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What’s What in Digital Marketing for 2024 with Mike Allton

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Summary

In this episode, Ben and Mike Allton discuss the importance of strategy in digital marketing and the danger of focusing too much on tactics. They explore the state of digital marketing in 2024 and the role of video within marketing strategies. They also discuss the changing audience perceptions of video and the impact of AI on the marketing space. Overall, they emphasise the need for businesses to adapt to the changing landscape of digital marketing and leverage AI to improve their strategies.

Takeaways

  • Strategy is crucial in digital marketing, as it provides the foundation for effective tactics.
  • Businesses should focus on building relationships with their audience and understanding their needs and challenges.
  • Video plays a significant role in marketing strategies, and businesses should consider a mixed approach of high-quality production and raw, authentic content.
  • AI is transforming the marketing space, impacting tools, platforms, and tactics. Businesses should embrace AI and leverage its capabilities to improve their strategies.
  • The digital marketing landscape is constantly changing, and businesses need to stay informed and adapt to new trends and technologies.

Chapters

00:00 – Introduction and Background

03:04 – The Importance of Strategy in Digital Marketing

07:06 – The Danger of Focusing on Tactics

10:14 – The State of Digital Marketing in 2024

14:25 – The Role of Video in Marketing Strategy

18:15 – Changing Audience Perceptions of Video

25:44 – The Impact of AI on Marketing

31:37 – The Changing Landscape of Digital Marketing

 

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Transcript of the Interview: ** Note: the following transcript was generated by AI and therefore may contain some errors and omissions.

Ben (00:01.265)

G’day Mike, welcome to the podcast.

Mike Allton (00:04.174)

Thanks, Ben. It is an absolute pleasure to be here. I appreciate you inviting me and I can’t wait to talk about marketing strategy and all the things we’re going get into today.

Ben (00:12.657)

Well, I mean, you’ve got years and years of experience in digital marketing across a whole gamut of professions and industries and roles that you’ve played in your career. And I know that there’s going to be a lot of insight and value for our listeners and viewers today. But I just wanted to thank you for joining me because we met in person, I think almost a year ago over at Social Media Marketing World in San Diego. And the little bit of conversation that we had prompted the idea that…

I should get you on the podcast sometime. It’s taken nearly a year, but here we are. We’ve made it work.

Mike Allton (00:44.398)

We made it.

Ben (00:47.537)

Excellent. So Mike, I did a little bit of an introduction to you before we jumped into the interview here, but can you maybe introduce yourself a little bit as well? Specifically, kind of what got you into digital marketing? Like what kicked this off for you?

Mike Allton (01:02.67)

Yeah. So it all started in the late two thousands and I had moved to St. Louis. I started my own business doing mostly website design. Cause that was something I taught myself how to do. And I was building really complex content management systems using Drupal. For those of you in the audience, if you know Drupal, you know, I must’ve been a masochist to choose Drupal over WordPress. But back then it was way more powerful and extendable than WordPress. And I was building sites for businesses.

And while I was doing that, I was writing and blogging about social media marketing, digital marketing, email, and so on. And I was hoping to educate my target audience, small businesses about these marketing things and get them interested in hiring me as a web developer. That marketing employee never worked. They weren’t interested in marketing themselves. They just want to brochure websites. But I caught the bug. I caught this interest in writing about and teaching.

digital marketing, all aspects of digital marketing. And so I started an award -winning blog, the social media hat in the early 2010s, like 2011, 2012 or so on, and took some roles as a CMO and some other kinds of roles for other businesses. And then eventually got hired by Agorapulse. They’re a social media management company based out of Paris. I’ve been with them almost six years, doing all kinds of things from influencers and affiliates to running virtual events. And I still help today help.

businesses with their digital marketing, kind of understanding the role that different kinds of platforms, the strategies and tactics can play. I went to school for history, which is really strange, but I went to school for history and I take this appreciation for how things were and how things have evolved over time. And I bring that to companies and help them understand things have changed.

certain things have changed, certain things have remained the same today. And here’s a better holistic way, a strategic way to look at digital marketing. And so we’re not just changing new and shiny objects.

