16 Jul 2018
What is: AI marketing?
The term “AI marketing” gets bandied about a lot these days.
The question is: what does it really mean?
By now most people have a pretty good conceptual understanding of what artificial intelligence is, and hopefully at least some understanding of the concept of marketing. Where these two ideas converge, however, might be a little less clear.
The trouble with data
Whether brands know it or not, the modern marketing world is awash with data. To be fair, the marketing world has always been awash with data, really, it’s just that no-one really understood how to collect it or what to do with it even if they could.
Enter the digital age.
With the advent and widespread adoption of computer technologies that began in the mid-1990s, brands and marketers suddenly discovered that collecting consumer purchase data could be done relatively easily, and that it could offer some pretty helpful insights into the behaviours and preferences of their customers. The world’s wallets slowly filled up with branded “membership” and “rewards” cards, offering discounted prices on items in exchange for a small amount of personal information and permission to track purchases.
As digital technology advanced, so did data collection and analysis processes. The more time consumers spent online, the further brands and marketers dug in the endless quest to mine the world’s data for useful marketing insights. New tools emerged, delving ever deeper into the treasure troves of consumer information to be found online.
The ability to engage consumers with relevant, targetted marketing and advertising proved to be a powerful ability indeed. So began the race to collect as much data as possible on as many consumers as possible, learn as much as possible about how they engaged and interacted with that marketing and advertising, and thus hone in on individual consumers with as much accuracy and relevance as possible.
But there was a problem.
The data began pouring in at such a torrid pace that we soon discovered that sifting through all of it in a timely fashion wasn’t possible at all!
AI to the rescue
As the mountains of data piled up and overworked analysis teams began throwing up their hands in despair, the world’s marketers search high and low for a solution. A solution that could use the available data to solve real-world marketing problems both effectively and efficiently.
Enter AI marketing.
Whether it’s identifying useful insights that can be gleaned from consumer purchase behaviour, generating and optimising marketing copy to the specific tastes of a brand’s audience, or keeping track of the performance of individual ads and campaigns to learn what works and what doesn’t, AI has already proven extremely useful for both marketers and brands. AI marketing presents brands with the opportunity to collect and analyse data at lightning-quick speeds, churn out AI-optimised marketing and advertising campaigns based on that information, and even determine the optimal placement and timing for that marketing and advertising.
But that’s not all.
Algorithms that can analyse data both quickly and at scale is great, but it isn’t AI. The true transformative power of artificial intelligence lies in its ability to learn more about, and get better at, the task it has been set to as it goes. This means that as a true AI marketing platform tracks campaign performance and measures the impact of every marketing iteration it’s involved in, it will get more effective and more efficient at delivering positive results.
If the potential for an AI marketing tool that learns and optimises more effectively and efficiently with every passing day makes your mouth water, you aren’t alone. The digital world’s biggest brands, like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are already investing heavily in AI marketing technology, and the truth is that we have barely scratched the surface of what it can accomplish in the future.
The AI marketing arms race is about to begin in earnest.
A day when entire marketing campaigns are conceptualised, constructed, optimised, and unleashed upon an unsuspecting world entirely by artificial intelligence with very little human input at all could be a reality at some point, but we aren’t even close to there yet.
In the meantime, AI marketing platforms that can solve real marketing problems effectively at scale right now are popping up all around us, and those who don’t get on board could well get left behind in the dust.
The only question that remains is, what is your brand waiting for?