PUSH CEOs Discuss the AI Marketing Revolution

PUSH CEOs Discuss the AI Marketing Revolution

Nemash Patel
Marketing Strategist
October 24, 2023

Since its inception, PUSH has been at the forefront of the digital marketing landscape. Having pioneered cutting-edge technology in the performance marketing arena for almost two decades, PUSH is now embracing a full suite of AI tools to help businesses maximise their returns. 


In this exclusive interview, PUSH CEOs Ricky Solanki and Steve Hyde reveal more about their agency’s repositioning and explain why its time marketeers and company leaders start taking AI seriously…

PUSH has traditionally been seen as a successful performance marketing agency, why is now the time to take the agency in a new direction? 

We are constantly evolving. When we launched in 2007, we were a full-service digital marketing agency, then in 2012 we repositioned the business to focus on PPC as that’s what our customers needed most. We initially focused on Google advertising but expanded to help clients advertise across all social media and platforms like Amazon and Outbrain.

What we’ve seen over the past 12 months is the potential for a much bigger change. We’ve been using AI as an agency for a while now, in our technology stack and in our creative tools, so we know its potential. Businesses need a company that can help them focus on AI and how it can benefit their bottom line, and we’re well-positioned to do that.

Steve: This is the biggest repositioning we’ve ever done as an agency. AI is going to have a huge impact on society. By default, it’s going to be bigger than the launch of the internet. We are on top of the AI revolution and can help businesses get through this transitional period and take advantage of this period of massive innovation, change and huge opportunity. 

What does the PUSH repositioning look like for customers? What can they expect?

What we're finding is that many businesses, CEOs and CMOs, are thinking about AI but have no idea where to begin or what to do with it. They’re asking themselves three main questions: Where does it sit in my business? How do I even begin to test it? How do I keep my own and my team’s knowledge up to speed? At PUSH, we’re addressing all three. 

We’ll continue to deliver by testing new AI tools and working out what our clients need, but we’ll also offer a consultancy service, where we can go into a business and take a pulse of where they’re at with their overall marketing. We’ll then look at this insight and advise them on what their roadmap should be for the next 12-24 months, so that they’re AI ready. The final piece of the puzzle is training their staff on how to use these tools. 

Previously, we used to do training almost accidentally, when our clients demanded it, but now we’re scaling this up. We’ll be working with bigger clients and training people all over the world.

Ricky: Our clients can reach out to us at any touchpoint. They don’t need to buy into the full package. We’ll continue to service our existing clients as normal, but they’ll have the option to increase their engagement with us and benefit from our consultancy and training services too.

We want to change the agency relationship, so it’s not so much dictated by retainers and the number of hours we do but becomes more of a partnership. Our clients can dip in and out of our services and dial up or down what they get, depending on their needs at any given time.

AI is going to revolutionise the marketing industry. Do you see PUSH as thought leaders in this space?

It's all very well trying to present yourself as being experts in AI and we could have gone out there and just done a load of window dressing around it, but actually, we're doing the work. Over the past six months we’ve been researching, building, testing and actively using AI. We’ve got new people working across our business who are coming up with exciting ways of using it.

We’re not actively out there trying to be thought leaders for the sake of it. It’s driven by our passion and because we believe the world is changing and businesses aren’t recognising the opportunities as much as they should do. 

We’ve seen this before in 2004-5. That's how Ricky and I got together and created PUSH in the first place, as we were incredulous that businesses weren't recognising the opportunity that Google presented.

What we’re seeing now with AI is just the tip of the iceberg. We believe we can lead the conversation, not out of any vanity, but because we want to show businesses that if they don’t start taking AI seriously, they’re going to get left behind. 

It’s a similar situation to when smartphones came in. The businesses that didn’t adapt their marketing strategies fast enough ultimately failed. We don’t want that to happen, so we need to get out there and open up the conversation.

Some leaders might be hesitant about adopting AI into their business. How can PUSH help take them on that journey?

We’ve been sharing a lot of information on how we’re implementing AI within our own business by running webinars and opening up conversations about it. 

I recently took part in a webinar with the Stress Management Society, which was around AI and employee engagement. We shared first-hand how we'd run a survey to see how our team were feeling about it. Initially, some of our team were a bit hesitant and worried about how it might impact their jobs, but now they see the possibilities and they’re excited. 

From our survey and employee feedback, we’ve built an AI manifesto and an AI responsible policy document. These are frameworks we can share with everybody, and businesses can use our templates in their own AI roadmaps.

Steve: AI is new to all of us but there’s no escaping it. It will fundamentally change how we all do business and how we all live. You’re not going to lose your job to AI but potentially you could lose your job to someone that works with AI better than you do. 

