The Science of Technology: Understanding the AI Perspective

AI Advanced Marketing Episode 1 with Craig Petronella, Blake Rea and BJ Saldana-Tovar

January 06, 2021 Craig Petronella
The Science of Technology: Understanding the AI Perspective
AI Advanced Marketing Episode 1 with Craig Petronella, Blake Rea and BJ Saldana-Tovar
Show Notes Transcript

AI Advanced Marketing Episode 1 with Craig Petronella, Blake Rea and BJ Saldana-Tovar. Listen to the marketing leadership team at Petronella Technology Group, Inc. discuss their thoughts on current marketing trends, where artificial intelligence emerges as the clear front-runner. Conversation includes benefits of automated marketing, global trends in artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, the human mindset towards artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, correctly understanding artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, partnering humans with artificial intelligence as a business operations strategy to gain a competitive edge, learn ways we currently use artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, personal insights into AI, business case examples of marketing automation, and more.

Announcer:

You're listening to AI advanced marketing for regulated firms, the podcast with Petronella Technology Group.

Craig Petronella:

All right, we are live. Welcome to the new AI advanced Marketing Podcast. We've got Blake Rea and BJ.

Blake Rea:

Hello.

BJ Saldana-Tovar:

Hello.

Craig Petronella:

Today we're going to talk about various marketing topics and current events, the latest in marketing automation. We're a platinum-certified sharpspring agency. So we can talk about some of the sharpspring marketing automation with visual workflows, personas, all that fun stuff. Hopefully, we'll get some insights and new strategies, tactics, and hacks to lead generation and current marketing.

Blake Rea:

Looking forward to this. Finally, starting on a marketing podcast. In the future, we want to have a lot of guest speakers. I'm working to put together a schedule and get some experts in the industry. Our first speaker is going to be one of the former directors of marketing at Reebok. Anthony Estrada is his name. I'm working on scheduling that with him. The future looks bright.

Craig Petronella:

Very cool. What is going to be interesting in that conversation? Do you think it's going to be around using AI and automation or what?

Blake Rea:

I think what's going to be super interesting talking to Anthony is he's old school. He was doing marketing for Reebok when Shaq was a part of Reebok. So he's going to talk about his experiences with Shaq. I know that he had some Shaq's shoes that he gave to his son. They were signed in the game used by Shaq, sighs like 17 or whatever. In our last discussion, we were talking about infomercials. I know they're not so popular, at least with what we do, but he spoke of how they were split-testing infomercials through time slots and pieces of information and call to action. So I'm looking to get a good idea of how marketing changed within the past 10 or 15 years. I'm looking optimistic to talk about what it was like to be a marketing director of a Fortune 500 company or Fortune 5000 or whatever they are. I hope to hear about some of these experiences and learn through him and pass that learning to you, guys.

Craig Petronella:

Yeah, that sounds awesome. Interesting that you said infomercials. The current digital version of an infomercial is probably called a masterclass where it's a two or three or even a four-hour webinar. Have you ever seen those?

Blake Rea:

Yeah, I have a subscription to the masterclass. I'm not sure if that's the same content you're referencing, but there's a lot of great information in every single one of those masterclasses that I've taken. I'm not really into dancing, but I know that they have a dancing master class. But there are some cool film production ones like Martin Scorsese talks about directing. That's one that I haven't had the chance to watch. But Aaron Sorkin teaches screenwriting, and, I think, they've even got like Christina Aguilera singing. So that one might be interesting.

Craig Petronella:

It might be pretty cool to do a masterclass on marketing with folks where we do almost like a workshop where we roll our sleeves up and get under the hood of sharpspring, marketing automation, and showing folks some of the latest and greatest on workflows and how to automate.

Blake Rea:

Yeah, I think many people, whenever they come to us, always have the growing pains like, Hey, what's your struggles? What are your pain points, and what problems are you running into? Often, we get customers that have reached their sales plateaus and can't get past a certain number. And when we start breaking down their marketing strategy in the way that their company is structured, it seems like every time we find something wrong with how their company is structured, they're not set up to scale properly. There's not enough automation in place, and everything is manual, and everything is time-consuming. And it takes a lot of effort to figure out how to automate the small things that we do daily. That takes up minutes of your time. That leads to hours at the end of the week. That adds to months at the end of the year.

