New technologies that use artificial intelligence (AI) are appearing at a rapid rate in everyday life. Siri by Apple or Alexa by Amazon, two well-known voice-recognition programs, are just one example of this. Another is the image recognition employed by both Google and Facebook. Most people in developed nations use one of these applications daily, which is why AI has gained such acceptance and momentum.
Understanding AI and Why It Has Become So Popular
The association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence describes it as the ability to employ scientific understanding to understanding human intellect and thought and ascribing these characteristics to machines. In 2016, the World Economic Forum chose AI as one of the top 10 emerging technologies of the year. It earned this distinction for its ability to transform industries and improve the daily lives of people across the globe.
Big data has improved many applications by combining the power of AI with social awareness algorithms and natural language processing (NLP). It is because of the success of these developments that investors have paid more attention to AI in the past several years. In 2011, they invested $145 million in the industry. Just four years later, that number jumped to $681 million according to a research study conducted by CB Insights.
Obviously, AI applications look different among the various industries and sectors. This not only reflects user preferences, but the differing states of AI implementation and research as well. Examples of AI across various industries include:
- Autonomous cars by Google
- Roomba by iRobot
- daVinci Surgical System by Intuitive
- Credit card fraud
- Crime management
The Affect of AI on Marketing
Most Amazon shoppers have had the experience of viewing product recommendations based on past purchases and items they have viewed. Chatbots and virtual personal assistants are two other prime examples of AI in action in the marketing world. AI enables marketers to pull insights from structured data as well as unstructured data. It gives brands the power they need to produce personalized and more meaningful interactions with their customers.
Last year, 80 percent of marketers responding to a survey conducted by Demandbase indicated that they feel AI will have a revolutionary effect on marketing by 2020. Those responding represented companies with 250 or more employees. They feel the main benefit of AI in a marketing capacity will be improving the experience of the customer. Other benefits that they foresee include the following:
Expedition of daily tasks, 53 percent
Better identification of potential customers, 53 percent
More in-depth analysis of marketing campaigns, 56 percent
Improved insight into existing accounts, 60 percent
While initially slow to embrace AI, marketing as an industry has come to realize its many benefits. According to marketing analyst Scott Brinker, over 3,800 marketing technology vendors listed themselves in over 40 categories at the beginning of 2016. In 2014, this number was 974 vendors. It has now become an expected outcome to apply AI in marketing by using data science, natural language processing (NLP), and predictive analysis. Software using AI has become an essential marketing tool, especially when considering the huge amounts of data the industry produces daily. It provides the opportunity to discover actionable insights as well as champion improvements like data mining, NLP, data analytics, and data science.
Predictive marketing, defined as a new form of discipline taking its roots from mathematics, marketing, data science, and big data, has turned the customer journey into more of a scientific process. It does this by recognizing data patterns and forming a predictive analysis. This enables marketers to identify new and ideal customers as well as those who are most likely to make a purchase. It also allows them to discover the best ways to engage with the customer and the proper channel, message, and segment to use.
AI Powered by Engagement Marketing
By utilizing predictive analysis and data science, marketers can make customers the right offer with the right product and content at the ideal time. When combined with AI technology, predictive marketing allows marketers to complete these tasks in real time. By using AI and engagement marketing, a business shows itself as an industry leader. This is due to the nearly six times conversion rate of the marketing funnel compared to companies that don’t use AI.
Humans don’t have the capacity to choose among multiple assets across dozens of channels for every prospect, but machines powered with AI do. That is because AI enables the machines to use complicated computations to optimize the experience for each customer. This results in prospects who feel more engaged with the content and feel a deeper sense of trust with the brand.
Marketers that can process big data on scale have a competitive advantage because today’s buyer is a sophisticated one. Marketing teams can stay ahead by obtaining actionable insights from the huge amount of customer data available to them.
How You Can Have Job Security in the Age of Robots
Should marketing professionals feel concerned about their job security if AI can complete some tasks better than they can? Yes and no. The fast shift from industrial knowledge to knowledge gained through an information-based program, along with the current digital economy, presents some challenges for jobs based on skill. According to a Forrester report on the future of jobs, software and physical robots will take over all marketing tasks as early as 2019.
However, it’s not time for marketing professionals to panic. They simply must convert their job into one of high value and creativity. Having an open mind toward AI implementation helps in this goal. It allows marketers to lead new technologies in transforming how business and the larger society works. Following are four specific ways that marketers can stay ahead of the changes.
Don’t Fear Implementing AI Technology
As marketers, it’s part of everyday life to come up with new ways to improve outcomes. That means it’s important to devise solutions and responses beyond what people already know. Staying ahead means welcoming all technological changes in an organization. This includes integrating AI into existing technology or finding ways to use it to improve the customer experience.
The nature of technology demands professionals with a high degree of technical skill and management capability to handle changing situations and to think outside the box in terms of solutions. These are uniquely human attributes that AI can’t replicate. Besides remaining open to change, today’s marketers should make a point to be the one affecting change.
Utilize Data to Create Business Insights
Today’s world is a data-driven one that requires marketers to transform huge amounts of data into actionable concepts and insights. By utilizing predictive marketing, they can improve their ability to compute and think as well as figure out the deeper significance of what the data and model expressed. When people experience information overload, they need you to take a critical view towards what is most important and present them with only that.
Humans program AI models and machines in a static manner based on their own perception of reality. That means people have an advantage when it comes to making crucial decisions and creating models based on unique human insight. However, it’s important to remain aware that a model can only create insights based on the quality of the data we input. That makes testing and calibrating data an ongoing activity.
Content Must Be Highly Engaging
AI models can’t currently automate human feelings, and this may never be possible. Human marketers have the advantage here because they can reasonably assess the emotions, attitudes, and general preferences of their audience. By using predictive analysis, marketers can manage content more effectively because it allows them to provide the most relevant recommendations to their audience. Marketers also need to create content based on the quality and quantity of data they collect. Additionally, new channels and types of media require marketers to improve their creativity. They can combine the human ability to perceive reality and feel with greater creative skills to engage their customers at a deeper level.
Work Together Across Different Cultures and Disciplines
Today’s world is an integrated one. To succeed, marketers must be willing to collaborate with companies in other industries or even other parts of the world. Fortunately, technology makes it possible to communicate wherever you happen to be.
For example, customer engagement requires a multi-channel approach regarding channels and content as well as creating various customer personas from different industry sectors. AI models are limited in their approach and thinking towards marketing goals. It’s up to marketers to develop in-depth expertise in technology and to supplement it with a greater understanding of disciplines such as cultural settings and data science.
Socioeconomic and demographic factors, along with technology, continually drives change across the world. Learning new skills is the only way to stay ahead. This means learning more about AI and its possible impact as it continues to change current models and practices.
Predictive marketing, data science, and analytics are all essential components of AI. It’s safe to assume that new technologies will emerge to replace them soon enough. Part of being a data-driven marketer is remaining open to change and embracing opportunities to lead by example.