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Live Interviews from MAICON: What Does the Future of Marketing Look Like? (Podcast Series)

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The final episode of the Marketing AI Conference (MAICON) Speakers Series is live! 

At the conference, Paul Roetzer (@paulroetzer), founder of the Institute and creator of MAICON, sat down with seven leading AI experts to discuss future marketing trends and tips to implement AI. You can tune into these conversations by downloading the four-episode podcast series on the MAICON Speaker Series or you can simply click the links below to catch up. 

  • Episode 1: Check out the premier post featuring a podcast with insights from Karen Hao (@_KarenHao), senior AI report for MIT Technology Review, and Cal Al-Dhubaib (@caldhubaib), chief data scientist at Pandata.  
  • Episode 2: In the second episode, Loren McDonald (@LorenMcDonald), Acoustic, and Mike Kaput (@MikeKaput), Marketing AI Institute, discussed how to get started with marketing AI for content and email. Read the episode takeaways or listen to the full show here
  • Episode 3: Listen to Paul discuss voice strategy with Mitch Joel (@mitchjoel), founder of Six Pixels Group. He chats with Mitch about why voice is a must-have for every marketing program, plus tips to develop a strong voice strategy. Listen to the episode here

For ongoing marketing AI know-how, subscribe to our Marketing AI Institute newsletter, and join us for MAICON 2020, July 14 - 16 in Cleveland.

Episode 4: Marketing’s Next Frontier 

In the intelligently automated future, what does the industry look like? Some are fearful, while others see the benefits. 

For this final episode, Paul interviewed two experts on the topic including Tameka Vasquez (@tameka_vasquez), Assistant Vice President, Marketing Lead, Genpact, and David Meerman Scott (@dmscott), Marketing Strategist. During the episode, the experts discuss how AI can make us better professionals .... and even better people. 

Below, get to know more about our featured guests—plus a full transcription following the recording. Please note that the transcription was compiled using AI with Otter.ai, so blame any typos on the machine :)

More about Tameka Vasquez: Tameka is a marketing and business development strategist, startup advisor, graduate school professor and speaker, with nearly a decade of experience working for global technology companies. She is currently working as Assistant Vice President of Marketing for the High-Tech and Manufacturing division of Genpact and a professor of Marketing Management at St. John's University. Vasquez serves as a strategic advisor to the HR tech startup, Opus AI, and she is a council member of the Disruptive Technologists Think Tank. As a speaker, Vasquez has participated in conferences and thought leadership events in various cities within North America, Africa and Europe, exploring topics intersecting the future of business, disruptive technology and human development. She holds a Master of Science in Information Strategy and Knowledge Management from Columbia University.

More about David Meerman Scott: No one knows more about using the new real-time tools and strategies to spread ideas, influence minds and build business than David Meerman Scott. He’s a sales and marketing strategist who has spoken on all seven continents and in more than 40 countries to audiences of the most respected firms, organizations and associations. David is the author of ten books—three are international bestsellers—and is best known for The New Rules of Marketing & PR, now in its 6th edition, which has been translated into 29 languages and is a modern business classic with more than 400,000 copies sold so far. 

Session Transcription: 

Paul: Hi, I’m Paul Roetzer, founder of Marketing AI Institute, and creator of the Marketing AI Conference (MAICON). MAICON is designed to help marketing leaders understand, pilot and scale AI in their organizations.

The inaugural event was held in Cleveland, Ohio, July 16 - 18, 2019 and drew 300 attendees from 12 countries. 

There were more than 50 speakers, including presenters from Facebook, Grant Thornton, HubSpot, IBM, MIT Technology Review, Publicis Sapient, SoftBank Robotics, The Natori Company and Yext. 

This (four episode) podcast series features insights from (seven of) our speakers who we interviewed onsite. The conference covers an array of topics including: what AI is, how to get started with AI in your organization, AI applications for voice, how to humanize your brand, and how AI will transform marketing moving forward.

AI is forecasted to have trillions of dollars in annual impact on businesses, and, yet, most marketers are still struggling to understand what it is and how to apply it to their businesses and careers. 

You have a choice. You can sit back and wait for the marketing world to get smarter and change around you, or you can embrace AI now and be proactive in creating a competitive advantage for yourself and your company.