Ben (03:04.401)

Yeah, well, that’s awesome. And exactly what you’ve just said there is the reason why I’ve got, that was the wrong, I’m pointing to the wrong sign here. That’s why I’ve got these words over my shoulder here. So for those watching video or who know my background, it’s all about strategy first, right? Because I think the problem with digital marketing is there’s so many different options. There’s so many different tactics that people can employ. And often people get focused on the tactics and that’s,

I think is a danger because at the end of the day, the tactics are just a way of getting a message out there. But the strategy behind the right tactics is where success lies. So your insight and your experience of working in all those different ways that you’ve just explained to us there all comes down to, I think, just getting the right strategies in place for businesses. So can you reflect on that? Where do you see the importance between

understanding the difference between tactics and strategy.

Mike Allton (04:05.902)

Well, the strategy is the why, why are we doing what we’re going to do? Why are we trying to communicate in a certain way? Who are we trying to reach? What are they struggling with? What’s the connection between what we want to accomplish and what they want to accomplish? And if you don’t have that in place from the start and you just leap right into the tactics and believe me, I understand. First of all, people who are not experienced in marketing.

and driving marketing for business, they may not understand the differentiation. And there’s also many times where a tactic just looks fun. Let’s do the ice bucket challenge or let’s jump into TikTok or, you know, let’s do something else because it looks fun and it is fun and it may seem like a great idea. But if we haven’t figured out that why first, why are we doing the things that we’re doing? Who are we trying to talk to? What are the problems we’re trying to solve for them from their perspective? What’s the language they’re going to use?

then you don’t know whether or not the tactic is right for your business. You might look at TikTok and you might see other businesses excelling at TikTok. You might scroll TikTok every single night and you might think to yourself, I wanna do that. I wanna be on TikTok for my business. But you haven’t thought about whether or not you should be on TikTok from the strategic perspective. Is your audience there? Are they consuming the kind of content that you might create? What would that content look like before you get into that tactic? So,

To me, it’s definitely a situation where you’ve got to have that figured out first or what you risk is wasting time and resources. And when it comes to digital marketing, this is a big deal. A lot of people don’t really articulate this or think this through enough in their own businesses. They don’t realize that if I spend an afternoon on a particular tactic or worse, if I spent a month or two or multiple months on a tactic, if I invest resources, time,

people cost in my company, if I’ve got other people who are doing certain things that I tell them to do, if I’m putting media by or other kinds of paid resources into that particular tactic, and it doesn’t pan out because it wasn’t aligned with my business goals and objectives and our marketing strategy. That’s a huge waste. We often might just see an ad by for instance, that didn’t work. And so that’s a really obvious thing because the metrics are telling us the tools are telling us, Hey, this thousand dollars or $5 ,000 that you spend on this ad campaign.

Mike Allton (06:30.862)

It didn’t go anywhere. It’s a little harder to see that with a tactic. So this is why it’s also useful to have frameworks in place for your business where you’re identifying yearly, quarterly, and maybe monthly and weekly goals and the specific milestones or objectives that you’re going to go after to attain those goals and the very specific metrics that you need to have in place to tell you at the end of the week, month or quarter,

Were we successful? Did this work or not? Because if you’re not thinking that way, if you’re not thinking strategically, again, you’re just going to waste time.

Ben (07:06.289)

Yeah, 100%. And that’s the thing that I see time and time again as business owners are just throwing tactics at things and seeing what sticks, right? But they’re not measuring the time cost. They’re just thinking, well, you know, it’s just me doing this or just, you know, I’ve got a couple of people on my team handling this. We’re not spending any money on it, so let’s just experiment with it. But they’re not really looking at that full picture. I think, Mike, the other angle there, though, that I see…

time and time again is when you’ve got marketing practitioners, right, who are working with clients, but they’re coming at it from a tactical perspective because that’s what they know or what they do. An example of this is in my industry is that as a video producer, if you, that’s what you do and you’ve started your company, you’ve built your career and expertise on making videos, then, and then you just apply that tactic to anyone who comes at you.

you know, without thinking about the strategy, without talking about the strategy or establishing that there is a good strategy in place, then chances are you might end up just making a whole bunch of the wrong videos for the wrong purpose and using them in the wrong way. The same could be said for someone who is a blogger and a writer, just writing stuff because that’s what they know or a photographer or whatever. Right. So how do you think that, you know, when you approach things just from a practitioner standpoint, how does that impact on the strategy?

