When it comes to 7-Figure Small businesses, it's all about the creative, empathetic human at the center of it all.
But it's the tools that truly allow us to augment ourselves to build powerful businesses without investors or employees. In the next few years, technology is going to change things for small business owners at an astonishing rate.
Yes, we've been hearing about tech such as artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), and the internet of things (IoT) for a while now. But it's not really the individual fields that will sneak up on us — it's the creative convergence of multiple new technologies that quickly change what “best practices” will look like.
In today's episode, Jerod and I discuss a few of these trends and how they'll interrelate to impact your business:
1. The Privacy Trade-off
Outside of the human element, marketing for a 7-Figure Small business is powered by data, scaled by automation, and optimized by analytics. But at what point are we going too far when it comes to the privacy of our prospects?
A majority of consumers are willing to trade personal data in exchange for personalized and targeted content, products, and other offers. But the moment you go beyond offering more value and cross the line into creepy, you can lose the trust of your audience.
2. The Impact of 5G
You've no doubt heard plenty about 5G — the fifth generation wireless technology for digital cellular networks that began wide deployment in 2019 and will become mainstream this year.
5G brings three new aspects to the table: bigger channels (to speed up data), lower latency (to be more responsive), and the ability to connect a lot more devices at once (for sensors and smart devices). What that means to you as a marketer and business owner may be more than you think.
3. Marketing Technology Meets AI
One thing we've discussed on several occasions is what will happen when various forms of artificial intelligence is baked into your marketing software, such as tools for email, automation, and landing pages.
We discuss the move to add AI into the landing page and testing platform from Unbounce. This solution is likely more expensive than we'd like, but the point is that soon this will be in all levels of marketing technology, just like automation was once expensive and is now a feature of every email marketing software.
- Next Level 7
- No more spy pixels
- 5 Ways 5G Will Impact Marketers
- How to Create Landing Page Variants & Optimize with AI
- The Human Brand in an Age of Algorithms
- Follow Brian Clark on Twitter
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3 Technology Trends That Will Impact Your Business
Jerod Morris: Welcome to 7-Figure Small, the podcast that brings you the stories and strategies that are driving the growing number of solo businesses achieving 7-figures in revenue, without investors or employees. Here are your hosts for this edition of 7-Figure Small — serial digital entrepreneur, Brian Clark, and me, Jerod Morris.
Well, Brian, the nation, the world is currently gripped in the Coronavirus panic, and rightfully so, as it continues to spread around. As someone who works from home, obviously there are a lot of legitimate fears. One of the somewhat illegitimate fears that I've had is what on earth happens if my daughter's preschool is canceled and my wife has to work from home, because that is going to seriously put a crimp in my style here working from home if everybody’s here. And it could happen.
Brian Clark: There's been a lot of discussion, sketchy jokes about how freelance writers will be the only ones who survive, because they never leave the house anyway. Really, that could be a lot of freelancers and a lot of solopreneurs who work from home.
The other side of it is there's been speculation that this is the catalyst that makes remote work more the norm even among larger companies. It remains to be seen. There's more to it. I think it takes a certain personality type to deal well, to have the discipline to do work, to deal with the relative isolation.
So that's one of the benefits we've seen with the Unemployable Initiative and people. Most everyone works on their own and it's a place for people to come together even though it's virtual.
But there is a new benefit to virtual communities in that there are no communicable diseases spread.
Jerod Morris: Not yet.
Brian Clark: If there's a virus, it will be of the computer variety. Let's hope not on that. But yeah, about what you said about your wife and kids, I mean, if they close down the schools in Boulder and my two teenagers are here, my life is over.
Jerod Morris: How are we going to record our podcast if that happens?
Brian Clark: We're not. We're going to have to make them join the show, because you're not going to be able to shut them up. They are kind of funny though. I mean, they won't add any value whatsoever from an educational standpoint, but they are humorous. So maybe our humor quotient could go up on the show quite a bit if that comes into play.
Let's hope not. It still remains to be seen. Things are definitely getting worse, but we knew they would. We weren't even really testing in this country until just recently. It's unfortunate. I feel bad obviously for people who get sick and certainly for people who are succumbing to it. But the awareness is surely up. The panic can be worse than the thing itself.
I have become a professional hand washer.
Jerod Morris: Heck, yes.
Brian Clark: Yeah, I am good at it now. I don't think I've really had my handwashing game in the right place previous to this. But it is definitely there now.
