I presented last week at an exciting, forward-looking conference in Fort Lauderdale, USA. It was ITEXPO, a successful conference celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year! The huge turnout of thousands clearly shows the value that both attendees and exhibitors get from it.
This year the programme included a new stream, the Future of Work and that was the one in which I was invited to speak. Before summarising what I presented, I’d like to share some of the ideas and takeaways that I discovered about digital marketing and the impact of AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning).
From Text to Voice:
Most of us have grown up with text communication, but Gen Z, those born after 1996, are more comfortable with voice. They are less formal but far more impatient than previous generations.
They expect Alexa, Siri, Cortana and similar voice-activated personal assistants to be available whenever they have a question. With this type of search expansion into daily life, being on the front page of Google is no longer good enough. You have to be the number one answer to their questions!Being on the front page of Google is no longer good enough; you have to be the number one answer in this voice-activated, personal assistant supported world we live in. Click To Tweet
AI is Not One Technology:
Despite what digital marketers may have hoped, AI is not the solution to all our problems. It is simply a series of technologies addressing various current and future customer needs.
Unlike normal analytical processes, using AI needs developers and users to start with the end in sight. Knowing what we are looking for, rather than waiting to see what the analysis brings us, needs a very different thought process. The questions asked become as important as the answers received, if not even more so. Therefore it is advisable to make them the best you can possibly ask. Your digital marketing has everything to gain and nothing to lose.
AI is Not 100% Accurate:
AI is still in its infancy, despite great leaps forward in some areas in the past year or so. For example, language translation is still far from accurate today, but that doesn’t mean it’s not useful. Anything that moves us toward increased customer satisfaction from our digital marketing efforts is great. However, we must understand their limitations and not be fixated on perfection.
One of the biggest challenges is siloed data – still! It is easy to see that the more information sources we integrate, the more accurate our platforms are likely to be. But until we finally break down our internal silos AI will not be able to deliver to its full potential.
Taking the Robots Out of Humans:
Robots are not new. Henry Ford was one of the first to realise the advantage of taking robots out of humans. In other words, getting machines to do the boring, repetitive tasks done until then by people.
AI Taking Digital Marketing to the Next Level
After all these intriguing sessions, it was my turn to speak. Luckily I was taking a far more practical approach to digital marketing, AI and ML, which I am happy to say was met with enthusiasm. The audience were fascinated with my hands-on perspective and had loads of questions and comments at the end of my talk.
I would be delighted to share my slides with any reader who would be interested in seeing them, but to summarise my main points:
- Digital marketing has made our communications’ media choice even more challenging. There are far more channels than ever, many being used concurrently, especially by the under 35’s (for example TV and the internet).
- There are more brands vying for space online. The relative cheapness of advertising on the internet means that those that didn’t have access to traditional media because of their high costs can now communicate.
- Customers are more demanding and expect real-time responses to their questions, and ever shorter delivery times for purchased goods.
- AI and ML can improve digital marketing through predictive intelligence, content curation / creation, dynamic pricing, and especially by improving the customers’ overall experiences.
- Digital is best used as an amplifier of traditional media, and when connections need to be more individualised, relevant and timely. This is not always the case, so choose wisely.
It is exciting times for marketing with all the opportunities that technology, AI and ML offer us. However, we are still faced with many of the same challenges we always have been. Essentials such as knowing and understanding our customers more deeply, and removing the siloed information hubs within organisation, remain critical.
Without finding solutions to these, digital marketing will perhaps be cheaper in terms of investment, but could become a more costly exercise and no more effective. What do you think?
If you are challenged with taking your marketing online or making more effective use of technology and today’s digital offers, then contact me; I know I can help