Mike Allton (08:31.918)

Yeah, it’s the old adage where if you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail, right? Where you have to be careful if you’re a specialist in one of these areas that you don’t just assume that the way that you do things will apply to everybody and will be just as successful to everybody. And this should be a red flag then to business owners who see an expert in their feed or in their Google search or maybe…

Ben (08:37.455)

Yeah.

Mike Allton (08:56.558)

cool to emailing you via LinkedIn, promising, you know, to make you the next TikTok star. And I don’t mean to pick on TikTok. It’s just an easy example where you have to have a very specific kind of approach to a platform like that, that isn’t going to work for everybody. And so you can’t trust experts who come to you and say, Hey, I’m going to do this for you. And they haven’t taken the time to gotten to know you. We didn’t need to, you look at your PNL, but they do need to have taken the time to understand who you are as a business, who you’re talking to.

problems you’re trying to solve everything we already talked about as a strategy, they need to understand that strategy, you need to understand that strategy. So it is a risky venture to try to assume that, you whatever it is that you’ve been doing, or the person you’re talking to has been doing professionally, that that’s that you could potentially see that same success yourself.

Ben (09:46.481)

Yeah, 100%. So let’s zoom out here, Mike, and just place us now in where we are as the retirement of this recording this episode is early in towards February 2024. So we’re right at the start of 2024. A lot’s changed over the last couple of years, you know, and I was talking before we hit record here that the world of digital marketing, it moves rapidly, but it also kind of moves slowly like that frog being boiled, you know, in the pot.

which is a horrible analogy. I don’t know where that one came from, but anyway. But you know, the idea that I think, you know, if you’re not moving and you’re not changing and thinking about what’s changing in our industry, then it’s easier to just get stuck in the things you’ve always been doing. And then all of a sudden realize that you’re being left behind. So when you think about the state of digital marketing in 2024, like what’s the big picture here? What has changed and what stayed the same?

Mike Allton (10:44.11)

And this is one of the challenges for normal businesses who aren’t in the marketing industry. Normal people who are simply using social networks, they’re using digital platforms to promote their business. They don’t have the time to have this big picture view, which is why you and I are helping them. So one of the truths about social media, for instance, is that the social media industry is changing.

every single day. There are new features being added to different social platforms. There are features being taken away. I just literally saw a moment ago that a lot of businesses that used to use a Facebook chat widget on their website as a means of connecting and having chat marketing through the website, that chat widget is being taken away by meta. They’re going to deprecate that. It’s no longer be an option for businesses. These kinds of things are happening every day. But when you look at an individual platform, if I look at just Facebook,

It’s been a week or two since anything major happened. This is major news, but I’d probably have to go back a month or so to find something else significant major that happened. So when we bucket all these things together, it feels like there’s a lot happening all the time, but an individual platform there isn’t, which is why one of the things I often recommend to businesses is that they focus on just one platform as their primary platform. They really get to know that platform well. They’ll be a little more shielded from these kinds of things that can happen and changes that can occur.

good, bad or indifferent, because that one platform is going to change less often than the entire industry overall. But then there’s another aspect to digital marketing, which is that the people that we’re talking to, and the way that they’re consuming information, that’s also changing on a day to day basis as an individual user, whether I’m a, you’re a B2C or a B2B customer, I’m a user who may be listening to your messaging and how I use.

digital platforms, whether it’s social media, email, those kinds of things, that’s changing. How I’m talked to is changing. And it’s really hard to get a grasp as a business owner to understand things like, because I send an email to you, Ben, you’re opening that email in the midst of all the other emails that you received. And that’s having an impact on your frame of mind, how much time you have. Most of us are probably getting more and more email every single day. And.

Mike Allton (13:09.934)

These are the complexities that happen in this kind of a space that businesses, I don’t want to say they need to be aware of all these things, but just at a high level, they need to understand that the landscape does change over time. And these are the kinds of things that we need to think about and have input into how we need to adjust the things that we’re doing. One of the reasons why short form video has become so popular is that it’s not that people’s attention spans,

or less, that’s not really it. It’s that we are bombarded by so much information. A short 30 to 60 second video simply has a higher likelihood of capturing that amount of my attention. I am happy to turn on Netflix and binge watch hours of entertainment. So I don’t have a short attention span, but as a business, it’s much more likely that you will get a little bit of my attention with a short video.

Now how we leverage that video and what we do next as a business, those are kinds of the deeper tactics and strategies that we need to talk through because we do need to understand that it’s not enough to simply put out 30 second videos that are entertaining. That’s not going to move the needle for your business. So it’s just part of the equation.

