AI in Marketing is an Opportunity Not a Threat | OLIVER

How worried should we be about AI or Artificial intelligence impacting the marketing world and will it lead to the loss of jobs in the future? Trend indicates a significant increase for marketers incorporating AI technology.

We’ve all seen the future in movies and tv shows. Humans made redundant by technology or, worse still, reduced to subservient prey in a dystopian society.

While the Skynet of the Terminator universe hasn’t quite come to pass yet, marketing folk are still understandably worried about the effect that Artificial Intelligence could have on our industry.

Where 20 years ago the most prominent AI was that annoying paper clip that could run a spell-check for you, today there are a myriad of uses for AI in marketing. According to Salesforce, just over half (51%) of marketers currently use AI, and an additional 27% are expected to incorporate the technology by 2019.

More tellingly however was that, according to Conductor, when asked to choose which trending technology they felt most unprepared for, 34% of global marketing executives chose AI, the most of any option.

Therefore, over 75% of the industry is interested in adopting AI in the short term, but a large segment have no idea what to do with it.

So what can AI offer a marketing agency in 2018? In a nutshell, insight and optimisation.

AI can provide data analysis and, to an extent, data generation to provide rapid insight which can be utilised within an agency to create better, more focused campaigns.

Given that many consumers use social media to air their views on brands, AI analysis will help agencies to better understand what customers are thinking, saying and feeling, and adapt accordingly.

The uses outlined above don’t negate the need for the human side of marketing. For now at least, the suspicion that AI will circumvent the need for a human workforce is unfounded. For now, AI is an aid rather than an adversary.

Used correctly, Artificial Intelligence can actually enable marketers to use their time in a more efficient manner. Ironically, AI could empower human interaction on a scale that’s nigh-on impossible presently.

If AI can generate accurate detailed reports on consumer sentiment in a fraction of the time it would take a human marketer, then that marketer can spend this freed up time to interact with clients and colleagues in order to provide a better service.

Take account management and business development for example. While it’s possible to automate some business development tasks, such as trawling the internet for leads and contact info, automatically sending and customizing outreach emails etc, machines have not got the nuance necessary to engage with clients. The most enduring client/agency relationships are based on mutual trust and the personal touch that
even the most advanced AI can’t offer.

In addition, while AI can point agencies in the right direction when it comes to campaigns, it has yet to become so advanced that it can replace the powerful act of human storytelling. AI can offer the precious resource of more time however, meaning creative humans have breathing space to do what they do best.

As AI is increasingly embraced in the marketing industry, there’s every reason to believe that, rather than sterilising creative energy, we could be set for a golden age in advertising. One where machine learning facilitates a more human touch.

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