If we’re writing copy for a marketing campaign, for example, we might use AI to help create it, but we still need a human to input, check it and improve it. AI just means we can be a lot more productive.

Does this mean that AI is going to be good news for businesses with smaller marketing budgets, as they can produce more high-value content for less?

Yes, absolutely. And that’s where our new training programme comes in as it will encompass using AI and the base knowledge and tactical skills you need to have. This gives businesses the opportunity to try and test some of these newer channels for themselves. Before, it would have been up to the agency to do all the work and based on what the client could afford.


What new products will you be introducing at PUSH that demonstrate the power of AI to improve a company’s ROI?

We’ve got Pulse, which is our consultancy product, where we essentially go into a business and give it a scorecard of its performance. We take the pulse of their marketing and see how it compares with other businesses and where it needs to be if they want to achieve their business goals.

Then we’ve got DIAL, which stands for Digital Innovation Acceleration Lab, where we innovate, experiment and test different types of AI. We’ve been using it internally in our business for a long time but now we can use it as a framework to improve and enhance our clients’ performance. An example would be using prompt technology to refine and test ad copy which we can teach customers.

We are also repackaging our AdInvestor product as DIAL360. This takes data from platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok, Snapchat, Amazon etc and analyses it to see how a company is performing. That’s not going to change but now we’ll be able to use AI to create content for these platforms and to better understand performance. This is our core technology product that’s going to drive sales, leads and conversions for businesses.

Finally, we’ve got DIALbot which is essentially the PUSH AI bot, which we will use to help deliver our training. You can ask it any question and it can help you work through it. You can even get it to write you a report or email based on your training. 

You can see how all these micro AI projects we’ve been working on will deliver a huge impact. It’s a really exciting time.

What would your dream client journey look like under PUSH’s new brand position?

A dream client would probably be someone that recognised they had a challenge with their existing marketing. Then when we start speaking to them, they realise they actually have a different set of problems and, although we may be able to do some quick fixes for them, we can actually take them on a journey to help themselves. We can give them a clear sense of direction and the confidence to deliver their own marketing campaigns in the future.

Not only will we help them identify the channels they need to be marketing on, but we can also talk to them about recruiting the right kind of people for their business. We can then train those staff in the AI that will help them to grow their business. They may tap into our agency to help them deliver campaigns, but our main role will be as an adviser, as and when they need us.

Ricky: A lot of businesses turn to an agency to find a quick fix to a problem, but we want to change the narrative. We want to challenge customers when they come to us. They’ll still want quick growth performance, but we want to invite them to see things from a different perspective. It’s about playing the long game rather than quick wins.

What key things do you think business leaders should be considering when it comes to their future marketing, and how can PUSH help them?

The first thing is just to acknowledge and be aware that a huge change is about to hit our shores. It's starting to happen. It’s about recognising and acknowledging that this is not just some gimmick. This is a really, really big shift in the world of business and it's only just started. It's going to get much bigger and it's going to come pretty fast over the next three years.

They need to start asking themselves internally who owns the conversation about AI in their business. This isn’t just about marketing; it’s about how their entire business operates. It needs to come into the boardroom as a regular and immediate topic of conversation. 

What they need is an agency like ours to give them a sense of where they are at the moment and what their business could look like in the future.

Ricky: We’re moving into completely new territory and things are going to get really disrupted. We’re here to help navigate businesses through these changes and help them thrive through the chaos that’s about to come. There are so many opportunities with this new technology and it’s all about harnessing it in a way that works for you, rather than against you.

How does PUSH's brand repositioning compare to what other performance marketing agencies are doing?

I have no doubt that other agencies are adopting AI but we're almost going to shift outside of that space. We're creating a new market position. We were a performance marketing agency before it was even a thing. Now we're going to be about marketing transformation in the era of AI. I think we're going to be in a pretty unique position for some time on that.


Will PUSH’s new brand position affect your current pricing structure?

The simple answer for existing clients with our existing services is no. There may be additional services they choose to take from us which are new to them and those will have a different price, but no one is going to have a sudden price hike.

By nature of what we’re doing we’ll be reaching out to bigger enterprises who we can help make a real difference. The scale of what we’re doing is getting bigger, but we’ll continue to serve our existing client base as usual.

As part of PUSH's repositioning as an AI performance agency, you’re launching a new website and brand identity. Can you tell us a bit more about this?

We gave the website a bit of a refresh last year but fundamentally our business messaging hadn’t really changed. Now that we’re introducing new products, consultancy and training, we didn’t want to just bolt them on to our existing offering. 

We’ve engaged an external company for the first time to help us understand who we really are. It’s less of a rebrand and more of a new brand position. Our logo isn’t changing but how the brand is represented is really changing. We’re really excited to launch it and looking forward to seeing what the market thinks of it.

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