If you choose to take action, I hope you’ll subscribe to our Marketing AI Institute newsletter, and join us in Cleveland for MAICON 2020, from July 14 - 16.

Now, onto the podcast. Today’s episode we’ll focus on the next frontier of marketing. What does the future hold? What do today’s trends tell us about what’s coming?

Paul: Our first guest is Tameka Vasquez, who recently began a new role at Eigen. Tameka told us about what she does.

Tameka: So my role has always been to look at bringing a technology product to market so whether that means you're exploring a new territory that where that technology has not been deployed at. Or if you're looking at new use cases for an existing technology. So my work has always been and it will continue to be kind of bringing products to market and educating people on just like advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and what it can do for their roles.

Paul: No one knows more about using the new real-time tools and strategies to spread ideas, influence minds and build business than our second guest, sales and marketing strategist, David Meerman-Scott. He has published several books about new trends in our world, including 3 international best sellers. We asked David to tell us a little about the inspiration for his books.

David: So I am just curious, always looking around and the best ideas that I've gotten have come because I've noticed patterns in the universe that I feel like other people haven't noticed. So the new rules of marketing and PR which originally came out in 2007 the pattern that I noticed that no one else was talking about at that time was that marketing is about publishing. And no one had been talking about that. At least not in any significant way. So I go wow this is really interesting. This something I can write about.  So I wrote a book about it and it just took it went insanely crazy it sold close to a half million copies so far in English and it's in 29 other languages. And and then I saw another set of patterns and and that. Started about. Ten, eleven years ago that I was thinking about these patterns and that is that marketing is going real time. And I notice those patterns. At the dawn of social media. So the Twitter started I think six or seven [years ago] and I was noticing those patterns. Then Like a couple million people on Twitter at that point and a couple of years after that Google went real time. They weren't real time before they were index things but they would take a month or two for the index to get caught up with new content. And then it became real time. So wow something cool going on there. I also wrote a book with Brian Halligan CEO of HubSpot called Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead. And. Both of our favorite band because the Grateful Dead was doing marketing that no one else was doing there's a pattern there that I noticed. 

And the most recent one. Book I just finished it's coming out in January called Fanocracy. Turning fans into customers and customers and fans is all about how I believe the pendulum has swung too far in the direction of superficial online communications at a time when people are so hungry for a true human connection and that's a pattern I noticed. Very few people were talking about it when I mentioned it to people like Oh yeah right. You know the online world is full of like bots and spam and fake news and this that and the other thing.

And yes there's great things about it, it's not going away. But at the same time there's hundreds and hundreds of people who want to be here on site it may come because we want that personal connection. Everything we're learning here you could learn online without having to get on an airplane. But people want that true human connection. That's a long answer to a very simple question you asked.

Paul: We talked to David about the benefits of AI, and whether it has the ability to make us better professionals, better brands and even just better people.

David: So I love the fact that AI can make sense of an enormous amount of data that we humans just can't possibly manage. And so that's really important. And that's I believe that's something that we can use to free up our brain power to do something that's truly interesting that's truly important to automate the things that can and should be automated which then allows us to do the deeper thinking the higher-level thinking and have those true human connections. And so you know do I want to look through a massive database to figure out things like lead scoring? – no. I would go insane. But machines can do that for me especially if they can tap data beyond my data to figure out what other people’s lead scorings are and what I can discern from that.

And that obviously this is massive data databases. So yes I think that the promise of A.I. – the actual in many cases reality of A.I. – is it's an incredibly powerful thing. But only when it allows you to develop that humanity because of what you've freed up. If you just deploy the machines that's not a world I want to live in. 

Paul: Conversely, we talked to Tameka about some common fears about AI in the future. Could their benefits be so great that ultimately they replace humans in the marketing world? 

Tameka: Absolutely not. There's no reason to be afraid of machines taking anybody's job because I think ultimately machines are taking over a set of tasks. If your job is a series of tasks then you might want to kind of consider reframing a bit of you know what you do for a living. So I don't think especially in a field like marketing a function like that is best suited for environments where you get to be creative you get to be inventive you get to be sort of think about you know the world and how it's evolving. Think about people and consumer behaviors and things like that. That sort of nuanced and complex work cannot be done by a machine. All can be all that can happen is a facilitation of what you're already doing so a machine is not going to take your job it's going to take over certain tasks that you probably shouldn't waste your time doing anyway.

