In the fast-paced world of marketing, the integration of AI technology has become a pressing question for many marketers. We find ourselves wondering how to harness AI’s potential while maintaining the human touch and creativity that gives our campaigns that extra edge. As AI’s adoption continues to expand, marketers find themselves presented with a remarkable opportunity - the potential to elevate their strategies and redefine success. Over the past 24 years at Design+Marketing (D+M), we have witnessed an incredible journey through the digital revolutions - from web 1.0 to web 2.0, the rise and fall of various different social platforms, and now, the ever-evolving metaverse and AI-driven innovations. Throughout this transformative era, we have successfully adapted and have always been ready, to stay ahead by learning and embracing the latest technology.
In the last 6 months, the team has been hard at work, testing and learning all about AI’s potential to drive efficiency, creativity, and strategic decision-making, while continuously reminding ourselves of the indispensable value of human insights, experience, and understanding. Our bespoke approach at D+M enables us to leverage AI effectively while ensuring that every marketing approach bears the distinct mark of our partners’ vision, culture and expertise.
Navigating the AI Landscape: Tips for Marketers
Take Ownership: At D+M, we have taken ownership of understanding how AI will impact marketing and develop strategies to leverage it for success. Through AI trials and daily use of AI tools, we have been identifying the best options to provide actionable plans for implementation to then pass on these efficiencies to our clients, offering more value. We ensure that your business data is organised and accessible, maximising the value of AI integration. We will continue this research and navigate the ever-evolving marketing landscape to unlock the true potential of AI, driving success to new heights for our partners.
Go slow and experiment with AI: Adopting AI requires a shift in strategy, focusing on quality over quantity. We have been trialing, testing and researching many AI Tools – to experiment with and provide objective feedback on their impact, evaluate risks, and implement AI cautiously. We recently have been utilising Google Performance Max for some of our partners, powered by AI. It helps find new customers and demand opportunities in a streamlined manner across all of Google’s inventory. In addition, we have been using the amazing Beta Apps by Adobe. Initially on image and text effect generation. Adobe Beta offers new efficiencies while significantly improving creative workflows.
Proceed with caution: In the pursuit of effective AI integration, one must proceed with caution and take a strategic approach. As AI gets adopted for more marketing functions, marketers using these tools are needed to guide the technology and point it toward specific marketing objectives. A significant issue in the current AI landscape is that AI doesn’t possess the unique knowledge that individuals hold - knowledge of products, customers, internal dynamics, and future roadmaps. While AI can generate content proficiently, it lacks the context and understanding that humans bring to the table. This is where the human touch comes into play.
Consider Future Careers: Our team discussions commenced over a year ago regarding the future impact of AI on their roles. AI will drive productivity, leading to potential changes or obsolescence in some creative responsibilities. Honest conversations, get you thinking. But really, there will always be a place for creativity and unique thinking. AI is like looking into the revision mirror of your car, however in order for your brand to be original, and plan forward the world will always need creative and imaginative thought. The AI revolution doesn’t replace human talent and creativity but augments them.
Navigating the Future and the Human Perspective: At D+M, we understand AI is not a standalone solution. Instead, it thrives under the guidance of human expertise. We are the catalyst that understands the nuances of our partners’ businesses, discerning the right AI tools, and instructing them towards specific marketing objectives. Our 24 years of expertise has taught us to be nimble and adaptive with a sense of humility, continuously learning and growing to ensure our clients are always efficiently serviced with the latest technology. Our journey through the digital revolutions has equipped us with valuable insights on navigating transformations driven by technological advancements. The rise of AI technology has propelled us into a frequent transformation, and its rapid acceleration is both promising and daunting.
We believe in the seamless integration of AI into marketing strategies. However, this should not come at the expense of the human touch that defines a brand’s uniqueness. AI is a powerful tool that can drive efficiency, enhance data analysis, and optimise customer experiences. The AI revolution isn’t a replacement for human talent and ingenuity but a powerful tool that elevates our capabilities, with the potential to take on mundane and repetitive tasks, leaving room for more creative, strategic, and impactful human endeavours.
By combining AI with human creativity, we can chart a course toward unprecedented efficiency, productivity, and success in the world of marketing. At the end of the day the transformative power of AI, doesn’t possess your knowledge of products, customers, internal politics, or company roadmaps (yet). While AI can write well, adding the human perspective remains crucial to crafting authentic and impactful marketing content. We believe in the harmony of AI’s capabilities and our human touch, working together to create extraordinary brand experiences.
As we look to the future, we envision a world where AI empowers human ingenuity, and marketing and creativity reaching new heights of brilliance. There are endless possibilities that AI will bring to your marketing strategies and create exceptional brand experiences that resonate with your audience to drive your business forward. Learn more about how we leverage AI to drive marketing success at D+M, we can demonstrate how the human touch and AI are working hand in hand to craft marketing excellence more efficiently.
Web3 is still shaping up with a continuum of rapidly emerging capabilities and technologies and my research and work in this area mostly points to the following six topics for marketers to consider in the next 12 months:
Number three of six topics to consider when getting ready for Web3.
