3 Considerations For Marketers When Chasing AI

3 Considerations For Marketers When Chasing AI

By now, every marketer is aware of AI, as it’s the hottest issue in marketing since email marketing debuted nearly 40 years ago, and everyone has been talking about it in depth this year. Most of the content out there to date has been focused on getting the world up to speed on all the interesting tools that marketers have at their disposal and how to use them to ease marketing efforts.

But the question is, just because AI is the shiny new toy for marketers to play with, should you? My quick take is, yes, why not, as long as you dont use a set-it-and-forget-it attitude. In this article, I want to call attention to a few things to consider before you jump into AI head first.

1. Brand & Tone

Let’s be honest, robots sound like robots and if you copy and paste from Chat GPT, your customers will sniff it out. AI is fantastic at writing information based on what it learns about your business, but it doesn’t understand your brand’s complete uniqueness, yet. Human oversight is essential, as AI algorithms lack the contextual understanding required for more complex brand communication. It can however discern patterns and nuances that define a brand’s voice by analyzing vast volumes of consumer interactions and content that already exists about your business.

2. Confidentiality & Privacy

AI-powered analytics let you process vast amounts of consumer data, so you can tailor marketing campaigns. However, this capability raises concerns about the confidentiality of personal medical information — if it’s a concern for your customer, then it should be a concern for you. As AI delves deep into consumer behaviors and preferences, there’s an inherent risk of mishandling sensitive data, potentially leading to breaches of confidentiality and privacy. Striking the right balance between utilizing AI’s insights and safeguarding customer information has become paramount.

3. Differentiation

Back to my brand voice point above… If you just copy and paste what AI creates for you, then how will you maintain differentiation and a competitive edge? You have to be intent and specific in the way that you use AI and make sure that you aren’t doing the same thing that every other business is doing. Through data-driven insights, AI can distill invaluable information about consumer preferences, behaviors, and trends, allowing marketers to craft more targeted and relevant offerings. The key here is never forgetting who you are as a brand and what you believe in and keep it unique.

The Sum

From personalized customer experiences to enhanced engagement, and data-driven insights to predictive analytics, AI is redefining how marketers connect with their audience and operate within their landscapes. The integration of AI not only improves marketing operational efficiency but also enables marketers to provide more personalization and stand out from the competition. Ultimately, AI empowers marketers to embody innovation, customer centricity, and adaptability and ultimately helps them be more human in their approach to marketing.

This post was originally posted in partnership with PCCA on their blog in a pharmacy marketing format.

5 Reasons Why Startups Shouldn’t Work In Coffee Shops

5 Reasons Why Startups Shouldn’t Work In Coffee Shops

For many entrepreneurs that are tired of working from home, the corner coffee shop has become a haven for getting plugged-in to get productive with laptops out and headphones on. I can see why many entrepreneurs make coffee joints their place of biz; they’re from open morning til night, offer a warm atmosphere and have plenty of startup fuel  flowing. However, I personally have never been a fan of this work environment and have not fallen under the spell of the cafe mystique. Leaving reeking of the smell of coffee grounds is not all it is cracked up to be. I say its time to realize what the coffee shop is good for: grabbing a cup of coffee, and conversing with friends, or reading a book in leisure. Its not the place to get your startup started and I have five reasons why.

1. It’s Distracting – All entrepreneurs can agree that focus is key to success. How can anyone concentrate for a full work day in an environment of chatting, bean grinding, and brew whooshing? Not to mention the overly-loud music filling the room; most prominent at Starbucks where music labels are forcing music down your ear canals in hopes of a purchase with your latte. If you do plan to work in these distractions, invest in some noise-cancelling headphones and blinders to keep your eyes on your laptop. Just pray no one bumps the back of your chair, asks to sit at your table or spills something on you.

2. It’s Unprofessional – I have never been a fan of taking meetings at coffee shops, mostly because of reason #1 above, but in all seriousness, its just unprofessional. Sure,  it depends on whom you’re meeting with and your relationship with them. I would hope entrepreneurs would never schedule an investor pitch meeting at a Caribou. Coffee shops can be a logistical nightmare for meetings, even if they’re quick. There’s nothing worse than scheduling a meeting, showing up and not having a place to sit to conduct your meeting. Fail.

3. It’s Un-Collaborative – There may be other startup junkies in your vicinity at Intelligentsia, but since they are also desperately trying to stay focused they’re not exactly open to having collaborative discussions. Contrast to the environment at a real co-working space that promotes and breeds collaborative behavior like 1871 or the Inspire Business Club. There, it’s acceptable to join forces with other startup geeks and not have to worry about someone stealing your seat if you need to use the rest room.

4. It’s Expensive – The average latte in Chicago costs $4 and if you buy one a day that adds up to be $120/moth and $1460/year. That’s an expensive habit for bootstrapping entrepreneurs. With that money you’re spending on coffee you could afford most open-seating co-working spaces and those typically include a warm caffeinated beverage. Good luck trying to get away without making a purchase, they’ll toss you out for loitering.

5. It’s Lacking Resources – I have yet to see a barista hand over an entrepreneur mail deliveries with his caramel macchiato. Not gonna happen. You can’t have mail sent to Starbucks; you wouldn’t use their address for your business; and they probably don’t have a fax machine you could borrow. Sure they have free Wi-Fi, but its not and will never be an office. Try reserving group of tables ahead of time to have a group brainstorming session. Nope!

