Marketing strategies are critical for all businesses. Most know this. But few know where to start. Step Change Marketing, based in Sydney, has unveiled a pretty exciting tool to solve this dilemma – The Virtual Marketing Strategist.
An online tool to help achieve growth goals?
The Virtual Marketing Strategist takes a “choose your own adventure” approach — asking provocative questions to marketing managers – questions that businesses aren’t likely to have asked themselves.
Jeff Cooper, general manager at Step Change, explains how it works.
“Strategy [is about] asking the right questions. The system will only ever ask nine out of over 60 possible questions. It selects the questions, based on a user’s [unique] business situation.
“There are hundreds of possible question combinations loaded into the program, with no two reports ever being the same… This is far more respectful of the user’s time and acknowledges that they know their business! It’s artificial intelligence meets marketing.”
What’s the catch?
The Virtual Marketing Strategist offers Australian businesses a free trial that is audio-visually integrated.
Strategists will walk business leaders through the 15-minute process and help leaders ask the questions necessary to finding the best marketing opportunity for them.
The model appears to employ the freemium model — where a product or service is offered free of charge, but makes its money by charging a premium for advanced features. In this instance, the free trial is used as a attractive invitation to get familiar with Step Marketing’s broader set of services and, hopefully, compel the user to purchase beyond the trial.
After completing the process, the user is emailed a brief strategy report with ideas on growth and how the business can move forward. Users can, naturally, also opt for a Step Change Marketing strategist (a real, live one) to look at the report and give additional feedback.
What’s particularly interesting about the approach is that it shifts what is traditionally a knowledge-based, pay-by-the-hour consultancy model into a product-focused, pay as you go business — that does not depend on key players and is infinitely scalable.
Can a robot plan your marketing?
Step Change’s Cooper is quick to point out that the company understands there is no substitution for great human strategic thought. But new technology brings new opportunities for success.
Ashton Bishop, a strategist for Step Change, says, “There [are] heaps of competition out there with many agencies [claiming] they ‘know your business’. It’s often misleading and just not true.
“We decided not to just be another talker, but rather show the way we think and how digital can be a low cost, 24/7 agency member that can create value for existing clients and new business prospects.”
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