Paul: Tameka expanded on this idea, discussing the human abilities that will never be replaced by machine learning or AI, no matter how good the tech gets. 

Tameka: When you think about the ways that machines can analyze information it's about correlating large sets of data and it's about sifting through that as quickly as possible finding patterns and feeding back different sets of answers to you. So what you do with that is still analytical it's still requiring that you do a lot of that kind of heavy cognitive labor of figuring out what this is supposed to mean and what can we do with it. But it's not the same thing as spending time you know reading customer complaints for example or spending time creating e-mail lists and you know just the things that are a bit sort of mundane. It looks like the same task is being done but the intention is different the machine's intention is to sift through that very quickly and feedback something valuable. Your intention is to take that value and actually put it into motion so you know whether it's like developing new campaigns or whether it's kind of looking at the growth of a product if it's working if it's not being a feedback you know to the product development teams whether it's kind of looking at sales and how you sell and if there's a better way to sell and kind of being a true strategist and a partner in that respect. That's what a marketer is set up to do and you know ultimately if you can get rid of the time that's spent looking at data sets and having to somehow make sense of them and focus on more of the value add, that's really where we shine.

Paul: It’s ideas like this that show the true “partnership” necessary between people and AI, but does this mean it has the power to be abused? We asked David what fears he has when it comes to machine learning, and what steps he’s taking to alleviate those fears.

David: What steps I'm taking to learn more, is that I'm here. The whole time at MAICON 2019 and that I follow everything that's being put out by Paul and the team at the marketing AI Institute. Um, It's really interesting. It's something I don't know anything about. You know I'm a liberal arts graduate. I'm not a math guy so I need to learn this stuff and I'm not going to do it myself, but I need to know how I can get it done. I need to know how to describe it. I need to know how it fits in to an overall marketing strategy. So I'm fearful that. People will misuse the technology. I mean it's already happening. I believe that the technology was misused in the 2016 presidential election. I fear that the technology will be misused in the 2020 presidential election. I would be surprised if it's not already being used misused in the 2020 presidential election. You know the massive, massive amounts of data on Facebook that you can manipulate using the Facebook advertising algorithms. And if a candidate has generated tens of millions of dollars in donations for so many of those dollars from companies, then they can apply it all back into marketing on Facebook. That's a that that makes me worried.

Paul: So we see there’s clearly an ethical need for human oversight in using AI, but this also made us wonder how brands are using this technology. As AI gets more and more advanced, how can they use it without losing their human touch? 

Tameka: If I've learned nothing else from my teaching experience it's the social sciences are kind of becoming less popular. So if you look at sociology or anthropology or even economics you know all of those sciences that really helped us learn what it meant to be a human and how we all kind of play with each other in this kind of very complex world. A lot of that social science has sort of been lost and when you get into the business contacts a lot of that sentiment carries on because what you have are you know a lot of executives that might not see the value in bringing back those kinds of soft skills around you know how to persuade people how to lead people how to collaborate.

A lot of that requires you understanding sociology anthropology you know just kind of how we are human. And so by centralizing the human the humanism in those roles I think you bring it back to the fold of one. Those are uniquely human skills to when we bring in those technologies these advanced technologies like A.I. all of those skills will be even more important than they have been historically. So how do we just get ahead of that. And I think that's really where a lot of the conversation is is starting to move at least I hope.

Paul: David offered some advice to brands as well.

David: Brands need to understand that we customers want to be your fans and it doesn't matter whether it's a technology company. It doesn't matter whether it's an airline. It doesn't matter if it's even something like a commodity a battery company. We want to celebrate with you we want to be a part of your world. We want to be proud that we carry your brand of backpack or use  your brand of computer and and by being human and being an organization that has true connections with people you're much more likely to build fans you know. One of the hallmarks of fandom that I have been fascinated with for the last couple of years is the idea that people put stickers onto their computer or bumper stickers onto their car or tattoos onto their body. That's a really interesting thing to me and what I've noticed about many of those things whether it's a bumper sticker or a tattoo or a sticker on a computer is it's not just a rock band. It's not what you would think is fandom. It's B2B technology companies. It's. Computer software companies it's hardware. You know it's it's stuff that you wouldn't think of. Which tells me. It's nonprofit organizations. It's political candidates. So it tells me that. That any organization no matter who you are can develop fans. And that requires humanity. 