Jerod Morris: What Prince or Bowie song do you sing to yourself while you wash your hands? Because I'm assuming you don’t sit there singing “Happy Birthday” while you do it.
Brian Clark: I know, I didn't even think of adopting a cooler song. I actually tried “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” — it's the same song.
Jerod Morris: You mentioned the community. It would be interesting to talk about the community for a few minutes. What you talked about, with a lot of solopreneurs, a lot of freelancers who work from home — it's been really interesting that one of the things that's really been growing inside of our community, the Unemployable Initiative, is the use of accountability groups that we started.
Because that's one thing that you can miss sometimes when you work from home, as you said. It takes a special personality type and sometimes we try to take all of that on ourselves. It can really be helpful to get in a group of other people that you can kind of state what your goals are and have people to hold you accountable to them.
Even if it's not general accountability like, “I want to do this, that, and the other,” we're actually seeing some new types of accountability groups evolve around specific topics.
We had a guest lecture from the team at Getting Things Done, and a group of people have put an accountability group together around that. And we have a couple of others that have actually been around topics. It's been interesting for me to kind of watch, grow, and develop, especially as someone who does work from home, seeing how much being a part of that has really helped me.
So that's one of the places for folks who are solopreneurs, who are freelancers, if they feel that isolation that you talked about, finding a place where you can get that kind of accountability and comradery — a big group helps, but even a small group setting can really, really be helpful. And that's something that we're definitely finding.
Brian Clark: Yeah, definitely. Going back to the John Jantsch interview we did a few weeks back, you have to be self-reliant and a self-starter. But I know I feel accountable to my business partners, because if I don't feel like I really need to do something, it'll be someone like you who may be waiting on me for something and I'm like, “Okay, I’ve got to do this.”
But yeah, the group itself, just stating what it is that you intend to do and saying that in front of other people, psychologically, we know that you're more likely to do it. And we're seeing that in practice within the community, the Unemployable Initiative.
It's really cool. Right now we're not accepting — well, we haven't been accepting new members into the community. If you go to the Community page at Unemployable.com, there’s a waiting list.
But one way that you will be able to have an opportunity to gain access to the Unemployable Initiative is to take the free audio course that we launched last week. Next Level 7. You can find that Nextlevelseven.com. In addition to six audio lessons that lay the groundwork for the process that we're using to build 7-Figure Small businesses, there's also an opportunity to join us in the community. So check that out.
Jerod Morris: Yeah, absolutely. And that's Nextlevelseven.com, which you can get to with the numeral seven or by spelling out seven. So either way, you can get there.
Brian Clark: Bases are covered.
Jerod Morris: Bases are covered.
Brian Clark: On the domain name.
Jerod Morris: Yes, they are. All right, so we've got some articles. Let's talk about these.
Brian Clark: Is this a “What's Up with That?”, Jerod?
Jerod Morris: This is a “What's Up with That?” episode. I'm not prepared, I don’t have my sound drop to be able to put it in here.
Brian Clark: We kicked off the new season by professing our love for Kenan Thompson and “What's Up with That?” But yeah, why not make it the news roundup theme? Because really, what is up with this stuff that we're talking about here?
Jerod Morris: How's that? I was able to get it while you were talking. Just for anybody who didn't know what we were referring to — the classics.
Brian Clark: This is perfect.
Jerod Morris: You can't watch the video, but Brian is doing the running man over here in the Zoom window.
The Privacy Trade-Off
Jerod Morris: All right, so let's go through these. We've got three articles. Do you have a particular order that you want to take them in or just go how we have them on the screen right here?
Brian Clark: Well, I think this invoked or prompted the most “What's Up with That?” response from the two of us.
Right before we dropped Next Level 7 last week, our friend Paul Jarvis did his weekly Sunday dispatch and he chose an interesting topic. He basically told his list that, “I don't know if you open this newsletter, because I don't use tracking pixels. That would tell me how many people open my email.”
Now, of course, the very next day, we drop a course that talks all about paying attention to things like open rates and clicks, not at the individual level, but in the aggregate, to see what the audience is into and what they're not. And therefore, you can do more good stuff, add more value and less things that the audience isn’t interested in.
So I found this kind of interesting in the context of a newsletter, because with one-to-one emails and these spy pixels… Hey, I'm with Paul on that, because I get pitched all the time by these — I’ve got to watch my language here or you're going to have to end up beeping me out.
