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Marketing AI Curious? - 7 Critical Questions to Ask

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Artificial Intelligence(AI) has recently been integrated into marketing and is still in its early stages. It makes automated decisions based on available data and audience observations or economic trends that impact marketing. By doing so, it enables marketers to gain more insight and understanding of their target audiences. 

However, a business must comprehend how AI Marketing works and its effects before adopting it. Here are seven questions every company interested in AI Marketing should ask themselves.

1. How Can AI be Used in Marketing?

Being intellectually curious about how AI in marketing can be used is essential. You can start by looking for a specific marketing or business growth challenge within your organization to solve or a goal you want to achieve more efficiently. Research similar use cases and ask your network what their thoughts and challenges are. AI will touch nearly every area of business. Marketing applications currently trail other aspects of business such as finance and operations where AI is becoming commonplace. That said there is no shortage of challenges that artificial intelligence can't aid achievement of marketing and growth goals. 

2. What Limits Does AI in Marketing Have?

AI in Marketing is still in a nascent stage as stated previously. Although individual cases have their own nuances, at a base level exercises in artificial intelligence require a fair amount of usable data. That data must be accessible and usable by models in order to deliver the insights sought. In Marketing we are often dealing with individual customer transactions which generate and my use personally identifiable information. Organizations need to be cognizant of the issues related to data and how it's used in AI models. Moreover, every AI deployed needs supervision and involvement of humans to be final arbiter of how the outcomes will be leveraged.

3. How Do I Get Started With AI?

You need to understand how and where to apply AI in your daily work and within the broader organization. To do this, you don't necessarily need a data expert or years of experience in AI. There is an emerging class of AI consultants who can help with developing an AI roadmap for your organization. Such experts can be brought in to assess current AI-fluency in the business, aid with executive presentations to inform leadership of AI's potential and limits, and collaborate with other internal groups to facilitate exercises to level-set participating teams. With enough research and partnership with the right providers, you can use AI to take your digital marketing to a higher level.

Below are some tips that can help you get started. 

  • Improve your basic AI knowledge by investing time in online AI learning opportunities. Consider: Udemy, KDNuggets, LinkedIn or call us. 
  • Explore the inner workings of the software you use daily, identifying any AI application in digital marketing.
  • Look for potential use cases similar to the challenges your organization faces.
  • Big players in the market like AWS, Microsoft, Google, among others have deep resources freely available.
  • Network both within your organization and beyond. Ask what others are doing, hearing, and seeing related to AI in Marketing.

4. What Impact Will Our Technology Stack Play?

AI will not provide any benefit if your business lacks the IT infrastructure to support it. For example thought it seems obvious, a paper system is useless when it comes to deploying AI. On the other hand, cloud-based solutions are emerging that can accomodate most any technology process you might need. But deploying AI is not solely a technology issue. Technology can be an inhibitor but is also an enabler and a partner. The key is to invite the Technology team to the table early on to discuss ramifications to technology and users  

Ensure your goals are in line with the direction of your solution. It is imperative that AI proof of concept projects align with the strategic priorities of the organization. If your technology partners and providers are not working towards the same future as you, consider an alternative. Your providers should take steps to remain technologically relevant to your needs, not what their tools may currently be capable of.

5. What are the Ethical Concerns of AI in Marketing?

Al can enable marketers to achieve incredible insights. However, the need to access volumes of data from consumers and various 3rd party sources can introduce ethical concerns. Most everyone has heard of deep fakes used on social media to spread misinformation. These are done with intent while other concerns are unintended such as algorithmic bias or errors in data that isn't caught which can lead to biased outcomes. AI brings a new set of technologies and without a clear understanding of their power and how they can mislead in addition to inform, either intended or unintended issues can arise. 

Particularly when using AI in a marketing context, be sure to have discussions with the broader team about the potential for ethical concerns. Being aware of and discussing these in advance of a project can mitigate an outcome that is undesirable for the company, possibly customers and even the careers of those who neglected to address the issue prior to implementation.

6. How Does AI Impact the Final Result?

The impact AI has on an organization is commensurate with the effort, preparation and executive level support it receives. With regard to specific projects, two elements play significant roles: quality of the data and quality of the model (i.e. algorithms and processes). AI methodologies like machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing and others are approaches to achieve an outcome. Either poor data or modeling can yield poor results.

When the proper steps have been taken to ensure quality data and the models are properly tested, the outcomes, properly interpreted and acted upon can change the trajectory of companies. The precision and confidence in decision making can be greatly improved. Insights can be gleaned which otherwise would be missed. Relationships between customers, markets and your products/services can be understood at a much deeper level. 

7. Will AI Impact Our Jobs?

Many marketers fear that AI will become all-powerful and the marketing world will no longer need them. This is 100% false. 

The purpose of AI is to enhance human abilities and effectively pair humans and machines. It is a great tool, but it is not a self-conscious caring human being. AI models cannot currently understand the difference between positive and negative outcomes without being preprogrammed to discern the differences. And regardless of what Hollywood or the internet might try to convey, AI doesn't yet have emotional intelligence. 

Artificial Intelligence has the potential to change your company. It is true that routine and repetitive tasks are at the greatest risk of being replaced by either AI or automation. But there will continue to be a need for humans to interpret results and be the deciding vote in the chosen course of action or alternatives. If you want to incorporate AI in your company, you should do so with a firm that isn't just trying to sell you a platform/tool with promises that all your worries and concerns will disappear. In fact launching an AI project might make your life worse before it gets better. Doing your homework in advance and if necessary finding a trusted advisor to assist is worth the short term investment. The Matters Group is a capable firm that can provide such services to your organization. Through research, data-driven analytics, and implemented AI, we deliver insights that fit both your purpose and budget. For more information, contact us and we will be more than willing to assist.

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