Craig Petronella:

BJ, you could talk about this part. I know you were working with a client of ours. They had some old school methodology, and you were helping them with their sharpspring and building out workflows. They were in the water filtration business, and they were trying to figure out how to tap into their existing customer base. And I think a lot of folks forget about their existing customers. Often, businesses market when it's almost too late, when sales are down, and they realize they need to do marketing. They scurry, and they try to figure out what they could do. And they do this old stuff like direct mail, postcards, things like that. They might even be doing phone book ads still. My point is BJ has had some success with helping a client of ours with modernizing their old school marketing strategies into a marketing automation platform. In this case, it was sharpspring. She knows how to help them sell to their existing customer base.

BJ Saldana-Tovar:

Yeah, I think that's an excellent point. In the day that we live in, remembering the attitude of gratitude is powerful. We tend to forget about our existing customers. We focus on acquiring new customers. But there's so much to be said for the existing relationships that we already have. Blake was talking about some of the names that would be a part of that masterclass. Some of the names we recognize. That makes me think of the power of recognition, repetition, which is, in a nutshell, what we're doing with our customers. For example, the client who does water filtration. I remember their hesitation to get on board with the automation and the automated workflows and stuff. I can then compare that to a few months later, once they've got the automation smoothly running. And the minute something doesn't go according to how they think it should go, they're in a panic because they now rely on this automation. So I can see the quick shift in a business that doesn't think they need automation to, once they use it, not knowing how they manage their business without automation. I think that the focus on that for this year is going to be huge. And that's paying attention to the relationships that we already have and building on those. And then, recognition. Our customers need to see us a lot, and that's where automation comes in. And they need to have things repeated a lot. And that's where automation comes in. It takes things that are so hard for us to follow through on humans and simplify those tasks. Seeing that firsthand with a company that was hesitating about using automation is a glimpse into the future.

Blake Rea:

Almost all organizations are guilty of not neglecting but figuring out how they can monetize their existing customers or at least open new relationships. And when you're a sales focus organization, here's got to be three different doors. One being outbound, one being inbound, and then you've got to have a service and delivery side of things. When you think of an engine, every component inside the engine is doing what it's supposed to do. Having an outbound and inbound, and then the delivery side of every business is super important.

BJ Saldana-Tovar:

Don't you think that the delivery side is so impacted by automation?

Blake Rea:

Definitely. Most people automate the delivery side of things. Still, we're going back, and we're always trying to improve our own business. We're trying to automate outbound at this point or to get more automation behind our outbound. But if you can have some automation levels and all of those three buckets, you're heading for the future, and you're ready to break past that plateau. And I don't know if I should say her name on the podcast, but we have a CPA client. And we've done a lot of work with her. And she's been using sharpspring in a manner that I don't know if anybody else is using it. But I came up with a concept when I was onboarding. Her sharpspring has a sales pipeline. And you can create whatever type of pipeline you want and automate things, but we created a tax pipeline. So we went through the different steps to what tax preparation is. She's got a pipeline step stage for your information has received, your information is being reviewed, we're in production of your tax return. Another one is your tax returns completed, your tax return is filed, and then awaiting returns. So she's got these different pipeline steps. And what I did in sharpspring was I created an email template around each of those saying your tax information is in processing. I then created an action group or a workflow around whenever a lead is moved throughout that pipeline stage. It generates an email automatically and lets her customers know this is where we're at without your tax return because she was always getting calls all the time saying, How's my tax return looking?

Craig Petronella:

I think that's a good point.

BJ Saldana-Tovar:

Yeah. Great example.

Craig Petronella:

I think the point that where people struggle with automation is they don't know where to start. Take a piece of paper and write out all the steps that you do manually. You pick up the phone, call the person, email them, lay all that out in your process, describe the process, etc. Map all that out on paper. Once you map it all out and meticulous about the steps and detailed about those steps, you could look at the whole mapping and figure out if automation is a good fit. And if so, where is it a good fit. Nowadays, with advanced software, AI, and marketing software like sharpspring, for example, you can make that software do the heavy lifting that in the past, you would have had to do manually. Instead of you opening and composing a brand new email, you can now template it, save that template, and script it out. And you can trigger that email to fire on a certain action in the workflow. I think customers realize the process involved in mapping or the mundane tasks they don't want to do or don't remember to do systematically. That's what should be automated because then it's done exactly how you program it, and it's systematized. And if you keep measuring that, you're going to get good results.

