The role of marketers in an AI future

 Image via adobe

Image via adobe

We all know the world is changing, winning attention in this fast-paced digital era requires skill. But has humanity only just nudged the tip of the iceberg when it comes to technological change? The Long & Co team recently attended the Mumbrella 360 Marketing conference where we heard from some of the global thought leaders on topics such as the use of technology in marketing and what such advances will mean for our future.  

It's no surprise 88% of Australians use smartphone technology, spending an average of two hours looking at their phones every day. We have become attached to our smart phones due to the convenience and connectedness they bring to our lives. But what if we told you this was just the start? The future has some big implications for the way we approach marketing.  

According to the Chief Marketing Officer at UBank, Jo Kelly, Artificial Intelligence (AI) could double annual economic growth rates in 2035 through changing the nature of work and creating a new relationship between man and machine. The impact of AI technologies on business is projected to increase labour productivity by up to 40% and enable people to make more efficient use of their time. We can only imagine how such a fundamental shift in the way we do business will impact the future of marketing.  

With the impending rise of artificial intelligence, there were three marketing focus areas discussed by a range of future marketing leaders at some of the world's biggest and most innovative companies. So here they are.  

1. Digital Assistants

Christi Olson, Head of Evangelism for Search at Microsoft, spoke about the current shift taking place. We are moving from an information age to a consumer age. AI will continue to develop to a point where it can be used to seamlessly personalise a consumer's experience. This process is already underway with the rise of early stage conversational AI, or digital assistants. Apple's Siri on your phone, or Amazon's Alexa in your home, allow consumers to conduct voice search queries into a search engine. And it's popular, with 60% of Australian's having used a digital assistant.  

Google's latest digital assistant commercial brings to life the message of "make Google do it". The ad demonstrates the convenience and personalisation conversational AI technology is starting to develop. 

What do businesses need to do: Be in the right place, at the right time, when people are searching for answers, regardless of how they search.  

2. Chatbots

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Chatbots are another AI stream that essentially facilitate and partake in conversations. Most big brands now have semi- sophisticated chatbots in their marketing arsenal. You can ask the Dominos chatbot for a discount coupon at your local store, receive personalised make up tips from Sephora and have H&M become your personal stylist by recommending outfits.  

Jo Kelly, CMO at UBank shared the company's results derived from introducing their chatbot into the market place. Here are our top three take-aways from UBank's case study: 

  • Their survey results suggest 4/5 people are happy to speak with a chatbot. 

  • During the trial period their chatbot got the interpretation of a question or phrase correct on the first attempt in 80% of cases.  

  • They have experienced a 15% conversion rate when customers use the chatbot, which is a higher conversion rate than instant messaging with a human.

What do businesses need to do: This form of advertising is extremely engaging, in fact instead of pushing targeted ads onto consumers, it’s pulling in an audience. As the technology develops and consumers start to expect this level of personalised information transfer from brands, there will become a time when SME's business follows.  

3. Machine learning. 

Teaching AI.

Machine learning involves teaching an intelligent agent skills and actions (how to do something).  According to Or Shani, the CEO & Founder of Albert Technologies, machines will be used to do the work that humans don't want to do. For example, he predicts artificial intelligence will be used to conduct holistic channel media execution and decide on similar audience groups to serve digital adverts to. In fact, his company already is.  

Albert Technologies is the world's first and only self-driven marketing and advertising platform.  Data scientists, engineers and mathematicians reverse engineered human logic and intuition to unravel the conscious and subconscious decisions humans make throughout multichannel digital marketing campaigns. They built a fully automated, digital marketing solution that doesn't just replicate what human marketers do, but increases prospects, conversions and transactions at scale not humanly possibly even by the world's largest marketing teams. Harley-Davidson announced that 40% of its New York City sales were due to technology.   

We are already witnessing artificial intelligence making a meaningful impact on Amazon's bottom line. Earlier this year, a major reorganisation took place, as the company is now looking to data science and AI to make purchasing decisions, rather than their traditional retails buyer teams. Machines are outperforming humans in this area significantly. The software predicts what consumers will want and how much to charge for it. Amazon's algorithms have been refined through years of monitoring customer behaviour and are now beating people at making decisions on critical inventory issues. “Nobody else has the resources and expertise to pull all of these emerging technologies together to remove humans from the process (as much as possible) while making things more reliable and accurate.” said Joel Sutherland from the University of San Diego.  

What do businesses need to do: Understand there is a fundamental shift coming. Humans will be needed to develop ideas and creative, while machines will most efficiently place it in the right channels. Read on as we explore this workforce shift in further detail.  

So, when is all this happening?  

 Image by Paul fuentes design

Image by Paul fuentes design

According to Or Shani, the world is currently in stage three of five in humanity's merge with technology, which they refer to as the extracting phase. It is expected that by 2020, the world will enter the anticipating phase, where deep learning AI leads to technologies that anticipate our needs and interests and start to make decisions for us. Shani predict the final elevation stage will take place between 2030 – 2050 where humanity and technology will become indistinguishable from one another, both virtually and biologically through artificial general intelligence, nano-tech, bio-tech and quantum computing.  

What does all this mean for the future of marketing? 

Humans will always be needed in marketing, but their role in the promotion of brands will evolve. The marketer's strength area is creativeness. Machines lack emotions, humour and understanding of the human experience.  

Machines are becoming exceptional at the execution of marketing through data driven insights. Over the coming years we will see the rise of artificial intelligence completing this type of marketing work for humans.  

The future for marketers is one of multiplicity. A hybrid workplace combination where man and machine work together to produce better business outcomes.  

If you would like to chat about how your business could be better utilising digital marketing strategy to win in your industry we would love to hear from you, simply get in touch with us here. Alternatively, if you would like to follow our journey and be notified when we release new articles, you can subscribe at the bottom of this page.  

We hope you have enjoyed our article.

Warm regards,

Keira Bourke.

About Long & Co

Director, Cathrine Long

Long & Co is a marketing company based in Newcastle building local and big city relationships. We have one purpose and that is to help our clients go to the next level by unlocking their marketing potential. We do this by partnering with our clients, starting with strategy and then skilfully implementing. Our expertise in strategy, creative, production and media delivers work that drives actual business results. We market for today, we love emerging technology and we grow because our clients do.