People are trying to get me to link to them. They're trying to get me to let them guess post, whatever. And they're putting me on some sort of automation sequence. And the meaningful trigger to these people, that I don't know and didn't want to hear from and are therefore spamming me, is whether or not I open the email. But guess what? I open every email, scan it quickly, and if it's from that guy, then I'm deleting it.
Earlier this week, someone sent me an email on one of those sequences, spam, and said, “Well, I noticed you opened my email, but you didn't respond.” I'm like, “Okay, now you're stupid and you're creepy. You're just broadcasting to me that you're watching what I'm doing.”
Now in that context, I'm all for it, that I don't like that. I don't want you emailing me at all. So I try to be a good guy and not mark these people as spam just because they emailed me. I started doing it, because that takes me out of their automation sequence. But yeah, it's just in that context, I get it.
Also, I am actually probably more concerned about my personal privacy than a lot of people are. And I know Paul is. Paul has written about privacy many times. He's passionate about it. He's a practitioner at a level that goes way beyond the average person. But still, it just was strange to me that in a newsletter context, an aggregate context where you're just looking at a percentage of the audience, not at individual behavior — I thought that was kind of a weird hill to die on.
I think it was authentic by Paul. But from a marketing standpoint, he's also promoting Fathom Analytics, which is an analytics alternative, it's paid. One of its features is it doesn't even require the privacy disclosures like Google Analytics would, because it is noninvasive. I'm interested in Fathom, because it's basically a simple analytics program.
Back in the day I used to use something called Mint at Copyblogger. It would just give me a quick snapshot of the basic stuff you want to see — traffic in, where is it going to, what are they doing — without the confusion, frankly, of Google Analytics.
So I think Paul had a little bit of a marketing motivation in there as well. But my main concern is Paul's already successful. He has an audience that loves him, and yet, I fear that he's effectively telling his audience, “Don't care about what your audience actually responds to. Just write whatever you want, create whatever you want.” And that's a very dangerous attitude to have.
What are your thoughts on this, Jerod? Because I think you had a pretty visceral reaction to it.
Jerod Morris: I mean, I generally agree with you when you said it seemed like a strange hill to die on. I get it for him in a sense, as you said, because it fits the positioning that he's going for. Going out with kind of an extreme statement that's going to make headlines and is authentic to what he clearly believes with the other stuff he's talked about. I can see it from that perspective.
But I do worry a little bit about what you said. Like he said in the blog post, “As far as I can tell, this won't negatively affect my income since the only data I looked at previously was open rate to roughly inform what I wrote about in the future.” But that information can really be helpful, especially for folks in the beginning.
When you're looking at this stuff in the aggregate, not just looking at it, like you said, on specific people, it can be really useful as you're learning about your audience. It's a different perspective when you've spent a decade building that audience. That's not as valuable to you.
I think you can run the risk for people who are more in the beginning stages of them maybe adopting this mindset. Now they can't have that information, that feedback as they're building their audience and learning. Does that set them back a little bit in learning about their audience?
Brian Clark: Yeah, it brings to mind several things from the Next Level 7 course that we just released.
One is using curated content in order to have these various items within your email newsletter so that you can, again, in the aggregate, see what people clicked on, because that's incredibly important information. Not only to, “What kind of content should I feature in the future? What type of content should I create?” And Paul writes one article a week. You can only learn so much from that.
And now Paul's saying, “I don't care about learning anything.” Again, I think it fits well. Like you said, this is certainly not a knock against Paul individually, but it reminds me of people who follow Seth Godin religiously and say, “Well, why should I write a compelling headline? Seth Godin doesn't.” I'm like, “You're not Seth Godin. You didn't start 22 years ago, and you don't have that kind of massive audience.”
So something I touch on in Next Level 7 is I talk about how things were different when I built Copyblogger, but I don't advocate for the same way I did things then, now. Because what I did then doesn't work anymore. And this is something else I talk about. You’ve got bloggers and podcasters and vloggers, whatnot, who started early and they’re still advocating for what worked for them, because they have the audience, they have success.
Once you have an audience, it doesn't go away. It's like this incredible return on investment asset that keeps giving and giving and giving as long as you take care of it. But if you're trying to build an audience today, you're going to have to have different ways to pay attention to it.
