The future of search and personalised journeys; Artificial Intelligence or just another tool for the basket?
The phrase is thrown around a lot and invokes images of science fiction movies and “tech talk.” Despite the impression of being just the stuff of the future, however, artificial intelligence (AI) is actually very real and becoming more and more a part of our daily lives.
AI simply refers to machines taking on tasks and activities that would normally require human input and intelligence. Basically, it is robots carrying out tasks that require certain intellectual capacity that is only living; sentient beings are thought to have.
No comprehensive conversation can be had about artificial intelligence without taking into consideration machine learning. Machine learning is an aspect of AI in which machines integrate new data into their functionality and improving on themselves.
In simple terms, it’s machine learning and improving the way humans do tasks.
How Will Artificial Intelligence Affect ‘Human’ Roles?
Any new developments regarding AI and robots, in general, has the tendency to be met with mass hysteria by the public. It has become a Hollywood trope of robots being designed and then going on to either take over the world or end it altogether.
Due to its portrayal in pop culture, the public is somewhat distrustful of machines acting in any capacity that resembles a human. Generally, machines are seen as cold, inhuman, and potentially dangerous.
As many people look with awe and expectation at new technologies that rely on AI such as self-driving cars and digital assistants, many people, at the same time, look at these developments as a sign of some impending apocalypse, fanned as they are by blockbuster Hollywood movies.
There is also the worry of what the rise of AI will do to the job markets. Will everyone is out of work, and at the mercy of AIs taking on jobs that only humans should be able to do? Will more and more people be unemployed because it would be cheaper, more efficient, and more productive to have AIs do their tasks?
Many people would rather we leave our technological advancements where we are now and not go any further. There is a fear of the unknown in that regard.
Believe it or not, this hysteria isn’t new. Since the dawn of time and invention, man has been steadily replaced by machines and inventions in many areas of work.
There was a time, for example, when we did all laundry by hand, all production of textile was done manually, and people did all food production. At a certain point in history, all mathematical calculations were also done by professional calculators (who were people).
Machines replaced all these ‘human’ roles, and no apocalypse has happened so far. One might even argue that the introduction of machines made life better for everyone.
Let’s take website making, for instance. Just a couple of years ago, when you needed to make a website for your small business, you either had to hire a web designer (which meant spending thousands of dollars) or do it yourself (which required a lot of skills and time).
Nowadays, there are website builder platforms like Wix, Bookmark and others that uses AI to produce professional looking websites in just a matter of minutes. Their Artificial Intelligence Design Assistant (AiDA) only needs minimum input — e.g., your industry — and it will then be able to general a website related to that niche.
To be honest, many look back at a possible life where these technologies didn’t exist and shudder in horror. All advancements were met with some resistance at first — and then welcomed later — and AI isn’t any different.
What Does the Rise of Artificial Intelligence Mean for Marketing?
According to a 2016 Demandbase study, 80 per cent of all marketing executives predict that artificial intelligence will revolutionise marketing. The biggest concern that the marketers were reported to have had was integrating AI into their existing technology.
All information, including that relating to marketing, is being quantified and can be assessed and a conclusion drawn in seconds. This means that marketing as a business no longer depends on one person’s intuition but cold hard data.
However, as marketers, it isn’t left for us to replace ourselves with AI simply but to use it to our own empowerment.
AI in Advertising
Through the use of AI, it is now possible to draw conclusions and relevant information from consumer habits and make sense of the information in as short a time as possible. Consumer patterns are easier to understand, and in some cases, the likelihood of a campaign failing or succeeding is easier to tell.
This, in itself, may signal an end to traditional marketing processes such as A/B testing and countless revisions.
The benefit in this is the reduction in the required human effort that goes into making a campaign. Just imagine never having to submit, rework, and post every minute detail of a campaign because AI has taken care of it. Even interns will be spared the stress of having to do it.
AI in Decision Making
Accepting information and bettering itself is at the heart of the very concept of AI and so is automation.
This is where machine learning comes in handy. It enables AI to work through loads of data faster and more accurately than a person and come up with algorithms.
AI in Customer Experience
The ability of artificial intelligence to understand behavioural patterns of customers makes it suitable not only to guide the customer experience but to better classify customers based on this information.
Based on the data taken, ads will be much more targeted based on trusted information available and based on likely future information.
This means that the right customers will see the right products and be suggested the right products with greater efficiency. All this leads to higher conversions. Amazon’s marketplace suggestions, for example, act as a preview into just how enhanced the customer experience will be.
AI in Customer Service
Few things brought more convenience to the customer service experience than chatting with online bots in real time. The bots act as a virtual assistant who isn’t subject to human limitations of fatigue and error.
More and more, companies are switching to AI bots in order to serve customers. No longer is this seen as a luxury but is now more of a requirement.
Siri and Alexa started the trend, and it has caught on worldwide.
Artificial Intelligence in Our Future
There is no aspect of life nowadays that artificial intelligence is not impacting in one way or another, and this goes for marketing as well.
From customer service to decision-making, there is immense potential for AI to better the marketing experience for both the marketers and the customers alike.
AI can sort through seemingly random data in milliseconds and produce the desired results. The risks for human error is greatly diminished, and overall productivity is increased, leading to happy small business owners and satisfied customers.
Indeed, the new wave of AI should be seen as an asset when it comes to improving our work as marketers. We should accept that it’s here to stay, embrace it, and use it to help us meet our financial goals. Artificial intelligence is our new tool, not our demise.