AI Strategy for Sales and Marketing with Katie King
Guest Katie King is the author of AI Strategy for Sales and Marketing, this month’s Bigeye Book Club selection. Katie offers practical advice on how creative agencies can use AI, providing inspiring case studies illustrating how AI is already impacting sales, marketing, and CX across several different industry sectors. IN CLEAR FOCUS listeners can claim a 25 percent discount on AI Strategy for Sales and Marketing at KoganPage.com by using the promo code BIGEYE25 at checkout.
Adrian Tennant: Coming up in this episode of IN CLEAR FOCUS:
Katie King: AI is not sentient, it isn’t creative, but it can turn creativity into a process.
Adrian Tennant: You are listening to IN CLEAR FOCUS, fresh perspectives on the business of advertising produced weekly by Bigeye: a strategy-led, full-service creative agency, growing brands for clients globally. Hello, I’m your host, Adrian Tennant, Chief Strategy Officer. Thank you for joining us. As we discussed in last week’s episode, so-called generative AI-based tools like DALL-E and ChatGPT-3 are already being used by creative agencies to develop visuals and writing. These tools have the potential to revolutionize the creative industry, disrupting traditional ideation, concepting, and production processes. This month’s Bigeye Book Club selection is entitled AI Strategy for Sales and Marketing, Connecting Marketing, Sales, and Customer Experience. The book presents a framework for understanding how AI and machine learning can be harnessed for marketing and sales, and to boost customer centricity. The book’s author is Katie King, the CEO of AI in Business, a UK-based firm specializing in AI consulting and training. With over three decades of experience, Katie has advised many of the world’s leading brands and business leaders including Sir Richard Branson and Virgin, telecoms companies O2 and Orange, and the consulting giant, Accenture. Katie is also a member of the UK government’s All-Party Parliamentary Group task force for the enterprise adoption of AI. She’s delivered numerous TEDx talks and is a frequent commentator on BBC television and radio, as well as a sought-after keynote speaker. To discuss some of the ideas in her book, Katie is joining us today from her office, located in the county of East Sussex in England. Katie, welcome to IN CLEAR FOCUS!
Katie King: Thank you very much, Adrian. Greetings from the UK!
Adrian Tennant: Katie, first of all, could you tell us a little about your career and what led you to specialize in artificial intelligence?
Katie King: With pleasure. I’m 56 as of last week, and I’ve spent the past 30 years in marketing starting, as you would expect in the late eighties, and early nineties, in a very traditional sort of environment. I’ve worked for big agencies, servicing some of the world’s biggest brands like Virgin and many others. And I started my own business, Zoodikers, in 2010, a digital marketing company, and I’ve always felt that it’s essential to be on this journey of continuous learning. I was ahead of the game with digital and did TEDx talks on that subject and then around 2015 I thought, “Alright, I’ve now moved out of London, I’m now over a certain age, I need some unique selling proposition to give me that edge.” And I got involved in AI, wrote a white paper for a major organization, and it’s gone from there. [I’ve] since written two books on the subject and got heavily involved in the industry. So it was really a question of survival, staying ahead, trying to foresee what’s coming down the line, doing my own research.
Adrian Tennant: Well, as you know, for the Bigeye Book Club this month we selected AI Strategy for Sales and Marketing, which came out at the beginning of 2022. But before that, in 2019, your first book Using Artificial Intelligence in Marketing, was published by Kogan Page. Katie, what prompted you to write AI Strategy for Sales and Marketing so soon after your first book?
Katie King: Well, as many of your listeners will probably know, AI moves very fast! There are new developments and innovations every day. So I wrote book one in 2018, published in 2019, but already as you are writing it, and in that process of it being published, there are new case studies, there are new developments, new entrants into the market. So although the book was only a year old, it felt that a lot had moved on. It’s still very current, especially my scorecard for success. But I felt that particularly the sector of PR, public relations, marketing, comms, was late, so it hadn’t yet come to the party and I really did need to write another book. Book One opened lots of doors, but more and more vendors were coming onto the market, so I started writing book two and the conditions when I wrote book two were very, very different because we had the pandemic, and that was really reflecting the way the world was. You know, I got started on it and we couldn’t do all of the festive things, couldn’t go out to the shops, couldn’t see family, but we did have the technology. And technology meant we could all remain connected. And so actually the digitization that happened during the worldwide pandemic accelerated people’s interest and knowledge of AI and I think actually helped quite a lot of the vendors to get on board. So that’s really the main reason.
