By Alan Perkins
SILVERDISC'S presentation to a packed audience at the Northamptonshire Chamber Business Exhibition on 28 September, entitled Looking Ahead and Getting Ahead with Digital Marketing, was a great success.
Attendees learnt how assistive devices and artificial intelligence will change the face of digital marketing. Examples given included an intelligent digital assistant modifying an unfamiliar route home to include picking up pet food at the nearest open store that had your cat's preferred food in stock; and getting the same digital assistant to book you an appointment and add it to your calendar by talking to a real human in a salon. The subtle message in both these near-future examples is the presence of local businesses to help fulfil an immediate need.
Back in the present, local business searches have exploded in recent years; so much so that, more and more, people aren't even bothering to type 'near me' when searching. When you search for 'Thai food', your phone-based assistant modifies its responses according to whether you're in strange town looking for a restaurant or at home wanting a delivery.
Another example: mobile searches for 'where to buy' a given product have grown over 85 per cent in the past two years. People know it's possible that their phone can locate the product near them and even tell them where it's in stock. And when it's possible, they expect it.
A vision of the future is very helpful when it comes to setting your own strategic vision, and vision is very much on my mind at the moment for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I'm going to do something about my terrible eyesight after putting up with it for more than 50 years, so if you see me out and about in glasses it's because I'm preparing for a lens replacement operation!
Secondly, I have completed a buyout of SilverDisc from my partner of 15 years, Paul McGroary; both Paul and I are really happy with the deal. In my case it means that the vision for the business, 'to be the most highly-regarded agency for the expert application of digital technology to the solution of marketing challenges', is in my hands. I believe that AI and assistants are central pieces of digital technology that will help local businesses to market themselves better.
If you would like help with digital strategies and systems to deliver more to your business, contact SilverDisc by calling 01536 316100 or visiting silverdisc.co.uk