Technology will challenge how businesses sell themselves

mobile techSmart technology is increasingly growing in popularity. (Photo: adobestock)Digital marketing experts are warning that businesses will face an increasing challenge to the way they market themselves as AI and smart technology grows in popularity

Fat Media, one of the UK’s leading digital marketing companies, has revealed that growing smart tech, blockers, AI and dynamic pricing are all challenging how businesses are promoting their products and services. 

“The machine learning aspect of AI is setting a growing challenge to businesses and how they can market themselves in an incredibly competitive environment.  AI-driven recommendations now have a major influence over our purchasing decisions, with machine learning predicting our preferences and directing us to certain choices,” said Alexei Lee, head of social and PR at Fat Media.

Alexei cites Amazon’s Alexa as a basic example. The voice activated assistant has led to consumers continuing to become ever more comfortable with aspects of their choice set being outsourced to machines. According to him, this layer of assisted decision-making will make it increasingly hard for businesses to ensure their products are part of that choice set, for instance, the most popular will always be presented first. This will mean businesses will have to rely even more heavily on advertising spend with the technology giants like Google and Amazon to push their product to the right audience. 

He also firmly believes that the “Internet of Things” is also set to pick up pace, meaning businesses will need to place more emphasis on environmental factors that influence a customer’s decision-making process.  For example, do people shop differently using smart technology in the car? Are they likely to ask their fridge to order a take-away? Or will they only do it whilst ordering a movie on Amazon Video? Lee predicts that “Clever brands will leverage this new form of AI-supported, conversational shopping to create distinction from competitors.” 

Next on Lee’s list of tech challenges for marketers this year are ad blockers, specifically those designed to filter out online ads and dynamic pricing, which will present key challenges and influences over buying behaviour. “The battle of the blockers will continue in 2018.” he continues, “With ads already being filtered out at scale, we could also start to see a new generation of web browsers using machine learning to predict what content the user is most likely to prefer. This will create yet another ‘filter bubble’ that marketers will need to infiltrate to reach their customers. Those who currently rely heavily on content marketing and online advertising will be the most affected. 

“In addition, dynamic pricing (changing pricing according to demand online) will change how people buy products. Larger retailers are adopting AI-assisted ‘on the fly’ pricing. Without access to this technology, smaller businesses will struggle to respond and may find it even harder to compete cost wise against bigger businesses.”

And the overall impact and potential of these technologies? Lee concludes, “While there are some huge new challenges out there though, the one advantage for businesses is that all companies are looking at how they can embrace this new technology, which means at the moment the businesses which are fastest off the mark and investing in digital skills, can potentially find they are leading their industry quite quickly.”


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