The future is already here. Many companies have already started using AI as part of their marketing and customer service efforts so that almost every website has its own chatbot. Although artificial intelligence is still taking baby steps, it’s easy to get carried away and start imagining the worst-case scenario and rise of the machines. Will we be replaced by the likes of the sinister HAL 9000, with a mind of its own, or the anthropomorphic Walter from Alien: Covenant, an android who isn’t very fond of mankind?
Maybe, but not anytime soon. Although AI is rapidly evolving, which means that in 2018 we won’t be able to distinguish whether we’re talking with a chatbot or an actual customer service rep, it’s more likely that we can expect synergy between humans and technology.
Many marketers are already taking advantage of artificial intelligence. Marketing automation software, social media management tools, or content publishing tools help them save a lot of time, as they’re used for tedious and repetitive actions. In other words, AI is employed to perform the unwanted legwork so that marketers can focus on more creative tasks. Of course, this doesn’t mean that its role is insignificant, but simply that it still takes a human being to implement and optimize it.
A survey has shown that almost 63% (two-thirds) of very successful companies use their marketing automation tools extensively, while more than 37% (one-third) managed to become the best in class with limited use. Similarly, 64% of marketers say that they saw the benefits of using marketing automation within the first 6 months of its implementation. However, this improvement wouldn’t be so dramatic if it weren’t for experienced marketers who use analytics in order to create better content and personalized emails.
For example, machines can’t grasp the subtle nuances of human communication, so we can’t rely on them to tell the difference between generic and impersonal emails with low conversion rates, and those that can engage our audience.
Apart from automatization, artificial intelligence can be successfully used for collecting data about your customers and competitors. Facebook has been among the first that used the benefits of AI for gathering and analyzing tremendous amounts of information about its users. Deep Learning is a new way of utilizing artificial intelligence which enables machines to learn how to classify data by themselves, thus reducing the need for human intervention. Google does the same in order to offer its users more refined search results.
Although there are certain privacy issues that can be discussed, this method is extremely helpful when it comes to predicting customer behavior, so that we can obtain fairly precise data on who will make a purchase and when that will happen. Not to mention that it can also help us comprehend what motivates people to buy. Still, although this may sound formidable, there’s no need to worry that machines will leave you jobless due to their informational superiority. Again, after the data has been collected and classified, it’s up to you to analyze it and make a well-rounded marketing strategy.
Up close and personal
When it comes to defining your target audience, as well as engaging and nurturing them, artificial intelligence can be your best and most reliable assistant, and by assistant, we mean a virtual assistant, too. Siri, Alexa, or the most basic chatbots hovering in the corner of your screen, have become commonly used customer service tools. Simple bots can help customers get answers to a string of frequently asked questions, and help them make a purchasing decision faster. Instead of waiting for an agent to give them the information they need, customers can have their questions and concerns addressed immediately.
Still, scientists are nowhere near producing a machine that could completely simulate and mimic human interaction, and if we bear in mind that many research studies have emphasized empathy as crucial for improving customer experience and satisfaction, it’s clear that AI still won’t make humans redundant.
Keeping up with the times
Staying relevant is essential in any business, and especially in marketing. In order to make sure that you don’t lose your job to a machine (or another person, for that matter), you need to update your knowledge, skills, and marketing techniques on a regular basis. In other words, if you can’t beat them, join them. Once you realize how to harness the power of artificial intelligence, machines, and automation software, you’ll be able to organize your business and stay on top of things.
As you can see, AI has already taken the world by the storm, but there’s no need to worry that you’ll be replaced by a machine. If you learn how to use it, this technology will only make your job easier and more creative.
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.
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