AI and Chatbots: How Marketers Can Keep Up

The marketing world is abuzz with AI chatter. While people love to talk up AI’s potential for automating marketing, the reality doesn’t yet live up to the hype. A study from Oxford University, Deloitte and the BBC revealed that the risk of associate-level marketers losing their jobs to automation is fairly low, at only 33 percent. At the same time, new AI marketing innovations and applications appear daily, and keeping up with this evolution is essential.

What’s a busy marketer to do? According to the Walker Sands State of Martech 2017 study, marketers are feeling the heat already. When asked about tech strategies in general (AI and beyond), almost three-quarters (72 percent) of marketers say the martech landscape is evolving at light speed or rapidly. Times may be hectic, but AI is a tactic deserving special attention. Let’s go beyond the buzz:

AI’s current role in marketing

It’s easy to get carried away in the science fiction-like element of AI. Many companies gaining attention are carrying out genuinely interesting tasks, but below the surface aren’t so advanced in terms of application of the technology.

For example, IBM Watson collaborated with Marchesa to create a “cognitive dress” worn by model Karolina Kurkova at the 2016 Met Gala. IBM Watson analyzed Marchesa’s social media sentiment and changed the dress to correspond to different emotions. The dress was gorgeous, but all-in-all, natural language processing (NLP) is a fairly straightforward technology.

The changes currently brought to martech are far less glamorous, but useful nonetheless. Open-ended technologies like IBM Watson and Salesforce Einstein allow for the development of new AI applications for marketing all the time. Here are a couple marketers have embraced so far.

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Walker Sands Earns Spot on Clutch’s List of Leading Chicago Full Service Digital Agencies

We are excited to announce that Clutch, a research firm that identifies leading software and professional services, has named Walker Sands Digital as one of Chicago’s leading full service digital agencies. Last year we were given the same recognition in both Chicago and San Francisco. Making the list a second time is a true testament to the clients we get to work with and the talent our teams contribute.

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To qualify for the list, Clutch judged Walker Sands on industry awards and recognition, portfolio items, services provided and key clients. A team of Clutch analysts then reached out to our clients to collect additional information to help qualify us as one of the top digital agencies in Chicago. The client feedback was more than we could have asked for.

One client remarked:

Walker Sands’ project management skills across the board for our services are really top-notch. They are really easy to work with and open about our results. They provide weekly reports for our PPC efforts, so it’s really easy to keep a really good pulse on how we’re performing overall. The same goes for their SEO work.

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Later adding:

As soon as we give them a project, they really stick to their deadlines well, and the end product is always really well done. They keep me to my deadlines too, which is always appreciated.

We’ve been so fortunate to work together to build websites for clients like CloudCraze and Surgical Directions among others as well as an interactive micro-site for a cause for CompTIA. It’s great to be recognized by Clutch, and we mean it when we say we can’t do it without our clients.

Take a look at our full company profile to hear more from our clients and get an in depth view at how we were evaluated.

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[VIDEO] Why Walker Sands Works

At Walker Sands we take a holistic approach when it comes to client services, taking care from the beginning to integrate the most viable channels to generate satisfactory results. We started off as a small group of people in 2001, and set our goals high to bring together advanced digital marketing and public relations.

Sixteen years later we’ve successfully infused digital marketing and content campaigns into creative public relations, resulting in an integrated triple threat marketing agency. And it works.

In this latest video from Walker Sands, Mike Santoro, president, and Ellen Hanson, COO, weigh in on how our unique services set us apart from other agencies. Mike explains how we integrate our two strong points, media relations and digital marketing, to effectively create powerful integrated campaigns to generate leads for our clients. In the video Ellen adds that it’s our curiosity for learning about the latest innovations in marketing technology that empowers our work.

From our humble beginnings, to the passion we instill into our work, this video gives a holistic depiction of how we work with our clients to provide the best digital marketing services possible.

Discover why Walker Sands works in the full video here.

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Team Spotlight: Lauren Gilyard

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Lauren Gilyard, Walker Sands’ sales manager, to learn more about her role and get her perspective on what she enjoys about working here (and to figure out if she’s a cat or dog person).

As part of the sales team, Lauren is responsible for building out the traditional and digital presence across the full sales cycle. She works across teams to execute projects and has been focusing a lot on the digital side of Walker Sands in the past several months.

Lauren is excited to see the company continue to grow and develop over the next several years! Here’s what she had to say:

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1. What is your role at Walker Sands? What is your day to day?

I am the sales manager, so I’m responsible for supporting all things sales-related.

I’ve been focusing a lot on digital lately, specifically with outbound reach. We’re focusing on building awareness for companies that do not know about us, as well as others that might have needs in the future. It is all about getting in front of people so when they do have a need we are included in the conversation. One of my main tasks is to push our digital offerings, especially to prospects who might think of us more along the lines of PR.

2. What is your day-to-day?

It’s very different. Today, I’ve been in a pitch meeting, sent a bunch of prospect emails and looked at prospects. Sometimes it’s prospecting all day or participating in internal meetings or calls.

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The Storynomics Seminar takes a New Approach to Marketing: Storytelling

If there’s one thing we know that works when driving a brand message, it’s storytelling. Storytelling is something we talk a lot about in marketing, and are very aware that the right narrative can take your brand from ho-hum to resonating with an audience of thousands.

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In an effort to expand my storytelling skills and knowledge, I will be attending the Storynomics masterclass with acclaimed film and TV project consultant and author of Story, Robert McKee. After years of creative success, he’s taken his storytelling approach and adapted it to a set of teachings to help marketers transform their stories from interruption to entertainment. In addition to the hands on training McKee will provide, Tom Gerace, CEO of Skyword will also be presenting on how to use storified messaging to achieve marketing and brand goals.

I’m looking forward to attending the seminar and embracing the learn part of Walker Sands’ three pillars, learn, support, do. If you care to join me on March 29 in Chicago, register here using code WALKERSANDS.

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Can’t make the Chicago seminar? No worries. You can also find Storynomics in Los Angeles, New York and Boston.

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Visit the Walker Sands website. We specialize in PR and marketing services for technology solution providers and B2B companies. Walker Sands Digital offers a wide array of digital marketing solutions and helps firms to get the most from their online presence.
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