Implementing Generative AI in Marketing: A Strategic Roadmap

Implementing Generative AI in Marketing: A Strategic Roadmap

Generative AI (GenAI) is quickly transforming marketing, enabling content creation, decision automation, and data-driven insights. Adopting it promises competitive advantages, as major companies actively explore and implement GenAI solutions. However, realizing GenAI’s full potential requires a strategic, well-planned implementation approach. Here are several key considerations to keep in mind.

Assess Your Readiness

Before adopting GenAI, honestly evaluate if your organization is ready. This goes beyond just having the technology. Your use of GenAI must align with your overall business goals. Do you have enough staff and funding? Are roles and processes clearly defined? Many companies lack combined AI and marketing expertise, so you may need to bring in outside talent.

Build a Data-Driven Culture

GenAI relies on high-quality data for accurate outputs. Companies should develop strong data practices around governance, quality control, and privacy. Treating data as a strategic asset, rather than an afterthought, will pay off for GenAI and overall decision-making. A comprehensive data strategy is essential.

Tailor Use Cases

Don’t just adopt generic GenAI solutions. Identify your real marketing needs that GenAI can address. Get input and buy-in from employees across different teams. Use cases should be customized to your unique challenges and opportunities. Make sure to gather continuous feedback and maintain transparent ethical standards when building solutions.

Plan for Scalability

While pilot projects prove concepts, GenAI’s true value comes from wide-scale deployment across the organization. Market leaders get more productivity, quality, and creativity gains from scalable implementations. Design your use cases to smoothly integrate into all marketing operations. Robust change management prepares everyone for the transformation.

Manage Risks

GenAI introduces new risks around compliance and cybersecurity. You should adhere to AI governance frameworks like NIST’s AI RMF and the EU AI Act. And implement “security-by-design” via practices like penetration testing to address AI’s unique cybersecurity risks.

Assess Expertise

GenAI’s implementation requires skills that blend AI and data science with deep marketing know-how. Since this skill set remains scarce, companies should supplement staff with fractional or contract marketing experts who can provide specialized leadership and cross-functional guidance throughout the implementation journey.

With careful strategy and preparation, GenAI can drive innovation, operational efficiencies, and a sustained competitive advantage. Those who get it right will be well-positioned to thrive in this exciting new era of data-driven, AI-enabled marketing.


Ready to integrate AI into your marketing? To get started, download our tip sheets and schedule a call or email Lori at lberson@BersonDeanStevens.com.


BersonDeanStevens has been a recognized brand strategy and marketing leader for over 25 years. We work in partnership with you to differentiate your brand and achieve your business goals. Client list.

 

 

Unlocking Growth: SMBs Prioritize Marketing Despite Time Crunch

Unlocking Growth: SMBs Prioritize Marketing Despite Time Crunch

In a recent study by Constant Contact and Ascend2, roughly 39% of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) across the US, UK, Australia, and Canada are increasing their marketing budgets this year. This uptick in spending is not just about spending more; it’s about strategically expanding marketing efforts to include a wider selection of channels and tactics. In fact, over 40% of SMBs are set to diversify their marketing channels and tactics, recognizing the need to adapt to a rapidly changing market environment.

The Most Time Intensive Marketing Tasks

This expansion means businesses will need to dedicate more time to their marketing strategies. Currently, most SMBs spend less than an hour per day on marketing, focusing their energies instead on essential business operations such as customer interactions and order fulfillment. However, as marketing budgets increase, 44% of SMBs anticipate that more of their time will be allocated to marketing endeavors.

Despite the intention to ramp up marketing efforts, a significant challenge remains: many SMBs (52%) regularly delay or postpone marketing activities, often due to time constraints. Content creation, strategy planning, and social media posts are particularly susceptible to delays. These tasks are not only time-consuming but also require specific marketing knowledge that many SMBs lack. This knowledge gap often confines them to familiar and easy-to-implement channels, potentially limiting growth.

