All of us have heard about driverless cars, automated machines, bots and virtual assistants, even if we don’t fully understand what these terms mean. All of these are manifestations of self-learning algorithms, smart technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). The application of these technologies is no longer just limited to sci-fi movies and erudite research papers. Directed by data-driven insights from these powerful technologies, traditional decision-making by experienced professionals is slowly being transformed. Let’s take a look, then, at this metamorphosis that AI is ushering in across business functions such as marketing.
How is AI changing marketing?
Today, we have more marketing channels than ever before—retail, online, social, mobile, flash sales, etc. Marketing decisions need to be faster and out-of-the-box. So far, all the focus and excitement has been about how ML or AI can help marketers connect better with their customers. There hasn’t been much discussion about how the fundamental rules of marketing will change with the advent of big data, digitisation and AI and their integration across all facets of marketing. There has been a high dependency on analytics to understand, extract insights and develop strategies aligned to the customer journey and to measure the impact of various marketing actions. But, ML and AI are upgrading the game by automating all tasks to unlock the highest levels of efficiency. Since Deep Learning and AI can work much like the human brain, they can also be put to work in the creative aspects of marketing.
AI as a creative marketing tool
Selecting images: AI can decide whether a picture is a fit or not by analysing its content. It can further be used to offer hyper-personalised ranking and selection filters based on unique requirements of each user. Technologies which run on deep neural networks can also scan multiple images, choose the best pieces from them and combine them to create one cool image. Storytelling and video content: Self-learning algorithms can be trained in a genre to write stories, scripts, produce music videos and re-cut content based on users’ interests. Some AI-based tools can develop copy for ads, commercials and other marketing campaigns. Marketers can also use AI-based copywriters to check content quality by analysing text, writing style, tone, grammar and punctuation.
Virtual experiences: Experiential marketing can prove to be a beneficial strategy for boosting sales. Real-life experiences between a brand and its customers can help build a strong relationship. AI and VR-AR can create engaging, powerful and layered experiences that connect brands and people through life-like virtual interactions. The point to note here is that AI may be assisting the marketer in the creative aspects of his/her work, but its application is limited to automating operational/repetitive tasks, even on the creative side. This is a clear indication that the application of AI can free up a lot of the marketers’ time, currently spent on mundane tasks, so that they focus on what they do best—be creative, think, ideate and innovate!
The writer is vice-president of products & solutions, Absolutdata Analytics. – Financial Express