The question of AI and its potential applications has dominated conversations in the marketing technology world for some time.
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Our host, Gemma Milne, talks to Jedrzej Osinski, a Cognifide Senior QA Engineer and Mario Coletti, MD of Nextatlas UK, a business foresight consultancy that’s using AI to inform its research. They define what AI is, how it is being applied today through smartphones and other everyday tech, why it is so powerful and how it might be leveraged in the future to help marketers deliver powerful customer experiences.
AI can be broken down into “weak AI” and “strong AI”, the former being the ability of a system to emulate one aspect of competence or one task and the latter, the ability to emulate all of the abilities of humans, including consciousness, emotion and self-learning. While weak AI and automation is fairly widely in use today, we are not yet in the strong AI era.
What AI can currently do is empower marketers to make better decisions, processing huge amounts of data, and replacing fallible human analysis with machine learning. AI is also able to combine elements such as verbal and visual cues and information from social media. It is able to analyse multiple sources of social media data and identify the conversations that are happening and with that, the emerging trends before they become mainstream. It can also help deliver a more personalised experience for customers by predicting their needs and providing dedicated content, tailored to them.
Traditional trend analysis is mostly a blend of intuition and desk research, which is then combined to spot patterns that indicate something is becoming a trend. With AI, you can now identify certain cultural conversations leading to trends. In this scenario, the methodology is scientific, allowing consumers themselves to inform marketers, through identifying the small signs that something has the potential to go mainstream.
Nextatlas’ model involves analysing around 400,000 social media profiles with between 1,000 and 20,000 followers, following their followers in order to anticipate trends 6-18 months ahead of time.
The opportunity with AI is to make marketing better by connecting all the different aspects of marketing from ideation to delivery. The old way of marketing could be subjective, with siloed information passed in a physical/verbal way, across a chain of people, making efficiency and measurement challenging. However, with AI, marketers can be more precise with data enabling creativity that can be substantiated and a truly agile approach that can bring together marketing and other functions.
The importance of trust
The fear that machines will replace humans might be overstated as the human factor is still needed to decide, programme, filter and interpret what AI determines. However, trust is a potential barrier and marketers using AI must be responsible with the volume of data to ensure consumer privacy and consent. AI supporters of course argue that man poses a bigger risk here, since a single person misusing data could well inflict more damage.
Data as a resource vs. data as a waste product
Controversially, given the predominance of GDPR and other data privacy initiatives, data could be seen as a waste product, rather than a resource. An individual’s data has no inherent value unless analysed as part of a dataset of millions, or billions. Even then, the value is the output from that analysis, not the data itself. In fact, data is being “recycled” to produce better products and experiences and this, in itself, is the payoff to consumers, an enhanced customer experience.
The future of AI
Marketers looking at incorporating AI need to think about what data they have already and what they want to achieve. AI can potentially have a key role in:
- Strategy - helping to create a long term vision for marketing using AI to inform decisions and predict patterns
- Collaboration - moving marketing out of its silo and positioning it as a conductor across organisations, using AI to exploit information and create a better value chain
- Opportunity - reducing wastage through better predictions, allowing companies to focus on what they are good at - making brands and products
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Hello. Is it me you’re looking for? In next month’s episode, Cognifide’s Dr. Sam Miller and Steve Dunlop, CEO of audio advertising agency, A Million Ads, talk about how to give a brand a voice.
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