In the early days of Copyblogger, we didn't do automation, we didn't do segmentation. We didn't look at any of this data, because we had hundreds of thousands of people. That's one thing.
Number two: I built that audience in a different time where we had tons of blog comments. We had early social media where it was easier to get that feedback, that unscripted behavioral or attitudinal information that people were just voluntarily putting out there. And, of course, I could look at it freely and then get an understanding of that.
That doesn't exist anymore either. You have social media, you have communities, but it's much more — I don't know, Facebook groups are probably the best environment that would look like what a blog used to look like. And we all know our issues with Facebook.
But I guess that brings me to my final point which is: if you are concerned about a newsletter looking in the aggregate at how many people opened the email, please don't ever use Facebook, don't watch Netflix, don't shop at Amazon, don't search at Google. I mean, as far as privacy goes, those people know you on an individual basis, your data to you. Not this anonymous aggregation that we do as email marketers.
In that sense, the cat's kind of out of the bag. I mean, I don't know what we're going to do to reclaim our privacy. But I do know that, generally, people will trade data for better value and for personalization like Netflix, like Amazon.
As long as you're ethically using this aggregated email information to provide more value to the audience, I think they're going to be happy. But if you're creepy or if you violate their trust, then you get what you deserve. And I think that's really what it comes down to — ethics versus a lack thereof.
Jerod Morris: See, that's what I was thinking too. Don't you think the way that you build the list is important here? If you're building a list ethically, which means that people opt into your list and you are sending emails to people who have indicated they want it — that seems to me a lot different than the emails that I get inundated with, that you get inundated with. Where it's like, “How did I even get onto this person's list? And now they're tracking what I'm doing and I'm in this sequence?”
Like you said, that feels invasive, because I never said that I wanted to hear from you. So I certainly am not as open to you knowing what I do with this.
But if I've opted in to listen to somebody, because you have authority and I trust you and I want to be on this list — it's much different for me as someone, who is also concerned about my own privacy. To me, that is different if you're getting that information, using that information to inform what you're going to do in the future, because now you're giving me a better experience that I opted into.
And so I think the ethics there, I do think that makes a difference.
Brian Clark: Yeah. So Paul basically closes his article with, “I'm curious as to whether this will change anything for the worse.” Again, I can profess from my time at Copyblogger, once you understand that audience, I still understand them to this day and I make good choices and they tend to work.
But there's a difference if you're just starting out. I definitely think if you do not have an audience yet, or you don't intimately understand that audience, and you refuse to look at any of this meaningful feedback that's out there through email alone, then it will turn out for the worse.
Paul knows his audience, he's got successful products. I think Fathom is what he's going to end up doubling, tripling down on. And that's awesome. We love Paul, so we're proud to see him succeed.
But I am very skeptical about telling other people, especially fledgling Company of One people that Paul has recently attracted. And then effectively telling them, “Just put whatever you want out there, create whatever want. You'll fail like 70% of all other businesses, because you don't know anything about what the people you're trying to serve actually want.” And that’s no improvement over anything.
Jerod Morris: Yeah. So, Paul, what's up with that?
Brian Clark: We're going to get — Jarvis is going to give us some attitude. I know it. He's got knuckle tattoos, man. You’ve got to look out for him.
The Impact of 5G
Jerod Morris: That's right. All right, let's move on to the next article which is about the ways that 5G will impact marketers. So 5G, Brian, what's up with that? What's up with 5G?
Brian Clark: Yeah, the thing about 5G, we've had all these different improvements in cellular technology. If you can remember, there's 2G and 3G and 4G. And if you're not paying close attention, you might think, “Okay, 5G is just another one of these incremental improvements that we've experienced over time with cellular networks.”
But that's not the case. 5G, it's an entirely different ballgame. I mean, the speed that we're going to have access to through cellular is kind of hard to wrap your head around, because you would never think that you could get faster speeds than your home cable Internet connection and the Wi-Fi that emanates from that.
But that's what we're talking about. That kind of speed. You're going to go from downloading a video over cellular that takes an hour to seconds. That's the kind of leap that we're taking here, and this is going to be a big deal. I have a feeling — remember when we shifted from what we called Web 1.0 to Web 2.0, which was really the social aspects and the democratic aspects of content creation and interactivity, really took a leap forward, because the web became more interactive and the software we were using.
That was blogs, that was early social media, that all led to the mainstreaming of social media. And we kind of got to where we are today. There were a lot of good things and a lot of unexpected bad things that came with it.