Advantages of Fractional Marketers

To overcome these challenges and effectively use their increased budgets, SMBs can benefit from hiring fractional marketers. Fractional marketers are experienced professionals who offer their expertise on a part-time or contract basis. Here are several key benefits of bringing fractional marketers on board:

  1. Expertise on Demand: Fractional marketers bring specialized knowledge and skills that may be missing internally. They can strategize, execute, and measure the effectiveness of various marketing tactics, filling the knowledge gap without the cost of a full-time hire.
  2. Cost Effectiveness: Hiring a fractional marketer is more affordable than employing a full-time senior marketing executive. SMBs can access top-tier talent while staying within budget, ensuring that increased marketing investments deliver maximum impact.
  3. Flexibility and Scalability: As SMBs expand their marketing efforts, they need flexible strategies that can scale with their growth. Fractional marketers can adjust their involvement based on the company’s current needs and budget, providing more support during strategic launches or scaling back during slower periods.
  4. Fresh Perspectives: Bringing in a fractional marketer can inject new ideas and perspectives into the business, which can be crucial for innovation and staying ahead of market trends.
  5. Time Management: By delegating substantial marketing responsibilities to a fractional marketer, business owners can free up their time to focus on core business operations and customer engagement, optimizing the productivity of the business as a whole.

As SMBs prepare to increase their marketing budgets to capture larger audiences and enhance their market share, hiring fractional marketers offers a strategic advantage. These professionals not only mitigate the challenges of time and expertise but also enable SMBs to maximize their marketing ROI, ensuring that every dollar spent contributes to significant business growth.

About the Data: The results are based on a February-March survey of 1,335 small business owners and operators representing companies with fewer than 250 employees, across all industries.


Ready to elevate your marketing strategy without the overhead of a full-time executive? Schedule a call or email Lori at lberson@BersonDeanStevens.com to discover how fractional marketing services can drive your business forward.


BersonDeanStevens has been a recognized brand strategy and marketing leader for over 25 years. We work in partnership with you to differentiate your brand and achieve your business goals. Client list.

 

 

Strategic Flexibility: How Fractional CMOs Can Transform Your Business Growth

Strategic Flexibility: How Fractional CMOs Can Transform Your Business Growth

The role of a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is more critical than ever. However, not all companies can or need to onboard a full-time CMO. This is where the concept of Fractional CMOs comes into play, offering a flexible and strategic solution for businesses, particularly startups and those undergoing significant transitions.

The Rise of Fractional CMOs

A Fractional CMO is an experienced marketing professional who provides strategic leadership on a part-time basis. This model is becoming increasingly popular, providing companies with access to senior marketing expertise without the commitment of a full-time executive salary. This approach is especially beneficial for organizations at pivotal growth stages or those needing targeted project management to navigate complex marketing landscapes successfully.

Strategic Advantages of Hiring a Fractional CMO

  1. Expertise on Demand: Fractional CMOs bring a wealth of experience from diverse industries and backgrounds, offering fresh perspectives and innovative solutions.
  2. Cost Efficiency: With the ability to hire on a part-time or project basis, companies can manage budgets more effectively while still leveraging top marketing talent.
  3. Flexibility and Scalability: The fractional engagement allows businesses to adapt quickly to market changes and scale marketing efforts up or down based on current needs and budgets.

Potential Challenges

While the benefits are significant, there are some challenges to consider:

  • Cultural Fit: A Fractional CMO might not be as embedded in the company culture, which can impact team dynamics and long-term strategy alignment.
  • Divided Attention: Managing multiple clients can lead to conflicts in prioritization and focus, potentially diluting the impact on your business.

Choosing the Right Fractional CMO

Selecting the right Fractional CMO involves a strategic alignment with your company’s vision and goals. It’s crucial to define clear objectives and success metrics from the beginning and ensure regular communication and stakeholder engagement to maximize the effectiveness of the partnership.

