There’s been a lot of talk lately about artificial intelligence (AI) and a quick search will yield several examples of AI such as Siri, Cortana and IBM Watson, with many more on the horizon (some are defining Amazon as an AI.) Watson became famous for competing on the game show Jeopardy! Basically, AI is machine learning.
News stories have prompted pundits to considered where AI will lead us—whether to a Utopian or Orwellian Dystopian future. Consider this ESPN article covering an “AI platform that nailed Derby tabs Green Bay for Super Bowl win.” While the artificial intelligence platform covered in this article, known as UNU, may have netted the inventor over $10,000 on a $20 Superfecta bet, it missed the mark on predicting both the World Series and the Super Bowl.
So how does AI impact marketing strategies? MIT Technology Review and Google Analytics 360 Suite published a report, “How Analytics and Machine Learning Help Organizations Reap Competitive Advange.”
According to PwC Global Data and Analytics Survey noted in the report, “Data-driven organizations are three times more likely to report significant improvement in decision-making, This stands to reason. It also stands to reason that AI and its insights are only as good as the data inputs.
Anyone who remembers the big push for ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) some years ago may experience déjà vu. The need for integration of business operating software was driven by all the fractional software programs from payroll, to manufacturing, to accounting, to sales all running within individual companies. With integration came more business intelligence to make better real-time decisions, drive costs down, improve manufacturing processes and employee management, among other benefits.
Enter AI in the Marketing (AIM) domain with the promise of integrated data from various sources. With AIM marketers are better able to target audiences at the right time and place, and the right message with a product designed perhaps in part with data integration from consumer feedback.
The rise in digital platforms and technologies to reach consumers has exponentially increased the amount of data marketers can analyze. Google’s Sagnik Nandy notes in the afore-mentioned article, “…the first hurdle is simply collecting, processing, and storing and ever-growing amount of data, and then being able to integrate it.”
It’s become easy to track engagement across digital properties, i.e., website traffic, open rates, social media interaction. But how will you measure conversion and interpret insights to drive conversion from all the data points?
What about insights from other variables and collection points? Data from customer returns, supply chain inventories, industry and market-level trends as well as customer experience inputs can be invaluable to adapting your marketing strategy.
AIM with predictive analytics have vast potential to drive or or refine marketing efforts. Marketers need to be planning for greater volume and speed at which data can be collected and analyzed. Let’s just not forget the human variable—people don’t always perform at their best or as predicted. After all, the Cleveland Indians won the World Series and the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl.