Monday, 6 February 2017

Studying at a postgraduate level to keep an edge in my career

10 years after my undergraduate degree in Communications, and with almost my entire career spent in Marketing following that, I decided to embark on the Master of Marketing at the University of Sydney.

With some trepidation about studying again I thought to evaluate exactly what I wanted to gain out of my experience at the university and postgraduate study, and I realised what it came down to was gaining further credibility within the industry in Australia.

With a competitive job market, and high expectations for myself of where I wanted to take my career, studying at a post-graduate level was the best way forward to cement my understanding of relevant Marketing theories and keep an edge in my career.

Given the pace that technology has developed since my initial studies, I found learning about the latest theories in the units Consumer Behaviour and Evaluating Marketing Performance, to be some of the most valuable days spent in the course to date. So much has changed as far as consumers making purchase decisions with the ability to quickly check a price, or find another retailer and product advice online. The way marketers work alongside finance, sales, strategy and the C-Suite has become even more important than before as we look to show the value of our campaigns, not just from a brand awareness perspective, but aligned to long term company objectives and revenues.

The best thing about the Master of Marketing course? The networks created, and friends from all different career backgrounds and countries around the world, and the confidence gained by having an additional layer of credibility to take an opportunity at a promotion, new career, engage in a higher level of strategic planning and conversation, or to try something new.

Lana Montgomery
Current Master of Marketing student at the University of Sydney Business School

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Are Chatbots the future of E-Commerce?

With Valentine’s Day coming up I wish 1-800-flowers was available in Australia. Being able to order flowers from Facebook Messenger is so 2017, you can literally place an order in a minute without having to call or physically go to the florist. Chatbot is the new black.

In the early days of Artificial Intelligence research, chatbots were seen as an intriguing (but for the most part, useless) technology. Today, chatbots are poised to revolutionise the way we communicate and could change marketing forever. Chatbots and the A.I. technology that enables them are on the rise and constantly evolving.

eMarketer predicts that by 2018, 65% of the global population will use messaging apps. And with so many of these messaging apps now supporting chatbots, it’s not surprising that the global chatbot market is expected to grow exponentially between 2016 and 2023 (source: Credence Research). 

Fun fact: did you know that Facebook Messenger alone now has more than 30,000 chatbots you can interact with. These include 1-800-Flowers chatbot for ordering flower, Poncho chatbot for checking the weather and Uber chatbot for finding a ride. (source: Global Web Index)

As e-commerce consumers become more comfortable interacting with machines online, chatbots will inevitably continue to dominate the online landscape.

Although most chatbot tasks are relatively basic for now, that is unlikely to be the case for long. Conversational dead-ends happen, and answers are often tone-deaf. But like real people, chatbots need time to learn — think of them as trial and error. 

If you go off script, for example, to change your delivery date, the chatbot doesn’t always follow you. Often you’ll go all the way to the end before you can cancel your order and start again. But chatbots will get smarter as more people keep using them, and as developer perfect what it is that people want and need.

Like all good things in life, it takes time!