I dread writing these upcoming words because they might spell an end to my career. No, I’m not about to wikileak any secrets. Just stating the obvious: Artificial Intelligence (AI), umm, really machine learning, will one day replace me, and likely thousands other blue and white collar workers.
Marketers might still be in the early days of using AI to automatically create editorial content, visual displays and smart messaging because humans’ creative minds are still in demand.
AI is more geared to automatic, repetitive, responses that still save thousands of man hours, and also tells marketers how to optimize timely delivery or boosting of this content and via what channel (email, social, text, etc.) helping avoid costly campaigns unlikely to work.
But today, AI is mostly ‘working’ under the guise of marketing aid to marketers, helping them improve their tactics to personalize our experiences.
And it’s doing a good job of it, excuse the pun.
Is it AI or Machine learning taking over our lives?
Between 2018 and 2019, the artificial intelligence market is expected to grow by 154%, reaching a $14.7 billion in market size, and much of the growth is coming from startups.
AI will contribute over US$ 320 Billion to the Middle East’s GDP with Saudi Arabia to gain over US$ 48 Billion from AI, according to Dr. Fatmah Baothman, Doctor of Artificial Intelligence with King Abdulaziz University from the College of Computing and Information Technology
AI is an "umbrella term" that covers things like robotics, self-driving cars, voice recognition, natural language processing and computer vision that can simulate human intelligence. Within that comes machine learning and it’s where marketers can apply actions like identifying a target audience, segmenting potential customers in order to send different messages to them and engaging people.
For the sake of this article, we will not differentiate between the terms in order to bring research where AI and Machine learning are used interchangeably.
Image: BI Intelligence
How is AI used in digital marketing?
Marketers are already leveraging the power of AI to glean valuable insights about their customers, automate tasks, and improve workflows. Just over half (51%) of marketers currently use AI, and an additional 27% are expected to incorporate the technology by 2019, according to Salesforce.
BI said getting data insights from media like voice and video is now possible and that AI’s enhanced analytics today help marketers more efficiently plan and execute campaigns in three main areas: segmentation, tracking, and keyword tagging.
How AI is playing Magnum PI
According to Forbes, Today’s marketers are using AI and machine learning to “listen” on your social channels for certain phrases, and keywords. Why? For the sake of personalizing your experience.
“Social listening allows marketers to give them that sense of being known without having to spend thousands of man-hours actually getting to know them,” said Forbes.
AI also listens to competitors. “By tracking conversations around competitor customers’ experiences, they can better understand the pain points that may allow their own company to lure a new customer in.”
AI and personalization
‘One size fits all’ marketing strategies of the past are becoming extinct.
According to an American Express study, personalization is so important to Millennial travelers that 83% said they’d allow travel brands to track their digital behavior if it would result in a more personalized experience.
Today’s consumers expect highly personalized marketing from their favorite retailers. Brands like Amazon are constantly unleashing AI marketing strategies to differentiate itself from growing market competition.
In entertainment, Netflix and Hulu use extensive algorithms to learn about a user’s watching behavior allowing AI to suggest TV shows or movie recommendations based on past behavior.
Finally, marketers can expect to see voice technology transform the industry, with the number of voice-assisted devices expected to reach 67 million in use in the U.S. alone in 2019, giving voice AI more traction among marketers.
Challenges facing AI Marketers
Forrester reports that 45% of decision-makers say trusting the AI system is either challenging or very challenging. According to a report by MMC Ventures, about 40% of Europe’s 2,830 AI start-ups do not use any AI programs in their products.
According to Business Intelligence, when asked to choose which trending technology they felt most unprepared for, 34% of global marketing executives chose AI, the most of any option, quoting a survey by Conductor.