We build intelligent agents and bots, develop deep learning algorithms that read the atmosphere in a room and have staggering inspiration sessions for organizations that want to get their share of the AI frenzy. But I’d like to get real with you fellow marketers. AI has a lot to offer in the marketing field as well and that will change our jobs and the roles a marketer plays in the marketing game.
AI is not (yet) a singularity
If you’re like me and like movies with skynet, digital spouses or humanoids that outsmart us, then these movies will have set your expectations of what an AI is or can become. A fully aware digital mind that can think and create like us humans can. And because we train the AI’s with human-like behaviour it’s going to evolve in that path. This means survival of the fittest and smartest. Usually this does not end up well for the human species.
Luckily, the current state of AI is far from reaching singularity. What we currently mean by AI is that we use extremely specialized systems that perform specific tasks for us. These systems are trained by feeding them with huge amounts of data and become smarter each day by providing feedback. We call this re-inforced machine learing. This is best compared to how we teach our children. We show them how things work, like brushing your teeth. When they brush too short, press to hard, forget tooth paste or try to stick the brush in your ear, we correct them. This is how we learn and this is how we train our algorithms.
A selfdriving car for example has dozens of systems that help it drive. Each system has a job of its own, like staying in a specific lane, spotting the color of a traffic light or keeping safe distance. Each time the driver intervenes in the car’s behaviour or when self driving cars crash, this is fed back into the systems.
Systems do intercommunicate, but are still far from becoming aware. So, this is good news for humanity, but how will this affect us marketers?
Artificial intelligence in the marketing domain
A very nice showcase of how artificial intelligence can help us in our marketing job is coming from Saatchi & Saatchi. In their new directors showcase at Cannes Lions festival of creativity they presented a music video clip that had been created by an AI. Or more specifically; different AI’s. They had the director replaced by the Microsoft AI and had this AI cast the male actor in the clip. They had algorithms for flight paths of camera drones and merged creative styles from paintings into video (if you like this, make sure to read actress Kirsten Stewart’s scientific paper on this subject). An impressive showcase that demonstrated how we can enhance creative processes using artificial intelligence. The making of video is available on Youtube:
But AI’s also find their applications in anomaly detection. This can be useful to detect small changes in ecommerce performance. For example a faulty web based order process for a Samsung Galaxy S7 with Dutch language settings can go undetected for long. Significant analysis time might reveal this, but AI’s can spot these kind of performance drops instantaneously. Lingerie retailer Cosabella replaced their digital marketers with an AI that identifies micro-segments in audiences and automates testing of ad-copy and visual combinations resulting in tripling ROAS and increasing customer base by 30%.
The big marketing and campaign management suites like Adobe, Salesforce and IBM marketing clouds now offer integrated AI. These systems service the data savvy marketer with campaign attribution, automated bidding, personalization, sentiment analysis, intelligent audience creation, subject line effectiveness prediction, personalized offers and next best activity, personality analysis and predictive lead scoring. Their AI’s have actual names like Einstein, Watson and Sensei and specifically target marketing functions.
What will your job look like in 5 years?
There are two main forces that now drive change in our area of expertise. As customers decide when and how they engage with brands, we need to be able to provide consistent experiences that span different traditional domains like customer service, sales and marketing. As marketers we need to be able to follow customers actions across these domains and respond to them in a relevant fashion. This means being able to block customers from ad campaigns when they have active complaints, or offering relevant retargeting advertising when someone has purchased something in a brick and mortar retail store. We cannot be that marketer anymore that creates an offer and a highly creative ad campaign for a massive target audience and expect automated bidding to do magic.
Marketing will become a very granular and data driven process. It will encompass messages and offers that are truly unique on a customer level. This is where AI comes in to do the tedious and dirty work. Marketers need to become more aware of the data that’s available on a customer level, aware of the channels that are available to connect with the customer and also able to think and create “journey style” messages tailored to customer behavior and touch points.
But don’t worry, creativity and business savviness will still be at the heart of our operations. The question is if we can evolve into right- and left brain marketers or if we need to change our organizational models to accommodate different types of marketers working together.
Oxyma AI agency
To be honest, we are pretty thrilled by the opportunities and new ways of working AI has to offer. We are currently working on smart agents and real-time prediction systems for personalizing ad messages and working with the start-up community to develop smart marketing solutions. We actively share our knowledge, for example in our Oxyma AI event on May 30th. Drop us a line if you’d like to attend!