Article

Alastair Bulger
Alastair Bulger 31 May 2017

Artificial Intelligence Meets Automation In The Marketing Mix Of The Future

There will be one major development in the coming few years that will help marketers truly realise the value of their data - the synthesis of Artificial Intelligence and automation. It’s likely you’ve heard of at least one in a marketing context, but it’s the joining of the two which will deliver the biggest impact.

The big data age is upon us, with recognition of its benefits and deployment both on the rise. In an era when consumer behaviour is always evolving, marketers and businesses need to pay attention to how new concepts and technologies are shaping the direction of the industry.

But in order to look forward, we first need to step back. Modern marketing and digital marketing are characterised by a proliferation of consumer data. But to some extent, we’ve only just scratched the surface. The challenge with big data is the sheer volume of it. Quite simply, there is too much information for any human to sensibly absorb, process and action. And although we have tools to assist us in these actions, we are limited by our own capability.

There will be one major development in the coming few years that will help marketers truly realise the value of their data - the synthesis of Artificial Intelligence and automation. It’s likely you’ve heard of at least one in a marketing context, but it’s the joining of the two which will deliver the biggest impact.

Think about Artificial Intelligence (AI) for starters. We may still be a few years away from the sort of fully functional AI you’d see in a science fiction film, however, building block technologies, such as natural language processing, machine learning and evolutionary algorithms, are already widespread, and growing in momentum.

Last year, Google’s AlphaGo beat the world’s top Go player in a game that is widely considered to be one of the most difficult to teach a computer to play. AI technologies are simply far superior to humans when it comes to processing and understanding vast data sets, and producing evidence supported data sets.

Automation will be the output of Artificial Intelligence. We’ve heard of the concept of ‘algorithmic automation’ (if you haven’t just think of everything from robot hoovers to real time media trading). Going forward, we can expect to see these algorithms - really just codified heuristics - replaced by AIs, making decisions based on larger, more complete sets of insights than any human could consider and allow for in any algorithm.

We can already see this happening with the increasing adoption and proliferation of artificial conversational entities, or chatbots. The ability to ask a computer a natural question (rather than contort it into Google-speak) and have it respond intelligently, betters the consumer experience. The ability of the chatbot to then act on any request automatically can drive significant operational efficiencies.

But this is just the start. AI and automation have some way to go before they realise their full potential. Getting there will require large, high-quality data sets, advanced technical skills, and most especially creative insight: the universal recipe for innovation.

It’s going to be a whirlwind journey. Make sure you’re ready for the ride.

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