Ben (14:25.329)

Yeah, I always kind of refer to marketing as simplified down to it’s about moving people to take action, some sort of action, whatever that may be. And when you break that down, I think the key things there is you’re moving. So you need to move those people, you need to activate them, you need to get their attention and cause some sort of change in their state or their belief or their understanding about something, right? So you need to move them, you need to activate in some way.

But the critical part there of that statement is the people aspect. Marketing is about engaging and doing something to the people that you want to engage with. And so when you recognize that, regardless of the platforms or the tactics, if you’re not thinking about the people who you’re intending your marketing to be received by and how they’re consuming content and how they want to receive your messaging, then you’re probably going to fail.

I think that’s probably generalization, but you need to think about your audience first and foremost, right?

Mike Allton (15:32.782)

Absolutely. It should be about building relationships. Often it’s not. Often businesses will look at the latest and greatest opportunity for them to move as fast as they can to get as much of their product in front of people as they can. And they’ll burn that until they can’t do it anymore. A great example right now is TikTok shops and TikTok ads. TikTok the last couple of years has blown up in usage, blown up in terms of actual time on site. People are just spending like,

literally hours with the TikTok app open on their phone. So then businesses started to come in and realize that there’s a gold, a gold mine there and an opportunity for them to put in ads and get people’s attention and make quick wins in terms of purchases. And I’ll be the first to admit I’ve done it. I’ve been scrolling a TikTok feed and all of a sudden there’s an ad for, you know, scarves or something that catches my attention quickly.

And it’s so inexpensive and so easy. I might go ahead and shop. But the problem now is that that opportunity is becoming saturated. It’s getting to the point where now there’s a lot of ads, a lot of businesses running into the shops. And so usage is down. The expense to be a part of that from a business perspective, the ad buy is becoming more and more expensive. And it’s soon going to be just like Facebook a few years ago where at

first, when we came in as businesses, it was a treasure trove and we could do anything we wanted. And it was super easy to get in front of consumers. Tic Tac will be that soon enough. So this is where you really need to again, hone in on your why your strategy and work on building relationships with your customers. I know that’s hard for some businesses to visualize, you know, I’m a mom and pop shop or I’m a big corporate, how do I build a relationship with a customer? You can do it. If like you said, Ben, you’re focused on

moving them. If you want to think about it from a sales perspective, you move them through a classic funnel where at the top of the funnel, you’ve got short video content, short blog content, that’s helping them understand that there’s a problem out there. Maybe they weren’t really aware that they had this problem. But now that you’ve mentioned it, wow, yeah, I really am struggling with that. I’d kind of like to learn more. And then you’ve got other pieces of content, videos, blogs, ebooks, and so on, that can help educate them and show them what they can do. And at any point in the process,

Mike Allton (17:57.678)

You might be reaching people who already came to some of those conclusions through somebody else’s content, but now they’re doing a little bit of research. They may be using TikTok as a search engine. They may be using Google and they’re discovering that, oh, wow, your business might be exactly what I was looking for. Those are the kinds of things we need to focus on.

Ben (18:15.217)

Yeah, definitely. I mean, you just, as you’re talking there, you’re reminding me that marketers ruin everything. I think is the phrase that I’ve heard time and time again. Yeah. Sorry about that. But so we’ve kind of touched on video a little bit here, but this is the Engage Video Marketing Podcast. So I’d love to get your take on where you see video fit within a marketing strategy in 2024.

Mike Allton (18:22.19)

I know we do.

Mike Allton (18:40.718)

It’s really interesting, isn’t it? Because videos come a long way over the past 12 years. I mentioned, I started this blog, social media hat back in 2011. And within the first couple of years, I went all in on Google+. Now I don’t know how many of you listening today even remember Google +, little one used it, but in the early 2010s, Google plus was huge. And the reason I talk about it is because they were actually the first platform to release.

Ben (18:57.649)

Yeah.

Ben (19:04.421)

Hmm.