Blake Rea:

Right. If you end an email saying let me get ack to you, or let me review th s, I think chances are like if you send an email. Or if you se d an email and you've done somet ing manually, chances are y u can kind of catalog that or preserve that and integrate at with automation. Most of the time, when people are on v cation, they set up an aler that says that I'm on vacat on, you can contact my c lleague. That's simple automatio . But chances are your daily correspondence, for the mos part, can be automated, nless it's a time-consuming pr ject or something that does a lo of heavy lifting and requires i . Small tasks

Craig Petronella:

I also think about the outreach and the s les prospecting phases. Some o those actions are repetitive to leverage something like sharp pring smart mails and program templates in there. That area of the business outreach isn't q ite yet ready for full-fledged automation. However, it still co ld be programmed as a tool in BJ toolbox to help her script ou some of those actions, but wi h a little bit of fine-tuning un il they get to a certain area wh re you can warm them up and sc ipt some of that out so that yo 're not manually doing that an more. If you're using the ph ne calling folks, there are echnologies like voice mail rops. And nowadays, we have texting. You can mass text people if they want that. Some eople don't like that. It epends on your audience. But I hink that as you look at new echnologies and try to think about your customers and the b ying experience you create, an the culture you create, you can think about how some of these n w technologies can fit.

BJ Saldana-Tovar:

It wouldn't hurt any business, as we started a new year, new age to try to look at all of their practices, understand best where strengths are, and maximize on those to fill gaps where the opportunities lie. So looking at not just your staff, and like, who's best at what, and making sure people are doing the right things, but understanding the technology available. For businesses that hesitate to get on board with automation, I think a lot of it is a mental block. What is this like? Is it taking control away from me? What's it doing? I think a proper understanding of the situation is step one. And that's people will always be required to build relationships and make decisions, critical thinking things like that. Humans will always be needed for that. But where the automation comes in is those repetitive tasks that sometimes are the things that lead to low job satisfaction, even with humans. Those are things that we don't enjoy doing sometimes is the repetitive stuff. That's a perfect opportunity for automation to do what it does best. Understanding what every side has to offer and brings to the table is a good first step to see how the technology can complement the team you already have, and incorporate automation and artificial intelligence as a valuable member of the team for any business. That would be a good idea.

Blake Rea:

Yeah, when you're considering how to go from nothing to something and automation, there's a couple of things that you need to consider marketing automation. That is relevant or convenient. For example, if it's something small, our client sends an email for convenience to let them know. So, relevant and convenient. And then I'd say another one is that it's personalized. We don't want it to feel like it's very robot, very cut and dry. So how can you personalize your automation? And it's even something as simple as using a dynamic introductory header that says, Hey, Craig; hey, BJ. We're using different syntax tags, which are all built into sharpspring that you can use.

Craig Petronella:

I think personalization is needed. But even taking it a step further, I think most businesses send a newsletter, and they email it. They used to print and mail it. But nowadays, they mostly email it. And most of the time, they'll do like, Hi, first name, or something intro personalization on the newsletter. But I think the big piece of what they're missing there is the business will send that same newsletter to everyone on their list. And that's a huge mistake. Everyone on their list doesn't want to hear about all the same stuff. After all, every person is different. So if you use different types of segmentation, lead scoring, and different aspects to hyper-segment your list, you can send that messaging where it'll have a much higher alignment to what the customer is interested in. And I think that's part of the secret in digital marketing and that people are in fear of AI and artificial intelligence because they think they're going to lose their jobs. And I think how BJ was talking about it is not entirely true. It's more about AI good at mundane, tedious tasks. The stuff that humans don't want to do. Often, if it can be scripted out, it's a perfect fit for AI. So the tedious outreach and sending follow-up emails and things like that. If you do that in the right way with automation, it appears to come from you manually, and that's what you want. You want it to look like you just wrote that email in plain text and sent it to that person. And you don't want to overthink it. You don't want to make it really pretty and super flashy because it doesn't look real anymore. People are writing emails on their phones, and they're writing emails quickly on webmail or Outlook or whatever. They're not making it pretty, so the emails don't have to be long, but they have to be personalized and aligned with what the recipient wants to hear. And I think that that's the secret.

