AI in marketing: separating the fact from the fiction

The marketing sector can be a complicated place as new marketing tools and techniques are launched, almost on a weekly basis. Powered by The Drum Network, this regular column invites The Drum Network's members to demystify the marketing trade and offer expert insight and opinion on what is happening in the marketing industry today that can help your business tomorrow.

Meltwater provide marketers with examples of how to effectively implement AI technology into their marketing strategies.

It’s not uncommon for artificial intelligence (AI) to come up in marketing conversations as a future focus. However, the irony is that many marketers are already using aspects of AI now, and don’t even realise it.

Examples include everything from targeted and retargeted ads to propensity modelling, predictive analysis and chatbots. If you specialise in marketing or content creation, you’ve likely used email sequences based on user behaviour or specifically targeted certain markets through popular media platforms. There are elements of artificial intelligence in each of these practices.

There’s no doubt that machine learning, AI and big data will continue to form a firm foundation for reaching consumers. These industries are evolving and their collective potential is almost infinite. The real question is how many of us are familiar with what is currently possible? And how will we separate fact from fiction in terms of forecasting for future marketing opportunities?

We’re already harnessing AI

It’s clear that a number of companies speak of innovation in their offering but aren’t necessarily able to harness it. However, a better understanding of the capabilities of AI and a strategic approach to incorporating these can set your brand apart and put it ahead of the curve.

  • Efficiency with AI can affect your bottom line. AI technologies can be costly to build and the initial price-tag might scare you. However, in the long run, we know that these bits of tech pay off. By automating a number of processes, machine learning can do the hard work for you. In some instances, you can use free AI features. For example, you can establish recommended topics for people to read about next on your blog, based on past behaviour.
  • A more human interaction. People “love” virtual influencers or show signs of aggression or appreciation towards chatbots. The interactions that they have with artificial and virtual mechanisms can take on a surprisingly human feel. In some instances, consumers don’t know when they are engaging with technology and the more that these evolve, the more personal they can begin to feel. This is especially beneficial for the consumer who wants to be heard, preferring to to feel like they're dealing with a human instead of a machine.

The Power of AI as it stands

A lot of the fear around AI stems from the fact that people believe it is a sentient technology. This is not generally the reality. As it stands, inputs help with machine learning, evolving intelligence to react to certain preferences and scenarios.

The real excitement lies in the insight this gives us into the minds of our consumers. This understanding will allow us to reach them in new and exciting ways and to add real value to their lives.

Separating the fact from the fiction…

Meltwater is hosting an event with author and AI in Marketing CEO Katie King to tackle the subject of artificial intelligence this week in London. The free Biz Breakfast event will simplify jargon around AI use and encourage marketers to implement the technology into their daily practice.

Join King and Meltwater for free this Friday (April 12) at Farmers and Fletchers in 3 Cloth St, London EC1A 7LD, from 09:00 - 11:00 a.m. Save your seat here.

Wesley Mathew is the head of marketing at UKI, Meltwater.

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