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John (00:08): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch and no guest. Today I’m doing another solo show. Some of you may not like these. I get a lot of great feedback when it’s just me. It gives me a chance to kind of break down some of my thinking, my opinions, quite frankly. And today is no different. I’m going to talk about trends for 2024. Now, before I get into any of my prognostication, that’s a big word to use in the morning. Trends shows trend, post trend predictions are stupid. And the reason I say that is because a lot of times by the time you spot a trend, it’s not really a trend anymore. It’s happening or you’re just taking guesses at stuff that you think should happen. There’s so many over the years, there’s so many things that people talked about.
(01:11): This is the next trend, and 10 years later we’re still talking about it. I’m going to mention a couple things today that we’ve been talking about for a long time, and that’s the thing about trends. I think that really make them difficult to identify with any clarity. I think it’s really more a matter of acknowledging something that’s coming maybe and saying, well, gosh, how could that impact me? And then going about your business, it reminds me of the 1926 novel by Ernest Hemmingway. The Sun Also Rises. There’s a character in there and he asked, I think his name’s Bill. Bill says to Mike, so how’d you go bankrupt? And he said, two ways. Gradually and suddenly. And I think that’s the thing about trends is there’s a lot of things that we’ve talked about for years. It’s kind of the gradual it’s coming. And then by the time it gets here, it’s like, wow, that was fast.
(02:08): AI is a perfect example. I’m going to talk about ai. Of course, how could I not? But AI is a perfect example. It’s actually been coming for probably close to 10 years, certainly just in the very guts of things. I mean, if you’ve ever used Google Maps to get somewhere that has used AI forever, Siri has used AI since its inception. Obviously it’s gotten better, the technology’s gotten better, but those things have been baked into things for a long time. And then chat, GPT comes along and all of a sudden it’s the masses and sudden as a trend. So that’s my table setting. Before I get into it, I’m going to talk about five things that I think will impact the agency world, will impact the marketing world for small to mid-size businesses as well. So the first one, as I already mentioned, is ai.
(03:05): It’s certainly moved past trend, it’s here. But there were a lot of things that came along that way. Social media, mobile marketing, even search quite frankly, all came along slowly and then suddenly they were here. And I think AI certainly fits into that category. I think it’s going to be a little different. We talk about some of those other things like search and pay-per-click when it came along, and social media, we talk about those now as channels. And I think that the realization that we all need to understand on it with ai, we won’t be talking about it as some trendy new thing. It’s just going to be baked into everything. It’s going to be how we go about our day. So for example, a lot of people are using it for content writing, which is absolutely a great use. We teach it. We hold bootcamps to teach people how to use it quickly and efficiently.
(03:59): But I also use it to take a spreadsheet and say, tell me what’s in this. To summarize a document and say, give me the high spots to take a video and say, I recorded a video with a client, for example, a testimonial video and I have it. I could go through the transcript of that, but I take the transcript and say, give me three or four great sound bites. And it extracts from the already great content very efficiently. So I think that kind of usage is going to become just commonplace. We won’t even think about it. We’ll go to chat GBT or some other AI platform every single day to accomplish some of the tasks that we accomplish. We’ll write SOPs that will allow people who have maybe no experience in the field that we’re asking them to work in, and they’ll be able to efficiently use some of these tools like any good research assistant might use in aiding somebody writing a book and aiding somebody who is trying to come up with a draft for some content.
(05:04): It’s certainly going to filter in. I mean, right now there are people that play with Dolly and play with the other image creating tools, but that’s going to get better and it’s going to spill into video. There are platforms today, I’m not saying that they’re there or perfect yet, but there are platforms today that you can actually train with some amount of your voice of you actually speaking and you actually on video and they will actually be able to take any transcript or text that script that you feed it and then create very synced up live looking videos. So those advances are going to just keep coming every single day. But I think the real power of many of the AI tools is just the efficiency and the time saving aspects of it will maybe someday get to the point where it can write better than a human being.
