November 19, 2018
The idea of intelligent robots and machines is nothing new. We've been writing about them for years; from the ancient Greek myth of Talos the automaton to modern movies like The Terminator.
But autonomous machines aren't just fiction. In the real world, artificial intelligence (AI) has practical benefits that can improve our daily lives. AI is a big business that quietly works in the background to provide us with things that we can't live without.
Think about it. How would a Millenial navigate without GPS-powered driving directions and how would they find all the answers to their questions without Google Search?
Where human limitations lie
Marketers are already using tech stacks to leverage and action huge amounts of data. These platforms drive productivity and revenue at a scale that would have previously been impossible to manage. In fact, the proficiency of well-constructed marketing stacks is so good that their capabilities already exceed the potential of human beings.
At the current pace of data growth, there's literally no way for marketers to keep up with the sheer volume and complexity of highly personalized, multi-channel, customer-centric marketing systems. That's not an attack on the skills or intelligence of the modern marketer — it's just too much information for the human brain to process.
Creative minds don't think alike
Currently, even the best machines aren't capable of any unique coherent creativity. AI systems are generally limited to tasks like finding patterns in data, predicting behaviors (based on data) and making rudimentary suggestions.
So when it comes to making strategic decisions or creating unique content from scratch, AI is lacking. And the truth is there's no real consensus as to whether it will ever be able to perform these kinds of tasks.
There are obviously cases of computers that have beaten championship chess players and rewritten Mozart. But those systems aren't exhibiting real strategy or creativity — they're rehashing possibilities within defined parameters.
Creative human minds are a critical part of the autonomous marketing landscape, and that's one thing that isn't due to change anytime soon.
Why autonomous marketing makes sense
Today, autonomous marketing software is already producing marketers who are faster, smarter and better at their jobs. It improves the capabilities of marketing professionals. It can't replace them.
The advent of the marketing tech stack has meant businesses have needed to adapt to new processes, skill requirements and organizational structures. The past few years of digital transformation have represented an extreme change for traditional marketers, but also an entirely necessary one.
Progressively-minded businesses who have implemented data-driven, integrated tech stacks are now the best-equipped for an inevitable autonomous future. Those who are integrating their CRM system, segmenting their customer base and mapping the customer journey are laying the groundwork for the next era of digital marketing.
When autonomous marketing kicks in full-swing, these companies are going to be the winners.
When is autonomous marketing going to kick in?
Computer scientists are still in the early stages of creating fully-fledged autonomous marketing systems. This may seem surprising when current marketing automation software solutions are already so powerful. But there is still a long way to go.
Just like in a lead nurturing campaign, AI needs to gain trust with its target audience. Marketing Directors won't just turn customer engagement over to AI — they need time to develop confidence in the validity of the system. This can take a long time, most likely longer than it takes for the technology itself to develop.
As mentioned, marketing automation has already kicked in; with powerful, visual, easy-to-use systems like Autopilot being available on the market. That given, autonomous marketing capabilities are set to skyrocket even further as adoption increases and technology improves.
Over the next five years, expect autonomous marketing to:
- Find patterns in data quicker than ever, bringing more insights to the surface
- Comprehend insights and make intuitive suggestions for marketers
- Execute decisions within set thresholds and parameters
- Bring full autonomation to the marketing industry — resulting in more room for creative marketing strategy
The benefits of autonomous marketing today
We have a good idea of where autonomous marketing is going. But what about today? What are the current benefits marketers can expect from autonomous marketing?
The sheer volume of products required in the average marketing tech stack is out of control. Effin Amazing is calling it the stackpocalypse. For marketers to adopt and execute autonomous marketing, they have to be able to implement new products and tech seamlessly. Automation must be packaged as a core software feature, rather than an afterthought.
Marketers are already using a suite of platforms to communicate with their audiences across multiple channels. CRM systems, social media accounts and analytics software are all critical considerations. To make autonomous marketing work across channels and devices, marketers need to integrate their platforms natively.
There's no doubt that autonomous marketing will improve marketers' ability to handle time and resource intensive tasks. Once implemented, segmenting, data integration, customer journey mapping and analysis will all be more efficient.
Are you ready for autonomous marketing?
We've come to a crossroads where autonomous technology has met legitimate, real-world applications. Autonomous marketing is going to a be a critical part of the marketplace.
AI isn't just a buzzword — marketing teams need to deepen their understanding and start testing automation solutions that match market pacing.
The future is coming whether you're ready for it or not.