I think we're on the cusp of another starting point. So maybe go back to 2004, 2005 when Web 2.0 was starting. Web 3.0 is basically going to be augmented reality, just all this functionality that's going to go from, I guess, two-dimensional, three-dimensional in many ways. And a lot of it is tied to this incredible speed that we're going to have on the go.
Depending on where your house is in reference to a tower, you could have faster Internet through cellular than you will through the cable coming into your house or whatever else you have.
Jerod Morris: Yeah, this article was written by Pamela Bump. By the way, we will link to all of these articles in the show notes.
I read this article right after I read Paul Jarvis’s article and the first thing I thought about, because Pamela goes through these five things that’ll change with 5G. The fifth one is how marketing processes like data collection will be improved. And that's one of the things the article talks about is what will be possible with more rapid data collection.
It made me think about how in that context, and where we're going with data collection, removing the pixel from the email, the track set is going to be like removing a ripple from the ocean. I mean, it's because as you said, the cat is kind of out of the bag on this.
I'm concerned by that, I'm concerned by privacy. So I certainly think that this is something that we need to think about, just because marketing processes like data collection can be better and will be improved. That doesn't necessarily mean that's the right thing in all cases.
But that is something that we will see. That's something to start to think about, because there will be opportunities there to provide even more personalized and instantaneous experiences for people based on the speed and based on the data that will be available.
Brian Clark: Yeah, and I gave some obvious examples of things that are part of our lives like Netflix and Amazon. Would we really want to go without those things? But we're going to an entirely different level where it's real life that is the digital environment.
5G basically is going to power this intelligent network that's all connected to remote sensors, which is what's going to power what's called the Internet of Things, where everything is basically digitized to a certain degree.
So, basically, walking down the street, combine that with all the cameras that are going to be in place. Not only that are already there for security reasons, but how do you think self-driving cars work? It's a whole bunch of cameras. Pretty much, there's going to be a recorded version of the entire world.
I know that sounds crazy, but there's an article out there about the coming mirror world. And it's basically all the camera processes and all the augmented reality and eventually virtual reality, where you're going to have an indifferent overlay of reality and it's all going to be essentially powered by 5G.
Now 5G is rolling out this year and first benefit, of course, is great boost in speed. But what happens in five years from this is almost mind-boggling. It's going to be a bigger change than the world change, thanks to the mainstreaming of social media. There are positives and negatives. As marketers, the main thing is you've got to pay attention to this stuff, because it's going to happen a little bit faster.
I remember the change that happened between 2005 when I came up with the idea for Copyblogger, and say, 2015 seemed kind of lockstep year after year. Things changed, but in a manageable way. And then it just seems like in the last four or five years, things are just crazy all the time.
I keep saying that, but it's going to be crazy all the time. You're going to have to have that emotional fortitude, I think, with these small powerful businesses that we're building, because we can benefit greatly from these changes, as long as we don't allow them to overrun us in the process.
And that's something also that I think we can help our audiences with by getting them to understand what's happening. Put it in context for them and get them to say, “Okay, here are the things you’ve got to worry about or look out for, but here's the opportunity that's presented here.” And just how we started the conversation in terms of a pandemic — it's the panic that messes you up almost more than anything.
So yeah, 5G is something I would encourage everyone to really kind of pay attention to. I think there are a lot of possibilities, but not a lot of concrete answers. And it's always that way. I think the main thing you need to do is make sure you're paying attention to it, so when a development happens that you can see how that would work with your business, then you can hop on it.
Again, we come back to this whole idea again in Next Level 7 about being an early adopter. Everyone always says, “I wish I would've started blogging in 2006.” There are always opportunities for the next thing. So don't look at the past and pine over what you didn't do. Pay attention to now.
This is going to be a big focus for Unemployable, because I think this technology that augments individuals and small teams is really what allows us to build these incredibly lucrative businesses without the traditional scaling structure of investment capital and employees and whatnot.
Jerod Morris: I always read articles like this a couple of different ways. One is the way that we just talked about with the opportunities — what's going to become possible, especially from a marketing standpoint and from the work that I do.
But I also tend to read these articles in a more general context and get a little bit worried. This article talks about all these advancements in VR and AR and everything. And it's really painting the picture of a world where everybody's staring at a screen. It has that video in there with the Lowe's virtual reality thing and people have the virtual reality goggles on. It's like, “All right, at what point are we out engaging with the real world?” And it gets a little bit worrisome.
