AI is a part of our daily lives these days and its role will keep growing till it exceeds our abilities and performances in every sphere of life. At present, it can judge your personality traits better than your friends and family, run the stock exchange, detect cancer at an early stage and identify if you are in stress or not. Some are claiming that it will replace and outperform humans while some are claiming that human football teams will lose to robot football teams in the near future. Dangerous or funny, the future is never ours to see and if AI has come to stay, we better start learning how to work around it, or with it.
Marketing involves tremendous planning, decision making, dealing with uncertainty, and right implementation. AI proves to be the best decision support system as it facilitates the decision maker with inputs most required to reach a conclusion viz. providing forecasts, analyzing data and trends, providing up-to-date information, reducing information load, etc. Some of the biggest tech moguls like Amazon, Facebook and Google are investing in Machine Learning and AI to predict what each of their customers want – even before they know it. With consumers getting more and more connected in several devices at all times of the day, there is now an endless ocean of data to collect and analyze. Analytics integrated with Artificial Intelligence provides us with the most precise insights about the market and target personas.
In fact, AI has already acquired a big role in marketing and communications:
- Programmatic ads use targeting to increase clicks. Machine learning helps optimize ads to ensure that only the most relevant products and ad copy or images appear.
- Real estate website Homesnap uses AI to generate community profiles based on relevant data like property value and crime statistics.
- AI drives Amazon product recommendations and LinkedIn job recommendations. As users interact with these sites, the recommendations become smarter and more relevant, sometimes within hours or days.
- The Washington Post uses AI to recommend articles or email newsletters on its website; it also serves up certain kinds of content, like videos or articles with lots of graphics, to users who tend to interact with or respond to that type of content.
- Facebook uses image recognition software to tag people in photos.
- Google uses an algorithm to deliver relevant search results.
- Apple’s Siri answers questions about airport schedules and weather forecasts and the nearest bacon cheeseburger.
Marketers have always been eager to adopt more and more automated solutions. And for the most part, such solutions have been positive acquisitions. In one specific field, automation seems to be advancing extraordinarily quickly – content marketing and the days are near when most of the work in this field will largely be taken over by AI. The Associated Press has already been relying on AI algorithms from 2015 to generate more than 3,000 new articles every quarter and the robot journalists have been tackling the job with incredible efficiency and accuracy.
But, will it take over the field of Content Marketing?
No. Not until we remain creative, conscientious and compassionate.
Marketing content is often emotional. In Marketing, stories are created to influence the audience – to make people laugh or cry or click the buy button. The goal is always to do more than just to sell products, because just selling doesn’t cut it anymore. Companies need their audience to watch and read and buy and share because of what the brand means to them. That’s why effective marketing content usually induces an emotional response, and even the smartest supercomputers in the world today can’t do that without serious help from the humans.
If anything, smart human marketers and content creators will only become more critical in the future. The roles will become more strategic and the content more structured. The Marketing team will have to tell stories but in a more machine-readable way. Words, images and videos will probably have to be shared in a way that all of it can be chunked into specific, consistent buckets to help machines learn and people wade through the billions of pieces of content born every day.
Content Marketing Institute says AI is largely intended to augment human knowledge and capabilities, not replace them. A content guy might excel at devising an email campaign for those who download an e-book from the website. But, what if there are 10,000 e-book downloads, across five personas, originating from multiple channels (social, paid, organic, direct) that require personalized emails and website experiences based on user history? No human brain is wired to solve that challenge and no existing software is optimized to visualize all the possibilities. This is where AI excels.
So, to continue to put bread on the table, we all will soon need to learn how to work with robots.