C-Suite Network

Michael Solomon

C-Suite Leader Since:

Personal Development, Operations, Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Sales


Reach Out and Touch Something

Some anthropologists view our experience of touch much like a primal language, one we learn well before writing and speech. Indeed, researchers are starting to identify the important role the haptic (touch) sense plays in consumer behavior. Indeed, the classic, contoured Coca-Cola bottle was designed approximately 90 years ago to satisfy the request of a U.S. bottler for a soft-drink container that people could identify even in the dark.

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A.I.: The Death Knell For Relationship Marketing, Or The Birth Of The Loveable Salesbot?

Everyone is buzzing about Artificial Intelligence (AI), and how it will revolutionize sales productivity. By automatically handling time-consuming tasks such as logging emails and generating invoices, the theory goes, salespeople are freed up to spend more quality time with customers.

But what happens when that dedicated salesperson is replaced by a robot? Analysts predict that 66 million robots will be shipped per year by 2025, with a market value of $19 billion. Many organizations now deploy robots, avatars and chatbots to perform tasks we used to ask flesh-and-blood people to do. Call centers are automating, and retailers from banks to hardware stores are deploying robots to assist customers when they shop.

More to the point for marketers, how well will a robot function as the source of a marketing communication? Advertisers spend huge sums to recruit just the right (human) endorser for a brand, but at least so far no one seems to be giving much thought to what a salesbot or AI-generated model should look like or sound like. Social psychologists have long identified the importance of source effects in persuasive communications – essentially, who says it is as or more impactful than what they say.

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Payless Demonstrates the Amazing Power of Branding

Payless gave us a valuable clinic on the power of branding—and a stunt that I’ll certainly be sharing with my marketing students for many years. But in (at least a partial) defense of those eager buyers who were taken in by the ruse, let’s take a step back and look at the situation from their perspective.

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The Robot Revolution: An (Automated) Wake-Up Call For Marketers

As shoppers increasingly interact with machines instead of people, there are huge ramifications for the way we think about sales interactions (in stores, call centers, etc.) and communications strategies. But are marketing executives embracing the changes that will come with this new age of AI? Maybe not. According to Shopper Marketing magazine’s 2019 Trends Survey, just 37 percent of CPG marketing executives report that their organization is currently utilizing AI/machine learning. And, of that paltry percentage, only one third apply AI to direct consumer engagement.

But consumers (Luddites aside) seem eager to embrace these smart agents. One recent survey for example reported that about half of the women it sampled want to use them when they shop for beauty products. Is it just the novelty factor that’s driving this?

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