For businesses navigating critical transformations or looking to scale efficiently without the overhead of a full-time position, a Fractional CMO is an excellent investment. By understanding both the benefits and potential pitfalls, companies can make informed decisions that align with their long-term marketing strategies and overall business objectives.

Ready to elevate your marketing strategy without the overhead of a full-time executive? Schedule a call or email Lori at lberson@BersonDeanStevens.com to discover how a Fractional CMO can drive your business forward.


For help with your marketing strategy, schedule a call or email Lori Berson at lberson@BersonDeanStevens.com.


BersonDeanStevens has been a recognized brand strategy and marketing leader for over 25 years. We work in partnership with you to differentiate your brand and achieve your business goals. Client list.

 

 

Gamification Marketing: What It Is and The Keys to Success

Gamification Marketing: What It Is and The Keys to Success

Are you looking for an exciting way to grab your audience’s attention and keep them hooked? Gamification marketing might be the solution! By turning ordinary experiences into captivating games, you can boost engagement, motivation, and ultimately, success.

What Exactly Is Gamification Marketing?

Gamification marketing brings the thrill of gaming into everyday situations, making them more engaging and rewarding. It taps into our natural love for achievements, competition, and incentives, transforming mundane activities into enjoyable adventures that keep people glued.

Imagine spicing up your marketing campaigns with leaderboards, progress bars, quests, and rewards. These game-inspired elements allow marketers to create interactive experiences that audiences can’t resist.

For example, a leaderboard could showcase the top performers, fueling some friendly rivalry. Progress bars provide a visual representation of advancement, motivating users to conquer tasks and milestones. Exciting quests or challenges give participants goals to chase, while rewards like exclusive benefits or virtual goods drive motivation.

When brands blend these gamification examples into their strategies, they foster stronger bonds with their target audiences. Customers become active participants in the brand experience, feeling a sense of accomplishment as they progress through challenges or compete against others. This boosts brand loyalty, attention spans, and desired outcomes like increased sales, user retention, or better learning.

Gamification Marketing in Action

This engaging approach has found success across various industries and platforms. From the Starbucks Rewards program, rewarding purchases with points and status levels, to language apps like Duolingo using badges and leaderboards to make learning addictive – the possibilities are limitless.

Nike’s Run Club app is a prime example, turning fitness tracking into an interactive game complete with badges, challenges, and personalized training programs that level up. Even quirky campaigns like KFC’s “Colonel Sanders’ Dating Simulator” gamified their brand by letting players learn about menu items through an amusing storyline. Even a trivia contest from brands like Coke or Pepsi can work – correctly answering questions earns you prizes.

At its core, gamification marketing harnesses our natural desires and habits, transforming marketing initiatives into immersive experiences that captivate and motivate. By incorporating game-inspired elements, marketers can elevate their strategies, creating lasting impressions and strengthening audience connections.

Keys to Gamification Marketing Success

Implementing an effective gamification strategy requires careful planning aligned with your business goals and target audience.
Here are some key steps:

  1. Define clear objectives – Increased engagement? Loyalty? Improved learning? Pinpoint the outcomes you want to achieve.
  2. Know your audience – Understand their preferences, motivations, and pain points to design compelling game elements.
  3. Choose the right game mechanics – Leaderboards, progress bars, quizzes, badges, virtual currencies – select those that best fit your goals and audience. Low-cost apps are available to help manage the process like Gametize, PUG Interactive, Funifier, Scavify, Treehouse, Fitocracy, Influitive, and others.
  4. Integrate seamlessly – Introduce gamified experiences across your platforms like websites, apps, and social media for a consistent experience.
  5. Offer enticing incentives – Rewards like exclusive access, discounts, or virtual goods will encourage continuous participation.
  6. Analyze performance – Use analytics and feedback to measure impact on metrics like user retention and optimize your strategy.

Gamification marketing is a potent tool for creating captivating, enjoyable experiences that drive desired behaviors from your audience. Incorporate leaderboards, quests, and rewards and you’ll see boosted engagement, motivation, and better results.

