by Ryan Bozeman
November 1, 2017

We are currently in the middle of the first A.I. revolution.

In all likelihood, this will be the first of several big jumps. We have already seen a slow but steady trickle of A.I.-inspired solutions making their way into marketing software, and we can expect to see the tech become increasingly embedded in the future. In 2017, A.I. is expected to see a 300 percent increase in investment.

By 2020, Gartner predicts that 30 percent of businesses will be using A.I. to augment at least one of their vital sales processes. Marketing applications serve as the perfect practice ground for A.I. technology.

Conventional wisdom tells us that when you want to buy something you can have it two of three ways — fast, cheap, or high-quality. You can never have all three.

However, A.I. solutions could turn this notion on its head. A.I. will be able to dig into marketing data and churn out campaigns faster, cheaper, and with more precision than any person ever could.

Execs have high hopes for artificial intelligence, expecting it to alleviate many menial tasks like paperwork and scheduling. But A.I. won’t just be used for menial tasks. It will also be embedded into some of the most important business processes.

A recent survey from Narrative Sciences showed that 58 percent of enterprise executives have already used predictive analytics within their organizations.

You don’t have to look too hard to see the first basic A.I. applications being rolled out in digital marketing.

In the last few years, we have seen a huge increase in automation platforms. Although many don’t strictly fall under the A.I. umbrella, automation platforms earliest iterations of A.I. in the marketing environment.

Years from now, we will look at this time period of a stepping-stone to broader, more impactful A.I. marketing solutions.

Taking the Guesswork Out of Marketing

 For all of the big talk about data-backed strategies, guesswork still plays a big role in most campaigns. The advertising stars of previous generations were heralded for their creative talent.

That won’t disappear with A.I., but future advertising stars may be known for their ability to work within the confines of artificial intelligence.

Programmatic advertising is already growing at a rapid rate. For the time being, programmatic advertising is leaning on agency-models, but in the future, the tech will become more accessible to all companies.

While data-focused marketing isn’t a new concept, A.I. will give companies the ability to ensure that data is appropriately integrated into every campaign for the first time. Many companies currently collect more data than they can realistically deploy in their campaigns. A.I. will help to bridge that gap.

Artificial intelligence will excel in identifying patterns. In doing so, it will provide highly personalized marketing materials, where the content one customer receives will be completely unique, unlike that received by another customer.

A.I.’s true power will be in its ability to deep dive into data and separate customers into highly-detailed micro-segments, allowing for highly personalized marketing content that feels human.

A.I., Personalization  and Conversations

A.I. marketing applications will allow for an unprecedented level of personalization at every step of the customer journey.

Even with today’s automation, solutions are still reliant on human input to categorize and utilize data appropriately. In the future, A.I. systems will be able to categorize this data on their own with little oversight required.

A.I.’s most valuable contribution to marketing may be its ability to facilitate interactions with customers that feel genuinely human.

We already see A.I. chatbots making a big impact on digital marketing. Bots that connect directly to Facebook messenger or through on-site popups give customers a simple way to ask questions, learn more about products, and quickly submit support requests. Many of these bots are becoming increasingly sophisticated over time, acting more as automated support reps than an information directory.

Other areas of the industry will quickly be replaced with A.I. solutions as well. In example, Logojoy uses artificial intelligence to create logos and related materials for brands. Their system generates a number of logos, which can be filtered by the user. Once the user chooses a logo, the system generates branding guideline documents, a range of different logo formats, and a social media kit.

But the effect of A.I. won’t just be limited to chatbots and design automation tools. Every step in the customer journey could be improved with the help of artificial intelligence. A.I. could be responsible for identifying the content that customers are most interested in during the nurturing process, and curate content selections that match those interests.

A.I. interactions will be of huge benefit to customers because they are available at any time of the day. If your customer can’t sleep and has a question at 3 AM, a chatbot is always there to answer it. Further, you know that a chatbot will always be accurate and cordial. Eventually, A.I. could nearly eliminate negative customer experiences when dealing with customer support.

Artificial intelligence will also pull data from sources that otherwise would have never been taken into account. Even the smallest interactions could be personalized to mirror the type of support that the customer is most likely to react positively toward, based on their history.

Because chatbots are able to dig deeply into data and provide customers with the type of experiences that they enjoy and bring them closer to a sale, relationship-building will be much more hands-off once these solutions are more readily available.

More than anything, A.I. will give marketers the ability to provide a truly personalized experience to each individual customer. The gap between companies won’t be as reliant on innovative campaigns.

Instead, companies will be fighting to come up with new, effective ways to put their data to use within their A.I. frameworks. The better the application — the more potent the marketing.

Marketers Will Take a Big Picture Focus

The rise of A.I. marketing won’t get rid of marketing professionals or their teams. Instead, the freedom these systems provide will allow them to take a more big-picture focus.

Daily menial tasks could be replaced with strategy and planning. Marketers will be able to use machine learning platforms as a tool, freeing them to be more creative and take more risks.

Even today, with so many tools available to us, marketing professionals spend a lot of their time digging through and categorizing data. These kinds of data-based tasks will be the first that will be able to be automated by A.I. solutions, and coincidentally are one of the biggest time-sinks for marketing professionals.

While it might seem that A.I. platforms will completely replace the role of marketers, that likely won’t be the case — at least, not for quite some time. Instead, marketing teams will be able to take a step back and evaluate their marketing with a much broader, big-picture focus.

Creativity will still be a highly valuable skill, as marketers will be required to oversee A.I. operations and come up with concepts for marketing campaigns. But, much of the heavy data lifting will be done algorithmically.

Conclusion

We are still very early in the A.I. adoption process. Initially, true marketing A.I. will be rolled out as individual components. Over time, those frameworks will be extended into every crevice of a company’s presence.

Algorithms and machine-learning platforms will be available off-the-shelf. Companies won’t have to make huge investments into research and development, and marketing will look much different than it does today.

A.I. will change the world in many ways. However, the impact it will have on marketing and the effect it will have on our relationships with companies may be the most imperceptible, but most economically significant.

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