Mike Allton (19:10.51)

multiple person live video. You could use Google Plus Hangouts on Air to have a live video broadcast with up to 10 people at once. To say nobody else really does 10 people at once, because it was a little crazy. But back then you were doing live video all the time and Google Plus had a great algorithm and engine built in to help connect people with shared interests. So you were building communities and you were using live video to create these great connections that video can.

facilitate building relationships with individuals. People who are watching or listening to me right now, they can hear my tone of voice. If you’re watching, you can see my facial expressions and my body language, and that helps instill in you that perhaps I’m trustworthy, maybe a little bit likable, right? So that I’m somebody that you might relate to and listen to in the future. Video can still do that today. Now we’ve got a little bit more of a distributed opportunity for video. So that is a little more challenging now. Where do you go live? Where do you publish your video?

And I predicted this like eight years ago, that pretty much all the platforms would support live video or video in some capacity. And that’s true today. So what we need to think about is where’s our audience hanging out the most and how can we leverage video to get in front of that audience and build relationships. And I still to this day think live video is the best means for that. Because if I go live with an audience, that’s an opportunity for them not only to see and hear me,

but for them to actually engage with me, they can ask questions. I can acknowledge them. I can talk to them. I can say, Hey, John, thanks for coming today. Let me bring that question on screen. That’s a great question. Let me have my guests address that if I’m talking to somebody else like we are today. That’s a great means to get people engaged and actually again, bring people down that funnel with you. You can have different kinds of live video positioned specifically for different stages of your, of your.

customer journey, particularly if you’re a business where that customer journey is measured in months, not weeks, days or hours, right? If you’re in the B2C range, you’re probably talking about a day max for most consumer decisions, but I’ve been in the B2B space for a long time and gosh, that buying cycle can be 90 days or more for some folks, which means I have multiple opportunities to create different kinds of video content.

Ben (21:28.561)

Yeah.

Mike Allton (21:35.278)

to reach that audience. I’ll give you a quick example. If I’m selling to a particular kind of audience, I might want a video show, a format of video where I’m bringing people specifically from that audience onto the show to talk to them about their experiences and their challenges. Not necessarily about how they’re using my tool. Maybe you do that. Maybe you don’t, but what you really want to do is have somebody else on camera who looks and sounds.

like your target audience who’s going through a lot of the same struggles and issues that they’re going through and walk through how that looks and how that sounds and how that’s solved. And I’ll give you a secret, not secret, but a fun tactic would be have a show like that and go out and look for the kinds of businesses that you actually want to sell into as prospects. I mean, literally I want to sell to

Akiya .com and I’ve identified the person in that organization who is the decision maker, or at least the hero or the stakeholder that would use a tool like mine or a service like mine. And I’m going to invite them onto my show. I’m going to target my prospects specifically to be interviewed because if I reach out to them cold on LinkedIn, from a sales perspective, they’re probably going to ignore me. We’re all used to being spammed on LinkedIn and we know just to ignore that stuff.

But if I ask you, hey, Ben, I’ve got this show about businesses that are using video. Can I interview? And you’re be like, yeah, sure. I’d love to come on your show, right? Most people would be like that. I know it’s not everybody, but most people will say yes. And then you bring them on the show and you make them look fantastic. And you’re talking to them through your show. And again, you’re making the show about them. What are they doing today in their business? In the middle of that interview, you ask them a question.

that relates to your business and the problems that you solve. Say, hey, are you going through this kind of a thing? Are you struggling with this? How are you dealing with that? You let them answer. After the show, you get them back off camera, the recording’s done. If they don’t do this all the time, they were probably nervous and sweating a little bit coming into the interview and you make them feel great. You’re like, oh, Ben, that was fantastic. You were the…

Mike Allton (23:58.926)

best guess, I love this conversation and they’re all appreciative of that and they’re relieved and that stress and anxiety has gone away. And then you say, Hey, remember when I asked you about, you know, whether or not you’re struggling with A, B or C and you talked about that, you know, that’s, that’s something we work with clients a lot on. Is that something maybe you’d be interested in, in, in hearing a little bit more about how we address that particular solution or issue. And now you’ve got them on the hook. I mean, they said it.

Ben (24:24.785)

Yeah.

Mike Allton (24:25.838)

on video, it’s recorded that they were struggling with that, that they need help with that. But nine times out of 10, you’ve already developed rapport as a result of the pre -show and going through the show and making them look good. And they will be more than happy to continue that conversation with you or your sales rep. And now that you’ve got a great in to their business.

Ben (24:27.857)

Hehehe.

