Artificial Intelligence (AI) is technology built to be able to mimic “cognitive” functions that are associated with human minds, such as learning and problem-solving. It is the biggest commercial opportunity for companies and industries in the next few decades and latecomers will find themselves with a serious competitive disadvantage. Over 80% of companies are currently interested in AI to obtain a competitive advantage, while 63% are keen on using it to reduce costs.
When combined with big data technologies, AI can help to better understand your audience by analysing data to predict customer behaviour. This creates the opportunity to improve the user experience and provide the audience with better, more tailored marketing material. It can also increase productivity through the automation of repetitive tasks, which will free up human resources to think, create and add value.
While the technology is still in its infancy, research from Adobe found that AI is already being used by many large B2B companies for data analysis, on-site personalisation and automated campaigns; while video recognition, automated offers and creative work are all areas of rapid growth.
To truly test its ability to be creative, Lexus revealed an ad that was entirely scripted by AI. Data points were inputted; including 15 years of award-winning ads, 10 years of the best ads in the ‘luxury’ sector, as well as data which related to ‘intuition’ and how people make decisions. The script specified precise details, such as the main character is to cry when the car drives away and that trees should be on the left-hand side of the shot. The European General Manager at Lexus explained that while parts of the ad did not make much sense, it proved that AI should be treated as a teammate that complements and augments the creative process. This demonstrates the paradox of AI – the more robots tell us what to do, the more we need internal experts to create and share that content.
While there are clearly gains to be made by implementing AI, there are some cultural and technological challenges that companies face. Michael Brenner (CEO of Marketing Insider Group lists the 6 biggest challenges to AI marketing success as:
- Insufficient IT infrastructure
- Lack of data / poor data quality
- Lack of trust in AI software
- Insufficient budget for implementation
- Lack of in-house talent
- Privacy and regulations
Despite these teething problems, AI will be at the forefront of solutions behind the hardest marketing problems.