Talk of artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere these days, including within the digital marketing sector. If you’ve been wondering how AI will influence your marketing strategy, this blog is for you.

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Patricia Boral and Brenda Boral, the co-founders and owners of Boral Agency, recently sat down with Suzan Deison of the Global Business Women’s Pod — a podcast created by the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce — to share their story and talk about how artificial intelligence is revolutionizing the digital marketing world.

 

The Birth of Boral Agency: How Did the Business Start?

Patricia had the original idea to start Boral Agency with her sister, Brenda, shortly after her migration to the United States from Bolivia (Brenda had emigrated a few years earlier).

In some cases, siblings working together can be a recipe for disaster, and Brenda and Patricia were aware of the risk. To avoid it, though, they decided to create an operational agreement right from the start.

Patricia explained to Suzan that the two sisters included everything they could think of in the agreement, from how much vacation they would take to what they would do if they ran into a disagreement. For the last 12 years, that operational agreement has helped them sustain their business and create a thriving agency.

Learn their full story here.

Initial Hurdles

Like all business owners, Brenda and Patricia ran into obstacles at the beginning of their journey — including what Patricia described as “mental obstacles.”

Although, as Patricia noted, there are plenty of Houston opportunities for job seekers and business owners, the sisters also faced unique challenges as Hispanic entrepreneurs and female entrepreneurs.

For example, Brenda explained that she was insecure about speaking English because she “started from zero” when she came to the U.S. and initially struggled with the language barrier.

She recalled her first job in the States at Victoria’s Secret and explained that she used it to practice speaking English and develop greater comfort with the language. The confidence that she gained from this position encouraged her to start seeking out marketing jobs.

Eventually, Brenda and Patricia decided to come together to start their own agency. Their journey began with $300 between the two sisters and a laptop each. They experienced many financial struggles initially and would advise other business owners not to follow in their footsteps (at least in this particular area). Patricia encouraged entrepreneurs to “save or start a business on the side as you are working for a company and plan it and take a little bit more time.”

Want to hear more about how Brenda and Patricia overcame their minority struggles? Read Conquering Minority Barriers with Technology. 

12 Years of Growth and Transformation

Despite their humble beginnings, Brenda and Patricia have successfully grown Boral Agency and transformed it into a successful digital marketing company. They’ve seen the digital marketing landscape go through immense changes over the last several years, and they know it will only continue to evolve with time.

Brenda explained that when the agency started, “Facebook was just in their beginnings,” and she and Patricia “evolved with them.” She also pointed out that video marketing has become a staple in many businesses and noted that it has done a lot to change the industry and make campaigns more effective.

Patricia added that “the buyer has changed as well” and that online shopping is more prevalent than ever (especially when you consider the pandemic impact). People want to work with businesses that rank highly in Google search results, and companies are working hard to figure out the latest changes in the Google Algorithm.

She also noted that all industries have become more competitive, creating a greater demand for digital marketing, and explained, “If I think about digital marketing ten years ago versus digital marketing today, now, it’s a non-negotiable.”

The Emergence of AI

Patricia acknowledged that many people are afraid that artificial intelligence is going to take their jobs. She added, though, that “AI is doing way more than just scaring all of us here.” Rather, “AI is really reshaping the way we’re doing business and…marketing, and it’s going to change, once again, the digital marketing landscape.”

When asked about the benefits of AI in marketing and how businesses can use it to their advantage, Brenda began by comparing AI to Microsoft Excel. She reminded listeners that when Microsoft Excel came on the scene, many professionals were afraid of it. Today, though, it’s a staple in many companies’ technology stack, and it hasn’t taken many (if any) jobs away — and AI has the potential to have a similar effect.

Brenda recommended that businesses use AI as “more of a co-pilot,” especially when using AI-powered tools for marketing content creation.

She explained that AI is “amazing for content, but you cannot go and put content in AI, in an AI software, and say…‘I’m going to go post it right away.’ You still need to edit it. You still need to give the human touch. You still have to find an intention for your content and really humanize it.”

Patricia added that AI can be used to personalize content further as well. She noted that marketers can “use software that’s going to personalize based on your user behaviors.”

Patricia also pointed out that AI is not as new as some people think it is.

For example, AB testing campaigns and email campaign optimization often rely on artificial intelligence. The same goes for internet quizzes. She reminded listeners, too, that “AI is going to reshape marketing, and if you learn how to use it, it can really reshape your company as well.”

Looking to learn more about AI? Read how AI Can Help You in Marketing.

Brenda and Patricia’s Advice for Creating Effective Marketing Strategies

With so many years of experience and a successful agency under their belts, it’s safe to say that Brenda and Patricia know what they’re talking about when it comes to digital marketing. They shared the steps they recommend other brands follow to get their own strategies started:

Step 1: Know Who Your Buyer Is

Brenda explained the importance of knowing whom you’re trying to target with your marketing campaigns.

In other words, who is your ideal customer? What do you know about them? What do you want to know about them so you can make your campaigns more compelling?

Creating detailed audience personas can help with this process (and, luckily, Boral Agency offers a free tool to help with this process!).

Step 2: Learn and Be Specific About Your Message

The next step is to craft a specific message tailored to your ideal buyer. When creating your message, it’s essential to put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and think about the language, tone, and style you can use to connect with them.

The sisters recommend creating messages for every stage of the buyer’s journey, too, so you can keep them engaged and encourage them to invest in your products or services.

Step 3: Set Specific Goals

After identifying your ideal audience and developing a distinct message, Brenda said that marketers set specific goals and clarify precisely what they want to get out of their campaigns (more website traffic, more online conversions, etc.).

Step 4: Start with 5-6 Campaigns at Once

Brenda encouraged marketers to “Start with five or six campaigns at a time.” She added, “It can be on your social media, on your website, on your LinkedIn, etc.”

Her reasoning for not starting with just one campaign is that marketers are more likely to be discouraged if their one and only campaign isn’t practical. By running multiple campaigns simultaneously, they can set themselves up for greater success. In Brenda’s words, “Diversification is the secret.”

Brenda and Patricia’s Entrepreneurship Tips for Starting a Business

In addition to sharing their essential steps for overcoming marketing challenges, the Boral sisters also shared their most empowering tips for starting and running a successful small business.

Patricia’s number one tip is, “Don’t quit your job just yet.”

She also encouraged budding entrepreneurs to “look for a mentor and make sure that you don’t dedicate too much time to building an extensive business plan.” instead, she recommends building a “go-to-market or an action plan…that is quick for you to see if your idea is feasible in the market.”

Patricia also pointed out that you don’t always have to start from scratch when starting a business. For example, there’s the option to buy into an existing business, start a franchise, or partner with someone else. She reiterated, though, that whatever option someone chooses, they shouldn’t be so desperate to pay their bills that they start making the wrong decisions for their business.

Another tip Patricia shared was to think long-term. She encouraged entrepreneurs to consider keeping their day jobs and running their businesses on the side for the first year or two until it’s stable. Then, they can quit and focus on growing the business full-time.

Grow Your Business with Boral Agency

Boral Agency is a full-service digital marketing agency in Houston, Texas.

They work with a wide range of business-to-business and business-to-consumer companies, including niche markets like the construction industry, and assist with user experience design, email marketing, website design, and more. They also host networking events to help their fellow entrepreneurs keep up with the latest trends, overcome Houston obstacles, and master their marketing strategies.

To learn more about Boral Agency and our services (including how we use AI in our marketing strategy), contact us today. You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, X, LinkedIn, and YouTube, and listen to the full podcast here for more marketing insights.