Adrian Tennant: So Katie, in brief, what can readers expect to learn from AI Strategy for Sales and Marketing?
Katie King: Well, it’s packed with very pragmatic, accessible case studies. Lots of tech vendors, but also lots of end-user companies. It’s rich across a number of different industry sectors and where Book one had the scorecard for success, which a lot of companies have gamified, in the second book, I also, you know, realized that people liked those pragmatic, how do I get started? So I came up with my standardized framework. It talks about what’s the S? The S is the strategy, and the T is time. And then it sort of talks you through how do I get started? Who are some of the vendors that I could talk to? What are some of the limitations and is it affordable? So, like book one, a very pragmatic, honest overview of what AI machine learning is, how people can use them, how they’re impacting, particularly the business functions of sales, marketing, and CX across a number of different industry sectors.
Adrian Tennant: In your book, you identify, of course, several benefits of using AI in business. Now for folks involved in marketing and advertising, what are some ways AI is already being used to support marketing, communications, and sales functions?
Katie King: Yeah, that’s such a good question. That’s what people want to know. How can we use it? So you’ve got many marketers using AI-powered tools so that they can craft their social media messages, their email marketing campaigns, their web copy. So on the sales side, it’s helping organizations to come up with a pitch to a potential customer to keep the pipeline of leads warm with prospects. There are tools like Concured and Phrasee, and it’s saying to people, how do I tailor my message to a specific audience so that I can offer the best value proposition every time? So contrary to what people think of big, shiny robots coming taking our jobs, this is mass personalization. So I like to talk about augmented intelligence, that’s what AI can give us, whether we’re in comms, PR, marketing, sales, or CX, it’s a series of tools that we need to invest in that can give us big data insights on all different aspects of what we do. And that might be analysis. It might be like I say, lead generation or lead scoring. It could be brand watch and it could actually be automating some of the more monotonous tasks that we do of creating reports and so on. But one of the keys is identifying trends and sentiment analysis and crunching data at volumes and speeds that our, albeit incredible human brains can do, but maybe across multiple languages all over the world, you know, and so on. That’s really the benefit at the moment of AI in the sectors that you mentioned.
Adrian Tennant: We often talk about retail marketing on IN CLEAR FOCUS, and you devote a chapter of your book to exploring how AI is reshaping retail and hospitality. In what kinds of ways are you seeing retailers using AI?
Katie King: Mmmm, retail’s such an interesting place right now. I mean, the pandemic changed a lot of our habits. But we haven’t given up on our old ways. So we’ve got some retailers struggling with, are we going all in on digital or are we holding onto some bricks and mortar? And so, what we’re doing is we’re seeing AI applied in a hybrid manner. So physically, you know, it might be delivering digital experiences to customers. They’ve come to expect that, and then it might be bringing something into the store, you know, for more of an omnichannel experience. So maybe the AI is part of the website for personalized product recommendations. And then maybe in the store it could be a sensor. So you’ve got artificial intelligence, but then you’ve also got the Internet of things. So these sensors could be used to track footfall, assessing which products customers are gravitating towards so that we can offer them push messages and offers and so on. and then you’ve got smart mirrors and other kinds of areas. Even wastage, it might be a food retailer and the AI might be really predicting with great accuracy how many people are going to dine in that store or purchase that amount of perishable goods. So, you know, really, really useful information that is making us as retailers greener, and more able to offer our customers what they require.
Adrian Tennant: Well, in the context of supermarket chains, many of whom now have their own retail media networks, do you foresee AI impacting food producers or CPG brands in some ways?
Katie King: Most definitely. So I’ve got a whole section of book two that talks about how various grocery chains, particularly in the United States, you know, how they’ve adopted AI. And food producers and CPG brands aren’t any different. So one that springs to mind is Nestle, and Nestle actually featured in book two and gave me a really good review of book one. So I got to know them through that. And they’re using AI across their business from marketing to manufacturing, to product development. So, you know, for organizations like that, for retailers like those, it’s about AI helping develop, you know, better products, safer practices, as well as insights into what customers really, really want. And I think in the long run, what we’re looking at here is, um, a better, a more efficient supply chain, like I said a moment ago, less waste and a better product offering. Now all of this comes with the caveat of consent. You know, the consumer, the customer needs to give consent to the usage of that data in order for the retailer to be able to give a much better experience.