But I started thinking about, we've heard a lot and we've talked a lot about how social media and people sitting in front of their computers and being on their phones has led to isolation, and has led to some negative impacts. I wonder if we could start going the other way as you get 5G, things get faster. It's a little bit more possible and realistic to actually get in virtual environments, but feel like you're there with other people.
Will the isolation that we experience from technology and social media and all of those things start to give way to actually more connection? If one of the things keeping us from that is just the speed and the availability of these types of virtual environments, will we actually start to see that go the other way, and it become a place for more meaningful connection?
Brian Clark: Well, I've always thought that VR and AR were going to be a boon for the online community format. Obviously, the more it feels real (I think you're right), the more we feel connected with people.
Combine that with something like Coronavirus and you could see really big shifts when the tech becomes sophisticated enough and the real world becomes slightly more dangerous. Again, the move to remote work and all of these things happening at once. It's really the convergence of different things that leads to radical change, not just one technology or one change in the world.
To your earlier point, I think there already is a movement and it's really tied to the smartphone. And I know I do it, which is I'll just put it away from me and go outside.
On one hand, the time you spend in virtual space is going to be, I'd say, probably more engaging and useful. But, at the same time, I think we all are becoming more mindful that that shouldn't be your whole world. You know, there are already tons of people that that is their world. And the more sophisticated the technology gets, people are just going to immerse themselves, especially if the real world isn’t treating them well.
There are a lot of people out there who don't have hope, they're not moving up economically and all this kind of stuff. So yeah, that's the new opiate of the masses. It used to be what, television? Religion, then television, and now virtual reality. But we'll see how that goes.
As a marketer, the first point this article makes is your online presence will be even more vital. Now, to the audience we're speaking to, I think they already understand that. But it's easy to remember that a lot of people still have maybe at most a brochure website. They don't have any sort of real content marketing strategy. They’re certainly not ready for the next wave of stuff. So there is a lot that needs to happen to get a bunch of business people up to speed. That's both interesting, but also, I think, an opportunity.
Marketing Technology Meets AI
Jerod Morris: So that's what's up with 5G. The third article that we want to talk about — and I found this really interesting about how to create landing page variants and optimize with AI. This is from Unbounce.
It was interesting how it linked to the 5G article and what we talked about with the speed of data processing, the availability of data. This article talks about how instead of just doing an AB test, actually create several different variants of a landing page. As someone gets ready to come to the page, essentially the technology is able to figure out which of the variants is the best for this person.
So crunch that data, figure out based on whatever it is for this particular person what page is best tailored for them. The potential benefits of that are obvious, because if the landing page is better tailored to the person, you're going to have a better chance of converting them.
This optimization with AI and actually using that kind of data processing, that's a clear example of, from our perspective, what is going to be possible sooner rather than later.
Brian Clark: Yeah, they call it Smart Traffic, their new AI-powered conversion tool. And when it comes to stuff like this, yes, AI — anything that manipulates a large amount of data quickly, AI is going to kick humans’ butt easily on. So, in that case, it makes a lot of sense.
This is a topic I talk about all the time inside the community and on the podcast, which is AI is going to be baked into the marketing software that we use. And it's really cool to see Unbounce leading the way with this.
I'm waiting for the first email software to bake machine learning in, so that when you do gather data and segment like you're supposed to, then the AI goes, “Okay, here's the pattern that I'm seeing.” And it's just spitting out recommendations for you that would take you a lot more time effectively to recognize yourself.
Since Amazon basically has provided off the shelf AI code to developers, you're going to see this happening quite a bit and faster than you might expect, I think. This is going to be one of the big game changers.
But you're right. You saw how 5G was the glue between all three articles. Looking out for privacy, being mindful of that. When you are dealing with your audience’s data, but also the fact that that data will probably never be seen by a human being in the near future, because AI is so much better at dealing with it.
I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I mean, basically marketers deal with such large datasets now of personal information from prospects and customers that they're not really knowing anything about you individually. And that includes Amazon, Facebook, Netflix and Google. Their AI understands things about you.
I don't know how I feel about that, because it would creep me out if a human being was looking through my personal data. But a robot, at this point, we don't think of them as real or conscious and arguable whether they ever will get to that conscious state and that's a whole another can of worms.
