AI models, virtual dates, and sweatpants – Sales Lead Digest

This week’s sales and marketing news starts with changes. Actually, all the stories are about changes and as marketers we should be thrilled with the new challenges ahead! Well, that may be a stretch, but this week we’re sharing an article on AI model disruption, dating in the age of Covid-19, the sweatpants explosion, and I’m giving you a link to some new Zoom backgrounds. If you’re not going to buy new clothes, at least mix up your background.


Our weird behavior during the pandemic is messing with AI models

“they have also affected artificial intelligence, causing hiccups for the algorithms that run behind the scenes in inventory management, fraud detection, marketing, and more. Machine-learning models trained on normal human behavior are now finding that normal has changed, and some are no longer working as they should. How bad the situation is depends on whom you talk to. According to Pactera Edge, a global AI consultancy, “automation is in tailspin.” Others say they are keeping a cautious eye on automated systems that are just about holding up…”

The robots are here but hey, we programmed them! What happens when there’s a dramatic change to how we operate? As marketers who are seeing more and more of these AI/Machine Learning approaches come into the marketplace, we can’t get complacent. The robots will keep working but need constant tweaking, so check the results. Especially if you have some search ad campaigns that were on “set it and forget it” mode in early January.  READ MORE

coronavirus date

Coronavirus has changed dating apps “irreversibly” Virtual dates are here to stay.

“It’s not all been easy to capture the spark of real-life meetings — scientists believe body language stands for 55% of communication. ‘Virtual dates obviously lack the small physical gestures you may make on a real date, for example holding hands or a goodnight kiss,’ says Happn’s Rappaport. ‘Without a social setting of being seen by other people while on a date, it becomes trickier for us to interpret our experience of that date as it occurs…”

I’m stretching to make this one about sales and marketing except in the broadest sense but it’s an interesting read. Separately I have read that 40% of US relationships in the last few years have started online. With this pandemic stretching out and human contact at a premium, will we get used to virtual dating? It’s worth watching because selling over Zoom is a snooze! If a dating app can sell a mate, I want to know their approach. READ MORE

The Race to Capture the Exploding Market for Sweatpants

“Sweatpants have become the uniform of the pandemic, at least among the non-essential work-from-home set. “This is a product you’re going to live in all day, every day, and probably go to bed in. It is incredibly versatile,” says Nikki Sakelliou, vice president of marketing for five-year-old activewear brand Vuori. She was talking about the brand’s best-selling $84 women’s Performance Jogger, which has seen 1,100% growth in sales year over year, with much of that jump happening in the last couple months.”

Speaking of Zoom, when was the last time you wore a full work outfit? I read this and put one on just to remember what it was like. Good news! My pants still fit! (our household has invested a lot of time in baking) Will the sweatpants change hold? I was already seeing a few people sneak Lululemon pants into meetings, so I suspect comfort may win out. What changes in behavior are your customers going to stick to in 2021? READ MORE

bbc zoom backgroundThe Joy of Sets

“Live your video calls a makeover, with this selection of over 100 empty sets from the BBC Archive.
Who hasn’t wanted to host a pub quiz from the Queen Vic, conduct a job interview from the confines of Fletch’s cell, or catch up with friends and family from the bridge of the Liberator in Blake’s 7?”
I’m all for these goofy virtual meeting backgrounds. If I were British I would be familiar with these shows too, but besides Dr. Who, I didn’t recognize a set. No matter. I’m pulling down one of the pub scenes. A good pub scene translates to everyone!