Marketing is a cornerstone of thriving businesses, perpetually evolving with each technological leap. With the swift rise of AI, marketing strategies and approaches have undergone a significant transformation. In our recent conversation with Helpware VP of Marketing, Alexei Piskunov, he unveiled intriguing insights about the trajectory of this evolution, prevalent trends, and the horizon ahead. We discussed the essential competencies for today's marketing professionals and strategies to adeptly maneuver within this dynamic landscape. So enjoy the enlightening and eye-opening insights from our marketing guru.
On Current Marketing Trends
What's new in the world of marketing, and how are you adapting to these trends in your strategies?
The answer to this question varies depending on what kind of business you're in. If we're discussing big B2C companies, it's a super tool called a CDP - short for Customer Data Platform. It's not just about storing data, but predicting how your customers will act. It's like having a crystal ball for your business. This opens up a whole world of cool marketing moves. Think guiding customers, suggesting upgrades, upselling, or encouraging repeat business. And with the advent of AI, these systems have become even more powerful. So, if you want to increase your ROI and dominate your industry, you better start looking into a CDP today.
When it comes to B2B, especially the big-ticket ones with high customer lifetime values (LTV), you might want to hear about Revenue Intelligent Platforms. These platforms have the same core as a CDP but are customized to gather precise insights about specific accounts, incorporate third-party intent data, offer ABM advertising capabilities, and more. Technically, they are like CDPs but supercharged for B2B. These platforms excel at spotting accounts that are eager to make a purchase. In our daily operations, we rely on one of these platforms. And, of course, AI takes center stage here. The model that is built on our data, tailored just for us, from the ground up, to perfectly match our market and Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).
The changes in the BPO market deserve special attention. On one hand, certain things remain constant - clients still seek skilled agents who can blend into their corporate culture. That’s why At Helpware, our focus on a people-first approach isn't just a tagline; it's a belief we stand by. Our philosophy is refreshingly simple: a happy employee equals a happy client!
On the flip side, clients have become increasingly tech-savvy, and hungry for solutions that don’t just pair human brilliance with AI but seamlessly blend them. And now, Helpware is making an entrance with a flourish!
On Top AI Tools in Marketing
Which top AI tools do you employ in your daily marketing tasks?
Saying that we don't use ChatGPT would be stretching the truth. However, we employ it strategically, mainly for preliminary content evaluations. What makes this tool unique is its remarkable ability to adapt to any given role. Type in a prompt like "Imagine yourself as a Harvard marketing graduate" and you are sure to get a brand-new user experience. View GPT Chat as a chameleon, adapting to the shades and colors of user inputs, but human logic, analysis, and creativity are needed to generate high-quality content, otherwise, it will be very generic. Of course, we can't entirely rely on AI yet and it's important to double-check everything generated by ChatGPT, but I can certainly admit that the progress in the field of generative AI, ranging from text to video, is mind-blowing.
When it comes to Chat GPT's LLM, it isn't designed specifically for marketing tasks or SEO. It doesn't have real-time access to keyword volume data. However, considering API integrations, suppose Chat GPT is integrated with tools like Ahrefs or other SEO platforms. In that case, it can process and utilize its databases effectively. Even in its basic form, Chat GPT can identify the top 10 keywords. The results are impressively accurate, drawing from a vast database of articles. It has a good grasp of how people search on Google, making it a helpful tool in keyword selection. However, it's best used as a supplementary tool rather than the primary one.
Regarding photo content, Midjourney and Stable Diffusion are two breakthrough products in the generative AI market and we use both products extensively in our daily work because they offer a variety of options for creative combinations.
Within the speech or voice niche, today's sound models are of such high quality that they resemble real human voices. The Adobe Podcast software has this nifty feature that filters out background noise from voices. It's not flawless, but with the right touch, the outcome can be impressive. When we talk about voice simulation tech, the way today's tech handles tone, accent, etc. is amazing. I'd give you some big names leading the game, but I wouldn’t give the competition a leg up because everyone is vying for dominance in the sector.
