Pitch CMO Summit: Start thinking how AI can play a role in your business: Jeremy Smart

Smart, who is the Head of Alliance, Asia Pacific & Japan – IBM in support of Acoustic, spoke about how marketers can future-proof their businesses by embracing AI instead of fearing it

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Feb 28, 2020 7:00 PM  | 4 min read
Jeremy Smart

Brands that adopt and adapt to the challenges brought on by technology and those that understand the role of AI in enhancing customer experiences are the ones that are winning. This was the straightforward message the audience gauged from the session conducted by Jeremy Smart, Head of Alliance, Asia Pacific & Japan, IBM in support of Acoustic. The session titled “Future-proofing your organization and the adoption of AI to enhance customer experience” had the audience listen in rapt attention, as Smart outlined how brands could succeed in a digitally connected world.

Speaking in the context of the emerging technologies and multiple consumer touchpoints, Smart said: “We know that today more than ever, it is an incredibly challenging complex time to be a marketer. Never has it been this difficult or this challenging. You're staring in the face of Everest as you try and navigate the journey of building relationships with your customers.”

He further added: “We also know that you're trying to navigate a map of madness. There is more technology emerging than ever before. The proliferation of channels that you can connect with me on, the different devices that I have in my life, the different platforms that emerge, it's incredibly challenging for you as a marketer. Furthermore, your competitors are not those in your industry or just those in your industry or vertical. You're competing with Instagram, Spotify, Uber and Tinder, because it's those apps that I've based my expectations and experience that you must deliver.”

As brands device way to meet the expectations of consumers, there is also the question of data, underlined Smart. In today’s context, with stricter data privacy laws coming into place and consumer’s becoming more and more conscious of the data that they want to share, it was important, therefore, for brands to be able to build trust. He explained how India, with its fast-growing middle class, made the market an attractive one for foreign brands and therefore it was paramount, explained Smart, for marketers to use data effectively, in order to build a relationship with the customer.

So how can brands future-proof for artificial intelligence and other technologies? Smart then spoke about the three tenets that brands could apply to their businesses. First, he said, was about the customer. “It's about being laser-focused and having a customer-centric approach in everything you do. Operationally, strategically and basically deploy everything you do within your marketing, focused on the customer. Why? Because we're in a constant state of transformation. We have to try and navigate technology channels, platforms, devices. That's a tricky thing to do. But we know that brands and businesses that adopt a customer-centric approach are better off than those that don't.”

Talking about the second tenet of future-proofing your business, he said that marketing teams had evolved massively in the last decade or two and would continue to evolve. Explaining how the growing digital landscape with too many tools and too much data could be overwhelming and confusing for most marketers, it was, therefore, extremely important for companies to upgrade skills and continue investing in data marketing. It's imperative, he said, that marketers adopt a data strategy

He explained how brands that were evolving their roles and their teams’ structure and learning and embracing these challenges were the ones that were succeeding and those that were not were failing.

The third tenet he said was artificial intelligence: “We also like to refer to this as augmented intelligence. Why? We see humans and machines at their best when they're working together in harmony with one another.”

Smart explained that AI was not about replacing humans with machines. It was about augmented intelligence. Organizations succeed when they effectively work with artificial intelligence. The other key point on AI was also understanding that it's not just about growth opportunities for brands, but this huge operational benefits and opportunities that can be yielded from artificial intelligence. He emphasised that instead of fearing AI, people should embrace it.

He explained that marketers needed to think about how AI could play a role in businesses and compliment the human aspects. Summing up, he said that while future-proofing businesses were challenging, marketers needed to have conviction in their beliefs and be brave.

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