Paul: We asked Tameka to share some advice with brands and marketers who are just getting started with AI:

Tameka: Yeah. So I as a technologist I don't think it's as important to know the technology it's more important to understand what you're trying to achieve. So my my tip would be think about your job very intentionally and the things that you actually have to achieve on a weekly quarterly

basis. What about those things can be augmented with the you know inclusion of some kind of machinery some kind of artificial intelligence powered tools some kind of machine learning. What do you have to achieve that can be facilitated if you had. Some kind of machine partner.

To me that's really the first step because it forces you to think very specifically about your role and your function and like what the true value of your role is. And I think we're where a lot of people struggle is marketing used to be this whole let's come up with cool taglines and you know let's come up with some nice imagery and then it evolved into well let's look at these excel sheets and let's look at these sales were Salesforce reports and now I think it's taking an even further evolution to say Well now let's actually take a step back and let's actually be the ones to drive the future forward of whether it's this product of our audiences of the businesses of the industries that they're in.

So that's really your first up think about your your role in your function very very intentionally. Think about the things you actually have to achieve. Think about the aspects of that that could be facilitated with the inclusion of a machine and then you sort of take it from there. That's more important and that's more strategic than just knowing the list of A.I. tools that are out there.

Paul: Before leaving, David gave us a peek into his forthcoming book titled: Fanocracy.

David: The book is actually one I've been working on it for five years. It's it's it started because I was thinking about this idea of fandom I was driving with my daughter Alice and actually Reiko is the name she's using in the book and Reiko is now 26. So she would have been 21. And I was driving the car and like you know I'm thinking about this idea for a book about fandom. And fans and how people get into something. And I said what why have I been to 76 Grateful Dead concerts. What's what's what's up with that. That's like kind of ridiculous. And she goes I know Daddy I. What's up with the fact that I just finished an 80000-word alternative ending to the Harry Potter series where Draco Malfoy is a spy for the order of the Phoenix. And I put it on a fan fiction site for free. And there's been 10 to over 10000 people downloaded it and there's been hundreds of comments. What's up with that. Like we're crazy fans. And so I think everyone's a crazy fan about something. And so let's do this together. So she and I actually worked on the book together and she's the CO my co-author. And of course we're different genders. Of course we're different generations. I just mentioned we have different fandoms. She's also very different than me in that I did a liberal arts degree and never went any further than a college degree. And she did a neuroscience degree at Columbia and now is fourth year medical student. So she's got a huge scientific background so she she comes at fandom from a scientific aspect. What's actually going on with your brain when you become a fan of something? And so she's all and she's also a mixed mixed race so we're completely and utterly different people. But. We have exactly the same thoughts and ideas about fandom and but we come at it from different directions so it makes for a really really interesting writing process, research process, and I hope book. Because of that. It's not just, not just what a 50 something year old white guy has to say about fandom who likes the Grateful Dead. Now I want to write about it. It's also a it's also what

a you know a 26 year old millennial mixed race woman who is a medical school student thinks about who loves ComicCON and Harry Potter thinks about fandom. And that’s really cool.

Paul: So moving forward, we have to pay attention to the world around us, observing marketing trends like “Fanocracy” and its effect on humans. We should also monitor the way people are using AI, putting up any safeguards we can to prevent corruption in politics and other fields. But as Tameka was quick to point out, it seems unlikely that AI could ever replace people altogether – our human strengths are unique, and used properly can lend balance to AI.

*Cue music*

I’m Paul Roetzer, owner and CEO of PR2020 and founder of MAICON. Thanks for listening to the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Podcast.  If you enjoyed today’s discussions with Tameka Vasquez and David Meerman Scott from this year’s MAICON event, I’d encourage you to check out our 2020 event at MAICON.ai. This annual conference is held in Cleveland, and brings together the leading experts of the marketing and artificial intelligence communities. We hope to see you there.

This podcast is a production of Evergreen Podcasts. A special thank you to:

Producers: Brigid Coyne & Dave Douglas

Audio Engineers: Sean Rule-Hoffman, Dave Douglas, and Eric Koltnow

Thanks for listening  – we’ll see you next time! 

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