In the last 20 years, to say the art and science of marketing has changed would be an understatement. First it was the internet, then social media and the internet of things, the past couple years the buzz was about big data, however, this is all old news. If you want to remain relevant as a marketer, your future is artificial intelligence (AI). Marketers will need to provide personalized experiences at speed and scale in ways that are not humanly possible… in steps AI.
When the World Wide Web went live to the world in August 1991, there was no fanfare in the global press. In fact, most people around the world didn’t even know what the Internet was. AI has been developing much in the same way, right under our noses.
Many experts have stated that within the next 3-5 years, marketing professionals at all levels will see their careers disrupted and greatly impacted by AI. University of Oxford did a study on the computerization of industries and while a few job tasks will go away, marketers as a whole will not fade away into the darkness. Good news.
Oxford predicted that telemarketing through humans is becoming obsolete and soon SEO will become archaic in its current human-powered form. Experts also say that content strategists, website content managers, and market researchers are likely to be impacted too, although they are not clear how yet
One thing is clear, we will all have to shift how we do our jobs. AI is not meant to replace humans, it is meant to enhance our capabilities, help us work more effectively and give us greater performance. It allows you to leverage all the data you have to tell intriguing stories and narratives.
Now that all our fears of the job snatching robot invasion are assuaged, let’s talk about what AI can do and what you can do now to leverage it.
Let’s start with what AI really is. AI is the overarching term of the tools and technologies designed to make machines smarter. There are different types of learning a machine can do including: machine learning, deep learning, image recognition learning, cognitive learning or augmented learning.
Companies like Tesla are using deep learning to teach cars to drive. Siri and Alexa are using deep learning to understand your habits and make suggestions. Same with Netflix and Facebook. You are already teaching the robots of the future whether you know it or not.
A great example is how The Associated Press has changed how they create their earnings reports. Before using AI, they produced 300 earnings reports per quarter by hand; they now publish 3,000 each quarter written by machines.
Imagine your drip campaigns building themselves, your newsletters publishing themselves with extremely targeted content, and your SEO adjusting itself to stay relevant. Go head, calculate how much time that would give you back to do more things…pretty cool, huh?
Here are three things you can start doing today to embrace the AI revolution:
- Make a list of your daily tasks. Everyday marketing tasks like creating the perfect blog title, sending emails and scheduling social media posts have the potential to be automated through AI. Build a list of these functions to see what kind of AI tools are available to automate it intelligently. It can be small stuff, but you’ll gain back a good amount of time.
- Look at your data. Think about the data you have… think about the stories you have to tell…think about the data you have that is sitting there untouched that you could do something with. Then search for tools using Natural Language Generation (NGL) to turn the data into narratives and stories. NLG software turns structured data (like reports, descriptions and memos) into written narrative. The quality of the writing is like a human being, but at the speed of thousands of pages per second. You’ll have to teach the machine a bit upfront, but from there it can easily conduct your reporting and storytelling more efficiently, faster and at scale.
- Look at the systems you already have and how they are evolving to AI. Interview the technology vendors you are already using and find out how they are implementing AI in their systems. If they are not in the realm already, you better find a new vendor as they will become quickly irrelevant in the market.
Marketers who can harness the power of artificial intelligence will be able to do more with less, run personalized campaigns of unprecedented complexity, and transform business as usual through new methods of machine-intelligent marketing.
AI is going to be baked into everything within the next 2-3 years. The future demand for marketing will be marketers who can harness the power of that AI. Don’t be left in the dust on this one. Marketers at all levels need to keep their eyes open and pay attention. AI isn’t a fad. It’s real, and it’s moving fast.
Artificial intelligence is getting smarter, faster and cheaper, bringing the disruptive power of machine learning and cognitive computing to the marketing industry…and to accounting…”Hello, Dave.”
About the Author – Jennifer Cantero is the Head of Marketing for the regional accounting firm, Sensiba San Filippo LLP. With over 18 years’ experience in design and marketing, Jennifer specializes in marketing strategy and technology, social media, and branding for small to medium size, privately-held businesses. Jennifer built Sensiba San Filippo’s digital marketing program from the ground up. Sought after for her expertise related to personal branding and marketing technology, she was recently awarded “Most Instrumental Woman in Accountancy Business Development – USA” by Wealth and Finance’s Women in Wealth Awards.