I got an SMS from Air Asia saying that guests flying from Delhi to Imphal could take an extra 10 Kilos free baggage because of the situation there. I confess I had to google to figure out what exactly prompted this. The situation – where supplies have been prevented from getting through on road by blockades – sounds terrible. I hadn’t heard about it because the various algorithms that now deliver my news did not consider that I had sufficient affinity with the North East, while there’s plenty of online evidence that I have visited Berlin. The folks at Air Asia did however know about the situation in Manipur, and are doing something for their customers. It’s the right thing to do, but I got to thinking, will customers change their future purchase preferences to reward them? Probably not. So are we, as customers, training marketers to be heartless? To equate loyalty with purchase? As more and more of our lives gets automated it is useful for us to think what kind of preferences we want to teach our bots. As marketers and as customers we have a duty to be unpredictable, to reward the good gesture. Otherwise we deserve to be managed by bots.
I was 10 years old when I saw my first mainframe and the idea of being a computer engineer crossed my mind. As none of the other professions I came up with were considered practical, I ended up doing computer engineering and even had expert systems as the final project topic. Artificial Intelligence (AI) today is way ahead of those crude algorithms and is training us to behave differently. We no longer remember numbers or routes – that’s been outsourced. Recipes are on YouTube and our groceries can be in a smart basket. Even the music you like is ‘suggested’. In the IT outsourcing industry we used to talk about ‘core’ processes, ones that created the competitive differentiation. We now need to figure out which bits of knowledge make us who we are as individuals and should not be outsourced. Or, from a marketing perspective, which processes are most valuable to take over from a person. It says much for my gadget-dependence that when I read the news on Imphal the fact that there was an internet shutdown seemed more dire than the month-long blockade of essentials.
Technology is driving change in the way we live and if you’re in the IT industry these are exciting time. We’re hosting our 5th annual conference for IT marketers on February 21st in Bangalore, in association with ITSMA as our Knowledge Partner. Join us and make it a place where we come together and discuss how we can do things better, both individually and as a profession. The Great Indian IT Marketing Summit hosts an awards program and you can get your work recognized by applying here.
I’ll leave you now to your cinnamon latte or chamomile tea or whatever else your favourite marketing recommendation engine has told you to have at this time of the year. Mine suggests something from the liquor cabinet, but hey, this is a family newsletter 🙂
Best wishes for a warm and blessed Christmas.