Blake Rea:

Yeah. Nobody wants to read something they're not interested in. If it's a news article, or if you're watching a TV channel or any content that you're ingesting, if it's not relevant, then nobody's going to suffer when they have the choice not to suffer.

BJ Saldana-Tovar:

Yeah. As people consider moving to automation, the best way to look at this is a partnership. I think we've already seen stages of progression of the digital age. We all got on the Internet back in the 80s. And we're slowly moving forward. Now, we've even got digital currencies. It's going in that direction. Businesses who are not yet jumped into this should look at it as a partnership. Each side can offer something, and there are benefits to all sides. Business operations are completely changed when you have automation, but people are still vital to understanding how to use automation. It still takes a human to understand automation and how it works, and how its potential can be maximized for what tasks we know need to be done. So the partnership approach to automation is a healthy way to look at it. And I think that for businesses looking at getting into it, that are not into it yet, a small step with something that doesn't require a lot of technical know-how, like a tool like sharpspring that the automation is actually like in a front tasting way. You don't have to know coding to do it, and you interact with it like a normal program or platform, but there's background stuff going on in regards to automation. That's a wonderful way for a business to get into this, start to get their feet wet and start to see the benefits.

Blake Rea:

I also talk about it to customers. They say that sounds so expensive. It's not that expensive. The highest cost is the time because you have to figure out what to automate and then start creating content that will be served in automation.

BJ Saldana-Tovar:

Yeah, people say it's so expensive. Here's a good example of how that may not be the case. So that client we were talking about that does the water filtration felt like this software is expensive. But I saw firsthand where the front desk staff was usually getting overwhelmed with putting leads to the right office to automate that task fully. And since that shift to automation, I remember one of the front office staff saying that they had been told to go in the warehouse and start sifting through old equipment and old products sitting there collecting dust. They were able to liquidate some of that and sell some of it. So is the software expensive? Or is it a cost that leads to savings down the road?

Craig Petronella:

It's the tool. When people look at how expensive something is, they need to look at all aspects of that surface. It's not necessarily the deciding factor.

BJ Saldana-Tovar:

That's not the net cost. That might be the gross cost, but it's not net after whatever games.

Craig Petronella:

Right. Figure out what your staff is. How many people do you have on staff? What is your time worth? And if you're paying yourself a salary, let's say you pay yourself 100 bucks an hour or something like that, if you're taking several hours to do something that can be automated, you're going to get all that time back. So then you get to focus on the top five or 10% of your business using the 8020 rule. You want always to be focusing on your business and not get stuck in your business. So if you focus on automating those tasks and helping your staff, you're going to be able to grow your business and systematize things. You're not hiring as many people because you're going to automate more.

Blake Rea:

Back in 2010 or 2011, I was working for a supply group. They sold beer ingredients and equipment to beer breweries. And they had somebody whose whole job was doing data entry. So an order would come through the website, the website looked like it was the first website on the Internet, no jokes. But whenever we created a new website, I was figuring out what order management software we were using. I think it's called some type of order manager or something. MOM, that's what it was called. Like, MOM, multichannel order manager. Yeah. That was difficult. It was like an old

BJ Saldana-Tovar:

That sounds about right.

Craig Petronella:

