“Is artificial intelligence going to take over marketers’ jobs?” is the new “Is email marketing dead?” in online marketing. Artificial intelligence (AI) is getting a lot of attention, but the reality is we’re just starting to tap into AI to augment our work. That’s right. AI is going to augment, not replace, what marketers do. And I, for one, am pretty excited about it.
Before we discuss how AI will work its way into our day-to-day, let’s start by defining what we mean by AI. Artificial Intelligence is defined as “a branch of computer science dealing with the simulation of intelligent behavior in computers.” Currently, AI is being used to advance data and insight across various industries ranging from health care to finance, and it’s even competing on “Jeopardy!” To truly take advantage of this cutting-edge technology, it is critical that we understand just how it will impact our professional careers and the best ways to leverage it for growth.
AI Expands Our Processing Capability
One key ability of AI is automation and interpretation. When it comes to massive quantities of data, humans can only work through and process a certain amount at a time. In a world where data is more abundant than ever, one’s capacity to process and understand this data should not be limited. This is where AI shines. AI can easily process massive datasets, categorize key information and identify insights that we humans could easily have missed.
Let’s consider a real-life example. Assume you’re planning out your content marketing strategy for the upcoming year. To do so, you believe it would be very helpful to know what content is being published across your industry, key engagement data as well as trending keywords and topics. You aim to look at video content, published articles, and social media posts, along with interaction metrics in order to pull out key insights. To do this manually, you would have to visit hundreds of websites, comb through massive amounts of data, look for trends and pull out connections and correlation between multiple variables.
Without AI, this could take weeks of dedicated time and effort, and odds are that information could be missed or overlooked. By utilizing artificial intelligence, trends and actionable insights can be uncovered quickly and at scale. Looking at emerging topics and keywords, we can identify what research we should be conducting for future content. Additionally, by looking at success metrics (engagement, shares, views, likes, etc.), conclusions can be pulled based on content types, publishing cadence, length, and other data points. AI has the ability to quickly digest information, cut through the noise of these busy spaces, and extract insight and signals that can be acted upon effectively.
AI Frees Up Valuable Time
Not only does AI allow us to see clearly through noisy data and pull out trends we might have missed on our own, but it can also deliver value by allowing marketers to focus more on strategy rather than just execution. In speaking with a number of marketers, often you’ll hear the desire for extra time to take a step back and really examine and refine strategy. AI allows us to do just this. By automating such tasks, we’re given back valuable time to focus on what really matters, shaping strategy and being creative. Time can be spent analyzing data instead of sifting through and organizing it.
Consider the situation laid out above. In building your content strategy, imagine being able to maximize time spent turning insights into action, rather than being bogged down by the aggregation and organization of initial data. Allowing AI to collect the information across multiple sources and extract key trends, you would then be able to focus more on creativity and strategy, as opposed to exhaustive data mining. This is the power of using AI. Marketers are able to double down on strategy and creativity by having technology complete the initial analysis.
A Different Use Case: Chatbots
These days, it can be hard to get a prospect on the phone. Speak with any sales rep and you’ll hear tales of frustration tracking down leads and scheduling calls. To mitigate this struggle, teams have started to implement live chat as a conversation and lead-generation tool on their websites. Prospects spend more time conducting initial research and often engage well with live chat. But it has typically been a manual process to respond to messages as inquiries come in. As a result, employees find themselves being pulled away from other tasks, needing to respond to incoming chats, which slows progress on other work.
Fortunately, chatbots have been created to remedy this issue. AI can now take the place of a human and interact with prospects on the other side of the screen. Chatbots can be programmed to respond to incoming messages in real-time and communicate effectively in order to answer common questions, serve up helpful content, and even schedule follow-up calls. This helps to convert prospects into leads and provides the user a great experience with your company, ensuring a fantastic first impression. Additionally, those who had previously been tasked with being online to staff the chat can focus more on top priorities.
It’s important to remember that not all marketers are data scientists. We don’t all love gathering data, sifting through spreadsheets, and pulling out trends and correlations. Many marketers prefer the creative aspects of their jobs like strategy development. Using AI, we can work quicker, smarter, and more efficiently so we can focus more on what we feel matters most. Additionally, AI has the ability to pull out insights we may have missed from the start, whether a result of fatigue or just an oversight. As we look into the future of marketing and data analytics, it becomes clear that AI will not take our jobs, but instead will be leveraged to accelerate our work and help us be better marketers.