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The world is increasingly volatile, uncertain and complex, and marketers are expected to do more and be more than ever before, according to Ukonwa Ojo, CEO of Zaia Holdings and former CMO of Amazon Prime Video.


In her RESET presentation, Only the brave. Only the humble, Ojo said a marketer’s job today encompasses many facets beyond the brand, including issues such as mental health, climate change, sustainability, security and DE&I, among others. 


“Your job is more complex than it ever has been and every day it feels like we have new challenges to respond to and everyone is looking to you for answers,” she told the RESET audience.


While that can seem insurmountable, it’s ultimately a good outcome for marketers, Ojo said. “That’s all actually a good thing because a time of unprecedented uncertainty is the perfect fertile ground of unprecedented creativity.


“There has never been a time when the world has needed marketers more. We have the opportunity to create a future that doesn’t exist, to solve problems that have never been solved, to create products that haven’t been created.”


To win and cut through calls for bravery, courage, and humility, Ojo added.


Humility includes learning and adopting new technological advancements and tools, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), and pivoting marketing investment strategies to reflect the changing landscape.


In her role at Amazon Prime, Ojo said the streamer began using AI to create trailers for new shows. “When you’re creating 30,000 assets per TV show, you can’t do that with humans alone,” she said, advising the audience to “‘everage AI for the things that you need to”. 


“You have AI at your fingertips, put it to work for you,” she added.


Ojo’s 3 key messages for the RESET audience touched on creativity and human connection.


1. Leverage technology to create space for creativity

“Outsource to technology as much as you can, as quickly as you can, and create capacity for what humans will always do better: an original thought,” Ojo said. 


“The more we leverage the power of technology to automate the things that are less important, the more space and capacity we have to create original thought, which leads to breakthrough, never-before-seen creativity.”


2. Set your sights on big goals

“If you give people incremental goals, nothing much will change. If you want fundamental change, give people a big, hairy audacious goal.” 


At Amazon Prime, Ojo said, the marketing team was challenged to overtake Netflix – something that had never happened before. Setting an audacious goal like that, according to Ojo, pushes people to consider the bigger picture and establish all the necessary steps they need to take in order to achieve that goal – something they don’t do when they focus on less ambitious goals.


“Even if you don’t reach the goal, you’ll be way ahead than you would have been with incremental goals,” Ojo said.


Amazon did achieve its goal, last year replacing Netflix as the #1 Streamer in the US.


3. Hearts before heads

Ojo urged RESET attendees to remember the fundamental truth about humans: we are driven by emotion. “I tell my team all the time, hearts before heads,” she said. “We make decisions emotionally and justify them with rational facts.


“So as marketers have to get on what is underneath all of that, that makes us connect with emotionally, human to human. And every time you tap into that, it is so powerful.”

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