Why AI should not be treated as a KPI for marketers right now
In the past 12 months artificial intelligence (AI) adoption rates have tripled, while almost half of businesses have already integrated at least one AI tool into their data management systems. According to many industry predictions, these numbers are only set to increase.
Although AI has proven benefits in specific areas (such as providing marketing insights), vendors are witnessing an increase in requests for proposals (RFP) that specify the need for AI requirement with no explanation as to why it is needed, or what business objective it will be addressing.
With AI being touted as the must-have solution for streamlining processes and systems, are companies rushing to deploy ‘any’ AI solution, instead of taking the time to consider whether they really need it? And are some companies simply trying to appear ‘up-to-date’ with the latest technology, as opposed to making considered decisions about the benefits of AI for them?
AI through the looking glass
Just as overburdened business executives should remind themselves of the old adage, “you can do anything, but you can’t do everything”, the same mentality should be applied when considering AI. While there are several instances in which AI would be the perfect fit, it’s not always the necessary weapon of choice for your particular business requirements.
Rather than rushing to adopt AI without a strategic plan in place, it’s far more sensible to take a “through the looking glass” approach to implementation. This could involve working backwards and identifying what AI can achieve before deciding whether that would benefit your business. In some instances, applying simple rules, statistics or machine learning techniques actually best solves what executives want to achieve. Alternatively, they may allocate a huge proportion of their budget to acquire the latest AI technology, which doesn’t always benefit certain business requirements. Implementing AI is a large-scale operation, so it’s important to ensure you achieve the best possible ROI on your marketing and/or data management spend.
Where AI shines bright in analytics
Data visibility: The explosion of data provides unlimited potential and opportunity for companies, but only when applied in the correct way. Currently, organisations are facing the problem of their data being stored in silos, making it harder for teams to harness data insights across multiple sales and marketing channels in order to uncover opportunities. AI, however, assists in the process. By classifying, unifying and connecting data from all customer touch points (as well as from across the organisation), AI helps prepare the data for analysis. This will ultimately provide a holistic view of actionable, real-time insights, across several disparate channels.
Once data has been consolidated, AI can also help marketers to predict or discover trends and anomalies through augmented analytics. This adds context to the various patterns of consumer behaviour, which in turn, helps to inform future marketing strategies.
Customer spotlight: Consumers have increasingly high expectations for more meaningful interactions with a business, so delivering mediocre content through outdated methods is no longer a viable option. Deploying AI can help elevate the customer experience by enabling marketing teams to deliver high quality, as well as highly personalised creatives, which are far more likely to prompt customer engagement.
Once a consumer shows interest in a particular product or service, AI can help drive further levels of engagement by enabling customer service functions, such as chatbots and virtual assistants. These allow the consumer to interact instantly with a business, without being placed on hold, wait for an email response, or visit a store for help.
Don’t be fooled by smoke and mirrors
While AI is an extremely powerful technique, it is important that you employ it for tasks that are fit for purpose. Examples such as classification, prediction or even identifying and surfacing information that would require a thousand interns to do otherwise, would all benefit from AI. Its system is able to test, learn and make assumptions autonomously, so the human does not need to foresee/code for each and every variation and action.
So remember, the AI KPI is not always necessary. Although it’s worth considering the specific benefits of AI to keep ahead of the curve, it’s imperative to make informed decisions about your requirements before treating AI-driven technology as a silver bullet to all your business problems.
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