Artificial Intelligence and Business - it's been on the horizon for such a long time. So - what is here now, and what's set to change forever?
In my previous article, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and How It Will Affect Marketing, we discussed the current reality of AI and its general impact on reaching customers.
In this article, I will further explore the growing impact AI’s development will have on Marketing and Business practises, and its associated implications for the business landscape down the track.
AI: Let's start with two examples
(1) Salesforce and AI in CRMs
Salesforce is a cloud computing and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software company that is taking Content and Brand Marketing to the next level for their users by combining their service offering with AI.
Artificial intelligence is a game changer that is transforming the foundation of how we live and work - so they built an AI which they call 'Sales Cloud Einstein' to enhance the capabilities of their product for all of their customers. It’s a simple yet clever way of increasing satisfaction and utility through the adaptation of AI.
AI’s utility comes from a nexus of models and algorithms combined with the computer power of modern technology. If a CRM is simply a database full of customer information, then an AI can easily be programmed to analyse it all faster than any person can, then link up trends and make connections to produce intelligent insights.
For example, Sales Cloud Einstein can bypass manual data entry, as well as Lead Score, which automatically groups the hottest leads and feeds them directly to a Sales Team in an order of priority to maximise conversion, or even examine the intricate behaviours of each contact and formulate a strategy on how best to close each individual one.
(2) AiRE's AI, RiTA works in a similar way.
Specially designed for use in Real Estate, an Agent cannot manually revise their database of customers and put together trends - however, the RiTA AI is designed to scan all of their records and identify who best to reach out to and what message will resonate best.
Think of the benefits these AI platforms are offering businesses and what it means for the very near future.
AI is Changing the Face of Marketing
Take the time to think about the implications the above functions have on Marketing.
If an organisation’s activities are generating leads, and then AI systems are filtering them into a rank through a series of sophisticated algorithms to automatically produce the best results and serve them up on a silver platter, Marketing is becoming a very refined practise indeed.
Those above functions alone demonstrate how powerful AI already is today in boosting the power of Marketing and lead generation. AI offers a phenomenal extension to content strategy and audience engagement - yet this is only the beginning!
AI is improving the effectiveness of Advertising too
Have you heard of Programmatic Advertising?
Programmatic Advertising employs both Machine Learning and AI Marketing to make real-time decisions which determine:
Programmatic Advertising is a real industry game-changer and hence why it’s the fastest growing method of digital marketing at the moment. In fact, The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) of Australia predicts that by 2025, 80% of all offline and online advertising will be bought programmatically.
Yet, in Australia, the marketing community are still catching up and know little about it.
As opposed to the traditional way of dealing with manual media insertion orders and human advertising negotiations, Programmatic Advertising allows marketers to purchase digital ad spaces through software in an automated, optimal and real-time process.
For more, read: What is Programmatic Advertising and AI Marketing?
Artificial Intelligence has three stages of evolution:
AI predictive analysis and automation is one thing, but AI Self-Learning is another altogether.
For example, Beyondblue is an independent not-for-profit organisation working to address issues associated with depression, anxiety disorders and related mental disorders. They are experimenting with the more advanced capabilities of AI programmes by using predictive analytics to helping them redesign services for people who have mental health issues.
The applications even today with AI are significant and innovative, and we’re seeing an adoption now across many different markets, including financial services, telecommunications, retail, energy, utilities, everywhere.
How Does Society Embrace This?
AI is evolving so rapidly that we, today, cannot even begin to imagine what the Marketing and commercial landscape will look like in even just a couple of years.
However, society is nothing but adaptable, and just like other big leaps forward, like the introduction of the internet or social media, useful technology becomes quickly integrated into the normal way of life, so much so that it almost becomes impossible to live without.
One thing we do know right now is that, sure, AI is powerful, but it has no proper gauge like a human person does, and as Marketers, we must be aware of this. For example, an AI maybe programmed to observe customer behaviour and make judgements on their future needs, just like CoreLogic's new SmartList product does. It combines the property, marketing and customer data of people within a suburb, and links tell-tale signs to predict when they will look to the Real Estate market to make a change. For example, when a young couple in a small apartment begins to buy baby products, the AI will flag to Real Estate agents that they are probably thinking of upsizing shortly and to start approaching them.
Is that meeting their needs the minute they realise they have them? Or invading their privacy?
Another example is perhaps a weight-loss organisation using an AI to identify the right audience by their browsing history. You want to identify them, but you don't want a pop-up coming up on their screens saying "From your searches over the last hour, you are probably overweight! Consider our product."
Besides the obvious rude confrontation, think about the implications the invasion of privacy has in these kinds of scenarios. Marketers justify the use of AI on improving the way we meet customer needs, but the other side of that argument lies within the realms of ethics; how far can we go, before our audience recoils and turns against this kind of technology?
Where Does Marketing Draw The Line?
Marketers must use their judgement in scenarios such as these. While it's still important for business professionals to embrace AI and truly consider how this technology will improve their operations, we're getting into the worrisome regions of grey areas. AI will piece together a lot of informative data, but how do we control this?
Just because a person typed their password wrong over 20 times in a year, do we want the AI bot starting to send them content about alzheimer's disease?
On these negative sides, we could see customer backlash. But on the positive side, we are empowering our businesses with better data, so they can maximise customer satisfaction.
It's a tricky scale to get right, and with AI being inevitable, we need to start considering this pretty quickly.
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