Using tech to make marketing human again

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Using tech to make marketing human again
Every technology-based platform that we interact with today have an engaging graphical user interface.

dubai - Good marketing is not just pushing products but solving problems and deriving commercial value

By Vikram Krishna

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Published: Wed 19 Oct 2016, 8:19 PM

Last updated: Wed 19 Oct 2016, 10:21 PM

Today, we have ads chasing us like never before. When we open our mail boxes, we find more e-mails from people that we don't know rather than from people that we do. When we switch on the telly, browse our mobiles, we see ads reaching out to catch our attention. Platforms like YouTube have given customers the power to skip ads and I won't be surprised if 99 per cent of those ads are skipped.

While we may love advertising or hate it, we can't deny the value it adds to our lives. Advertising and marketing gives customers the power of choice to make informed decisions and serves a reminder on the various emotional, rational and physical needs that we need fulfilled.

Savvy marketers have realised that while bombarding customers with unwanted ads can be intrusive, the very same ads can be intuitive if we bring technology into the mix. In a marketing context, technology is no longer impersonal or anonymous. Instead, it has the power to demonstrate exactly the opposite as it understands and gives customers what they really want or need.

Here are some great examples of technology-driven innovations that can make marketing more adaptive and intuitive:

Graphical User Interface (GUI) - our window to the world
The GUI is among the least celebrated inventions of our modern times, which surprises me, since it is in fact all pervasive. Every technology-based platform that we interact with today from our desktops to our phones, ATMs to touchscreen kiosks have an engaging GUI at the front end which makes the technology respond to our needs. GUIs have transformed our perception of computers from abstract tools understood by only a few people to the tangible new ultra-high-tech tool that today's kids use. As GUIs get more sophisticated, they are becoming increasingly human and instinctive by design: they mirror human emotions, gestures, reactions, etc. The focus of marketing-savvy organisations has now shifted to how consumer behaviour can be influenced in this GUI-driven world.

Companion robots - man's best friend?
Robots are coming into our lives sooner than we think. R2-D2 from Star Wars may have taken several decades to become commercially available. But this is an exponential technology and as it enters into our lives, a decade later we will ask ourselves how we lived without them. I am keenly following Pepper which has been developed by Softbank Robotics and recently made a debut at our Emirates Towers branch. Pepper is a remarkable humanoid robot that can understand human emotions and is beginning to find a place in homes as a companion as well as in banks, restaurants and telco branches in Japan. There is much debate around the presumption that these robots could take over human jobs. As a marketer, my view is that these technologies are lifestyle enhancers and as long as they add value to our daily lives, they will survive.

Big Data driving predictive choices
We live in an ever-expanding pool of data. Every electronic device around us is capturing data. Each time we interact with our devices, data is being generated. While we are busy collecting data, we are also struggling to join the dots. It's a technology and human capability issue as well as an issue of limited imagination. However, as we get more and more lost in this data swirl, technology is beginning to develop a multi-layered human understanding, making finer sense of the things around us. It's impressive to see the improving precision of our Google search results. It's also uncanny how well Apple music serves us a play list that we almost always enjoy. Viv, the world's first self-programing artificial intelligence, is writing programmes in microseconds using relevant information to predict potential outcomes. This mind-blowing complexity is simplifying our choices.

Artificial Intelligence - Are you smarter than your machine?
There is a lot being written about Artificial Intelligence (AI). What is it and why do some people fear it? Simply put, it is the science behind adding intelligence to machines which enables them to interact with the environment around them and take structured actions that enable the achievement of a goal. AI is already all around us, from web search to video games. AI methods plan our navigation, filter our ever-expanding spam folders, and focus cameras on faces that enables a lot of us to take some seriously impressive pictures from our phones. When you talk to Siri, it's AI that's making it happen for you. From self-driving cars to household robots, AI is powering ahead the transformative tech of tomorrow.
Like it or not, these technologies are changing our world. The core question that we need to ask ourselves is: Are we ready for it?

The writer is head of group marketing and customer experience at Emirates NBD. Views expressed are his own and do not reflect the newspaper's policy.

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