Adrian Tennant: What are some of the most common pain points or problems that motivate your clients to reach out to you, and have they changed during the years that you’ve been advocating the adoption of AI?
Katie King: At the heart of everything is a competitive advantage. I think that’s the main one. The nature of that has changed, but that’s really been the crux. We need to survive. We need to thrive. We want to be an innovator, or we are a laggard and we need to kind of keep up. But for many of them that are adopting it, you know, in this sort of earlier phase, then it is about a competitive edge. Um, and many have found themselves having to do more with less or facing new challenges and setbacks post the pandemic. So I think, you know, the pandemic made us less loyal and more likely to switch, and now we’re going through difficult economic times globally. And the same is true there. You know, people are shopping around for the best bargains and so on. So what the AI is doing is enabling us to satisfy existing client demand and understand the profile of that customer and help us find customers and clients like that. And I think, you know, many struggle with where do we start? It’s such a wild west out there with thousands of different vendors, who do I turn to? So my advices are often around, you know, how do I access it? Who do I turn to? What are some of the big macro issues to consider with that?
Adrian Tennant: Your first book, Using Artificial Intelligence in Marketing, presented a framework for marketers to identify and apply opportunities to maximize their results with AI. Katie, you referenced it a moment ago, but I’m interested in how you’ve expanded on this idea in your second book.
Katie King: It’s really interesting cuz I speak a lot, and I run training and you know, do podcasts like this and I keep going back to the scorecard cause it’s still super relevant even though it was published in 2019. But I did produce for book two, the standardized framework, which I touched on a moment ago. And I also included in the book other frameworks like the Rolls-Royce ALETHIA framework. So, some might be highly complex projects and some might be a customer in all different industry sectors, an organization looking to get started with AI. So, each chapter of the book has 10 tips, you know, for how people can get started. And the whole premise of the book is these are case studies that are analyzed and we’re giving you steps, as to how you get started. So both of those two frameworks plus the Elithia Rolls-Royce framework, plus lots of hints and tips is really how I advise and what the books focus on.
Adrian Tennant: Let’s take a short break. We’ll be right back after this message.
Adrian Tennant: Each month in partnership with our friends at Kogan Page, the Bigeye book Club features interviews with authors who are experts in consumer research, retail, and branding. Our featured book for January is Katie King’s book, AI Strategy for Sales and Marketing, connecting Marketing, sales, and Customer Experience. IN CLEAR FOCUS, listeners can save 25% on a print or electronic version of Katie’s book with the exclusive promo code BIGEYE25. This code is valid for all products and pre-orders and applies to Kogan Page’s free paperback and e-book bundle offer. When you order direct from Kogan Page, shipping is always free to the US and UK, and it helps the authors too. So to order your copy of AI strategy for sales and marketing, go to KoganPage.com. That’s K O G A N P A G E dot com.
Adrian Tennant: Welcome back. I’m talking with Katie King, the CEO of the consulting firm, AI in Business, and author of our Bigeye Book Club Selection, AI Strategy for Sales and Marketing, published by Kogan Page. Katie, your book includes case studies from organizations across a range of sectors, including Samsung, Rolls-Royce, Deloitte, and Hilton, to name a few. Is there one case in particular that you think would be especially relevant for brand marketers or folks working in advertising?
Katie King: Yeah, definitely. I mean, all of the case studies are compiled mostly from my own interviews, but also from my own research, I find really fascinating. Phrasee is a vendor, and the organization using their services is Dixon Warehouse and Nissan Car Manufacturing are really, really interesting case studies for marketers. So without delving deeply into them, what we’re really looking at here with Phrasee and Dixons is a case study of how AI is helping a brick-and-mortar business to get through the pandemic. And with Nisan it’s about allowing customers to be part of your business, which I think is really interesting for marketeers. So there’s excellent case studies in chapter three that talk about how advertisers and brand marketers can benefit like L’Oreal and Perfect Corp who are really intriguing cuz they’re demonstrating something really personal like beauty and how beauty can be shaped by technology. So they’re the ones that I would really sort of pick out, as some of the highlights for marketers.
Adrian Tennant: And for folks who may be unfamiliar, could you just give us an idea of what Phrasee is?
Katie King: Yes. So it’s really a tool for identifying, what is that sweet spot of marketing, how can we understand our customer and come up with some fantastic content and find out how that content is going to actually be served to that particular retailer, for example. So, you know, what is the profile of the Dixon’s customer? How can we create content that’s really gonna hit that sweet spot and make them really resonate with our particular offer and get better click-throughs and get better engagement with them.
