Trust in digital advertising is at an all-time low thanks to various data misuse scandals and the public's growing awareness about how their data can be exploited. While GDPR can be seen as the regulators big stand on behalf of consumers, the industry itself should be taking a proactive approach too. So what should advertisers and vendors do? Ben Humphrey suggests five key areas where they should take action.
80% of marketers say AI will revolutionise marketing by the year 2020. That’s a bold statement. Not ‘help’. Not ‘become part of the fabric in an already well-oiled cog’, not ‘make up a small percentage’. Revolutionise.
Artificial intelligence is all the rage right now, so much so that you would be forgiven for thinking it’s a buzzword cooked up by marketers trying to make their products and services sound more intelligent.
AI is very real, though, with large companies looking for ways to utilise technology in their core set up – and marketing fields are no different, using AI and machine learning to aid marketers with their daily tasks. But how exactly are they implementing AI into their everyday working lives?
Artificial intelligence and machine learning aim to make many processes, including understanding data, easier. The result: more efficient communications.
The definition of ‘artificial intelligence’
On hearing the words ‘artificial intelligence’, most people conjure up images of all-powering robots who can think and act for themselves. In reality, we’re still some way from a functioning world which incorporates robots in our daily lives.
While we might not quite be at the stage of integrating with robots like they’re humans on a day-to-day basis, artificial intelligence and machine learning have become a more prominent feature within many industries.
However, AI is a rather broad term and means more than the connotations often associated with it. For starters, AI covers a broad range of technologies that replicate and act out human intelligence.
Some of these capabilities include voice recognition, image recognition and semantic search. The biggest companies aren’t the only ones with access to AI technologies, either; there are AI and AI-related techniques which are used by marketing departments in large, medium and smaller companies.
Helping to learn and understand
Instead of fearing AI, marketers who embrace the tech are learning and improving their outputs. The technology’s main use in marketing is mainly rooted in data, with it being able to look through vast amounts of information and find things humans can’t – or, at least, information we may miss after searching through such high volumes of datasets.
We’re biased by nature and, whether we like it or not, this can affect the way in which we judge certain datasets. AI doesn’t have this problem and is completely neutral, which means it can make decisions without bias.
The sheer amount of data to sift through also suggests that AI is better suited to looking through it. We can get sloppy while trawling through copious amounts of data, trying to find specific info. AI doesn’t have the worry about tiredness.
AI can study the journey of millions of customers, from the ones who sign up to an initial newsletter to those who take the process all the way to buying a product or service. This means AI and machine learning can get a better understanding of those who do actually make a buying decision. In turn, this allows marketers to fine tune their methods to sway more people into a purchase decision.
Marketing revolution and AI
There is a certain level of excitement generated whenever the words ‘artificial intelligence’ are mentioned, but to improve how marketers work, the AI and machine learning needs to solve their pain points. Attracting customers, re-engaging and understanding conversions are just some of the key factors to which marketers need to pay attention.
There are also SEO practices, personalisation and general content creation and distribution to take into consideration. AI and machine learning are only doing their job sufficiently when they encompass these methods to create a smarter way of working.
Data is one of the most powerful tools at a marketer’s disposal, therefore having access to AI that can streamline the data and make it easier, targeting the right people, will only be beneficial. It’s just a matter of time before the majority of marketers use AI in their daily tasks.
Recently, 53% of companies said they plan to adopt AI marketing within the next two years and it was among the top three technologies marketing departments plan to use. They also believed that it will grow the fastest of all technologies.
It could be argued that the 53% looking to incorporate some form of AI within the next two years are in fact lagging behind the many other marketers currently embracing the technology and applying it in their marketing.
Marketers often find themselves sinking in endless pits of data that are available to them. This makes it hard for them to find the information that is relevant to their audience. Tech like PaveAI uses machine learning to cut through the noise, turning analytical data into actionable reports with important insights. The tech is already used by big companies such as IBM and the Four Seasons.
Entertainment company Netflix uses predictive analytics so its AI can unite information from several datasets and recommend programmes to users based on their likes. The result is content that is more personalised for consumers, which creates a stronger relationship and more trust with the brand.
AI can generate written content for marketers, which is especially handy if there are no copywriters available. It might not be able to write thought-provoking opinion pieces, but can instead use datasets to create articles which read as if they are written by humans. Useful if you need a report on data-related topics.
The chatbot is another communication tool driven by AI that is becoming a viable customer service model to interact with consumers, to the point that most of the people interacting don’t even know they’re talking with a computer. Credit checking companies, ticket sales services and fashion brands, such as H&M, have all incorporated the use of chatbots in their service.
The now and the future
There may be fears that AI is inserting itself into our professional lives and learning enough so that one day humans won’t be needed in any capacity. However, while it’s possible that AI will be able to competently take on a number of tasks, it’s unlikely it will replace the human touch.
If anything, the integration of AI into our lives will take over the mundane tasks, allowing us to be more creative and spend a greater length of time finding new ways to engage with our audiences.
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