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November 1st, 2017

Every digital marketer that’s paying attention is either wary, concerned, or deathly afraid of machine learning and artificial intelligence.

These systems feature absurd processing power and instant analytical capabilities. They eat big data and crap hyper-targeted marketing. They take no breaks or vacation days, and spend no time screwing around on Facebook (except to ingest behavioral insights to make themselves smarter).

Various tech behemoths have branded their marketing AI in their own image. IBM (#client) has Watson, of course. Salesforce (#client) has Eins
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I’ve always thought Watson and Einstein existed to make these very complex systems more understandable. “Oh, that intersecting nexus of dozens of data feeds? That’s just Watson!” But now, I wonder if part of the benefit of this anthropomorphic approach to explaining AI is, perhaps unintentionally, to prevent marketers from totally freaking out about the future. “Watson isn’t going to take my job! He’s so funny and charming!”

This is the marketing technology equivalent of distracting a child with a doll just before drawing blood.

In truth, I do not believe AI (IBM calls it “cognitive”) is going to wipe the digital marketer off the map like a herd of grass-munching brontosauri. As I said at the annual Sitecore (#client) user conference last week, when the robots do all the hard, tedious, time-consuming digital marketing work, the strategist becomes king.

Because here’s the thing: For the foreseeable future, these systems must be TOLD what to do. Yes, machine learning, by definition, dictates that they get smarter and better over time. But they first must be taught what to look for and where—by us.

If your job entails a lot of manual testing, list splitting, tweaking, optimization, and scorekeeping, you must learn how to manage the AI robots (and soon), or you may end up superfluous—as vestigial as our own appendix.

The Social Media Robots Are Here

For the last two years or so, most of the work I’ve done and been exposed to in the AI-powered digital marketing world has been focused in these areas:

Email testing and optimization
Web content testing and optimization
Mobile testing and optimization
Behavioral data pattern recognition and ID of “best” and disenfranchised customers, as well as likely advocates and influencers
To date, social media (other than social listening, of course) has been largely immune to the effects of machine learning.

Yes, you can A/B test organically on Facebook. Social ads allow for real-time optimization. But the kind of serious, one-to-one interactions that marketing technology companies have spun up for email, web, and mobile haven’t really been doable in social. After all, it’s social—it’s right in the name. It’s more of an art than a science, right? You have to nail the right tone, tenor, and timing.

Nope. Not anymore.

Persado is a fascinating company I’ve been monitoring closely since I did an early demo with them five years ago. They use a dizzying array of data inputs and DMP relationships to create highly targeted, massively specific content pieces inside email, on a home page or landing page, etc.

Their core assignment has been helping e-commerce companies boost their conversion rate by dramatically boosting relevance and resonance of digital copy and imagery.

But last week, they launched Persado One which allows digital marketers to customize messaging and look and feel at the individual level, rather than just the customer segment level. Even more importantly, Persado can now deploy those one-to-one campaigns as social media ads and—get this—craft them based on historical emotional engagement.

My head is swimming with use cases for this technology. Imagine the Grand Ole Opry (#client) wants to use Facebook ads to sell more tickets for upcoming performances. Based on users’ historical engagement with messages of different tones and tenors, Persado can combine copy and images and Frankenstein together the perfect ad for EACH USER.

If, based on your website, email, and social media behaviors, the database believes you like to go to the Grand Ole Opry with your family, you’ll see a Facebook ad emphasizing that benefit. However, if your history indicates you are more into seeing classic Bluegrass artists live, you’ll see an ad with those attributes highlighted.

See this post on MarTech Today for a screenshot of how Persado customizes ads based on emotional patterns.

This is either the beginning of the end, of the end of the beginning. Either way, the days of social media success being about human-powered emotional intelligence are waning.

All hail our robot masters.

Cooler temperatures and shorter days can make it hard to stick to your workout routine. It’s easy to lay in bed and hit the snooze button when it’s still dark outside. Inspire yourself to stick with your goals by investing in some new gear. You’ll be motivated to hit the gym to show off your new look. Here are five workout wear trends to start sporting now.