Adrian Tennant: Excellent. In chapter seven of AI Strategy for Sales and Marketing, you state that “the new era of AI demands a more fitting economic model.” Katie, can you unpack that for us?
Katie King: Yes, definitely. So, you know, really what we’re saying here is we need to adopt an economic model that doesn’t just further the interests of the business, but has a positive impact on the world at large. So we’re seeing a rising corporate social responsibility and business for good, AI for good, and other types of initiatives. But the entire structure of our economic system needs to prioritize better outcomes for everybody involved. So I’ve been heavily involved with the All-Party Parliamentary group, which looks at adoption of AI, and we hear evidence from all over the world regularly, about initiatives about that. And I also run my own program: it’s all about the leaders of tomorrow in tech, and it’s all pro bono, and it’s looking at how young people in schools need to understand how AI is shaping the careers of tomorrow. So it’s really about, what are the ethical considerations of the way we collect data and the way that we use it. So it’s making sure that this new economic model prioritizes not just what’s best, you know, for businesses. And I’m really passionate about that. Um, and I don’t think this type of technology that AI and machine learning will really take off until we can reassure people that the frameworks and the regulation and the, you know, the guidelines are all in place.
Adrian Tennant: Katie, how should educational institutions, many of them here in the US, facing declining numbers of students taking traditional courses, be thinking about their future in relation to AI?
Katie King: Yeah, I’m very passionate about that subject. Adrian. Like I mentioned briefly, I have this program, Leaders of Tomorrow in tech and I have a whole chapter in book two all about AI and education and some very frustrated, commentators in the book, you know, frustrated about how slow schools are, um, particularly governments, you know, the education, departments of governments all around the world in some countries are too slow to respond. But of course, the schools have got to work within that national curriculum, so you know, it’s finding opportunities if their governments are too slow and if the students aren’t being taught what they need to prepare them for careers that are going to be reshaped by this kind of technology, then from an extracurricular point of view, guest speakers and so on, they need to be thinking about, you know, how is this technology being leveraged? Because the technology can actually help the delivery of the actual training. And the training needs to teach them how is this technology gonna reshape all of the things you’re going to do in the workforce. So I think they need to try to influence their own education departments government-wise, and, you know, give some pushback, but also fill the gap in the meantime so that they inspire their students and equip them with what they need going forward.
Adrian Tennant: Since Open AI’s ChatGPT-3 was released in December, print and online publications covering marketing and advertising have been conjecturing whether or not AI will one day replace human creativity. Katie, what’s your take? Do agency copywriters and art directors need to fear applications like ChatGPT or DALL-E?
Katie King: Not fear it. Not fear it in terms of it’s going to take away all of their jobs, but if they aren’t using it, then they’re going to get left behind quite quickly. So of course I’ve seen all the discourse on it and yes, it’s amazing what both can do, but they still are fairly limited. That’s the reality. They operate within the parameters we give them. So ChatGPT, it can only write what you tell it to. And DALL-E can create what we tell it to create. So we, the creatives, we are the, we are required to come up with the ideas, to analyze them, to be the person that interacts with the client about it. So, you know, AI is great at producing the insights following our lead, but it lacks that well-rounded knowledge to truly grasp what this information is about. How do we transform those insights into a strategy? Now, it’s interesting when you think about creative strategy, AI is not sentient, it isn’t creative, but it can turn creativity into a process. For example, IBM Watson working with Lexus luxury car brands and the AI studying many, many years of award-winning TV adverts, and then understanding what is it that makes it award-winning. Is it the setting? Is it the wording? Is it the people? Is it whatever it might be, the colors, the imagery, and it can then break all of that down and come up with an award-winning TV advert. So yes, we do need to be mindful of being left behind and not using these tools and our competitors will. And others might turn to them as a result. So I think we have to get on board with it, we have to continue enjoying maybe more of the strategic aspects of what we do, and leave the AI tools to do more of those analytical, data-driven tasks that we can then oversee. And I think it’s a very exciting space to be in and not to be feared.
Adrian Tennant: Katie, you and your team consult with businesses to help them develop AI strategies. Now, from a client’s perspective, what does an engagement with your team look like?
