AI-driven Martech for Midsize Businesses: A Q&A with Mellissah Smith
Published on Arm Treasure Data by Tom Treanor
Martech isn’t just for high-end marketers with enterprise-level budgets. Adopting emerging marketing automation technology doesn’t have to break the bank. Cost-effective martech options—with AI-assisted marketing power—can help your small-to-midsize business gain a competitive edge.
To learn more about the technology that matters most to SMB marketers, we recently sat down with an innovator in the martech space. Mellissah Smith is the founder of Robotic Marketer and founder and managing director of Marketing Eye. She’s made a career of helping small and midsize businesses succeed with martech and guerilla tactics.
Martech Tips from Robotic Marketer’s Mellissah Smith
Arm Treasure Data: How did you get started with marketing? Where did that interest come from?
Mellissah: When I was young, I always thought I would be a lawyer. However, things changed when I found a job at an advertising agency. I’d never had much interest in brands and consumer behavior before. All of that changed when I saw how one advertising campaign could ignite such a huge response in a consumer.
A campaign can change a person’s mind in seconds. It has that much power. So much goes into developing a marketing campaign. It is so much more than just creativity. It’s a science. From that “aha moment,” where I understood for the first time that one piece of creativity could create dynamic responses, I was hooked. I was only 17 years of age, but from that moment on, I never changed my career path.
Marketing was my passion and the yearning for understanding why people buy a particular product or service over another became the puzzle that I needed to solve.
Arm Treasure Data: Were you always interested in the data and martech aspects of marketing, or did that evolve over time?
Mellissah: When I started, I typed scripts for television and radio commercials on a typewriter. I convinced the advertising agency that we should use the Apple Macintosh to do the scripts. They thought I was mad. I persisted, and eventually, they changed the way they were doing things.
A few years later, I decided that technology was the future, and I needed to understand the industry. I took a position as a marketing manager in the information technology industry. From that role, I was able to meet all the stakeholders in the industry in Australia and Asia. I was also able to identify new technologies as they came to light and recognize their value in the market.
Interestingly, when I first started my agency 21 years ago, I said to the President and CEO of Alcatel’s Genesys that, “Marketing automation was the future.”
At that point, marketing automation wasn’t “a thing.” I then went on to explain how it would work, but ultimately I did nothing with it. You can have a good idea, but if you don’t do anything with it, it’s just an idea.
I then developed a very basic templated solution for writing a press release which allowed companies to write press releases in the way that journalists wanted to receive them. While that was a good idea, we mostly utilized it internally.
From there, my thirst for technology and data was insatiable. Ideas were forever being formed in my head, and I would use data wherever I could to develop more powerful, results-driven marketing campaigns.
I took the next step, three years ago and developed the first artificial intelligence-based, machine learning marketing strategy platform, that ultimately generates a marketing strategy in 28 minutes.
Users receive a comprehensive 40+ page marketing strategy that is aligned to their business goals. It is based on learning from thousands of previous marketing strategies, data crawling, competitor analysis, data science, and insights. It’s incredible to be able to have technology write a better marketing strategy than a human. What’s most exciting about this development, Robotic Marketer, is that it gives marketers time to do what they do best: Execute marketing campaigns.
Arm Treasure Data: What inspired you to specialize in small and medium-sized businesses?
Mellissah: I’d worked in big corporations with large budgets. I realized, early on, that their smaller counterparts couldn’t afford to hire the same level of marketing competencies in their businesses.
I wanted to bridge that gap and give small to medium-sized businesses an outsourced marketing department model. I wanted to provide the competencies and creative that their larger competitors had but in a more affordable and flexible way. The pride marketers get from seeing a small business become a large company is enormous. You can’t get that type of success with only working in big corporations.
Arm Treasure Data: What unique marketing challenges do small and medium-sized businesses face?
Mellissah: The biggest challenge small and medium-sized companies face is themselves.
Often a company starts with the best intentions, but squanders time as everyone sorts through the details. Employees at smaller companies have to wear more hats than counterparts at larger companies. There is more pressure. Less budget. But in that, lies the biggest opportunities.
Nothing is holding back a small to medium-sized business from reaching for the stars. They have the biggest opportunity to be more successful, but they have to try not to act big and corporate. They need to focus on having a unique value proposition and communicating that value in their brand.
It’s a challenge to change that mindset in a small business owner. Investment in marketing is a challenge for small and medium-sized businesses. Ultimately, the need is to be smarter in the way they invest in marketing: Be more creative, think outside the box, and always aim to stand out from the crowd.
Being brave as an entrepreneur often sets one apart from another, and there is no better place to be brave than in your marketing.
Arm Treasure Data: What is a marketing tactic or channel that doesn’t get enough attention? Where’s the hidden potential?
Mellissah: Customer experience is the number one focus for any smart marketer. Everything we do in marketing should ultimately enhance the customer experience—from the first time they see or hear our brand to long after they have made a purchase.
Many companies talk about it but don’t actually implement strategies around customer experience that take into account the customer mindset and persona. There is amazing potential for smaller businesses to take the lead in customer experience. They have the flexibility, nimble design, and one-to-one touchpoints that many larger companies don’t have. The more entrepreneurial a company is, the greater the potential to realize customer experience goals.
Arm Treasure Data: Tell me about your work with Robotic Marketer. How are you using AI, robotics, and machine learning to help small to midsize marketers?
Mellissah: As marketers, we only know what we know. We only have access to what’s at our fingertips and through platforms like Google.
The question Robotic Marketer asked was: what if we took these limitations away? What if we could get better insights through data and analytics and produce marketing strategies that give businesses the blueprint to being more successful?
Robotic Marketer is an incredible technology platform that brings together 20 years of developing marketing strategies for small to medium-sized businesses. The lessons that you learn from writing one strategy to another, and the differences from one industry to another, are all “learnings” that not every marketer has access to.
What Robotic Marketer does is to take the machine learning from thousands of marketing strategies, dives into competitor intelligence, insights, and digital behavior, and marries it with the latest marketing benchmarking and data science, to provide comprehensive, actionable marketing strategies.
The platform’s purpose is to help clients realize their business potential by giving them a marketing strategy that is smarter, faster, and more accurate than a marketing professional can do alone. If you can give your clients the roadmap to success, and they follow it, anything is possible.
Martech Can Make Life Easier Without Breaking Your Budget
AI, machine learning, and other emerging technologies are becoming more accessible to marketers at small to midsize companies. And the benefits of such martech are substantial. For example, the right martech can automate your marketing strategy and increase the effectiveness of program execution.
The customer data platform (CDP) from Arm Treasure Data, combines disparate data for a more holistic view of your customer behavior across online and offline channels. This helps you focus your limited time and resources on the tactics that matter most to business outcomes. To learn more about the benefits of our CDP, request a demo.