Ten years from now sounds like a far cry away, but the technology that will affect our lives a decade from now is already being developed. In order to keep pace, we need to evolve.
This means being ready for jobs that don’t yet exist. We need to accept that markets that exist today may be completely redundant in 10 years. The marketing industry has already changed the way it operates and there are more changes to come. Aided by technology, our lives will become even more fast-paced and we’ll have much higher expectations. As brands, we need to do our part to move with the future on a social and economic scale.
I’ve always had a healthy obsession with new tech – this explains the attraction to my past role at Microsoft and now here at Confused.com.
For the financial-services industry, it’s a transformative time as artificial intelligence changes how businesses like ours operate. We’re fortunate in that tech has always been at the heart of our business – after all, we pioneered using technology to solve the financial problem that was buying insurance.
But we have to keep developing and moving with new technologies to stay relevant. AI isn’t a phenomenon that’s only impacting the tech sector; it’s seeping into all industries, including marketing.
Setting off for home in the morning
Look at the way brands use "collaborative filtering" to provide relevant and personalised product or content recommendations to customers. Or the power of AI in search engines, affecting the way brands are ranked.
We’re almost in a situation where AI and machine learning can help us in so many ways that it’s more than we know what to do with. The key to using it effectively is to align the way we use it with our strategic objectives, ensure that it’s benefiting our customers and use it to enhance our jobs rather than replace them.
Already AI is replacing and automating menial and repetitive tasks. At Confused.com, we have an ethical approach to AI. It’s something we want our staff to embrace so that they can upskill and use their time in a more meaningful and fulfilling way.
We run a number of programmes, including the "School of Tech", where non-tech employees team up with our data engineers to help them understand how AI and machine learning can support them in their day-to-day roles. A few members of our marketing team have been on the programme and they have created simple applications that help them process and analyse results, reducing tasks that were taking them an hour to just minutes.
While there are a lot of tasks that AI can fulfil, we as humans must use it to help us fulfil our key objectives. This means people need to become more tactical by nature and those are the people who will succeed.
Looking forward to how our working day will look, we can expect even more remote working and hot-desking. We need to move with a generation that expects flexibility. In 10 years, we’ll have office spaces that are more like homes, so that the pressures and formality of a traditional office are eliminated.
Organisations need to embrace their purpose and respond to tech developments as fast as they’re happening. At Confused.com, that means we need to be evolving faster ways of showing customers the best deal on a range of products.
As a brand, we seek to clarify the confusion, so we have even more of a commitment to understanding all the changes we’re faced with. I’d like to think we have a pretty good hold over this already – we have a talented team in force who knows that satisfaction means continuous improvement.
As use of AI within our industry develops, people’s expectations of how they are marketed to will change. We’re already expecting brands to know our likes and dislikes. At the same time, this level of personalisation is a balancing act. Following the advent of GDPR, people are a lot more aware of how their data is being used, so using it ethically and in our customers’ interests has never been more important.
People are also increasingly aware of the "social" impact. In the next decade, we can expect people to look towards big corporations to take the lead on key social issues, such as the environment, and find solutions to those issues.
This does mean that brands have to be braver, step out of line sometimes and be prepared to face the consequences. In particular, our new campaign addresses issues that we as a society are facing to let people know that we’re not afraid to be part of the cultural conversation.
Samuel Day is chief marketing officer at Confused.com and a member of Campaign’s Power 100