Scanning a QR code with the phone open shouldn’t be an inconvenience, especially if it provides needed and important information.

Why is this important? If the store was out of a particular color of apparel a shopper was interested in, he/she could scan the QR code and see a holographic fashion model wearing it and learn that that color and size could be shipped to the customer the next day or two. If the customer did the same from home, it would perform the same way. And soon, customers will be able to see a 3D avatar of themselves wearing the brand in the color of their choice.

The ability to visualize a potential purchase where it will be used or seen is also important. Because most art buyers are understandably hesitant to buy for those reasons, Saatchi Art recognized this and was an early web AR adapter. Prospective purchasers can now view any of Saatchi’s more than 1 million works of art and see how it would look in their own homes.

Saks Fifth Avenue even has an AR fashion configurator in which customers can customize a virtual mannequin with apparel of their choice before deciding to purchase. Not only does this permit customers to shop and try things virtually, but it’s also an assurance of safety for those concerned about social distancing. …


Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is CEO & Founder of 5WPR & one of America’s most notable PR executives. He is the Author of best-selling PR book, “For Immediate Release.“

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