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Artificial intelligence for marketing: good or evil?

By Holly Snowdon

“In the long run, I think we will evolve in computing from a mobile first to an AI first world” Sundar Pichai - CEO of Google.

Artificial Intelligence, yet another buzzword of the moment, and whilst you might not exactly know what it is, I can assure you that all of us have experienced it in some way or another. It is essentially the idea that a machine can display the same amount of intelligence as a human being whilst performing a specific task.

From being one of the most prevalent themes in all science fiction films (think space odyssey and iRobot), to our little robotic friend ‘Siri’, who comes with the iPhone. It is apparent that more and more computer systems will be able to carry out the tasks that have historically required human intelligence. Whether we like it or not, the era of artificial intelligence is upon us!

It’s hard not to be impressed by some of the AI powered products on the market, such as Samsung’s new computerised fridge. This awesome piece of tech is fitted with an LED touch screen on the front and has cameras inside, so that the user can see exactly what they need to buy without even having to open the door. If this isn’t enough, it now includes advanced voice technology, enabling the owner to issue voice commands to add products to shopping lists, learn the weather and time and manage to do lists. 

It’s not a stretch to assume that fridges could soon start making suggestions and trigger a purchase!

As mentioned in our article about the IoT we should expect that more and more devices will have the capability to perform ‘human-like’ tasks, hence why all major technology companies are putting all their bets on Artificial Intelligence.

So how exactly is AI likely to impact the world of marketing? Is Artificial intelligence friend or foe?

Moving forward, experts predict that AI will replace many of the human controlled marketing functions such as consumer engagement, behavior tracking, research, campaign management and even content creation.

As the consumer path to purchase can be so confusing, marketing activities powered by artificial intelligence could prove to be highly beneficial to organisations, especially B2C. As all consumers respond differently to different messaging, AI systems could be put in place to create content for the individual they are messaging. Too farfetched I hear you ask? Absolutely not, machine written content has already become so commonplace and so good that you’ve likely read some automated articles without even realising it.

Artificial intelligence could also be used by organisations as an effective data collection method, even helping to predict emotional or irrational consumer behaviour. With machines tracking what people are doing inside their smart homes, businesses will easily be able to collect user habits and understand exactly how consumers are using their products, thus enabling them to create more personalised services. AI will also help us have greater understanding of the context behind the data. As the market for wearable devices and the IoT are expected to explode, this will take us to a whole new level of Ai opportunities – scary, but exciting stuff!

If you’re a marketer, according to experts, there is absolutely still a role for you guys in the foreseeable future. Replacing human creativity and emotional intelligence is not something that can be carried out by a machine (for the time being anyway!). However, marketing activities and functions are required to evolve in order to cope with future challenges, enabling businesses to leverage AI to their advantage. The partnership of man and machine looks like a winning combination! 

 

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