As students head back to school, proud parents keep filling my Facebook feed with First Day photos. These annual keepsakes show off new uniforms and budding fashionistas.
Table of Contents | Volume 11, Issue 29
Since I don’t remember either of my parents taking photos on our first day of school, I wonder if it’s a new social media tradition.
As for the rest of us, it’s time for a Fall Restart, a return to our pre-summer routines.
While I already miss my beach days, I love taking advantage of the Back-To-School sales along Avenue of the Americas in my neighborhood. I take the opportunity to stock up on my favorite work tools, especially an assortment of colored pens with thin tips and fun colored composition books with grid paper.
It reminds me of shopping with my siblings and mom on the first day of school. Each of us had a handwritten list of supplies carefully copied from our classroom chalkboard. We bought brand new blue cloth 3-hole binders, spiral notebooks, pens and pencils.
Meanwhile along the stretch of Fifth Avenue from Madison Square Park to Union Square, several stores have moved around like a rearranged Monopoly board for stores. I assume they’re seeking lower rents and better positioning for foot traffic.
Most recently, Madewell moved up a few blocks to the corner of Fifth Avenue and 20th Street. To attract buyers, they offered gluten-free, mini-Black and Whites cookies from a food cart stationed outside their front door.
Black and Whites are a New York City tradition. These favorite sweets have had cameo appearances on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Seinfeld.
Unlike cookies, these drop cakes are made like cupcakes using extra flour to prevent the dough from running when it’s dolloped on a baking sheet. Then these drop cakes are iced with chocolate and vanilla fondant. They’re bisected in the middle to keep the flavors apart, creating two half moons.
Like many food trends, the exact origin of the black and white is in question. Opened in 1902 on First Avenue near 87th Street by Bavarian immigrants, the Glaser Bake Shop sold black and whites. Hemstrought’s Bakery in Utica, New York, also claims to have originated the half moon cookies about 1925. (Sources: New York Times and Wikipedia)
Heidi getting a black and white cookie from Alix at the Madewell Cookie Cart
► AI, AI, AI
AI continues to grow and expand across the business landscape at an exponential rate. It’s creating one of the most significant changes across industries to date.
If you’re not using AI at work, you’re probably testing it on your own or using it embedded in another technology without realizing it. According to McKinsey, roughly 4 out of 5 respondents are familiar with AI in some form. (Source: McKinsey)
According to Gartner, Generative AI reached the peak of the hype cycle in record time. Gartner breaks the new AI technologies into 4 categories (Source: Gartner)
- Emergent AI includes generative AI and other emerging AI techniques to improve workforce productivity. These technologies enrich digital customer experiences, improve business decisions and create sustainable competitive differences.
- Developer experience (DevX) encompasses all aspects of interactions between developers and the tools, platforms, processes and people with whom they work. This enables them to create and deliver software products and services. In the process, it helps to attract and retain top engineering talent
- Pervasive cloud will become a driver of business innovation as cloud computing evolves over the next 10 years. It’ll become more distributed and focused on vertical industries. To accomplish this and get maximum value from these investments, businesses will need automated operational scaling, access to cloud-native platform tools and adequate governance.
- Human-centric security and privacy focuses on how organizations become resilient by implementing human-centric security and privacy programs. This enables enterprises to build a culture of mutual trust and awareness of shared risks in decision making between teams
One-third of respondents said their organizations already regularly used generative AI in at least one function based on McKinsey research fielded in April 2023,
The most frequently mentioned departments included marketing and sales, product and service development, and service operations including customer care and back-office support. This reveals that businesses are using AI tools where they yield the greatest value.
Marketers find AI useful when applications are built for specific tasks across modalities. They include text, code, images, audio, 3D and video. As a result, businesses can meet the needs of their prospects and customers when, where and how they want to interact with your organization based on their choice of device.
► Example of a ChatGPT Use Case
After watching many of our friends and colleagues travel this summer, my husband and I got bitten by the travel bug and are ready to travel abroad again.
Since we plan our vacations ourselves, my husband used OpenAI’s ChatGPT to generate an initial day by day itinerary for our vacation. He also used Google Bard for search-related questions on specific places and schedules. He likes BARD since it includes inline images in it’s replies if appropriate.
My husband was aware that the technology is an open beta and collects a relatively large amount of information from your conversations with it. BARD is quite transparent about this. (BTW – Even when you do a regular Google search it collects information from you.)
Actionable Marketing Tips
- Test new AI tools based on your business focus and your primary content format (text, image, audio or video) Don’t try to learn every new option that reaches the market. Assess the new AI options based on your existing martech stack, your business and customers needs.
- Be prepared for visitors to use different devices and expect you to respond with the appropriate content formats. While Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant are no longer the darlings of conversational devices, voice and generative AI have been mashed together to provide alternatives with broader applicability. For marketers, this translates to chat, IVAs, videos and Zoom/Google Meets. It also includes phone and web apps that talk to users.
- Be aware that generative AI can produce inaccurate information and the related risks. This depends on what dataset the software was trained on. Some AI models are more accurate than others. Further, the output gives no indication of its veracity.
How To Get On Track For The Fall
Face it, if you’re not a student or a teacher, it’s easy to keep following the same routines that you’ve been following to-date.
Before you do, ask yourself,
“What do you want to get out of your life?”
The biggest challenge with this question is that none of us knows how long we’re going to live and in what condition.
Think about what you want from your life. Even better, write down your thoughts so you can go back and review at the end of the year.
The big question:
What will give you personal satisfaction and a sense of success over time?
Among the important factors to consider include:
- Relationships with your family and friends;
- Your romantic partner (including the big issues of marriage and children);
- Your career/job;
- Your personal goals (including new skills such as painting or volunteering);
- Getting and staying in shape physically (both diet and exercise); and
- Meeting your spiritual needs.
NOTE: I’m not a trained therapist or life coach. These are questions I ask myself to keep me on track to a more fulfilling life.
After assessing your goals and desires, figure out a way to ensure that you do something, no matter how small to achieve your personal objectives.
I did some of this earlier this summer when I decided to finally write my novel. It’s a goal I’ve had for years. But now I allocate time on a regular basis to make it happen. (BTW–I’m treating my first book as a learning process!)
► Select Readings To Help You Improve
- Niir Eyal: The Most Important Time Management Technique You’re Probably Not Using
- Leo Ho: How to Start Time Blocking to Reclaim Your Time
Clear Your Mind
- Washington Post: Trouble achieving goals? Why your brain needs reminders.
Reminder: The Actionable Marketing Guide Newsletter will be sent every other week through the end of the year.
So I can devote the necessary time to write my first piece of fiction.
Now is the perfect time to get your marketing organized for budget season and for the end of year promotional push.
► Budgeting. Just mentioning budgets can cause even the most seasoned marketer to break into a sweat.
Instead, take a deep breath because you’ve got this. Budgeting is just a matter of collecting historical information by promotion and assessing how you can improve your results next year. Consider how your customers and business have changed.
► Promotional calendar. Lay out a week by week set of promotions to give your broader audience a reason to purchase from your business.
Start this exercise by laying out the promotions you’ve used over the past 3 years.Track them by week, including the number of people reached, the dollar results and unit results. Also note any tests and their performance on a separate tracking sheet.
Where appropriate include major annual promotions and other planned events.
Plan Ahead: Mark Your Calendar
► Content Marketing World 2023 – September 26 – 28 in Washington, DC
► MarketingProfs B2B Forum – October 4 – 6 in Boston, MA
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