Right. school version of QuickBooks, and everything was a line ite . But whenever I came on boar , they had somebody full-time r ading the orders of the Internet and then entering them int MOM. So this client had a thre -year project, but they had over 50,000 skews. So when I was dev loping their new website, I ha 50,000 products to keep p with. That was the first lev l of automation for th s company. But whenever an order came through the website, it w nt into the MOM, and we had a ode. It was a script that w s loading every 15 minutes. So w checked every 15 minutes, like if there was a new order. And th n, whenever that order came t rough, it would automaticall populate into multichannel order manager. And then, for a hile, we were printing t e orders out and then walkin them back to the warehouse f r people to fulfill the orders. I thought there's got to be a better way to do this. So I tarted using the same script I got an Ethernet-based print r, and then I referenced he two where the Ethernet p inter was checking the script pulling data from the script every 15 minutes. Every 15 min tes or so, all the orders that ould come in for that period w uld then automatically print. That was the second layer of au omation. And then, we figured o t ways that we can automate our nventory management. Whene er an order comes in, there w re no barcodes on any of the pr ducts. Whenever we were receiv ng the inventory, then barc de everything and then ship i to our partners or other reta l stores. That barcoding every hing so that way, when they eceived it, they would be able to scan that UPC and re eive it. Within those three ears, I felt pretty accomplis ed that I accomplished all those things that have been manually ntered. But going back to cost. e were paying that lady to do d ta entry like $37,000 a year. An once we put the automation n place from the multichan el order manager in our website we were able to tie those toget er. That saved $37,000 a year right out of the gate. The wareh use was massive, like an 8 ,000 square foot warehouse. So omebody's walking from the front of the warehouse to the ba k of the warehouse. That was a s x-minute walk, and then a six-m nute walk back. And that happ ns every 15 minutes. It's the sm ll things that add up to the big er picture. And then if y u think about it, like if I wo ld have told that my client this automation will cost you $20,0 0 a year, they'll be like, Are you crazy? If you look a it in the bigger picture, w 're paying that lady $36,000 a y ar, and your automation costs $2 ,000 a year. You're saving $ 6,000 a year. That's the money y u can put into marketing, ad spe d, advertising, whatever, or ev n giving raises to your staff, or gifts, or whatever bon ses.

Blake Rea:

If you think about when you're automating your brand and your business, how many people would it take? How many salaries would that automation pay? And think about it bigger picture. So if you're replacing three different full-timers or part-timers with automation, your average salary at your company is 30k. That's $60,000 if you're replacing three people. So the fact that you're going to spend $20,000 a year on automation is as expected. You're saving. You got to think bigger picture. When you start relaying that information, people start to open up their eyes and think it can be expensive. But it also can't sometimes be. It just depends on how granular and how your business runs. To fully deliver on this, having a good understanding of how your business works and how to automate things that take up that small amount of time freq ently add up. If you cons der extrapolation, how you can ntegrate those things into your business and how it can be cost effective is the most impo

Craig Petronella:

I think that's well said. I think also that you can tie in old school methods and methodology with modern methods and methodology. I mean, there's David Ogilvy and direct mail, direct response, advertising. That stuff still works, even though print medium might not be as popular. Most people want to do things online nowadays. However, prints not entirely dead either. So it's just less fish in that pond as far as who's advertising and who's printing. So you can leverage both worlds. You can take those strategies and those proven methods and digitize them. So at the most basic level of automation, if you're manually sitting there typing emails, even if it just takes you one or two minutes, that tant thing. time adds up. And that's what Blake was saying earlier. You have to add up all that time. And suppose you focus on that and document how often you're manually doing stuff. In that case, you will realize how much time you're wasting that can be automated with software. And the more you automate, the more time you get back. So automate as much as you possibly can, within reason. You can use automation, and it can negatively impact you. But if you use it in the right way, it'll help your business grow.

BJ Saldana-Tovar:

I think you're right. Again, to use that word partnership. So if you use it that way, I don't feel like at this point, it's about sellin anyone on the idea of usin automation because the fact i that is the direction the worl is going. So that's a fact Businesses that jump on it ahea of the curve will have an adv ntage over ones that try to wai it out. As more and more busine ses start using automa ion, the former ways will beco e more and more obsolete. So he partnership is the way to look at this. So I remember personally, a couple o years ago, I was asked to crea e a spreadsheet of peop e who wanted to subscribe o our newsletter and then o certain things and uploa them to a system. And I remem er working on this for a we k or two straight. I spent al my time on it. Now I can ge a list of 1000s and 1000s and 1 00s of names. And it'll take tw minutes. I'll upload the list to sharpspring and wait to pload about two minutes with a l these different custom fiel s that I want there and al these different segmentation o the list. Boom, it's uploaded o the system. Everyone's in ther . All their data is where it should be. I've got this huge RM now, all this stuff that woul have taken me so long to d before. But the automation is not at a point where it can buil relationships like I can w th customers. I allow the auto ation to help me fill some f the things that I'm slow at I'm human, so it takes me a hile to do certain things lik that. So I use the automation there, and I'm extremely grate ul for the help. I can th n focus my time on things where can be more impactful versus j st trying to get things do e and cross things off the list So most of the things that we t pically cross off of our to-do ist. These are things that can be automated. Being human is wha can't be automated. Being y urself and relating to people can't be automated, bu most of the things we have to do can be automated. Be ng human can't be. So, agai , I think that it's not somethin that's going away, and it's not something that's going to b a question of should a bus ness do this? It's a matter of when you are going to start d ing it. How will you take the f rst steps? What are your goals? hat problems do you have that n ed to be fixed right away And what gaps do you have in our marketing? And I would ventu e to say that for most c mpanies, that's going to be th se two things, recognition and repetition. So recognizing w ere the opportunities ar with your customer base, your p ospect list, all that. And then brand recognition, which tie into repetition. So the more he customer hears from us, t e more they recognize us. A d so these are just two things t at automation is phenomenal at elping with.

