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July 1, 2017

Attended the Atlanta Interactive Marketing Association’s event last week; “AI and the Transformation of Marketing” at Nebo Agency, and have takeaways I simply cannot keep to myself. 

Today’s installment is dedicated to the immersive and gracious experiences of Derek Banta with UPS. Armed with less than one year of Georgia pollen in his sinuses and nearly a generation’s worth of priceless Silicon Valley experience, Derek is ready to take on the challenges and opportunities that the world's largest package delivery company can offer.

Derek’s approach is alarmingly vulnerable and immediately likable, he presented himself as a relatable character from the start and allowed the audience to emotionally adopt a very tech-filled evening as something we can all live with. Every day.

“Soon enough, Artificial Intelligence will help marketers with almost every bit of the “what”, but not the “why”. - Anonymous

Being locked in a room with a chat bot for over three months taught Derek two very valuable things. The first surrounds the 10-second window of chatbot response not nearly providing enough time to clearly pronounciate the 20 characters within a UPS tracking number. The second takeaway explains the spike in requests for onesie's due to the prevalence of tracking numbers starting with ‘1Z’. Beyond the implications that this could have had on the latest bro-romper movement, there is a very real challenge/opportunity relationship between natural language processing and a system of recommendations and predictive analytics that stem from it. It’s truly fascinating how seamlessly and instantaneous the conversation can go from a tracking number status request to arguably the most versatile weapon in baby sleepwear. 

Coincidence, we think not.

As users, we are not getting stupider, we are only going to get more efficient and technically advanced. More importantly, we are raising a generation of native digital users. Derek referenced his two-year old attempting to swipe left on a flat-screen tv as if it were a large tablet. This serves as a manifestation of how tech transcends a human’s intuitive nonverbal communication. Cause for pause is a lifetime of anticipatory devices that effortlessly accomplish instant gratification and surround a generation worldwide that lack the first person experience an analog reliant existence. If they are digital natives does that make us digital immigrants?

The prevalence of advanced technology is not as alarming as the adoption of it. The digital native world has already arrived and the rest are all catching up.

“Machines will be capable, within twenty years, of doing any work a man can do.” - Herbert Simon

As a consumer-driven marketer, it’s all about identifying and understanding an emotion and connecting it to action. Bottom line, “if people don’t trust it, they will not buy it” - Derek Banta. This is an interesting statement considering the forward leaning audience attentively engaged in an evening dedicated to artificial intelligence. The advantages can stay artificial, but the mission has to be authentic to resonate, drive action and lead consumer led purchases.

Sorry to disappoint Herbert Simon, but we’re not quite there yet. Jobs are safe, future's still bright. 

Daniel B. Abernaty
Co-founder and Creative Director at Hierarchy, Inc. | Creative confidante