(06:04): I don’t know that we’ll ever get there because again, I always tell people that it can create great content, but it can’t create context. It can’t understand the context in which somebody might be consuming that content. And I think that’s always going to be the element that a strategic marketer can certainly add to anything. Alright, let’s move on to number two. Search. I think it’s, again, it’s one of those that has evolved gradually. I mean whatever Google wanted it to be, it became to a large degree, but it’s gotten, I don’t know if it’s gotten better or not. It’s certainly evolved in terms of the results that they show. And from an SEO standpoint, from a marketer’s standpoint, certainly evolved in terms of how you get those results. But I think we’re actually going to see in 2024 some pretty dramatic changes in really the whole paradigm of search and how search is done and how we get results and what results we’re looking for.
(07:09): Things like answer engines are going to and optimizing free answer engines are going to happen. The fight is always going to be with Google because Google wants to show paid ads. I mean, that’s where they make their money. They don’t make any money in search. They make their money because they’re able to show all those ads right along with search in a very contextual way. So are they going to kill the golden goose or is the golden goose going to be taken from them in a lot of ways without them, unless they respond in an entirely new way in which we get results, I think there will be ad free search engine opportunities. I think that there will be ways in which we can just similar to what you do in chat GPT today, that’s not far off from the model I think of search, where you just go and put in, I’m going on a trip to blah blah blah and I want to visit these and I have five days and here’s who’s going to be in my group.
(08:11): And it’s going to spit out an itinerary for you as opposed to just giving you what TripAdvisor says of the top 10 spots or to go visit because TripAdvisor is able to dominate the search results. Doesn’t mean they’re any good, but a lot of people rely on them. And so I think that that ability to create custom very detailed search is similar to what I think people experience in chat GPT today chat. GPT is not perfect. It’s not real time. It doesn’t have, it’s terribly inaccurate. Its citations are bad, its data is bad. It sometimes says, well, here’s an answer. I don’t know where that came from. But I think the experience that people are having with that type of search query is certainly going to be what we expect. And I think you’re going to see some sudden changes. We’ve had gradual changes and I think we’re going to see some sudden changes in search number three, this is another funny one, video live streaming.
(09:20): They’ve been around now, well 20 years really live streaming maybe 10 years. People have used them in various ways, certainly promotionally. I mean you look at what’s going on with the micro video snack video in places like TikTok and every other platform that copies them. And so it’s not a matter of saying, oh, video’s here, it’s finally here now we should be using it. I mean, people have obviously been using it effectively for many, many years. The reason I put it on here as a trend is I believe that it is going to become, become the basis for how content is created. And what I mean by that is it will be video first for almost all content. And the reason I say that is because marrying it with some of the AI tools I think gives you the ability to get some amazing efficiencies out of a 10 minute video where you’re explaining something.
(10:23): You can take that transcript and create a 3000 word blog post that is formatted exactly the way the current search engine crawling is looking for. You can take that video and cut it up into 27 TikTok type videos where it’ll take out the ums, which I do frequently give you. So I think that while the trend itself of video is hardly a trend, but I believe we’re going to see an explosion in the creation of video because it is the content first platform for lots of your video creation. There’s no denying the trust factor that comes across in video. There’s no denying that people like to consume video. Look at what happens in YouTube every single day. So I think it’s been around, but I’m leaning into the trend, the idea of a video first in terms of its content. Alright, another one. See I’m going to say this.
(11:30): This doesn’t sound like a broken record. Another one that’s been around for quite some time data privacy and complying with data privacy. It’s the whole reason we have Google Analytics four curse it all you want, but Google got tired of being fined by countries that had passed strict data privacy rules. Facebook is certainly moving towards it. Do you remember the days when you could have all these selects that really allowed you, I remember seeing in the early days of Facebook targeting somebody that was trying to target his wife because it was her birthday and he wanted her to be the only one in the audience that could actually see the ad that he placed. And he was able to get that granular that he was able to accomplish that. So the days of that granular level of targeting are certainly gone. And so we’ve been talking about this one for a long time.
(12:28): I mean GDPR, when was that passed five years ago? And you’re not really hearing people talking about it. You certainly are hearing people give lip service to it. You’re hearing people that are doing some just kind of basic compliance with it with privacy policies and terms of services and things like that that have become kind of standard fair. But I think that the adoption came about punitively, right? It is like if you don’t adopt this, you’re going to get slapped on the hand or worse. And that’s never a really great motivator for most people. What’s happening now certainly is that the ability to get third party data is just online, at least is going away. It’s kind of funny, but again, I came into this world of marketing before we had online and digital and you still can today offline get some pretty incredible amount of data.