Ben (24:48.305)

Yeah, I love that. I think live video is still seriously underutilized by so many businesses. So I’m glad you mentioned that with that specific use case as well. I mean, that’s, that’s a strategy actually that we’ve recently started to really double down on in my video agency is we’ve, we’ve started a, it’s not a live show, but it, you know, it is a new podcast in video form, video and audio form. And it’s the exact same strategy where we invite specific targeted business.

leaders from our area who would be great clients for us into our studio here, make them look great, lights, sounds, you know, looks great because it’s recorded in our physical studio here. And yeah, it’s great. And exactly that. It’s the conversations after the recording where we get to plant the seeds and open up further conversations. So fantastic. Yeah, really good strategy there. So you talked about live video there, Mike.

And that’s obviously one form that video can take here when you’re thinking about video in a marketing strategy in 2024. But how do you think audience perceptions or expectations of video has changed more recently? And I’m thinking of things like, you know, lower production quality, UGC, you know, short form, which we’ve already talked about as well. So, and perhaps even, you know, video…

brands or video creators moving into the mainstream, right? Whether they be social or cultural changes or becoming like massive music stars, but started on YouTube, you know, like it’s, it’s pretty fascinating space.

Mike Allton (26:31.246)

Yeah. It’s really interesting to me that there’s actually been some ebb and flow from my perspective, at least in terms of like quality of video that audiences expect initially. I mean, nobody had any expectations. It was all new. And I’m talking again, like 10 or 15 years ago, but you go back to say maybe five or six years ago, it seems like there was a much higher expectation for high production value. Those three words were actually a part of most of the conversations I was in. What’s the production value? How do we get high production value?

And, you know, and then we’re talking about, you know, nice DSLR cameras and great audio and lightning and, and all the things that was a underlying conversation all the time. And I don’t know if it’s a relation to the development of iPhones and having just great cameras in our pocket, or if it’s again, markers ruling and everything and realizing as an audience that a high production value often means that they’re just pouring tons of money into this video production. And they’re trying to sell me something.

And I can’t really trust it then if it’s high production. It’s a little hard to know. I haven’t done enough research to know what the difference is and which is the case, but probably a little bit of both. So today it does feel like the pendulum has gone the other way where now people are looking for iPhone type video production from the people that they want to follow on social media and that sort of thing.

That doesn’t mean brands shouldn’t still create great video. Not saying that at all. But it almost seems like if you’re an individual creator, you’re best served by putting your iPhone on a tripod and filming all of your content. That way you’re pretty much guaranteed that you will feel and look authentic to your target audience. And that’s something I personally struggled with because…

I have a great camera. I have great lighting and great audio. Why wouldn’t I use this for video production? And I do. And every time I do and I put the video out there, I’m thinking, should I just shot that with my iPhone? Would it have been easier for me? Would it come across more authentic? I don’t know. I don’t know the answer to that.

Ben (28:38.161)

Thanks.

Ben (28:44.337)

Yeah, that’s a struggle I see particularly in my network of professional video producers who have, you know, cinema quality gear. And if they’re producing content for their brand, you know, which they know they should be, they often don’t because they don’t want to go to the effort of busting out all their gear and making it and lighting it perfectly. And because, you know, that’s quite time consuming often.

but they know they need to be creating content. So, but then they don’t want to be creating content on a phone because, hey, I run a video production company. My content should look hot, you know? It’s a real challenge, I think. But I…

Mike Allton (29:25.198)

Is it Peter Mcnichol? Is he the Peter McKinnon? Thank you. I like what he does. He has a mix of both, right? He’s got in -studio film that like you said, it’s cinematography and it’s just, and then he’ll go out in the field and he’ll, you know, film with an iPhone or, you know, or some other, you know, lesser camera and you know the difference. He’s not necessarily talking about it. I mean, sometimes he will obviously still talk about his gear.

Ben (29:27.965)

Peter McKinnon, yeah.

Mike Allton (29:53.742)

but not always. And he just kind of melds the two. So it doesn’t become an issue. So as we’re talking this through, it kind of sounds to me like the solution would be to do both and just create a lot of video. And so then it no longer becomes a question of whether or not you’re authentic or not. They can see that in some of the other videos. They can see you, Ben, you know, walking down your street, taking a video with your iPhone, just talking to the camera.

And so they can see that when you talk to them that way, it’s the same Ben that’s talking to them in the studio with high -end camera and equipment. And that just removes that issue from the equation.

