Marketing and AI
Suddenly, everyone is talking about artificial intelligence (AI). It is constantly in the news now. It suddenly is looming like some intimidating Terminator. However, AI is not a toggle switch that was suddenly turned on one day this year. AI is everywhere and has been around for far longer than most of us are aware. We just didn’t realize it.
Ever think about how Instagram shows you reels based on your past views? Youtube does the same. Amazon makes recommendations based on your browsing and purchase history. By the newest standard, that is old hat AI, but it is AI. Lately, significant advances have been made that increased the power of these learning algorithms exponentially. The new tools Chat GPT, BARD, Well-said are examples very widely covered in the media.
Why are businesses so interested?
There are a wide variety of uses for AI in the business space, from project management to customer service.
A bit of background, it might be helpful to take a quick survey of places where AI is being deployed.
Before looking at examples, let’s discuss why use AI in any area at all?
Given technology, any organization has the capacity to collect–from the perspective of a human–an incomprehensibly large amount of data on almost any subject. This data can be used to do many things, but there is so much of it, we have a limited capacity to see patterns and synthesize. AI has the capacity to do that.
Demand forecasting in retail: Who doesn’t want the magic bullet to decide how much to stock for each season? However, just observing how much sold this month last year isn’t a sufficient predictor. What about the weather? Bad economic news. Construction on a nearby road that is now finished this year. The endless factors that may influence buying decisions can be used to forecast demand more accurately.
Disease screening in healthcare: AI has the capacity to potentially use data to identify or eliminate certain diagnoses that an individual medical professional whose experience is necessarily finite, might be able to do. Like much else, there are ethical issues that can make AI a complex tool, but there is much potential.
Customer retention: Like other areas, you probably can collect more information about your customers than you can make sense of. So, why did they leave? You may have the answer, but it may actually be a calculus of many factors. AI can help identify all of the issues that may have led a customer to leave. Without AI, you may incorrectly attribute it to one single factor.
Why are marketers so interested?
AI has potential applications in the marketing end of any business, large or small. Marketers, in particular, may find AI useful in these three general categories-
Collecting Data about prospective customers – Even small businesses can collect a significant amount of data. AI can allow you to analyze that data. No matter how much data you collect, it is useless unless you can synthesize it, see patterns, etc. The human capacity to make sense of the massive amount of data we collect is limited.
Using data to market more effectively – Even the most novice marketer knows that the more you know about each prospect the easier it will be to target them. The more you know their needs, the more you can explain how your product or service meets those needs. AI allows you to do more with the data you collect- to make sense of it so you can use it.
Generating the right message – AI may be also able, to a certain degree, assist you in creating the messaging to reach your target. However, it is important to recognize that AI is not a silver bullet.
In short, AI may offer you some new tools to more effectively market without expanding your present marketing resources.