Three Ways AI Supports the “Accidental Marketer” – the Store Manager


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For any multi-location brand, marketing efforts will need to acknowledge that the brand’s entire consumer base is made up of smaller consumer bases, at the community level. But the question is: Whose job is it to manage social media, respond to online reviews, and engage with all these location-specific audiences? With many multi-location brands, that job falls to store managers.

Store managers fall into marketing accidentally, and usually without adequate resources. They need expert assistance – and fortunately, AI can help deliver the location-specific marketing assets that store managers need.

Before we get into the details, it’s important to note that advances in AI require a deep understanding of local workflows so they can be streamlined and automated. This allows AI to not just be a helper to accidental marketers, but to do the work for them. Workflow automation enabled by data science and AI will give accidental marketers a fighting chance to conquer the new challenges introduced by social, mobile, and the changes Google is making.

AI takes over a substantial part of the digital marketing workflow

The day-to-day life of a store manager is focused on tasks like inventory management, scheduling staff, hiring, adhering to company protocol, and generally ensuring the store remains profitable. Being actively involved in the conversation with customers across multiple digital channels has become part of the job – but most store managers don’t have the time or the training to do it properly.

But when store managers are given the ability to leverage AI-powered tools in the business’s tech stack, they’re able to automate and continue to hone key local marketing tasks, including engaging with reviews and comments for their own stores. That allows them to focus on the tasks they’re trained for, with AI focused on the marketing intentionally rather than accidentally.

AI can listen to all relevant data signals, from every location

Effective marketing involves a lot of data-informed decisions. While that’s beyond the purview of any accidental marketer, AI can analyze relevant data efficiently and at scale, and can make recommendations of the best decisions. AI can unify and analyze all of these data sets that matter for marketing, giving the store manager insights to connect with their own community at that moment.

AI tools that can truly save managers’ time will need to effectively generate customized responses to consumer reviews and comments as they’re posted. These tools will also be able to share accurate information about the individual store’s hours, pricing, and offerings. For these purposes, AI must be trained on data from the business, across all its locations, on an ongoing basis.

AI can make sure brand voice and compliance scale across all locations

Store managers can take advantage of AI’s capacity to learn the brand’s voice, adjusting for local flavor, custom, tone, and product availability. Knowing the on-brand language and messaging, AI can generate answers, comments, and reviews, as well as content for local marketing, for the store’s online profiles. For these AI tools to be most useful, they’ll need to allow store managers to input data to adjust the tone and message accordingly.

Customizing output is also important for upholding consistency and compliance. So store managers will need AI tools that enable them to provide real-time feedback on any AI-generated content. By feeding those adjustments back into the algorithm, the manager and business can continue optimizing for voice, improving accuracy over time.

How to get started in taking advantage of AI for the business’s accidental marketers

In the relationship between store managers and the corporate level, corporate tends to have more opportunities to automate messaging and distribute it across all relevant local audiences. The problem is, that content isn’t usually shared with individual store locations, and it’s usually exactly the same content for every location. For the business’s messaging to speak to the needs of individual communities, and to appear genuine, store managers need the power to create customized content. The business and its AI tech partners should provide the means to efficiently collect input and updates, without adding extra strain to store managers’ busy schedules.

To take advantage of this AI technology and effect change throughout the business, it’s important to speak to leaders within the organization who touch on safety and compliance. They will clarify which data sets are available to train AI, and which are off-limits. And because of the important role opted-in user data plays in training AI effectively, the business will need to provide clear and compliant privacy disclosures at the appropriate touchpoints.

AI is central to remaining competitive

Business leaders must accept that AI is the path toward remaining competitive in the marketplace today – to make processes more efficient and cost-effective, and increasingly, to help manage relationships with customers. AI needs to be on the road map for any modern CMO or CRO to stay ahead of the competition. And the tech needs to be leveraged in ways that give control and power back to store managers to finally do effective local marketing.

Store managers may have become accidental marketers, but they are trained on ensuring a positive customer experience – and AI will play an increasingly important part in optimizing that experience.

Falk Gottlob
Falk Gottlob is an experienced and results-driven product management executive with a proven track record of success, equipped with a distinctive blend of technical expertise, business acumen, and marketing proficiency in emerging technologies and trends. He has worked with some of the most recognizable companies in tech, including Microsoft, Adobe, and Salesforce, to bring to life game-changing innovation. As SOCi’s Chief Product Officer, Falk brings his experience to bear in accelerating the company’s vision of creating the most advanced AI-driven co-marketing solutions in the industry.


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