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The State and Future of Marketing: 4 Takeaways from AMA CEO, Russ Klein

A dynamic presenter should leave their audience feeling energized and inspired. Last week, the attendees of our November AMA in the PM left feeling just that. Russ Klein, CEO of AMA, visited Baltimore to speak about “The State and Future of Marketing.” In his presentation, Klein spoke about customer engagement, re-framing the way marketers think about their product, and the importance of experience design. In case you couldn’t make it (or if you want a refresher), here are four major takeaways from his presentation:

1. Don’t fall in love with your product. Fall in love with the solution.

Klein says, “Think about kids playing with toys. If the toy breaks, the kid moves on. There’s no sentiment. Adults are becoming this way about products.” It doesn’t matter how much time and energy you put into a product. If your product isn’t useful or relevant, people will not buy into it.

Brand loyalty is not as strong as a product that makes a consumer’s life easier. We need to understand our client’s needs and how they use our product in order to stay top of mind.

2. Focus on the experience design.

Experience design is not just about customer service. It’s about how the client interacts with every part of the purchase process, product usage, and customer service interaction. As marketers, we need to shift away from the promise making days of old and toward designing for experiences. Klein spoke about the dirt path. If there is a dirt path next to a sidewalk that is faster, a person will use the dirt path. Instead of fighting the dirt path, build your experience around it. Make the process easier for the client instead of forcing them to do something that’s cumbersome.

3. Diversity has a higher ROI than intelligence.

Klein referenced a MIT Media Lab study that showed that adding “smart” people to a team has diminishing returns on the team’s ability to problem solve. Teams that had diverse points of view had a higher return. Diversity creates a fully fleshed out view of a problem. If everyone is thinking and troubleshooting the same way, it’s harder to evolve as marketers. “Be the smartest person in the room by inviting diversity into an organization,” says Klein.

4. Marketers should feel additive with technology – not replaced.

We’re in a wonderful time for marketing. It can be overwhelming, but the technology, data, and ability to connect with customers will make us better marketers. AMA has an alliance with IBM for an artificial intelligence program named “Lucy.” This program was first used in the medical field for cancer diagnoses. Doctors found that by working together with Lucy, they could diagnose cancer faster and more accurately. On their own, Lucy and the doctors were slower and less accurate, but together, they were unstoppable. We should work together with technology and see it as a resource to make our lives easier rather than seeing it as something to replace us.

We are thankful to have had the opportunity to hear Russ Klein speak in Baltimore. You can follow Russ on Twitter at @KleinRuss. Keep up to date on our upcoming events by checking out our website.

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