“A year spend in Artificial Intelligence is enough to make one believe in God” – Alan Perllis
Isn't the above quote wonderful? I love it.
I am old. But when it comes to marketing, I am fairly young.
Some of my senior industry colleagues tell me that marketing used to be 'simple'. I sense they were talking 'last century marketing'. I envy them. For I never did any of that 'last century marketing'. My marketing troubles are very recent. 2011 onwards, to be precise. Doing one big bang campaign in a year must have been super fun. Escaping to the Himalayas and thinking about how a brand's customers would want to desire a product, and coming up with a potential Cannes Gold Lion, would have been a lot of work. Ironically, it would not mean much, if the campaign would have been a 'dud'. (I am now wondering if there is a campaign success ratio published for traditional marketing campaigns?)
Today, owing to digital ad platforms being high on measurement, it is possible to get some 'Sense of the Customer' of what may be working. It is not perfect though.
If I had said machines will be smarter than humans a decade ago you might have laughed. If it was five years ago you might have been dismissive but now the times have changed. Artificial intelligence is on the verge of doing everything its human predecessor does, but better.
AI is touching all walks of life and has found limitless applications in almost all industries. The AI revolution might have as big an impact today as the industrial revolution had in the 1700s. Like always the field of marketing is the first one to reap the benefits of this revolution. Let us begin with the challenges.
Marketing Challenges AI can solve
Sense of the Customer
Is your customer 'black' or 'white'?
Our customers and those of our clients are various 'shades of grey'. And they keep changing all the time. It is an overwhelming and Himalayan task to figure out,
- What they want?
- What appeals to them?
- What messaging prompts them to action?
Us B2B Marketers will attempt a few campaigns to figure out the above. In my experience of doing inbound marketing campaigns over the last six years, you have to be 'born lucky' to get success in your first few attempts. Continuous campaigns over a 6 month period is a conservative estimate, before a marketer can be expected to shake things up. If you ask me, it is completely a function of the number of campaigns and the depth of analysis. Did I hear someone say 'Budget'?
As humans, we can only do enough in terms of the number of campaigns. Wish we could do 100 campaigns, all at the same time. And also analyse all hundred of them on a real-time basis. That would give us superhuman capabilities to really get a sense of the customer.
Content Creation and Suggestion
Content is the heart of marketing and an average marketer has to make a large amount of content everyday. This harms his creativity and restricts him from making really noteworthy content. Thanks to AI marketing platforms like Wordsmith, companies are able to produce insightful content from their pool of databases. This allows the marketer to focus on other pressing matters. This might be why companies are welcoming this with open arm.
Content suggestion is very important to the time a user will spend on a website. Content suggestions are automated for the most part but lack personalization. This problem is solved by excellent content suggestion algorithms like the one’s used by Netflix. This content suggestion algorithm is what keeps visitors hooked to this platform.
Long gone are the days when you need a whole team for interacting with your prospects. Chatbots can interact with your prospects on your behalf and help them with their queries. Chatbots have spread like wildfires and almost all the major brands are using it. This been majorly due to the inception of chatbot development platforms like Facebook for developers. Marketing companies like HubSpot believe that chatbots will play a major role in future marketing and have hence made “Growthbot”. Growthbot is a chatbot that can help a marketer with his daily queries. Why not check some out for yourself – Google Assistant, Microsoft’s Zo?
Campaign Insights and Monitoring
A marketer has to be on his toes while implementing paid campaigns, constantly reviewing and changing his bids. This process changes with AI marketing platforms like Albert. Albert provides marketers with autonomous targeting and bid management. Along with this it also provides special insights into the campaign.
The Overworked Marketer
You know what all the above, means for a marketer. Campaigns and analysis across a number of channels. And if you are managing a team that is entrusted this this, you also have the added responsibility of coaching them and guiding them. I would love if someone could take that load away. Wish I had a twin?
There are more reasons why I am excited about AI in marketing and its power to impact. The above, are top-of-the-mind.
What the future holds?
AI will affect almost all aspects of marketing. Market penetration of AI marketing technologies will also be high. In fact, Gartner predicts, 20% of all business content will be authored by machines by 2018. Not only this more AI platforms like IBM’s Watson will come into play. This will allow developers to built AI powered products faster. In a few years the answer to the question “What can AI do?” will be “anything and everything”.