Artificial intelligence. Automation. Machine learning. Despite their origin in the discipline of pattern recognition, these technologies are redefining not just the art of marketing to the consumer, but the whole landscape of brand perception.
With predictions from the World Economic Forum that 75 million jobs are set to disappear through automation by as soon as 2022, it’s understandable how many can come to view these terms negatively. It is therefore essential that marketers do not seek to reclaim these words, but work to incorporate them into their lexicon and look beyond the common misconceptions that these terms may conjure up.
The first step in proving AI is more than just hype comes from dispelling some of the most common myths surrounding the term.
While AI will work to replace specific tasks, in no way will it fully-automate the marketing function. It will instead refine the use of data to inform all aspects of the role, making light work of reporting, audience segmentation, and even copywriting and message development. By aggregating like-for-like trends, detailed audience segmentation and in-depth analysis, marketers will be able to invest their time and energy in developing creative campaigns and more refined marketing strategies.
But as well as its integral role in supporting key decision-making, AI’s arm extends far beyond automation. Yes, its implementation aids marketers in their mission to unearth and implement knowledge that can drive commercial success. However, the efficacy of this is mostly dependent on the quality of said data. Only when you have a rich pool of information on your customer-base can you truly harness AI’s ability to augment customer communication and experiences.
Take Netflix, for example. Its success story cannot be explained without understanding its granular knowledge of its subscriber base and its AI driven focus on personalisation.
Netflix not only looks at millions of ratings, searches and “plays” per day, but the entire viewing history of billions of hours of content streamed per month. The outcome here is that Netflix can use this data to hyper-target its trailers for featured content against a viewer’s tastes and interests. This data has even been used to support the creative development processes.
That being said, the groundwork here requires a significant period; it took six years to collect enough viewer data to engineer a show that became the worldwide success: House of Cards.
Despite its ability to essentially shape customer experiences, AI is very much limited to that which is exposed. It’s clear AI is currently working to support the advent of creativity within the next generation of the marketing industry. However, today it’s languishing somewhat on the periphery of broader marketing strategies, as many marketers race to catch-up with what they see as sophisticated technology.
It’s crucial that marketers begin their journey to incorporate AI into their strategy to uniquely tailor the experience of each customer.
Grant Coleman is vice-president and market director for UK, Nordics and Benelux at Emarsys