Katie King: Good question. So everyone’s different, every client’s different. Their needs are different. Just to also clarify here, I’m not a technology company. I have AIinBusiness.co uk, but I’m a management consultant. So I’m helping organizations first of all, what is ai? How do you apply this technology, in particular, to your comms, to your marketing, to your sales? How do you implement the software? How do you oversee the AI project? So I help them with that, help them find vendors. But more often than not, again, being completely direct here and transparent, I’m helping them from the point of view of running training workshops on it, delivering keynotes on it, some consultancy on it as well. And often that is about their mindset. Maybe the management team or the board need to understand why this is so important in order to get on board with it, in order to free up some cash, in order to then let it escalate down the organization. Or it might be a marketing team, training that team on how is it being deployed. Who are some of the vendors that they need to go out there? So they tend to be the types of products and services. I’ve got an MBA and 30 years of experience in the tech sector, but I’m not teaching people how to code, in AI and so on. There are many other very talented people who can do that.
Adrian Tennant: Katie, you’ve enjoyed a successful career in what is still typically a male-dominated industry. Have you faced challenging situations as a woman working in tech?
Katie King: Not necessarily. I know that women certainly, well, we are still outnumbered in the AI space, but I’m heavily involved with Women in AI and there’s so many groups like STEMX, and Girls Who Code, and Code First Girls. So there’s loads of, loads of initiatives, and I’ve had the pleasure over the years to work with people like Maria ? from PwC, Caroline Gorski from Rolls- Royce, and Professor Rose Luckin at University College London, and I haven’t necessarily, because of the nature of my personality, I’m gregarious and confident and have self-esteem, and I’m really, really tenacious. If you are not like that, you could find it daunting to walk into a room of men or go to a conference, very male-dominated. And so I do think it’s really, really important that we have programs that push girls forward in this space, like my Leaders of Tomorrow in Tech, like some of the other initiatives that I’ve mentioned. So I think it’s important that we redress that balance and that we encourage girls into technology, even in other sectors that they’re going into, whether it’s fashion or media or the law or construction, that they understand that still those industries are quite male-dominated.
Adrian Tennant: Katie, if there are any young women listening that have an interest in some of the topics we’ve been discussing today, what advice would you give them?
Katie King: If you are of a technical nature, you love the sciences, the IT, and so on, amazing. You know, go and learn to code, go and get involved in some of the more technical aspects of these technologies. But whatever your type of skill set, it’s essential that you understand the impact that these technologies are gonna make. and really what I’m coming to is more of a personal trait, don’t have imposter syndrome. Go out there and join LinkedIn. Ask to join LinkedIn groups. Invest your own time in virtual and face-to-face networking groups. Ask for work experience. So it’s that tenacity and that self-esteem, you know, whatever your upbringing, whatever your financial means. There are so many free courses, like, there’s a fantastic free course on AI from the University of Helsinki, which isn’t that technical and is for the non-techy people. So it’s a mixture of that, you know, get involved in this space and enjoy it and make sure that you are tenacious and you ask, and you don’t wait for it passively to come to you.
Adrian Tennant: Katie, if IN CLEAR FOCUS listeners would like to learn more about you and your consulting and training services, where can they find you?
Katie King: The best place to go to is AIinBusiness.co uk. That’s my website and that covers the books, the keynotes, the training, and so on. You can find me on LinkedIn, you can find me on Twitter. So, Twitter is @KatieEKing and Facebook and others are KatieKingMBA. But go to the website, AIinBusiness.co.uk and all of the digital links, social links are there, you can listen to extracts from the book and from the book launch and so on. So yeah, please, I’d love to connect with many of your listeners.
Adrian Tennant: And if you’d like a copy of Katie’s book, AI Strategy for Sales and Marketing, you can save 25 percent on either a print or electronic version of Katie’s book when you purchase directly from the publisher online at KoganPage.com. Just add the promo code, BIGEYE25, at the checkout. Katie, thank you very much for being our guest this week on IN CLEAR FOCUS!
Katie King: Thank you, Adrian. Thank you for a stimulating conversation. Yeah, fantastic.
Adrian Tennant: Thanks to my guest this week, Katie King, the CEO of the consulting firm, AI in Business, and the author of the book, AI Strategy for Sales and Marketing, connecting Marketing, Sales, and Customer Experience. As always, you’ll find a transcript with links to the resources we discussed today on the IN CLEAR FOCUS page at Bigeye agency.com. Just select podcast from the menu. If you enjoyed this episode, please consider following us wherever you listen to podcasts. Thank you for listening to IN CLEAR FOCUS, produced by Bigeye. I’ve been your host, Adrian Tennant, until next week, goodbye.