It’s 2016, and Artificial Intelligence has long been a reality. The early/mid-20th century acted as an incubator for modern AI—thanks to the work of Turing, Atanasoff, and other brilliant minds, the modern computer began to take shape. The concepts behind AI, in small part, come from a desire for increased speed and a less laborious lifestyle. More than that, AI comes from a desire to push the limits of human understanding and ability. The beauty of innovation and invention lies at their shared philosophical core—imagination.
Though it may sound like the stuff of science fiction and dreams, AI is very much a part of our daily lives. While NASA does dabble in AI, it’s used in seemingly mundane processes every day—spam filters and product recommendations rely on the technology as much as virtual assistants, such as the infamously snarky Siri.
Why do we need AI?
Since the technological revolution began, we’ve been able to collect various points of data at an alarming rate. With the advent of the Internet, so much data has been collected that businesses don’t know what to do with it. So, data gets siloed. What good is an enormous amount of data if it’s not informing anything? A marketing manager can print out spreadsheets, and a market research firm can deliver crosstabs, but what do they mean?
Here’s where AI comes in. AI is not merely about sifting through information—it’s about understanding it. This information is not static; data is constantly and exponentially accruing. AI pulls from engineering, biology, psychology and mathematics to dissect countless points of data in the most efficient ways—something us humans could only hope to accomplish in a lifetime.
Applications in marketing
Artificial Intelligence has been consistently used in the military and the finance, health and telecommunications industries—marketing is catching up.
AI analyzes data sets as they’re collected to determine the profile of your business’ most profitable customer—their preferences, their budgets, their availability and other aspects that some firms haven’t even thought of yet.
How can marketers take advantage of AI?
Through various algorithms, Artificial Intelligence finds patterns in human behavior. Instead of guessing customers’ reactions, AI calculates their decision-making patterns. Marketing professionals can predict the outcome of a campaign or product launch before it hits the market.
Businesses forecast trends and earnings based on qualitative and quantitative data. Clear and reliable indications of future demand for goods and services are invaluable to developing an effective marketing strategy.
The quality of a forecast lies in not only the amount and quality of data provided, but in the story that data tells. AI effectively translates that data into narratives—invaluable to marketing professionals.
Social media monitoring
The launch of a marketing campaign is just the beginning—monitoring its social media engagement and the conversations surrounding it helps measure its success. Social media platforms are plentiful—as is their activity. AI can automatically differentiate from retweets and meaningful engagement. By harnessing these engagements, your company can consistently take the pulse of customers needs and preferences.
Virtual assistant integration
AI is behind various types of virtual assistants—Amazon’s “similar products” function is the most obvious example. An increasing number of companies are using scheduling assistants with names like Amy and Claire who act as secretaries—they’ll schedule your meetings and send follow-up emails. If communication wires get crossed, a human steps in and straightens things out. AI isn’t perfect, but it’s getting there.
The future of AI in marketing
Artificial Intelligence is being used in an increasing number of ways, and the role of marketers and CMOs is changing. As technology develops new means to collect, compare and interpret data, marketing professionals are able to make better, more effective decisions.
It’s not a question of whether you and your company will use Artificial Intelligence—it’s a matter of how. In fact, you may be using it already.