Craig Petronella:

Yeah, and taking that a step further. So say you upload a list or have a list of about 1000 folks in your ecosystem. Maybe past customers or current customers. And maybe you have 5000 past customers. What can you do with automation and with software like this? You can hyper-segment that list. So maybe you know personally 100 people well, and you want to record and send them a happy birthday every year. So it's going to take a lot of time for you to wish 100 people a happy birthday manually. But if you programmed it in automation, and you did it in such a way where it looks like it came from you, that could be powerful. And that's just an example of one thing that you could automate that gives that personable touch. And it's all about your relationship with your list. I think that you can never really over segment your lists. Some people get stuck on I've got 1000 people, what if I only have two people on my list that hit certain criteria? That's okay. Because you can name that segment of two people. Maybe those two people like chocolate ice cream, and you want to do something basic like send them a gift card or something. And it's only two people out of 1000. My point is that you can create automation just for those two people, or even just one person on your list. And then you can have a whole another automation for another group that might be five or 50 people. And you can have all these different buckets of all these different things. You can then think about how you want to message and communicate with these people. You may choose an email. You may choose text messaging. You may do both. You may do a letter. You may use automation to send a postcard that comes from you on their birthday. So there are all different ways to use this automation. And you don't want to abuse it. You don't want to send somebody an email every hour, every minute, or every day and annoy them, which you can do. But my point is that if you do it if you communicate with folks the way they want to be communicated and hyper-segment them, your success will go up.

BJ Saldana-Tovar:

Yes. And you touched on a topic, a whole another part of automation, Craig. We see automation help with recognition and repetition. But there's a whole other area that automation helps, and that's like fact-finding about your prospects. Things that as a salesperson would take you a while to manually research, see what kind of things they're looking at, and what they're interested in. When you have automation, you have website analytics. You have shopping cart abandonment analytics. You can see how much time customers are spending looking at a certain product on your website wall. It is the stuff that I would have had to manually fact find and gather before. And I'm sure all businesses know the frustration of having a sales team may be in a lot of time is spent reading about companies or reading about profits trying to fact find and learn more about them. There's the amount of information, the data that artificial intelligence can gather if a simple tracking code is put on a website. The amount of a deliverable that you receive from the automation is just such a huge advantage to any sales or marketing professional.

Craig Petronella:

Absolutely. And one of the other things that came to mind as you were talking about is automating something as simple as scheduling your calendar time. That alone saves so much for my time.

BJ Saldana-Tovar:

That's a perfect example, Craig. A couple of years ago, before we jumped on to the automation, I was the manual scheduler for your calendar. I remember it being very time-consuming. You just have it automated now. And It sends out automatically with your calendar link and links to your calendar and links to sharpspring. It's a beautiful process that keeps everything coordinated and orchestrated and just saves us a ton of time.

Craig Petronella:

Absolutely. And even for groups of customers with teams for them to see my availability and my calendar, they got alternate with their team on their side. Whenever you get multiple people involved trying to schedule them for a time slot on a certain day, it's very difficult. And it's a lot of emails and phone calls. If you don't have access to their calendar, you got to ask them somehow, and you got to communicate with them somehow. So it's just awesome to have some of those tools in place that automatically in real-time synchronize with my availability. And if I'm not available on a certain day, that availability changes instantly. So the way we have it set up, it automatically adds to the calendar on the customer. They know when they get reminded all automatically on autopilot of when we have a meeting. It's fantastic.

Blake Rea:

I had no idea that you had to keep up with Craig's schedule. That sounds like a job for ten people.

BJ Saldana-Tovar:

Oh, yeah. If I would have been invested in cryptocurrency back then, I don't know if I'd still be here. But thank God, now the automation has taken that pain away from me.