On Evolution of Video AI
What is your vision for the future development of Video AI?
Regarding video generation, I can't point to a standout right now. We've got eyes all over it, but most of the products feel more like prototypes rather than products for commercial use. It's not about the tech, it's more about the hardware which is not keeping up. What I mean is that generating 25 frames a second versus one frame a minute is a world of difference. Plus, preparing and processing a dataset for such a purpose is a rather tedious and laborious task. However, the industry is progressing by leaps and bounds. Look at the products NVIDIA's been teasing. Give this segment 3-5 years, and we'll see some game-changers. Everything is in its time, but trust me, it's around the corner.
On Humans vs. AI
Given the rapid pace of AI development, do you anticipate that it could replace human specialists in the near future?
What do you mean by "in the near future"? If we're talking about the next 3-5 years, then no. Not in amounts that'd shake up the world economy anyway. Remember, after every big high, there's usually a low. And let's not forget, there's been this looming threat of a global crisis for a while now, and it still seems to be real. Also, there’s the moral side of things. There are a lot of people who aren't too keen on AI taking over, for legit or not-so-legit reasons. Some industries and locations are super old-school and resist big shifts, plus, I believe unions will step in to back their workers.
While we might think of the current AI as advanced, genuine AI has yet to fully emerge. Eventually, this true form of AI will become an integral part of our lives, unless unforeseen circumstances change its trajectory. As of now, we're about 85% through the creation process, having accomplished 70% of this in 2022 alone. Although I tend to be more cautious when evaluating the timeline for completing full-fledged AI (despite some experts predicting just 2-3 years, likely to secure more funding), I believe we'll get there in the end. If we consider ChatGPT a third-tier technology, akin to once-in-a-century innovations like the Internet, then genuine AI would rank somewhere between the 5th to 7th tier.
We can only imagine how this might change our lives (if we even get a grip on it). Good or bad, one thing's for sure: it'll change everything we know. And that's dead scary.
On Essential Skills in Marketing
Considering these trends, what specific soft and hard skills are you currently looking for in your marketing team?
It's a paradox — the skills that I look for in my team are the same ones that I seek in my interactions with technology. Responsiveness, reliability, and friendliness are all traits that we demand from our gadgets and websites. You wouldn’t want your phone in which you keep all important data to crash when you need it most, would you? I also value honesty and self-initiative. If you possess these qualities, then you are likely an ideal candidate for a role in my team.
Hard skills are also difficult to ignore, but today, it doesn’t matter if people possess hard skills and what these hard skills are, but how willing they are to adapt and learn something new. With the constant flow of new information and updates, being able to adapt quickly is key. Having a strong inner desire to learn and grow is equally important. The ideal employee is self-driven and hardworking, with a burning passion for their work, as cliche as it may sound. With such qualities, mastering hard skills becomes less of a challenge. We understand that investing in the growth of individuals, particularly in junior and middle positions, benefits the person and the company in the long run, and we do it.
On Culture of Innovation
How do you encourage innovation in your team? Can you give a snapshot of your team's culture?
Marketing is all about creativity and bringing new ideas to the table. This process can be difficult when there is a rigid structure in place. Without the freedom to experiment and explore new avenues, marketing teams will inevitably suffer from a lack of innovation and any attempt to stifle this freedom is a crime against the creativity spirit.
On the other hand, as a manager, of course, I need to guide my team within an apparent trajectory. In other words, there should be controlled freedom. Imagine a spring that bubbles up from the ground; it's exciting to watch, and there's a certain magic to the bubbling water. However, if we let the spring run wild, it could end up causing significant problems. That's why it's essential to channel that energy into a specific river, allowing it to flow naturally, yet in a controlled manner. By doing so, we can ensure that everything moves in the right direction, resulting in a beautiful outcome.
Marketing is a dynamic field, and it can be challenging for any leader to stay ahead of every new trend that appears on the horizon. That's why it's so important to have a team made up of inspired, innovative thinkers who can easily adapt to changing circumstances. I am lucky to have a team like this by my side.