Will Artificial Intelligence Replace The Marketer?

"Some say the coming of artificial intelligence is going to be as world changing as the advent of the internet. Indeed, it could be the coming of a second industrial revolution..."

AI is the mirroring of human intellectual and mental processes as computational processes. It is the study of intelligent agents – that is, machines. This technology perceives its environment and works towards a goal – in partnership with humans.

The technology behind AI includes Deep Learning, which was actually developed in Canada. Deep learning is focused on teaching machines to find and classify patterns in mass quantities of data, and is now the major focus of bigwigs like Google, IBM, and Facebook. Deep learning applies logic and learning, solving problems, helping humans be more efficient or effective in their designs and in smarter ways.

One of the main applications of AI to marketing is to combine data mining techniques based on information gathered from the Internet to discover actionable insights.

In this TED Talk by Maurice Conti, describing the amazing applications of AI to design and building, he makes a bold statement:

“If the designers had known what was really happening in the real world with their designs — the road, the building, Barbie — they could’ve used that knowledge to create an experience that was better for the user. What’s missing is a nervous system connecting us to all of the things that we design, make and use. What if all of you had that kind of information flowing to you from the things you create in the real world? With all of the stuff we make, we spend a tremendous amount of money and energy — in fact, last year, about two trillion dollars — convincing people to buy the things we’ve made. But if you had this connection to the things that you design and create after they’re out in the real world, after they’ve been sold or launched or whatever, we could actually change that, and go from making people want our stuff, to just making stuff that people want in the first place.”

Is Mr Conti suggesting that AI is the end of marketing?

The logic here is that if you incorporate more information about the experience, the user, the real world, then you can design better and stop wasting time convincing people to want your product, but instead creating a product people already want.

I say… No. AI is not the end of marketing. It’s just the beginning.

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AI isn’t going to replace marketing but rather enhance it. Here are our predictions for the future of marketing in the age of AI:

• Data will be the new strategic advantage. With AI working on data, and the advantages afforded by AI, connectivity and data-collection will be a key factor in achieving success.

Companies will pay a premium for connectivity, expertise in data-analysis and algorithms.

• Predictive analytics will change how we interact with online vendors. Netflix has already mastered the process of recommending content to its subscribers, continuously improving suggestions. AI will help tailor offerings on most websites, more efficiently guiding consumers to the most relevant options.

• AI will help increase the pace of marketing. Marketing will become automated, driven by the learning capabilities of the technology. Sales and marketing functions will continuously learn and automatically update without having been told what to do. This will ensure the right and relevant messages are to the right and relevant customers.

• AI will help increase the pace of sales. AI will have the ability to rank-order sales leads, finding the right supplementary information like contact information, and be able to predict the most promising match between prospect and salesperson based on the analysis of the data.

• AI will help design websites. It’s actually already here, The Grid is a web design platform with intelligent image recognition that can fully automate website design.

• AI is the future of customer support. Predictive models help anticipate the future needs of customers, allows for personalization, and convenience – especially if you just can’t get through to a human on the other end of the helpline.

• AI will take over the most boring tasks. All mundane tasks that can be accomplished by a machine will be done by “bots” acting as helpful assistants, whereas tasks that require creativity, interaction, or strategy will fall to humans.

Of course, AI isn’t perfect, but it is the future and if you are a marketer you can make it your friend.

Don’t worry, if you aren’t using AI yet, you might not be too late to the game. Kevin Kelly argues that the most popular and promising AI tools decades from now haven’t been invented yet. But there are already AI tools out there, “right now, this minute, you can log on to Google and you can purchase AI for six cents, 100 hits. That’s available right now.”

You aren’t going to be replaced, Marketers. So grab your data. Embrace the algorithms. Harness your creativity. And get ready for a new age in marketing.

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