Blake Rea:

Craig sent me an article saying that Bitcoin is going to go hopefully to 100, 00 this year. So now, maybe we eed to start taking Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. We could ccept cryptocurrency for four or five years now. I don't think we've ever had a customer do it.

BJ Saldana-Tovar:

It just proves the point that we made a little

Craig Petronella:

Yeah, it's all about gaining a competitive while ago that times are changing. So the new normal gets thrown around a lot. As time progresses, it's unlikely that we go backward. Whatever used o be normal is probably not ver going to be normal again. or example, this is aut mation. Some companies ben fit from it, period. It's a hug benefit. That's why all the com anies and stuff want our dat . It's why all the terms and con itions make us sign away all of ur data because our data is ver valuable. It defines us, it exp ains us, it helps compan es to market to us very smartl . A lot of people are hesita ing to get into crypto. We can see a shift, and it's scarce now. They say something like 7 % of it won't be availa le for trading because it's g ing into long cold storag from high dollar instit tional investors. It's just m re proof example. It is the way f the future. Things are goin in this direction, and early a opters came on this year. T e early adopters buying Bitco n were 50 cents, a Bitcoin and two pizzas for winners. So hat's the same thing with marke ing automation. The early adopte s are going to be the winners. edge. And automation helps our business gain a compet tive edge because you're able t do so much more with a smal er staff, and not using the huma elements for really what's best suited for humans in the mund ne, tedious tasks. You aut mate. But going back to the Bit oin conversation. Five years ago when I interviewed various atto neys on blockchain and Bitcoin nd cryptocurrency, that was pre ty rare to find professional taking it seriously. But now, with PayPal and large inst tutions, attorneys hold Bitcoi . Times have certainly change . And I think you could see t at in the reflection of the cu rent price and where it's cli bing.

Blake Rea:

Yeah. Automation in my real life. Since Coronavirus, I was getting out of my car, and I was like, oh, I don't have a mask. What do I do? So I got on the automation train and put two boxes of masks in my trunk. So that way, every single time I forget it, I have it. And now again, I'm ready to go out. I'm ready to get groceries. I'm ready to ward off the virus. And now I've got an endless supply of masks in my trunk. When friends get in my car or something or colleagues are like, Hey, man, I don't have a mask. And I say I got you. I got a whole box in my trunk. So be prepared. Now with automation, small businesses can act as efficiently as an enterprise.

BJ Saldana-Tovar:

I'm really glad that you made that example, Blake, about your masks in your trunk. And that's an automated process. There's a mental block with people thinking that artificial intelligence is completely different from what it is. I think it would help if people understood how they use artificial intelligence already in their lives. For example, let's just take cybersecurity as a topic. And if you're doing vulnerability scans and stuff. That software that's doing that is not magic. It's not like someone's flipping their fingers and waving a wand. Something is doing the work. Something is executing the commands and the processes and the functions. It's not happening without something doing that work. And if you're looking at your networks, health, and stuff, if you've got computers that have more viruses than 2020, the solution to help this situation will be automation. It's going to be 0managed by different software that does all types of different things. Software is a form of artificial intelligence. I mean, an algorithm is a process or a set of rules on how to do something. And so software just takes that a step further. So everyone has this one picture in their head of what artificial intelligence means. It's already there. It's on our phones, and it's on our laptops. We've been using it for years and years and years. Say that artificial intelligence goes to 100. Instead of being at level one, we as human beings might be at a level five now, you know, in our understanding and usage of it.

Craig Petronella:

Look at Facebook. We talked about segmentation. That's what they're doing. They're mining your data. Everything you like or click on, or look at is all being measured. And you're hyper-segmented into those groups and a target for an advertiser to sell your micro select on those various things.

BJ Saldana-Tovar:

And it works. I have fallen victim to several Facebook ads myself. I've fallen victim to a few ads that have popped up because they were so hyper-targeted for me that I couldn't resist.

Craig Petronella:

Yeah, absolutely. And even with cars, right, like with Tesla. Tesla is leading the autonomous vehicle race and in automating the driving process. You could do this now. But it's just getting better and better and better, where you just really get in your car, and you tell it where you want to go. And it drives you there.

BJ Saldana-Tovar:

Yeah.

