Google, Alexa and Conversational Computing

We attended last month’s Google Partner Summit, part of Advertising Week, and it shed light on some pretty radical shifts developing in paid media in response to fresh technology in voice and machine learning. The summit also covered game-changing insights on how to best approach CRM and profitability-versus-efficiency approaches to company growth. We were incredibly excited to attend and talk shop with the other 200 top performing agencies in North America at Google’s invite-only summit. Attendees showed up sharp, hungry, and ready to grapple with the biggest questions

TECH SPOTLIGHT: VOICE
We’ve watched technology shrink down to pocket-size and now it’s time to watch it disappear completely as we enter the era of voice assistance. The voice technology takeover is spreading fast, a sleeper-hit emerging with major implications already revolutionizing CX. Personalized voice experiences answer these growing customer demands: help me faster, know me better, and wow me everywhere. Get ready to hear a whole lot more about voice UI, UX, advertising, conversational computing, and sentiment monitoring. Tracking customer moods is about to become a key component of 21st-century marketing, which will totally transform advertising as we know it. Think Spike Jonze’s film Her; iterative, conversational computers will listen and respond in real time with suggestive products, services and content based on sentiment, not just raw text inputs like traditional search. Things just got real!facing marketing strategists today. Here’s what I heard and saw.

TECH SPOTLIGHT: MACHINE LEARNING
Machine learning means computers are learning all about their users — everything from their work schedules to their unique senses of humor, offering brands the novel ability to get to know their customers on a one-on-one level. For marketers, machine learning also means more automated ad bidding, campaign execution and customer service. We’re officially in the “assistance age.” Voice assistants and bots will rapidly replace human marketing labor, but there’s still no stand-in for the precision and creativity needed to come up with stellar strategy. Aside from personalization and automation, machine learning is also metabolizing staggering amounts of data into actionable insights faster than ever before. Human strategy will win the day, not execution.

STRATEGY SPOTLIGHT: PROFIT
It’s time to make core growth the main KPI and focus of your accounts, not cost-per-acquisition efficiency. Why? Well, a few reasons, according to Google. CPA efficiency is a CMO’s pet KPI, but allocating paid spend toward long-term profitability is more persuasive to the CFO. And, given their level of influence, we know CFOs can’t argue with a profit-focused strategy. While some companies bonus based on efficiency and consider it their main yardstick, you can minimize pushback and transform the way your marketing department is judged once you’re able to clearly demonstrate the profitability of your paid spend.

STRATEGY SPOTLIGHT: CRM
Machine learning teaches us that the best time to shift your attention toward strategy is … yesterday. So in doing so, take a customer-first mindset. Consider working with Searchlogic to analyze your customers within your CRM: new, old, loyal, recent purchasers. What are the trends? How are they different? What varied messages do they need to hear? Marketing is now more about personalized precision than demographic targets. Don’t push the same ads to your customers — new or old, loyal or fickle — making sure the right ad hits the right set of eyes at the right time is all about careful A/B testing and making the buying and intent cycle crystal clear. You’re already sitting on a treasure trove of data with which to make more optimized campaigns. Your customers have a big platform on social media to make their voices heard, making it a no-brainer to put your efforts toward listening to their pain points and desires and pivoting ad spend accordingly.

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