But I don't really care if an algorithm is giving me a more personalized experience in exchange for my data, especially since it's already out there and I can't grab it back.
Jerod Morris: Yeah, no, it's true. It's one of those things. That's a very pragmatic and helpless way to put it. But, I mean, that's kind of where we are. Go ahead.
Brian Clark: I was just going to say, the other thing though, because I pay attention to this AI integration in tools quite closely — the other thing I'm seeing is people throwing around the term AI and it's not really AI.
I use Feedly for curation. It's a great tool, no complaints. They introduced this AI service called Leo and I'm like, “Oh, that's really fascinating,” because true AI in that context could really point out hidden gems of information that you may not see from the old-fashioned scan and scroll type approach to RSS.
But, as far as I can tell, Leo is just like a keyword service. I mean, you type in topics and trends and keywords that you're interested in, and it just spits back articles that contain those words. I mean, Google alerts have been doing that forever. The only difference here is this is within your information sources only, not the broader web or something like that. So it's useful, but is it really AI? I don't know.
But make no mistake, true machine learning, true AI is going to be baked into the tools we use. And the trick is going to be learning to use these tools. Hopefully, they're intuitive. A lot of our marketing automation and software tools right now are just so complicated. People don't end up using them, because the learning curve is too hard.
I'm hoping that we do get a little more intelligence baked into the software to where the human interface of it becomes much more intuitive and the software is working for you instead of the other way around.
Jerod Morris: The other takeaway that I had from this piece — it's really easy to look at the technology part of this, Smart Traffic and optimizing with AI, and really getting kind of blown away by that part of it.
But it's also important to remember the importance of the human at the center of it. What are the skills that are going to help you succeed? You’ve got to be able to have the empathy to understand people. You've got to have critical and creative thinking skills. Because they talk about the different variants that you can create — your unique selling proposition, features and benefits copy, social proof, call-to-action.
It's great that you can create these variants, and then the AI can help you serve it to the right person. But you still have to understand your audience and the different types of people who are going to come to craft pages with the right messaging that is going to affect those people.
There's not an AI yet that's just going to let you punch in a few demographics about your people and put all of that together. And so some of these soft skills that we've talked about as being really important in the future to be able to make the technology work and to maximize it, those are still really, really important.
That ability to be able to learn about an audience, to connect with an audience, and to do all of those things, having this technology at your disposal, having AI, it doesn't make those capabilities less important. It actually enhances your ability to maximize them, which is why the people who have those skills are going to be the most successful ones moving forward.
Brian Clark: Yeah, you're absolutely right. I think the narrative has shifted in the broader context of the economic impact of automation in AI to not necessarily replacing humans, but the human soft skills expressed through a human being who is adept and willing and able to work with the machines.
I just shared an article last week in Further about how the people who learn to work with the machines are going to be just fine. And those who resist it, maybe not so much.
But you're right, and that was the theme of last season of Unemployable. It's a human being at the center of it all augmented by technology that makes the difference.
That's really what allows the whole 7-Figure Small thing to work. One person or a couple of people combined with this technology and an audience can do just what used to be laughable. It's amazing and it's exciting. I just think we're going to have to surf our way through it.
What you just said reminds me of last season's episode, The Human Brand in the Age of Algorithms. That was a little bit about why humans should be curators, not machines. We've seen what the algorithms will do when they're the ones who pick what content you should see.
So yeah, very much in agreement that no one's going to replace the need for you anytime soon. I would argue instead that you are actually the key ingredient to your success even though it's made possible through augmentation by technology.
Jerod Morris: Yep. Absolutely. If you've listened to this, we'd obviously love to know your thoughts on these pieces. We're available on Twitter @brianclark, @jerodmorris. And, of course, as Brian reminded you at the beginning, you can go to Nextlevelseven.com and get that email sequence. A lot of useful information in there that builds on some of the things that we talked about today. So Nextlevelseven.com.
And stay healthy, wash hands, stay away from large groups of people.
Brian Clark: Oh my. I hope, I really hope that we get through this and we don't talk about it every week. But we may have to. It's just like anything else. You deal with what happens to the best of your ability. It's the same way in life as in business. Regardless, what you’ve got to do is keep going.
Jerod Morris: Absolutely. We will talk to you next week on another new episode of the 7-Figure Small podcast.
Brian Clark: Take care, everyone.