Artificial Intelligence (AI) is certainly getting its fair share of air time right now. Regardless of the media you consume or social media communities you’re a part of, it’s likely you’ve come across AI-themed content that focuses on its potential to ‘change the world’ and the resulting debate over whether or not this is actually a good thing.
So, what is AI?
AI refers to computer-based machines that are programmed to think, learn, and perform tasks like humans. Simply put, activities that would normally require human intelligence such as problem-solving, data analysis, and decision-making, now have the potential to be performed using AI-powered tools.
Is AI already being used in marketing?
Absolutely. From chatbots that provide 24/7 customer service, and AI-powered sentiment analysis tools used to scan social media feeds, to powerful data analysis tools and highly targeted content creation – marketers have already embraced AI.
In marketing and advertising campaigns, AI is playing a vital role in hyper-personalisation and pin-point targeting. AI algorithms analyse data to gain insights into our customers’ behaviour and preferences, giving us the ability to better target campaigns and create more relevant, engaging content across social media posts, eDM subject lines, and blogs.
Stephen Williams, Director of Strategy and Digital at NeonLogic comments, “We are seeing AI used in data analysis, marketing automation tools, image creation, paid media acquisition, and now, content creation.” He adds, “With my focus on strategy and research I’ve also used AI to gather insights about sectors. I use it as a powerful tool to augment other forms of research, but it’s certainly not the only source.”
What are the latest AI trends in marketing?
One of the most talked-about advancements in marketing-related AI is the recent release of ChatGPT.
Stephen explains, “AI has sat ‘under the hood’ for many marketers, but with ChatGPT it’s now a visible, engaging entity. ChatGPT accesses content from the web and then relates it to the user in a conversational way. It’s the accessibility of it that is the real game changer!”
The increased use of AI in social media marketing is also really exciting. AI-powered tools analyse customer interactions on social media and identify opportunities to engage with our customers in real-time – responding to customer queries or providing personalised recommendations. As well as this, marketers are using AI-powered tools to better engage with their customers on social media by identifying and responding to customer sentiment. AI tools scan social media feeds for mentions of a brand or product and determine whether the sentiment is positive, negative, or neutral. This information is then used to tailor marketing messages to enhance customer experience.
OK, what’s the catch? Does AI have any limitations?
Should we all be terrified that AI is going to take over the earth and render the role of human marketers redundant? In a nutshell, no.
AI lacks emotional intelligence and the ability to understand the subtlety of human behaviour – a skill that sits at the heart of effective marketing. Whether it be understanding cultural differences and context-specific meanings, or having insight into the emotions that drive our decision-making – human marketers will continue to play a critical role in shaping the future of marketing.
Stephen comments, “No one can predict the future, but I believe that we’ll see more roles partnering with AI, rather than being replaced by it. Humans will still have a role, but it may be more top-level with a focus on what we do best, interfacing with other humans. AI will do more of the ‘research and investigative’ work.”
Take this blog for example. Did we use AI to write the blog? No, because although AI content creation tools such as ChatGPT are useful to research blog content and create a blog outline and structure, they struggle to create credible copy that is authentic and in a tone that connects with an audience.
In ChatGPT’s own words, “Although ChatGPT is a powerful language model that can generate coherent and informative text, there are limitations to using it to write blogs. While ChatGPT can generate text that is grammatically correct and coherent, it may lack the creativity and originality that human writers bring to their work. This can result in text that is formulaic or without the depth and nuance that readers expect. ChatGPT is not able to understand human emotions or sentiment, and as such, it may not be able to generate text that is sensitive to the needs of your audience.”
Stephen explains, “AI, for now, is only as good as its source. It isn’t really creating new things. It’s taking old things and representing them or remaking them. Don’t fool yourself that you’re getting something ‘created’. If you want to have a unique voice and to establish yourself as a thought leader, you still require human thinking.”
What’s the future of AI and marketing?
In a word: personalisation. As more and more information is gathered about each of us, AI will use that data to help marketers precisely target ads, content, and experiences and even develop products that are more suitable to us.
However, while AI is able to crunch large amounts of data quickly, it isn’t creative and cannot build authentic relationships based on the complexities of human emotion. That’s where we come in. Effective marketing is about research and strategy, creativity, and relationship building. AI can help us be faster and more targeted, and we welcome that – but it cannot replace the human touch.