To level up your marketing game with gamification and unlock customer loyalty, online learning, brand awareness, and more, schedule a call or email Lori at lberson@BersonDeanStevens.com.


For help with adding gamification to your marketing, schedule a call or email Lori Berson at lberson@BersonDeanStevens.com.


BersonDeanStevens has been a recognized brand strategy and marketing leader for over 25 years. We work in partnership with you to differentiate your brand and achieve your business goals. Client list.

 

 

Decoding CEO Expectations: The Evolving Role of Marketing Teams

Decoding CEO Expectations: The Evolving Role of Marketing Teams

In today’s rapidly shifting business landscape, the relationship between Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and their marketing counterparts has entered a phase of renewed confidence and heightened expectations. According to the latest insights from the third annual CEO Study on Marketing and the CMO by Boathouse, there’s a notable uplift in how CEOs perceive the performance of their marketing leaders and teams.

What CEOs Want from CMOs

Rising Confidence in Marketing Leadership

A striking aspect of the study is the growing confidence CEOs have in their CMOs. An impressive 26% of surveyed CEOs from top US companies awarded their CMOs an “A” grade for overall performance, a substantial increase from 16% the previous year. Furthermore, 40% of CEOs now consider their CMO to be “best in class,” marking a significant rise from previous years. This upward trend in confidence extends to the marketing function as a whole, with nearly half (49%) of the CEOs rating their marketing capabilities as “best in class,” a notable leap from just 24% the year before.

The Bottom Line: Growth and Revenue

But what has contributed to this surge in confidence? At its core, the answer revolves around the bottom line—growth and revenue. CEOs are increasingly looking to their marketing teams to solve critical challenges centered around these areas. The primary task? To create and retain customers to drive revenue growth. This mandate remains a cornerstone of marketing’s role, reflecting its pivotal contribution to a company’s financial success.

CEOs have laid out clear priorities for their marketing teams, emphasizing the need to drive sales, grow market shares, and outpace the competition. These goals highlight the strategic importance of marketing in not only attracting customers but also in defining a company’s standing in the market.

Branding and Narrative: More Than Just Revenue

However, it’s not all about revenue and market share. CEOs also prioritize brand-related objectives, such as improving brand reputation (41%) and transforming the company’s narrative in the marketplace (40%). This aligns with the broader understanding that a strong brand and reputation are intertwined and crucial for long-term success.

Beyond the Traditional: Social Impact and Innovation

Despite their focus on growth and branding, CEOs are also aware of the broader role marketing can play. Areas such as social impact, investor perception, and product innovation, though not ranked as top priorities, are still on the CEO’s radar. This acknowledgment points to a nuanced understanding that, while growth and revenue are paramount, long-term success also depends on innovation, social responsibility, and effective communication with investors.

This evolving CEO perspective signals a shift towards recognizing the multifaceted role of marketing in driving not just traditional outcomes like sales and brand awareness but also in shaping the company’s strategic direction and growth. As marketing teams continue to rise to these challenges, their alignment with the CEO’s vision will be critical in navigating the complexities of today’s business landscape and achieving sustained success.

About the Data: The results are based on an October 2023 survey of 150 CEOs from top US companies with at least $250 million in annual revenues. The question about the top problems that CEOs want marketing to solve was answered by half of the sample.


For help with your marketing, schedule a call or email Lori Berson at lberson@BersonDeanStevens.com.


BersonDeanStevens has been a recognized brand strategy and marketing leader for over 25 years. We work in partnership with you to differentiate your brand and achieve your business goals. Client list.

 

 

Social Media Trends: How America Watches, Shares, and Connects

Social Media Trends: How America Watches, Shares, and Connects

In the evolving world of social media, keeping up with platform popularity and usage trends is essential for marketers, content creators, and users alike. It has become an integral part of our daily lives, shaping the way we connect, share, and consume information.

