Founder and CEO Nancy Shenker talks about the shift in marketing and introduction of AI

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Interview by Breanne Thomas

Hi Nancy! Can you tell us a little about what you do and how you ended up there?

I run my own marketing consulting company called theONswitch and am a content strategist/writer and professional speaker. I spent the early part of my career as a marketing executive for big brands — the classic “executive woman of the 1980s.” After reaching the C-level I decided to start my own business, providing start-ups and small businesses with the same quality of marketing that big brands enjoy.

I’ve always been fearless in terms of technology innovation and how tech can enhance and streamline both business and life. When I decided to launch my next book/website, AI, machine learning, and robotics seemed like a natural — they will change every aspect of our lives over the next decade — much the way social/digital media transformed marketing.

You’ve been in marketing for a long time and have seen many of its iterations. What has been the most significant shift you’ve noticed, whether in the industry at large or on a smaller, more personal scale?

A.I. will be the most significant shift we’ve ever seen. Marketing will change with A.I. in ways that we must embrace — from skills needed, to hiring, customer experience, content, social media and more. But prior to that, the biggest change was the “democratization” of technology. As devices, user-friendly tech, and worldwide Internet proliferation put the power into the hands of consumers and business leaders outside of the tech industry at a rapid pace.

What advice would you give to other Tech Ladies in marketing who want to embrace emerging technologies like AI or AR/VR in their own work?

Stay current. Every day, new developments emerge. But also learn to differentiate between “AI-washing” and real artificial intelligence. Lots of people are slapping the term “AI” or “robot” on a product or service to increase its appeal. Beware the posers.

The future of AI also depends on the intelligence and engagement of the humans behind it. Like all technologies, people need to look at each invention/development and ask the critical questions, like “Will this improve the quality of work? Save money? Make more money?” Knowing how to communicate the value and benefit of technology is as important (if not more important) than the technology itself.