AI in Marketing is not Overhyped

5th September 2019

A recent article in Forbes, “Is Artificial Intelligence In Marketing Overhyped?“, got me thinking about an article I’d been wanting to write. Specifically, what Metigy as a business, and indeed a concept, is aiming to achieve through AI in Marketing.

That article starts with a really interesting quote from Resultticks:

A recent survey of more than 300 marketers by Resulticks found that almost half thought artificial intelligence was an overhyped industry buzzword and 40% felt skeptical when they saw or heard the term. The survey also found that 47% of marketers believed AI was more fantasy than reality.

40% of people are sceptical about AI and 47% think it’s fantasy. Why is that? Do they believe it doesn’t work? Or is it more likely they are threatened by it and are trying to resist it?

Certainly, if you look at what is happening in some industries, it could definitely be seen as a threat. Ben Carter, marketing director of Just Eat UK, told a Campaign Brief Breakfast about the opportunity and how much the thought of a marketing team run by AI is terrifying!

What types of Impact can AI have?

I thought this was a good place to start this article as it seems to be something that can make the difference between people wanting to embrace AI and those being down-right terrified by it.

The first impact is that AI will displace human roles. There are examples of this emerging everywhere now. Geekwire reports that by 2030 375m people are expected to have been displaced by machines. There are lots of examples in industries of this happening such as robots in factories and a brick-laying machine that can lay 1,000 bricks an hour.

This is where AI scares people. The thought that they will ‘lose’ their jobs to a machine. Whereas in fact, they will make jobs safer for people, and the people will be trained to support the machines such as training them and repairing them.

That leads to the second type of AI impacting business, where it is making you better at your job. E.g. it is what is referred to as complementary. That is to say, it can do things to help you do your job better!

Imagine that for a second. Your work becoming better because things that were previously very hard, become easier ie analysing massive amounts of data in real-time. Monitoring multiple data sets and finding deep hidden meaning in the data that would take you weeks – assuming you can – to find normally.

Facebook, Google and Microsoft’s gurus say that this is more likely according to The Next Web. They talk about how AI will make workers more efficient. The jobs that will go are the ones that are no longer necessary in the modern economy anyway. That’s a slightly harsh way of looking at it, but that relates to what Computers and optimised processes have done as a whole.

AI in Marketing

From Metigy’s point of view, we are working to use it to help our customers and their teams get better at their jobs. We believe that this is the most valuable form of AI there is, added to which, machines work better with people, not against people.

So what kind of uses are there for AI in marketing? Out in the SAAS Tools industry, you will find most platforms are working on using some form of AI in their platforms to solve individual problems. That is to say, they are looking to solve small problems.

At Metigy, we have used our backgrounds in Agency, Marketing and running businesses to look at the AI opportunity a little differently to solve the problems and opportunities we always identified ourselves. In fact, Google thinks the same thing and is working on tools to support services like ours.

Some examples of these applications include the more obvious things such as allowing you to monitor a more diverse range of data sources. E.g. As a human you cannot monitor a lot of data sources and find the meaning in the data. Add to that the challenge of identifying multiple factors impacting that data and you have yourself one headache of a data problem.

Others include defining and measuring goals. Something that should be a key part of any marketing strategy, and the thing that is quite often undervalued and misunderstood. There’s a lot that can go into a goal, and quite often they get simplified due to available resources. Again, AI can solve this problem.

Going further still, what if it could connect lots of different tools? Imagine being able to use one tool to get more out of every other tool you use? That’s the vision we are building at Metigy!

The risks of AI in Marketing

As with any technology, there are risks. But if you work through the biggest risks, they are largely a human factor, not a machine factor.

The first is one a lot of people have experienced when new tools come in. And that’s the one where staff are expected to be able to do more. Ok, so yes they should, but this is often interpreted as needing less staff to do the same work. Whereas in reality, the quality and quantity should go up, not stay the same.

That leads to overestimating what machines are capable of. Currently, they work best when they are complementing people, not working against them. An extension of this is underestimating the amount of work involved in supporting these tools and systems. They work for you but they still need your team to get the most out of it.

And so finally the issue of trusting the machine too much. Now, let me clarify what I mean by that. Based on everything I just said, they work best with people, not instead of people. They need to keep learning with you and perform better with you. As long as you keep “feeding” the machine and working together, the better you will do together. This is something that the Financial Industry has been bitten by when they relied on algorithms too much and it has wiped out businesses.

One area that businesses are starting to see the benefits from working with AI, is chatbots. That is the epitome of working with AI. There’s a great article on Forbes looking at the impact AI has had on transforming the employee experience. It highlights the need to experiment and identifying the roles you need to fully leverage AI.

What Next?

Like any technology, AI, when applied to any industry, can be overhyped. But we think the future is bright for AI in Marketing. It will enhance everything marketers do if they work with it and make what they do, more enjoyable and rewarding!

That to us is the true power of AI. That is Metigy. Join us on the AI journey today!

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