Dave McCaughan, Co-Founder, Marketing Futures
Faiyaz Ahmed, Co-Founder, Marketing Futures
Things are always changing. There is always new technology. Someone is always innovating. How do we keep up?
Well, the good news. Things are never as bad as you thought. Yes, there are always changes. Remember this time last year when every marketer on the planet was panicking about whether they needed a Metaverse strategy? There is always a trend, a technology that is demanding our attention.
That is the key – ‘always’. So, don’t worry about it. Change will happen whether you like it or not. You just need to go with it and decide if you are prepared if it becomes a ‘big thing’. In the 1970s marketers the world over were in a panic.
So many changes! Colour TV, remote controls, ATM, computers and databases, fax machines. How do you cope? In the ‘90s it was the internet and social media (yes, digitally based ‘social media’ began in 1992). In 2005, it was mobile phones and then QR codes. Some came and went. Some just keep on developing. This year it is Artificial Intelligence (AI). Nothing new here, folks. We have been using AI-based platforms for a decade. Dave started partnering with an AI-based market research platform called SignificanceSystems in 2015 and has worked with a couple of dozen clients the world over; from Tesla to Uber to Havaianas with it. AI is just part of life. The difference in 2023 has been the awakening brought about by technologies such as ChatGPT, Tome AI-powered storytelling, and Midjourney that have captured mass interest. And with everyone reporting on them comes panic. Speculation that this doomsday for marketers, media professionals, and creative individuals has finally arrived. Or, is it really an opportunity?
At present, Bangladesh boasts a significant IT and business technology freelance community, with approximately 650,000 individuals, according to the country’s ICT division. Collectively, they generate an annual income of around USD 1 billion. Regardless of their background or profession, people from all walks of life in Bangladesh are avidly embracing these technologies and applications, propelling a transformative wave. For instance, consider a 22-year-old youth from Dhaka who, armed with AI and modern technology, could be crafting marketing strategies, designing presentations, and developing creative campaigns.
Rather than being worried, Bangladesh, marketers need to remember that this newest wave of innovation exemplifies how the human mind, coupled with Technological Advancements, continues to thrive, challenging the notion that marketers, media professionals, and creative directors face an impending doomsday.
Or think about Dave. At 67 he uses AI platforms, reaches out and works with people of all ages to stay on top of the tech and social trends and utilize fast thinkers. Sometimes it does not take much to be a leader. Swapno a hypermarket in Bangladesh, understands the increasing need to be concerned about the environment so it pays you to return plastic bags with rewards. That is innovation tapping into consumer interest and better practices. Around the world brands are using Midjourney and other platforms to encourage people to come up with ads for their brands and then publicise and reward them. Are they great ads? Usually not really. Are they really innovative? Not really. Do they fulfil a consumer market need for people to feel that creativity is democratised by tech? Of course, they do. But, actually hasn’t Apple been doing that with ‘Think Different’ for nearly thirty years? And, fifty years before that, Kodak told us, “You press the button, we do the rest” as their promise that the latest technology of easy-to-use cameras opened a world of creativity for every consumer. New technology doesn’t revolutionise. It just speeds up what has been longer-term trends. Rather than being worried, Bangladesh marketers need to remember that this newest wave of innovation exemplifies how the human mind, coupled with technological advancements, continues to thrive, challenging the notion that marketers, media professionals, and creative directors face an impending doomsday. You may ask, is Bangladesh really a great place for innovation for marketers for better consumerism? Is it a place that can build ideas to expand the consumer market for economic Growth?
Of course, it is. Take banking; arguably the two most interesting new banking ideas in the world in the last forty years since ATMs were both from Bangladesh. Grameen and microfinancing is one of the twentieth century’s greatest inventions. Agro Banks initiatives a few years ago to increase the ability of the rural non-banked to get cash accounts rocked the marketing world winning many awards. Using new tech and ideas to change consumer habits is a great Bangladesh habit. The trick, as always, is not to be doom oriented. Think about what could be done. Use the newest technologies to experiment.