Craig Petronella:

Imagine in the future, from a business perspective, that being the mainstream technology. In tead of focusing on the road, ou have the computer and the cam ras doing all that work for y u. And I have to trust that it' going to do this without get ing you in an accident and ki ling you, or killing somebody lse. But the point is that it fr es up your time. So you tak an hour trip. Now you have tha time, an hour that you can be orking on your business while you're going to a business mee ing, instead of you having your eyes on the road and focu ing manually on a task. S now you're adding things with our laptop or whatever. If yo chose to do that, it frees up our time.

BJ Saldana-Tovar:

That's right. And people worry about that

Craig Petronella:

I mean, it's just like planes. People are It's like, how many wrecks hav you seen on the road lately? An could they have been prevented f it was an automated sy tem driving? And from the ones I've seen, I would say a solutely yes. As a group, we hav a bit of fear of artificial intelligence, but as with anyt ing. Monsters are only scary u til you understand them. I thin understanding what it mean and understanding that's alrea y a part of our lives. scared to fly. But statistically, it's still one of the safest ways to travel. It's kind of the same. As more data comes to be mainstream on autonomous vehicles and driving and more players come in, major players, major automobile manufacturers, etc. It's just going to become more mainstream, more data, it's going to get the technology will get better, it's going to get more accurate, and it's just going to get better.

BJ Saldana-Tovar:

Yep, the moral of the story is that it's not going away. So automation is like Bitcoin. The quicker you jump on it, the better.

Blake Rea:

Imagine that in the future, these automated smart cars are being developed. Once it gets on the road, every single car joins a specific satellite or a specific type of network. And all that information is shared between all the other cars that are in your location. For example, your GPS coordinates your speed and things like that. For example, having some type of neural network, where all the cars on the road are communicating to prevent accidents. The whole point is data is everywhere. And sharing is a masterful craft. Now it is all done through cameras. I've got a camera in my car that beeps at me if somebody is coming too close.

BJ Saldana-Tovar:

And people don't understand that those technologies are artificial intelligence, like the camera that beeps at you. It's something that's being automated.

Blake Rea:

Yeah. And it's all for convenience and safety. The future is coming sooner than we expect. I think so. It's all almost scary.

Craig Petronella:

It all goes back to medical and COVID and cancer screening. All of that is now being done with artificial intelligence. And it's just impossible for doctors to get their eyes on every single thing. So they program algorithms and different ways and markers to watch out for a look. And then bring to the surface the top 5-10 percent or so that is questionable. And those are the ones that they need the human that the surgeon or the doctor to review. So it's the same kind of concept.

BJ Saldana-Tovar:

Yeah. Without their algorithms, they wouldn't know what to bet.

Blake Rea:

I like the stock alerts. Those are helpful. The 52 weeks low and 52 weeks high. I know to get a push notification to keep my eye on it. If it's at a low or undersold, or over purchased, those are alerts that you can use today to make your money.

BJ Saldana-Tovar:

Yep. And the beauty of automation is that it's different than a human. So that difference is okay. We're good at being creative and relating, but artificial intelligence is excellent at doing things consistently correctly and not make mistakes. So if I were to input 1000s and 1000s of data pieces, I would have a certain percentage error margin, but automation consistently does things correctly.

Craig Petronella:

Absolutely. It has been fantastic. We should do more of these. I hope that our audience would have to find value in this.

Blake Rea:

That will bridge appropriately to our next podcast if I can get Mr. Estrada on it. He'll be able to talk about old school marketing. So we talked about the future of marketing. And it'll be a really interesting conversation.

Craig Petronella:

Great. Still, there will be some golden nuggets to be extracted from the old school methods and model.

BJ Saldana-Tovar:

Yeah. Partnership. Let's take the old stuff and modernize it.

Blake Rea:

They worked back then. And we need to figure out about breaking down barriers. There weren't as many barriers and walls and old school marketing techniques as there are now because there is so much automation, so figuring out in our future podcasts how we can talk about breaking down some of those barriers and being relatable to your customers.

Craig Petronella:

Absolutely. Thank you, guys need to look forward to the next one for sure.

BJ Saldana-Tovar:

Yep. Awesome. Have a great day.

Craig Petronella:

Take care. Stay safe.

BJ Saldana-Tovar:

Bye-bye.

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