Machine learning: How AI will revolutionise the marketing industry

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George John, co-founder and chairman of the board at Rocket Fuel, discusses how machine learning has the potential to revolutionise the marketing industry.

When we look at the marketing universe today, many of the jobs people do didn’t even exist a decade or two ago: web designers, SEO consultants, social media experts and mobile and web app developers are all relatively young professions.

The scale of the opportunity and volume of data these new marketing platforms are creating is changing the role of the marketer and the skills marketing departments require.

With the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in marketing we’re actively talking about creating programmes to solve problems that are beyond human scale challenges and assisting chief marketing officers in achieving their goals more effectively.

AI has the potential to take the decision over which channels will be most appropriate to reach the customer out of the hands of the chief marketing officer and their department, calculating those decisions for them in real-time and enabling the marketers to focus on different questions. In the not too distant future, I believe marketeers will be spending a lot more time working out exactly what goal it is they want to achieve and how they will measure success.

Machine learning has the potential to fundamentally change the way we market businesses, products and services. Currently, with the possible exception of social media, marketing is a one-way channel.

Marketers conceive the message, deliver it to the consumer and hope it elicits a response or action. As AI technology improves and evolves I think we will see it progress beyond selecting the right message and design (crafted by humans) to deliver to the right person, over the right channel, at the most opportune time, to actually having a two way conversation in real-time.

To achieve this machines will need to be able to make the right decisions to construct a persuasive two-way conversation with a wide variety of audiences. They will have the intelligence to deliver many convincing messages, replies and retorts in realtime.

And marketers will need to learn to become experts in managing these machines and establishing the parameters to ensure they conduct these conversations in ways that are appropriate to the company and brand. After all, the one thing that robots lack that humans have is common sense.

One thing is certain, the emergence and continued development of AI in the marketing sphere is revolutionising the sector, and I believe for the better.

It will provide marketers with more time to identify their goals, achieve them with greater accuracy whether this be generating awareness, attracting new customers, or identifying new revenue streams.

Most importantly it will free up human creative potential and create a myriad of new roles and opportunities that we can’t even begin to imagine.


George John

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