Don’t underestimate the power of AI in marketing

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Don’t underestimate the power of AI in marketing Duncan is an award-winning technology industry analyst, specialising in cloud computing, blockchain, martech and edge computing.

Matt White, VP EMEA of Quantcast, discusses how marketers can effectively employ AI to create a better customer experience and meet buyers where they’re at.

Bringing AI up in conversation can stir up a lot of different opinions. Hollywood has prompted an entire generation to fear AI thanks to Black Mirror, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Ex Machina – just to name a few.  This perception misses one crucial detail about AI though – when used correctly, it can revolutionise a business. 

To use AI correctly, you must have a clear understanding of what you want to get out of it. You need to ask the correct questions and take calculated measures to fully utilise AI and understand your audiences more effectively. 

AI is primarily about computational assistance and not about machines replicating human intelligence. Computational assistance refers to the software and tools designed to process large quantities of data in rational ways. This is based on a specific set of criteria input to achieve accurate intelligence on your business goals. 

Humans are subject to error; we could scan a couple of websites and understand their content in a matter of minutes, but imagine doing that for millions of websites – humans are likely to make mistakes. On the other hand, an AI program would be able to do this effortlessly in a matter of seconds, without errors. Tracking scale and skill efficiently and effectively across the web is a machine-shaped problem.

As a marketer, it’s important to consider the following before delving into AI’s revolutionary yet complex intricacies.

Have good data

Imagine driving down the motorway and your car starts making odd noises and stops. At this point, you cast your mind back to the petrol station when it suddenly dawns on you – you put the wrong fuel in your car. Although both petrol and diesel provide the same service, they both perform in very different ways. Unfortunately for you, you weren’t paying attention and now you have an expensive problem to fix.

As you can imagine, if you use faulty, incomplete or simply untrustworthy data within an AI program, that program will optimise and scale based on that data. Meaning that your decision-making, campaign execution, etc., will be based on faulty, massively-scaled insights and actions, which can lead to very expensive mistakes.

In an ideal world, you should use raw data that your organisation owns and controls within AI systems because, in this area, trust is everything. Therefore, if you must rely on a partner to obtain some or all of your data, it is crucial that you insist on transparency and are clear regarding the incentives. 

Be clear about your objective

For a CMO, the single most important piece of data input is what they consider true business success – knowing this will provide a benchmark for all future decision-making. 

For instance, if you choose to optimise true conversions, there must be a reasonable hypothesis on the signal relevant to your KPIs. Being clear and concise with what you want to achieve is fundamental. On the flip side, if you were to include all kinds of data and variables, the output would be messy and have no relation to tracking conversions. 

Know the possible consequences

People fear AI becoming sentient, stealing jobs and taking over the world – however, I’m here to tell you that these aren’t realistic consequences of AI.

A couple of years ago, people would shudder at the word “viewability”. Many adtech companies placed ads at the top of websites to gain more views. Suddenly, every ad below a certain point was rendered useless and massively devalued. This highlighted a serious flaw in AI, and it became clear that changes had to be made.

Changes were enforced, and now “viewability” is something numerous vendors are wanting to track and is becoming ingrained in the pricing and evaluation of major brand campaigns. 

The Power of AI

How and what you decide to measure can truly have the potential to change the economics of entire markets. The tech behind AI is powerful, and with great power comes great responsibility. 

At the end of the day, machines have no ethics or morals. They work simply and require concise and clear data. It’s up to humans to provide clear data and use AI’s output to inform business intelligence.

There is no doubt AI technology is advancing faster than ever, but rather than fear a Black Mirror-style AI takeover, it’s time to embrace AI and ensure you, your business and your clients are reaping the rewards.

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person? Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.

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