(13:32): You can buy list of people that live in a certain geography, make a certain income and have a certain disease, have been diagnosed with a certain disease that you want to target. That’s a terrible example. But that’s the kind of stuff you can get offline. So it’ll be interesting to see if that level of privacy ever comes to the offline world, but it’s certainly here in the digital world. Third party data is just going to get harder and harder to get. So what’s the trend part of that? Obviously building enough trust to get first party data and that’s the game we’ve been at forever, right? Enough trust that somebody will give you their email address and other information, maybe their phone number and their mailing address because they want to buy a product from you. That level of data collection and trust building to get that level of data collection I think is going to become the event.
(14:27): It’s going to become more and more apparent that people that don’t have that are not going to just be able to rely on bombing Facebook ads. Alright, the last one, not a trend at all, except aspects of it are, and this is one of those that has been with us forever. I’m just going to throw it out, it’s customer experience, but it’s one of those that I think the pandemic here, I’m here, I’m in end of 2023, still blaming the pandemic, but it’s one of those that I think really elevated people’s expectation when it comes to customer experience and frankly that’s employee experience, that that’s culture inside of organizations. I think those all go very much hand in hand. And I think we’ve seen a lot of rebellion almost with organizations that don’t really get that. And customer experience means a lot of things. And that’s probably the thing that’s changed the most is what that actually means to people.
(15:28): It used to be solely that somebody answered the phone and that they were nice and that somebody was able to get a resolution to a problem that they had when somebody became a customer. It was a, if not joyful, it was at least a convenient experience. And I think that today there are a lot of companies that aren’t doing that, even matching that level. I mean, try getting an insurance company on the phone. Try getting a rental car agency that you left your prized water bottle in their car. I know that’s a very specific example. Try getting them on the phone, right? It’s not going to happen. So there’s a lot of people that are not doing it. So in a lot of ways what the digital presence has really done and AI bots have really done is they’ve given people one of two paths.
(16:26): They’ve given them the ability to wall off any need for human interaction, right? It’s like, here, talk to our bot. Go through, fill out this form, go through the phone tree to get to the answer that you want. So it’s given people the ability to actually provide no service in a lot of ways, but it’s also given people the ability to provide the level of experience that somebody wants. There are certain instances in which, I’ll use an example of my eye doctor. When I am up for an annual exam, I can go to their website and I can make an appointment. I will get a notification when that appointment is coming, I’ll go to the appointment. And there was no need. It was actually far more efficient for both parties to have that online scheduling. So there was really no need to have somebody answer a phone and say, oh, okay, well we’ll get back to you like five times later.
(17:27): We finally get the appointment schedule. So it offers the ability when used correctly to offer a frictionless, very speedy, very convenient experience. And I think those are elements of an elevated customer experience that people want and expect today. Married then with true trust building value at every possible interaction. And I think that that is clear to me that if we’re not reaching out to our existing customers and making sure that we are meeting their evolving needs, that we are helping them achieve the goals that they want to achieve, we are helping them with the transformation that they want to achieve. That’s our job. Having an AI bot or having an FAQ section on our website, those are nice. Those are things that give people the speed and convenience that they want, but then we need to supplement that I think with what I used to call hugs and handshakes that we can do, even if it’s done online, done via Zoom, done via one-to-one video on Loom.
(18:38): Those types of touches people are expecting. And the beauty of elevating your customer experience is that not everybody’s doing it. So it is a brilliant way to stand out. Alright, that’s it for my wrap up of the 2024 trends. Nothing too trendy in there. It’s more a matter of recognizing that trends happen gradually and then suddenly. Alright, take care. I’d love to hear your feedback. If you’ve got any comments or thoughts on these trends you’ve got, anything you want to add? I’m just John at Duct Tape Marketing and of course we love those reviews and five stars that you give us in the various places that you listen to your, all right, take care. Hopefully we’ll run into you one of these days soon out there on the road.
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