How Siri Changes how we do business development

By Elizabeth Sloane | Digital Transformation Department

Artificial intelligence is such a sexy topic to discuss in this field, especially when posed in the way of “Will artificial intelligence kill Business Development ?”

For people like me, staying on the cutting edge of the holistic approach of Business is our top. Business development is understanding what is needed to grow the company today and tomorrow. As I always say to our intern, “Business Development is not a field in which you’ll want to get comfy.”

At its core, marketing is a discipline built on assumptions about consumer behavior. A company can’t grow with understanding your customer’s behavior.

In the Mad Men era, we could assume that the average Jamaican read their morning paper, or listened to radio on their commute to work.

Fifteen years ago, we could assume that the Internet was for product research, not for product purchase.

Five years ago, if you wanted a Chilitos at 3 pm on a Tuesday, you had to actually get off your seat and go there, where you’d have to wait in line with five other miserable folks before eventually signaling at the counter what you wanted. And then, you’d be faced with two options: eat your Tacos at the restaurant at 3 pm on a Tuesday, or carry it back to your office and risk bumping into your coworker Janet on her smoke break. The last thing you would want is for Janet to see you on your walk of shame.

Now, you can have Chilitos delivered to the curb. Suddenly a convenience premium of $200 per delivery doesn’t seem so bad now, does it?

For better or for worse, technology is changing our behavior at an ever-increasing pace. They are more cellphones than people in Jamaica. Elizabeth Sloane reports that voice-enabled smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home are expected to reach 55% of U.S. households by 2022. Soon enough, reading your grocery list off to Alexa to be delivered to your door will not only be a possibility but a norm.

As an introvert, this day could not come soon enough.

However, as a marketer, I must ask… is this a future in which we will be marketing to machines? And if so, what would that future look like? We know how humans can be influenced into making decisions. The fact that humans are emotional creatures is the reason why most consumer brands thrive.

Branding aside, what difference would there be between a $100 bottle of water and a $100 bottle of water? At the grocery store, you may choose Wata because you’ve always chosen Wata, but how would Alexa choose for you? Perhaps she would eventually learn your preferences, but could they change? How would they change without the introduction of new, conscious inputs that in the offline world used to be the result of factors such as randomness? (Imagine trying boxed water as a result of an in-store promotion for the first time. Now imagine liking it.)

Do I know the answers to all these questions? I can’t say I do.

What I do know is this: Business Development is not a field in which you’ll want to get comfy.

Written by:

Elizabeth Sloane

Melanie Wynter

Head of Business Development