Bright Sneakers
Who doesn’t love new shoes? Bright sneakers can add a little spice to your standard grey and black wardrobe. Try picking a pair which matches several of your outfits, or, purchase an outfit which m
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atches your new kicks. Either way, you’ll feel good about the way you look and feel ready to take down your workout before you’ve had your morning coffee. You may even find yourself wearing your shoes outside of the gym.

Not sure where to start? Stop by your local sporting goods store and check in with their shoe department. If you’re more inclined to do cardio, swing by a running store. Usually at least one staff member is trained to help you find the shoes that best match your unique stride and foot placement. Can’t find your colors? Check the internet. Once you know which shoes work best for your feet, you’ll be able to hone your search to find the best option at the most affordable price.

Cheeky Tops
Show off your sassy side with a silly workout shirt. You’ll be more likely to inspire a conversation with fellow gym goers and maybe even spark a few giggles. Pick the slogan which best speaks to you. Struggling to find your favorite mantra? Why not pick up a few shirts with personalized slogans? You can select the unique saying which fits your personality and strut your stuff in style. Bonus points if you bust out laughing when you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror.

RELATED POST: We Need These Way-Too-Real Sayings On Our Gym Tanks, ASAP

Super Soft Sweats
Why not invest in workout gear you’ll want to wear outside of the gym? Buttery soft clothing will make it feel as though you’re wrapped up in blankets. You’ll look forward to rolling out of bed in the morning and hitting the weights. Running short on time post workout? Wear your sweats to work. Workplace dress codes have relaxed over time while exercise gear has become chicer and more streamlined. It’ll be easier to squeeze in that lunchtime workout knowing you won’t waste ten minutes changing.

Wearing workout clothing outside of the gym will give you a more extensive range of motion throughout the day. You’ll feel more inspired to take the stairs or get up and take a walk on your 15-minute break if you’re in comfortable clothes. Donning exercise gear outside of the gym can inspire you to lead a healthier lifestyle as well. You’ll be more likely to choose healthy meal options if you’ve got a regular reminder of your goals.

Printed Leggings
Long ago leggings graduated from a trend to a wardrobe staple. With the evolution came wider waistbands, more forgiving silhouettes, softer fabrics and louder patterns. Push aside the basic neutral for a funky print or brighter color. When the weather outside is grey and dreary, you’ll be sporting a bright pop of cheer. Leggings also work well in wide range of exercises. Whether you’re an avid yogi, a heavy lifter or a cardio queen, leggings will stay put and get the job done.  

Compression Socks
Compression gear is growing in popularity among gym-goers with good reason. Not only do the knee-high socks look good, but they also improve blood circulation, can help prevent varicose veins and are thought to enhance performance. Sporting knee-highs can help solve the conundrum of whether to wear shorts or leggings by offering an intermediate solution. If you work in a job where you’re always on your feet, you may consider wearing them outside of the gym as well to reap the benefits.  

Fun, affordable and comfortable workout clothing will inspire you to achieve your fitness goals. You’ll look better, feel good about yourself and be well on your way to leading a healthy lifestyle.

 Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.
Follow Kacey on Twitter and subscribe to her blog to keep up with her travels and inspiring posts!

In this episode, you’ll discover:

How practicing a bit of self-denial now can lead to major rewards later on.
The latest studies showing that multitaskers work faster, but produce less.
The three-tiered sickness that evolves into cynicism (and why foreboding joy is better).
How to retain your agency through “hopeful realism.”
One example of when The Power of Positive Thinking led to bankruptcy.
Two breakthrough questions to ask next time you face a big challenge.
You can read the full transcript here.