Ben (30:36.049)

Yeah, and I think if at any time the production value that you’re trying to achieve is stopping you from creating the content, then that’s the problem, right? I think the content needs to be created if it’s content created with a good strategy and goals behind it, as we’ve discussed, but don’t let production value stop you. And I think when we think about the…

Mike Allton (30:46.126)

Yeah.

Ben (30:59.441)

balance between what should be more professional content versus more like iPhone or UGC style content. I think it really doesn’t matter for businesses. I think at the end of the day, they need to think, how can I create content that’s best going to resonate with my intended audience? And in some cases that is content that is raw and behind the scenes and shot on an iPhone. And in other cases, it needs to be something that probably has some production value to it, depending on the…

message, the purpose, the goal of the content. So I think absolutely a mixed approach for any business is the way to be thinking about this.

Mike Allton (31:37.518)

Yeah, I agree.

Ben (31:39.089)

So when we think about the changing landscape of digital marketing in 2024, we can’t ignore the power of or the impact of AI. I don’t want to, we could probably spend a whole episode talking about AI, but I’d love to just kind of dive into for you, Mike, what are you seeing that the impact that AI is having on the marketing space right now in 2024 and how’s it going to change things as we move forward?

Mike Allton (31:50.222)

Yeah.

Mike Allton (32:06.286)

This is what some would call a black swan event, what others would call a complete disruptor to the industry because when it comes to digital marketing, specifically, almost everything’s changing, being touched or impacted in some way as a direct result of this revelation and eruption of AI. So this is what I mean by that. All the tools that you use, all the platforms that you use, all the tactics that you use.

are being impacted and potentially changed by AI in some way. You might be using a tool a different way. It might suddenly have all kinds of new features and functionality as a result of AI integration. You might have new competition from either companies that do the same thing that your company does in terms of a tool or product, or you might have companies that are leveraging AI better than you and able to put out more of whatever it is that they do that you do.

that might be, you know, faster customer service, faster video, faster product descriptions, faster product period. So that’s the challenge because as businesses, we are struggling to understand where this is going because nobody truly knows. We’re struggling to understand what our competitors are doing and how we need to change to adapt to what they’re doing. And it’s hard in this specific instance.

take a wait and see approach. And I say that because typically in digital marketing, I do suggest taking a wait and see approach. Easy example is when there’s a new social network that pops up. I don’t ever recommend that businesses just go all in on a new social network, whether it’s threads or blue sky or mastodon or anything else.

Ben (33:42.533)

Yeah.

Mike Allton (33:56.878)

And I just listed three that came out in the last 12 months, right? There’s so many new social networks popping up all the time. Businesses cannot possibly be successful if they’re jumping on the latest bandwagon social networks, but AI is different. AI is something that businesses should take the time today to understand what it means, what are the large ramifications and what’s happening right now that’s gonna impact.

my business and what I’m doing. So if we’re talking about digital marketing specifically, we’re typically talking about the generative AI aspect, right? Where we’re using AI to create text, we’re using AI to create images and video, that sort of thing. We’re using AI to speed up the process of generating transcripts from our video and building out summaries and blog posts. And we’re using AI to pick and choose if we’re creating long form video like Ben and I were doing right now.

What were the salient moments in this video, right? You can take this video and push it into Pictory or Capshow or some other tool and have the AI help you pick out the best clips from that video and actually turn those into short snippets that you can share to social media. That’s all happening today. And those are all fairly easy pickings for businesses to take advantage of. What’s a little more challenging to understand is how AI is going to help us in six, 12, 18 months.

make crucial business decisions because this is where the true power of AI is. That stuff I just mentioned, those are like magic tricks. Yeah, the apps can do that. That’s cool. That’s not necessarily transforming my business. What’ll transform my business is when six months from now, the AI will be able to analyze all the video content that I’ve created in the past, all the customer engagements that I’ve had in the past, all the video and the customer engagements that my competitors have had in the past.

Tell me, here are the customer types that you should be engaging with based on past performance, the ones that are most likely to buy from you. Here are the videos that you should be creating, the topics that you should be digging into. Here’s where you can surpass the competition. Because this is the kind of stuff that it’s really challenging for a human being to comprehend. We can’t possibly ourselves watch 500 videos.

Ben (36:14.225)

Yeah.

