Addicted to tech trends? Dayton and Furlong on AI and other “magic”

by Adrian Dayton

[author: Claire Trevien]

There are three types of people in this world: those who ignore innovation, those who implement innovation selectively and thoughtfully, and those who believe the hype of every innovation. Clearview Social’s most recent webinar on the top 5 marketing tech trends brought home how prevalent that last category is. If you are suffering from this too, here is your 3-step intervention.

Step 1: AI isn’t magic

The webinar’s special guest, Jordan Furlong, quoted from a 3 Geeks and a Law Blog post by Ryan McLead which states:

If Sir Arthur were writing today I think he may have replaced ‘magic’ with ‘artificial intelligence’.

AI has become our modern sorcery.  It’s both our savior and our bogey-man. It will most likely show us how to be better human beings right before it destroys our worthless pathetic lives, because it’s a vindictive demon unleashed by godless computer scientists.

We define AI, like magic, as anything we don’t completely understand.

As Furlong points out, AI already lives among us – you are using it every day: “your spam filter is AI fundamentally” – it’s just that because those functions are routine, not magic, it’s easy to dismiss them as not AI.

And yet, if you want to be that sexy magic forward-thinking firm, you have to acknowledge the reality of AI and not just the hype.

So yes, that probably means getting a bit more excited about spam filters.

Step 2: Tech trends require follow-through

There’s always someone in your business who will wake up one morning and declare “we should do Pinterest! Quizzes! Automation!” or any other trend they happened to read about on a blog that day. Trying new things out is great, and important, particularly for professional services firms, but it can’t exist in a vacuum.

The key is to have end goals and work your way backwards from there, rather than implement with no notion of follow-through.

This is especially the case when it comes to automation.

As Adrian Dayton points out, “a lot of people talk about automation, but they don’t mean true automation”. So many so-called automation processes are ill-thought out and stop much sooner than they should – as his slide below illustrates:

Behind every successful automation nurturing process is a human working out an ideal outcome for the user’s journey (or multiple ones!)

Step 3: Don’t dilute your brand

The other danger of wanting to implement every tech trend that you hear of is dilution.

Unless you have huge resources, will you be able to do every trend justice? Probably not.

Even worse, will certain trends have a negative impact on your brand’s reputation? It’s possible!

Your business wants to be trusted by its customers and presenting yourself a short-attention span firm that jumps on every bandwagon won’t do that.

The key is selection – implementing innovations that support your business goals and are integrated with your brand, will help your reputation.

Master the trends, don’t let them master you.

Some bonus tech trends worth thinking about

I asked several experts for their thoughts on what 2018 has in store for firms tech wise, and these were my two favourite answers.


In the ‘event tech’ space, while all the hype is around Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality, we’re seeing a real uptick in clients looking for technology to deliver ‘hybrid’ events. These combine a live ‘in-room’ audience with a secondary audience watching and participating online. The experience is interactive and engaging, but more cost-effective, particularly for globally dispersed businesses.

-Mike Piddock, founder of Glisser


(1) More consumer-intuitive functionality working its way into biztech offerings, so more click-customise-and command features, especially voice-responsive and conversational ones.

There’s so much opportunity right now. Tech has come such a long way in the last 5 years. What was unthinkable for many of us 5 years ago (e.g. Amazon’s echo and Alexa) is becoming a household norm… and that’s very exciting. So a lot more happening with chat interfaces, more data-enriched machine-reading and machine learning seem inevitable – and welcome. For sure, we’ll all get more smart about behavioural data and what it really means for the other opportunities we could be considering.

(2) More business propositions adopting consumer-style and more UX-driven functionality. Biztech still lags woefully behind what we experience (and now expect!) as consumers. Those businesses who can provide the same kind of user and customer experience as the best consumer-tech businesses, like the big platforms, and yet offer something uniquely curated, uncluttered and quite special, (think Farfetch), will do well.

-Merlie Calvert, founder of Farillio

Plenty of food for thought!

Written by:

Adrian Dayton

ClearView Social on:

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