A recent Pew Research Center study reveals the current state of social media platform use among US adults, and offers valuable insights into demographic preferences and platform adoption rates.

Social Platform Use 2024

YouTube Leads The Pack

YouTube continues to dominate as the most widely used social media platform for a diverse audience, with an impressive 83% of US adults tuning into the watch videos. This marks a slight increase from 2021, signaling YouTube’s enduring appeal across various demographic groups. Interestingly, its popularity spans across genders, with both men (82%) and women (83%) nearly equally engaged. Multicultural groups, particularly English-speaking Asian (93%) and Hispanic (86%) adults, show higher adoption rates, highlighting YouTube’s broad reach.

The platform’s appeal is not limited to younger audiences; while 93% of 18-29-year-olds are avid YouTube viewers, the platform also enjoys high engagement rates among 30-49-year-olds (92%) and has seen a significant uptick in usage among those 65 and older, climbing from 38% in 2019 to 60%. Income and education levels also play a role in YouTube’s popularity, with higher rates of adoption among those in the top income bracket and with higher educational attainment.

Facebook’s Steady Presence

Despite fluctuating trends in social media, Facebook maintains a consistent user base, with 68% of survey respondents reporting usage. While its adoption is higher among women (76%) than men (59%), Facebook’s usage trends vary significantly across age groups, showing a decline among younger adults and a rise in usage among those aged 65 and older.

Instagram’s Growing Appeal

Instagram’s user base is on the rise, reaching 47% of adults, up from 40% in 2021. The platform’s visual nature and dynamic content seem to resonate more with women (54%), Hispanic (58%), and Asian adults (57%), suggesting its particular appeal among these groups. Younger adults (18-29) remain the most engaged, with a significant 78% using Instagram, pointing to its stronghold among the youth.

Pinterest’s Unique Demographic Skew

Pinterest, known for its inspiration-driven content, shows a unique demographic pattern, with significantly higher usage among women (50%) than men (19%). It also stands out for its slightly higher adoption rate among rural adults (36%) compared to urban counterparts (31%), suggesting its appeal across different living environments.

TikTok’s Rapid Rise

TikTok has seen explosive growth, with 33% of US adults using the platform, up from 21% in 2021. The app’s engaging content format appears to be particularly popular among women (40%), Hispanic (49%), and Black (39%) adults. Its highest usage among the youngest adults (18-29) at 62% underscores TikTok’s role as a key player in shaping social media trends.

LinkedIn and WhatsApp: Platforms for Professional and Personal Connections

LinkedIn and WhatsApp each cater to specific needs, with LinkedIn maintaining a steady 30% usage among adults, predominantly among higher-income and educated demographics. WhatsApp, on the other hand, has seen growth to 29% of adults, with notable popularity among Hispanic adults (54%), illustrating its importance in keeping personal and professional networks connected.

Other Platforms and Trends

Snapchat and Twitter/X maintain steady but distinct user bases, with Snapchat being more popular among younger users and Twitter/X showing broader use among higher-income and more educated adults.

Reddit’s popularity continues to rise, especially among men and the 18-29 age group, reflecting broader trends in social media where platforms cater to specific interests and demographics.

BeReal, while newer to the scene, shows potential for growth, particularly among younger adults and women, though its overall adoption remains low.

Implications for Marketers and Content Creators

Understanding these trends is crucial for anyone looking to engage with audiences effectively on social media. The data highlights the importance of tailoring content and strategies to specific platforms and demographic groups to maximize reach and impact. As social media continues to evolve, staying informed about these trends will be key to navigating the digital landscape successfully.

About the Data: The results are based on a May-September 2023 survey of 5,733 US adults (18+).


For help with your social media marketing, schedule a call or email Lori Berson at lberson@BersonDeanStevens.com.


BersonDeanStevens has been a recognized brand strategy and marketing leader for over 25 years. We work in partnership with you to differentiate your brand and achieve your business goals. Client list.