These reasons may be my opinions, but you gotta admit, they have some merit. I’m not saying to not frequent coffee shops, they are local businesses that need our support. I’m just saying to think twice before working there. A coffee shop may be a fine escape every once in a while, but I recommend to find a place that you can be most productive with your startup. Kudos to you for at least getting out of the house.

Motorbike Parking App, CurbNinja Launches Today

Motorbike Parking App, CurbNinja Launches Today

Motorcyclists and scooter enthusiasts need not fear the dreaded search for street parking in urban centers anymore as the mobile app  CurbNinja was launched today. Built by avid motorcyclists, founders Fred Lebed and Tim Hines have developed a simple solution to the rider’s parking dilemma. The CurbNinja app allows users to find the best and safest parking spots on public streets vetted by fellow riders. Using crowd-sourcing, the app also allows riders to share spots they find with the app’s community. The CurbNinja mobile app is available for free download on both iPhone and Android devices giving any rider with a smart phone the ability to find and share spots.

“Living in the city, you learn where all of the best places to stash your bike on the street are, especially for free. I found myself taking pictures of my bike in these spots to thwart possible tickets, and then mapping them for personal use. Before I knew it, I had all my favorite spots plotted in a single summer,” said Tim Hines, Co-Founder. “CurbNinja was born out of that mapping idea. We created the ability for users to share these spots with millions of riders across the country in turn saving them the hassles of city parking.”

The app is easy to use when searching for spots to park two-wheeled machines. Users can search by their current location or address to find spots nearby. An interactive map then displays plotted spots where users can then click to get more detailed information, including a photo to prevent any confusion when parking. CurbNinja makes finding hidden free spots and the safest paid spots easy, saving riders time and money on costly parking. And most importantly, it helps prevent pesky parking tickets and expensive towing bills.

The most unique feature is the ability for users to share spots through a form of crowd-sourcing, which CurbNinja dubs ‘Tagging’. When users find a spot that isn’t already on the on the map, they can use the Tag function to enter information about the spot and upload a photo. The spot is then plotted on the map to be searched by other users in real-time. Tagging spots empowers riders and creates collective action amongst riders allowing them to share parking information.

With their app, the CurbNinja team aims to make riding and parking in busy urban centers easier for motorbikers. For more information search for CurbNinja on the Apple App Store or Google Play or visit curbninja.com.

Chicago-Based Training Camp Helps Entrepreneurs Master Their Pitching Skills

Pitch Training Camp debuts its first public speaking training course beginning April 7th.

Pitching skills are a must-have for startup founders. A perfected pitch can make or break an entrepreneur’s chance at landing new customers, raising a round of funding or enticing a co-founder to join their team. Current resources to perfect the art of entrepreneurial pitching in the startup community have been limited until now.

Presented by Ms. TechPitch Training Camp is now taking applications for their first seven-week pitch training course that begins April 7th with an application deadline of March 28th. Much like an accelerator for pitching, the course offers a personalized approach where organizers and coaches focus on learning the individual strengths and weaknesses of each student, then working to improve their skills, and then provide tangible results. With a maximum class size of twenty, each student will receive plenty of one-on-one time and walk away with refined pitch skills no matter their current level of experience.

Hosted at Grind Chicago in the center of the city, the seven-week program meets consecutive Monday’s beginning April 7th with one full-day workshop on Saturday May 10th. Each week, students will focus on specific subjects that collectively unwrap the elements of a successful pitch.

The curriculum is based on a simple, hands-on format that gives all students, which PTC calls ‘pitchers’, the ability to craft and deliver pitches for their current business. Covering the core ideas of content, delivery and visuals, the course will offer fine-tuned lectures from expert speakers, dynamic hands-on workshop sessions and a series of challenging assignments along the way. The course concludes with a public demo event PTC calls ‘Opening Day,’ where students will showcase their perfected five-minute pitches to a group of their friends, family and peers. Opening Day is open to the public and will be held at the Micrososft Technology Center on May 19 with the goal of becoming one of Chicago’s top startup pitch events.

If you’re not convinced by PTC’s curriculum and initiatives, it has the support of top Chicago startup community initiatives including Ms. Tech, Starter League, Startup Institute, Startup Leadership Program, Crafted in Chicago, Inspire Startups and Grindspaces.

PTC coach and organizer of Startup Leadership Program Chicago, Brian Bauer, believes strongly in the PTC vision and the outcomes it provides. “Being a master story teller is critical no matter whether you are applying for a job, selling a product or trying to secure investment in your company. A program to help busy entrepreneurs master this critical skill! Is vital.” he said. Additional speakers and coaches include Mike Moyer of Lake Shark Ventures, Magda Maslowska of HauteSlides, Lindsay Mullen of Mosher Mullen Strategies, Jeremy Smith of SpotHero, Stella Faymen of OCA Ventures, Tom Denison of Startup Grind and more!

The course is designed to do just what Brian said: help entrepreneurs master the art of storytelling. PTC believes firmly that no entrepreneur should be left behind because their pitching skills are sub-par and that they should all have access to education giving them the skills to excel. In addition to student applicants, PTC is looking for coaches to mentor and help sculpt students throughout the program.

PTC is taking applications for the course now until March 28 on F6S at f6s.com/PTCApril14. For more detail on the course and the organization, visit www.pitchtrainingcamp.com.

Pitching with Technori

Pitching with Technori

Last month I had the privilege to represent one of five companies that took the stage during Technori Pitch on July 28th. After weeks of prep and an intense coaching session with Brian Burkhart of Square Planet, we were ready to go.  Here is the video from the pitch event that drew over 500 Chicago startup lovers…