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Happy New Year, Inbox Hackers. I’m glad to see 2024. Fresh start, fresh… ok, whatever. We’ve gotta get over it folks, because all that “circling back” and “pin in it” work is crashing down upon us.
Below, you’ll find The Knowledge Base with inspo mixed in, how to prevent losing money on returns, and Today’s Hack gives you two options to take advantage of a supply chain-related trend.
Our feature story highlights AI research tools that are not overhyped garbage. These tools will save you time researching topics that make your marketing more effective. The bonus? I’m tossing in B2B / B2C online review facts produced by the AI research assistants used for this article.
3 Takeaways: AI Research Assistants
#1 Too many lists of AI research tools are full of empty promises of speed and ease
#2 Citations are wonderful, but you still have to click on those links and read more to ensure the credibility
#3 Perplexity.ai gives you links + citations by default + this tool is truly fast and easy
Google’s Bard as an AI Research Assistant
How’d Bard do with research tasks? Not bad.
I’ve been playing with Bard a lot lately, so being familiar with this bot’s tendencies helped.
One issue was having to ask Bard for links. It gave me citations for my prompt, “Give me 5 studies about online reviews in general.” Asking for links added a step for me. Not good, since the point of talking to Bard is so I can skip steps and nap more.
The research was insightful, however:
- 5-star reviews can be seen as “too good to be true” and may not be as effective as reviews with a mix of ratings (Northwestern)
- Negative reviews have a stronger influence than positive ones (Pew)
- Reviews from verified buyers are more likely to be trusted (Journal of Consumer Affairs)
Wait… if you didn’t double-check the facts I listed above with the source I noted, how do you know they aren’t made up? They are true. Just a reminder about looking beyond what an AI research assistant says, even when citations / sources are listed – gotta look at them!
Oh, when I asked Bard to make up a fake study about online reviews. It gladly complied. Concerning? Yeah, and this is part of what it spit out.
Testing Perplexity.ai as My AI Research Assistant
Including the two links below that were similar to my original link I used in the prompt.
I used the free version of Perplexity. Pro is $20/month, or pay yearly to save roughly $3 per month.
*62% of B2B buyers find online reviews more influential in their purchase decisions for business software than consumer reviews (G2)
What else makes Perplexity helpful?
This AI Research Assistant Plays 20 Questions (good ones)
The follow-up questions to my research questions were great. Many of which I would not have come up with on my own – not without beer.
Here are some of the follow-ups this AI tool handed me…
- How do B2B buyers use social media to verify online reviews?
- What are the differences between B2B and B2C reviews?
- Most important factors B2B buyers consider when reading reviews?
- How do B2B and B2C online reviews differ in terms of length?
*One nuance with reading B2B vs. B2C reviews— the consideration process is more collaborative in B2B
Last Two AI Research Assistants
Consensus: hunts down research papers and provides the number of times they’ve been cited.
You can ask “yes or no” questions to get a ‘consensus answer meter’ based on analysis of multiple papers. See screenshots below.
Use the filter feature to find recent papers and specific types of studies. Shown below.
Epsilon: More scientific focused but could be helpful for deep dives into human psychology that provide marketing insights. (Not user-friendly).
Suggested follow-up questions were very creative. My original search for “papers on engaging headlines that get more clicks” led to this deeper research suggestion…
“What role does punctuation or special characters play in headline click rates?”
Let’s wrap this feature story up.
AI Research Assistants Summed Up
I can find no fault with Perplexity.ai. Consensus was my second favorite robot researcher.
No doubt the paid versions are even better. Just depends on how much you’d use them.
Me? I’ve no need for an AI writer. If I wanna go to sleep, I’ll go to bed, not read robot prose. But if I can avoid looking up page after page of facts, stats, and tactics, then I am all in on using AI research assistants. They give me more freedom to focus on writing the copy.
(Coming up below… most read stories of 2023 relevant to marketing agencies)
WallyWorld Effect [But in Email Campaigns]
Brands beg to be put on Walmart’s shelves.
They go to great lengths, like slashing production costs, so Walmart lets them in their walled garden.
What’s that tell us?
The network effect is crazy powerful. Get your product seen by countless shoppers who stroll inside a Walmart and your sales will soar, guaranteed.
Inbox Mailers gives you this same network effect by triggering your emails to arrive next to other emails your subscribers are interested in. Not just interested in, but emails they are actively reading when your new email arrives. This produces more opens, more clicks, more sales.
This Walmart-like network effect is only available with Inbox Mailers! Why? Because of the size of their network of emailers that produce the email triggers. Using this strategy will improve your email marketing revenue faster than any tactic you’ve tried.
Knowledge is power, so is regulating yourself
Most read stories of 2023 covering marketing agency news
Need a coaching sales funnel? Examples to follow
Social media referrals are dropping like a rock (& how it affects your content strategy)
Sometimes all you have to look forward to is that next trip to Chick-fil-A.
Is that a low point?
Maybe, maybe not.
You’re doing alright in my eyes if you have sense enough to recognize a treat. And you’ve got enough sense to look forward to anything. Aaaannd enough cents to afford a #1 w/ a Coke.😉
* Inbox Hackers Shout-out:
Andrew at Hagerty (car insurance)
Ansleigh at Berks Homes (builders)
Facts and Stats
- Returns were up 35% YoY on December 26, but brands retained over 40% more revenue via return strategies like exchanges over refunds (Loop)
- ChatGPT can bypass media paywalls when asked to do so (1440 Newsletter)
- Only 49% of consumers polled receive an email after a purchase & 27% never hear from the business again (Media Post)
Bonus: Top-dog email clients remain #1 Apple & #2 Gmail – but what are the percentages? Apple: 66.83% / Gmail: 22.82%
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WSJ just reported a wide range of industries are benefiting from no longer offering customers endless options. Covid started this by jacking up supply chains. And businesses report things are going swell without too many choices that “paralyze buying decisions” anyway.
- Coca-Cola reduced its brands by half in the past few years
- The Logan (furniture company) reduced its products by roughly 7,500 items
Way more examples than those two, but you get the picture.
How can you hack into this trend? A couple of options.
- Cut back on your products that don’t produce many sales or are aggravating to procure, house, or ship.
- Find crumbs in the couches of big brands that cut out products/varieties with enough demand to be worthwhile for smaller brands, perhaps like yours. (In other words, sell the crap they won’t bother with!).
(BTW, RIP Tab Cola. Yep, it tasted terrible but I would’ve liked to have known Coke pulled the plug.🪦)