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Companies have understood for some time the power that technology can bring to their make up. Now, technology companies are working on expanding this concept through the development of machines that bring artificial intelligence into the spectrum. An article by Sara Berry in Marketing Mag investigates what this will mean for marketers and the brands they manage. ” I am distracted , worried I will lose track of time and be late to pick my kids up from school. I glance at my phone, Hey Siri I say and I hear the responsive beeps. Set an alarm for 2.15. OK!the robotic female voice responds, your alarm is on. Done. Artificial intelligence you rock.”
This example shows us how AI can help us in our day to day tasks. It also unsettles those who fear their loss of jobs because of these dramatic changes. Certainly our lives will change. We will have more time to enjoy our leisure and life will become easier. We can explore what this means for marketing and brands in this current climate.
In 2011 the world was introduced to the robot Watson which played and won the television game show Jeopardy. IBM built this robot and opened up discussion on what the future holds for such creations. Sara, ” Can we create an AI or cognitive engine that can understand human speech in all of its variations and nuances, and then understand what’s being discussed, reason through the context and then learn from it’s mistakes. That was Watson.”
Following on IBM have continued development and Apple have built a marketplace and introduced business building capabilities through the introduction of application program interface which supports their apps. Services include Tone Analyser which understands the emotional context of written text through the linguistic analysis of emotion, social tendencies and writing style. This system can analyse and extract personality characteristics called the Big 5, extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness which helps them in their marketing and branding.
Over the next five years it is expected that marketeers will be connected with AI capabilities, called cognitive marketing capabilities brought together through established capabilities of marketing automation and analytics completing a structure of the profession of marketing. Revolving around this model there will be four key elements where the focus will be on the individual rather than a segment of the marketing plan. Ian Wong the digital strategy lead partner of IBM discusses these four elements:
1. Listen To Me
Understand what the person is saying. Consider body language, tone of voice and structure of the language. Tape into the non verbal body language and the words which are very important. Make sure you tie all of this into the AI program.
2. Get To Know Me
The context of the relationship with the customer drives the way in which consolidation of all data is used. This will create function of the brand so that you can engage with the brand. Through these processes you will be able to determine the depth of your relationship with the consumer. Will it be a one off transaction or a continuing one?
3. Empower Me
This phase determines how you will serve the individual. It could be through an AI method or face to face depending on the strength and depth of the relationship you want to create. High value individuals would most likely prefer a personal face to face method.
4. Serve Me In A Personalised Way
As soon as you are engaged with the consumer you can decide what the context is, service, sales or marketing or it could be brand enforcement or specific guidance on a recently bought product. Wong, ” You don’t need to know what the symbolic AI is.” You don’t need to know how the mechanics work. You just need to know how to drive the machine.
We live in a world where we are asked to provide personal information all the time. In a world where AI takes centre stage marketeers need to establish if relationships are individual or segmented. Wong, ” It really comes down to how the consumer wants to engage. It’s about choice. If they want to have a purely transactional relationship brands need to use dark data and transactional data .” It’s a choice between individual or segmented dealings. Cognitive computing can help because it gets tone and nuance. It understands reasoning and learning.
Derek Laney head of product marketing Salesforce, Asia Pacific accounts, ” When we think of marketeers and how we can leverage dollar signs, we’re looking to solve the four biggest marketing problems. Who should this go to? What is the best way to talk to them? What is the message or content that they’re most likely to engage with? When is the best time to reach them? A new augmented marketing professional will be enabled through established capabilities tied into AI. Does this make an old fashioned focus group obsolete? Laney, ” One of the things that humans can do that machines cannot is empathy. For marketeers that’s the real opportunity for them to remain, thankfully, employed and focused.”
Now I can see, not far over the horizon a world where AI steps up and takes it’s place. This article by Sara Berry is a call to wake up and gives us an opportunity to examine, understand and then participate in these amazing changes, particularly in the world of marketing. The robots will be our friends, saving us time and providing us with insights into how our customers perceive they way they want to consume and what they prefer to buy. Much of the guess work will disappear as we fight for our place in our chosen professions. It is comforting to know that our friend the robot will not be able use empathy as it assists us from day to day with our businesses. The human spirit still remains supreme in this regard.