Mike Allton (36:15.214)

and gestate that and then just spit out a report that says, oh yeah, here are the top trends because these are the most like videos, the most engaged videos and the ones that actually drove click throughs to the website made purchases. But the AI can do that. The AI is going to be able to tell us that kind of stuff. Tools using AI is going to be able to tell us that. And so this is where I see AI coming and being truly disruptive and being able to help businesses that understand that and invest in being able to leverage.

Ben (36:28.369)

Yeah.

Mike Allton (36:43.896)

those kinds of tools because they’re not going to be cheap. Right? Like I work with as a partner, a tool called supercharged labs run by a lady named Ann Chang, and they do super high end analysis of customers to really help you understand the psychology of the people you’re trying to talk to. And they come and they create for you a marketing strategy that leverages really interesting psychological levers and marketing tactics. That’s not cheap, but it’s super effective.

Ben (37:12.977)

That’s crazy. I mean, you know, just some of those examples that you shared there, Mike, just opens up the fast moving pace that AI is kind of bringing to this space and the possibilities there are literally mind blowing. I think that word is probably overused, but not in this case. And I think the interesting, scary, challenging, whatever word you want to use there, the thing about AI is…

Mike Allton (37:32.622)

Yeah.

Ben (37:41.329)

is as those tools empower you to do better in those ways, it’s also empowering your competition to do better or others in your space to do better in those same ways. And in a way that kind of elevates everything, right? Potentially. That’s the positive way to look at it. You know, which makes us just think like in a couple of years time, like everything is going to be more efficient, better, hopefully.

Mike Allton (38:02.83)

Yep.

Ben (38:10.897)

But who knows? It’s crazy.

Mike Allton (38:15.694)

Yeah, I mean, people are worried about, you know, losing their job to AI and that sort of thing, which could potentially be a very real concern. But I would definitely just encourage people to lean into learning how AI can make their lives better, both personally and professionally. I love the PI app, PI, that is basically a personal assistant on your phone that you can talk to and get voice responses back. And you can ask it things and run through scenarios and whether it’s very specific, factual questions or

you know, existential questions. I mean, you can, you know, talk it through with tactics and strategy personally and professionally. So I would consider doing that and leaning into how I can leverage AI personally and professionally rather than worrying about whether or not my job or my business or my role is going to be replaced.

Ben (39:07.121)

Yeah, and experimenting, right? And having fun, but also, you know, not being too distracted by the shiny objects. I think there’s a bit of both.

Mike Allton (39:17.518)

Yeah, it’s hard.

Ben (39:18.705)

Yeah, absolutely. Hey Mike, this has been a wide ranging conversation. We’ve gone in a bunch of different ways. It has been super fascinating. You’re a wealth of knowledge. I love your take and perspective on things. I really appreciate what you’ve shared with us here today. But Mike, obviously you do have, like you said, an award winning blog and you create your own contents. And there’s obviously other ways that people can dive into the world of Mike Alton. So.

What’s the best way for people to connect further or to follow what you’ve got going on?

Mike Allton (39:52.398)

The best way is that blog. It’s the social media hat .com. I guess I’ve had it for over 12 years now. And you’ll find me talking there a lot these days about things like AI and high level marketing strategy, really helping, trying to help businesses navigate these kinds of changing landscapes and understand, okay, here’s what I should focus on. Here’s what I shouldn’t focus on. I’ve been talking a lot lately about, you know, setting goals and building strategy and not focusing so much on specific tactics until you have those things in place. That’s the best place to go.

Ben (40:22.609)

I love it. Mike Alton, thesocialhat .com. Make sure you check it out and follow what Mike’s got going on and connect with him on what’s your favourite platform for connecting with people, Mike? LinkedIn. All right.

Mike Allton (40:35.082)

LinkedIn for sure. LinkedIn is where I spend the most time. I am everywhere. I am a social media guy. So I’m on all the different platforms, but LinkedIn is number one.

Ben (40:42.097)

All right, so go and connect with Mike, send him a message, let him know you heard him on the podcast. And Mike, I appreciate you for coming on, sharing your insight. And yeah, maybe we’ll reschedule this for a year from now and see where we’ve gone in the last 12 months. I think it’ll be very interesting.

Mike Allton (40:55.758)

Let’s do it. Let’s do it. Thanks a lot.

Ben (40:59.665)

Thanks. All right, sweet, cool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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