It's time to explore new IT ideas

Posted6/4/2017 1:00 AM

There's nothing wrong with a little fantasy, especially when it comes to exploring where you and your business' IT system might go in the next 12-24 months.

Before we get to chat boxes that actually chat, mapping software with an opinion and often free product placements on YouTube, let's place the next paragraphs in the context of smart business planning.

First, make certain you've taken whatever steps you think are necessary to protect your computer system from cyber attacks. Have a real conversation with your IT people, in-house or outside.

Re-read last week's column, where MotherG CEO Dave Davenport suggests ways to protect your system.

Then peruse the increasingly affordable ideas from Jason Burton, Chicago Technology Consulting and let them simmer. Adapt them to your business' strengths, weaknesses and budget. Let your mind wander. Play.

Here are some Burton ideas:

• The same type of analytics that allow Amazon to offer suggestions based upon a customer's previous visits "can trickle down to smaller sites," Burton says. Selling clothes? A tie to go with the shirt the web visitor came to buy.

Selling ideas? Sales training to go with your suggested strategic plan.

• Make the chat box that appears on your site talk. The right combination of artificial intelligence and voice recognition technology could make your website a much friendlier place for customers by answering questions and offering suggestions.

• Considering mapping? "Tell your device you want to go to Burger King," Burton says. "And your device responds that 'There's this place that's closer with good burgers and a lower price. Shall we try it?'"

Try the idea if not the burger.

• Google ad words have been the Holy Grail for web advertisers since almost forever. "But think about product placement -- your product -- on YouTube," Burton suggests.

"Program hosts are always looking for content. Think about Jason's Tech Corner (a fictitious example). I need new content. You watch the show, think maybe your widget fits my format and you send me your product.

"There's no guarantee (unless you talk to the program host first), but for the cost of some shipping you just may get your widget in front of thousands of potential buyers."

Burton says viewership of the more popular YouTube programs starts about 50,000, but smaller audiences work if the viewers are your target.

• Tweak your marketing campaign. You can do this yourself, but incorporate artificial intelligence software into your plan and your email efforts become more efficient more quickly.

Burton's thinking plays off traditional A-B testing.

Assume your email list is 15,000 names. Using adaptable artificial intelligence, your software sends 1,000 blasts, each with the same 1-2-3 product ideas, every hour. Your software notes that most recipients are clicking number 3 and rearranges the list so that 3 becomes the first choice email recipients see -- because analysis indicates that item 3 is what they want.

Yep. Definitely time to play.

• Follow Jim Kendall on LinkedIn and Twitter. Write him at Listen to Jim's Business Owners' Pod Talk at © 2017 Kendall Communications Inc.

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