The Blockchain, data-sharing and digital IDs.
The development of decentralised data and how it will change social media platforms is something to keep an eye on. With technologies such as blockchain and digital ID, there will be no central authority with data, meaning data will be held in various locations and decentralised. You share data across the ecosystem while maintaining privacy and control.
We will all have one digital ID, a set of validated digital attributes and credentials for the digital world, similar to a person’s identity for the real world.
From the research available online, it seems that blockchain adoption among marketers will allow centres to reinvent their relationships with their customers, cutting out the middle-man, using their budgets more efficiently and effectively. This will allow users to be able to collaborate, engage and communicate with each other.
Decentralisation won’t happen overnight (and some say it never will), however, it seems that it will be user-friendly, secure, private and better connected to the internet. As the decentralised system takes hold, we will need to be ready for blockchain technologies to adapt and understand.
A place for the community
Since the first Australian shopping centre was built in 1965, centres have evolved and become known as the much-loved epicentres of their local communities. They’ve made it easy for us to experience our favourite has changed. We now live in an era where people experience shopping centres from their early years; perhaps enjoying play-centres as toddlers or going to a movie cinema for the very first time.
Nowadays, these retail hubs are at the heart of our communities; they’re a place to connect, relax, shop, eat, socialise or simply pass time. Ingrained in our memories (particularly mine), the local shopping centre was the place to meet up for an ice cream after school, register for Little Athletics, watch the latest blockbuster, or even spy on the cute guy while hanging out at the food court. Indeed, our industry has supported many locals through disasters bushfires, floods, tsunamis, the pandemic – you name it – shopping centres offered a lifeline, lending a helping hand, always continuing to be a place where locals and their communities could feel safe and supported.
Shopping centres continue to face challenges in the ever-evolving digital landscape. To compete in this decade, shopping centres will require more than increasing technology and innovation – they will require a competitive vision. Such a vision will require us to determine what marketing and brand strategies are needed today, to create and bring to life the successful shopping centres of the future.
The work that’s done
With rapid industry, technological and social acceleration, we know the digital-centric consumer wants and demands more convenience. Hence, we adapted our technology and went through a digital transformation. As we have read in SCN previously, the ‘Next Generation Leaders’ in our industry are embracing this technology with relevant marketing strategies, to progress and improve the customer experience. But just when we thought we were fine-tuning how the internet, online shopping, Click & Collect, digital gift cards, WiFi, artificial intelligence (AI) technology and omnichannel marketing worked, alongside these glorious physical spaces, the next evolution of the internet approaches – enter Web3. Which raises the questions: ‘What more is there to do in this space?’ and ‘What role will centres play in the Web3 wave of technology and how relevant will it be?’ Yes, the Metaverse, along with non-fungible tokens (NFTs), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and human experience (HX) must be embraced, along with a host of other technology evolutions and innovations that are yet to come.
What is Web3?
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Web1 was introduced as read-only HTML pages, becoming the first example of a global network and a source of online information. Then Web2 emerged, the current version of the internet that we are all familiar with ¬– dominated by user-generated content and social platforms with huge daily interactions and sharing between users. Now, as we emerge further into digital transformation, Web3 represents the next phase, which will be decentralised, open and of greater utility. Web3 and the Metaverse are technologies supporting each other, providing even more connectivity.
Do you remember 20 years ago when many shopping centres were wondering what the World Wide Web was and if they even needed to create a presence on the internet? Shopping centres, as they are now, will become a facilitator in the future of the ‘phygital’ world, a hybrid of the physical and digital worlds. Think about the life you lead online and the one you lead offline. They’re not the same but are quite related. That’s why innovative retailers and larger property groups are already strategically utilising digital innovations to connect with customers, effectively incorporating Web3 technology opportunities. But what about the smaller community, neighbourhood centres and other groups? What is their pathway to bringing this programmable world to life, especially within a limited budget?
With many moving parts and Web3 changing by the minute, looking deeper to find the answers to the perfect strategy is difficult. Marketers must embrace Web3 as an opportunity to integrate the technology within their strategies by offering a smarter way for customers to experience in-centre and online shopping, and experience how digital marketing strategies can enhance the physical to deliver an elevated customer journey. There is also an opportunity to reimagine the next phase of growth with the inspiration of passion, speed and innovation. Marketers must be savvy and agile enough to adapt to change, thereby leveraging emerging opportunities to hit their business objectives.
Besides all the challenges, one thing is clear – this new iteration of the internet is here to stay and it will be critical to consider the right infrastructure and strategies to utilise it in a considered, relevant, affordable and practical approach.
The metaverse – a virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users – will not make physical centres disappear, just as the internet hasn’t replaced physical locations. However, as marketers in this space, we need to approach this technology, year by year as building blocks, essentially planting the seeds to ensure organisations are ready to leverage Web3 when the time arrives.
Web3 is still shaping up with a continuum of rapidly emerging capabilities and technologies and my research and work in this area mostly points to the following six topics for marketers that I will consider over the next few newsletters.