January 22, 2019
Artificial Intelligence Marketing
Technology is a broad word. It applies to every groundbreaking advancement in human history: the wheel; boats; bows and arrows; the domestication of animals; the printing press; the internet; and more. Each of these technologies had their turn changing the world's order — reinventing processes, unlocking possibilities, creating new jobs, and making old jobs obsolete.
Machines will be able to do things that humans never could, and some marketing roles won't be required anymore. But better roles will rise from the ashes. Roles that are more productive, more efficient, and better for business. AI will handle today's most grueling marketing processes while leaving the satisfying work to the humans.
Just like technological advancements of the past, automation will undoubtedly shake up the way things are done forever. If marketing teams want to ride this new technological wave, they need to learn to trust AI in the workplace.
Source: Arthur Caranta on Flickr
AI will help claim marketing back
Modern marketers are more time-poor than ever before. What was once a creative and empathetic profession is now a tedious role swallowed up by menial tasks, complex data sets, and endless application-juggling.
There are very few choices available to modern marketers. Most have to choose between:
- Diluting their attention across everything (inefficient)
- Focusing on a few key channels (while neglecting others)
- Hiring specialist roles for each marketing niche (expensive)
For large organizations, the easy answer is to have a dedicated team for each specialization, such as paid-acquisition, content, social, sales, etc — but this creates a ripe environment for organizational silos. SMEs are simply stuck attempting to surface insights from various apps and channels that are difficult to distill into a singular customer journey.
Instead of wading through an endless muck of segments, spreadsheets, and graphs; AI extracts and collates data across every channel. This gives marketers the mental bandwidth they need to get back to what made marketing great in the first place: great ideas, great advertisements, and smart marketing.
APIs and the neural network of apps
When it comes to unlocking AI's real potential in a world of channel-agnostic customer journeys, APIs are essential.
APIs open the gates between software systems, apps, channels, and platforms. With these "gates" open, online channels and data sets become a nervous system for AI to crawl through — analyzing and collecting information from every customer.
This neural network of apps is key to consolidating data across every available data silo. It's something that humans could never manage alone — there's just too much information to process.
When AI can seamlessly access data from API-connected channels, it can organize it, streamline it, and present it in a way that reduces the cognitive load on marketing teams. The result?
The management of high-volume, multi-channel messaging at scale is not only humanly possible, it's better than ever before. And the best framework to facilitate this is modular, unbundled automation software.
Unbundled marketing automation software suits an agile, fast-evolving marketplace, and allows AI to:
- Use API technology more freely
- Connect data silos across modern and legacy applications and systems
- Democratize data availability
- Provide actionable insights into next-best actions
- Create automated, consumer-facing processes (such as product ordering via virtual assistant)
- Enhance the customer journey with dynamic, personalized variables on a 1:1 level
- Identify customers on any channel, device, or app
Instead of focusing on managing enormous datasets, human marketers can shift their focus to making good business decisions.
The autonomous customer journey
As the world becomes more and more connected, customers are continuing to be influenced by marketing on multiple channels.
To keep up with the modern digital marketplace, marketing teams need to understand how customer experiences are converging across multi-channel journeys. This kind of attribution is ridiculously complicated for a regular human, but for an API-connected AI system, things are different.
Autonomous marketing systems are capable of handling the busy-work that humans don't have the time or the capacity to do. For a machine, crawling and analyzing billions of points of data is all in a day's work. For a human, it's just not possible.
Human input will always be indispensable
Creativity, empathy, and contextual decision-making are well outside the ballpark of machine understanding. The days of I Am Robot level AI are not realistic today, or anytime soon.
Humans will always be needed to execute suggestions and assess decisions that AI makes. Marketers working with autonomous customer journeys will be able to head up high-level creative and strategic decision making. Old jobs will disappear, and new, automation-focused roles will become the norm.
The hardest part of autonomous marketing will be trusting part of our jobs to machines. Working with AI comes with natural skepticism — it won't be easy for many marketers to give up some of their old responsibilities.
But for those that can adapt and change, marketing will be better than ever.