Ensuring productivity is one of the most important tasks of running a startup or a small business. The effectiveness of a new company is usually measured by how productive it is in addition to how good the company’s products are. Responsible managers and owners pay particular attention to how productive the company is. In fact, it’s highly recommended for businesses to occasionally do efficiency and productivity reviews. So that companies know theimportance of this aspect, how exactly can managers achieve it? There are simple steps businesses can take to ensure that output more tha
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n matches the money and resources spent. For example, making sure that employees are not constantly interrupted during work hours is an easy enough way to ensure productivity. It doesn’t cost a fortune to build a highly productive and efficient company. Here are several tried and proven hacks any small business or startup and try out:

1. Use the Right Kind of Tech Tools

The modern workplace has made major strides in productivity thanks to technology, mainly tech that enables automation. Surprisingly enough, it doesn’t cost much to invest in automation tech that increases company productivity levels. For example, marketing teams can use a tool like Buffer, which is free, to automate social media posts. Graphics departments can use a program like OpenToonz to fast track animation projects. Managers can especially benefit from software that enables better product management. Asana, for example, vastly improves overall workplace productivity by making it easy for employees to assign each other tasks and deadlines. Skype, famously, makes workplace communication easier and also quieter. You can read more here on Project Management Software and Tools. There are so many low-cost apps and software programs companies can use to boost productivity levels by eliminating time waste and improving communication. So, don’t overlook investing such tools and be willing to spend money to get returns in higher efficiency levels.

2. Prioritize the Least Desirable Tasks

Employees can, and definitely do, procrastinate. The main reason people procrastinate is because they view a task as unachievable or impossible to do in a short period of time. If an employee is stuck with an annoying task he or she refuses to do, then the rest of the remaining tasks will suffer as well. Therefore, instruct employees not to leave undesirable tasks to the last minute. Instead of worrying about those tasks all day, tell them to handle annoying tasks the first thing in the morning. When unwanted jobs are out of the way, employees will be able to concentrate better on all the other tasks. This is a neat trick that highly efficient entrepreneurs use. This easy hack can benefit everyone in personal lives as well. Instruct employees to just get it done with and move on. Practice this motto at the workplace and the improved productivity levels will be demonstrable.

3. Allow Employees Breaks

The idea that employees who do the most work are the ones who sit at their desks the longest time is archaic at best. Research has strongly indicated that employees perform better when they are allowed to take a break. Use common sense here. Can anyone work nonstop for four or five hours without being distracted? Definitely not. Employees may sit at their desk for hours, but might not be concentrating on the tasks at hand. Therefore, companies that aim for high levels of productivity should allow employees short breaks once or twice a day. The breaks will help employees stretch their legs and relax, so when they return to the desk, they are mentally prepared to handle demanding workloads. Some companies are even allowing employees to take nap breaks. It’s worthwhile if employees work for longer than 8 hours at the office.

4. Install Multi-Screen Workstations

Bill Gates once famously blogged that he has three computer screens on his work desk. One screen is for his regular desktop, the other shows incoming emails, and the third screen is used for replying to emails. This is the system the world’s richest man uses to answer over 100 emails per day. Multitasking the right way is key to increased productivity. Employees who do have to do multiple things at once can immensely benefit from a multi-screen workstation. Like Bill Gates, customer service representatives often have to answer hundreds of emails per day. A multi-screen system, like the one invented by Mr. Gates, will do wonders for customer service departments. Even sales teams, public relations departments, and managers can also put multi-screen workstations to use to improve individual and overall productivity levels. If the small business cannot afford many monitors, isolate the employees who will benefit most and then invest in the hardware.

5. Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Sleep

Humans need at least 8 hours of sleep each night. Science has shown that lack of sleep not only makes people more irritable and less focused, it can even lead to scary diseases like Alzheimer’s in the future. If employees are boasting that they get only 4 hours of sleep at night, make them stop. Sleep-deprived employees are proven to be unproductive and inefficient. Employees who are tired in the mornings due to lack of sleep will find it difficult to concentrate on important tasks. They will also find it difficult to cooperate and play well with others during the day. Some might even fall into so-called microsleep modes in the middle of the work. In a nutshell, sleep deprivation will kill the productivity levels at work. Therefore, encourage employees to get enough sleep at night. Managers and owners should definitely follow by example.

Implementing the above tactics will not cost much money or time. Workplaces will be able to visibly experience intended results after implementing the above productivity hacks. It’s better late than never to invest in productivity. So start trying out one or two of the above now.