It wasn’t all that long ago that AI was discussed as a future technology — a remote concept we could strive for, but not yet take advantage of. In fairly short time though, AI has become more of an everyday reality, seen in everything from home thermostats to international logistics operations. And as AI has become both more sophisticated and more commonplace, some of its most practical applications have proven to be in the digital marketing space.
SwissCognitive Guest Blogger: Bethany Johnson, freelance tech blogger
The topic of ‘AI in Digital Marketing’ is something that has been posted about previously, and in exciting terms. In said post, we speculated about digital marketing tools that could “predict the future,” and cater to customers in ways known to be most likely to yield conversions. Naturally, the idea of predicting the future is one that can be taken in different ways. For the most part though, this vision of digital marketing capability is accurate. Companies of all kinds can accurately predict consumer reactions to advertisements, product and service listings, content, and more — all thanks to a variety of accessible AI applications.
While this is exciting to anyone in the marketing business however (or anyone merely interested in such topics), it is also important to recognize that AI is not replacing humans in digital marketing. Not yet, at least. Contrary to popular belief, AI is not here to directly relegate humans to joblessness. Nor is it here to turn evil on us (a misguided notion that a clever PopSci article attributes rightly to science fiction). Rather, it is here to help us, and it is already clear that there are interesting and productive ways for humans to work alongside technology to optimize digital marketing work.
The best way to grasp how humans and AI are working together in successful digital marketing departments is to understand fundamentally what AI actually does in this space. And basically, it is there to analyze responses and results, and organize findings — to gather data, as Forbes expresses in a concise and helpful piece on the matter. AI can determine which marketing efforts work best, which types of customers respond to certain products or product pitches, and which resources are being used most effectively. It can catalogue feedback, build customer profiles, and provide raw statistics on conversions.
All of this is immensely helpful, but it is primarily about laying the groundwork for strategy. The actual development of strategy is still up to workers. It is human marketers’ task — just as it always has been — to take the information at hand and adjust and develop strategies accordingly. All that AI is doing is making that information more accurate, thorough, and valuable.
Beyond developing strategies, it is also up to the humans to create the content that comprises marketing efforts within those strategies. The aforementioned Forbes article discusses marketing departments’ ability to “personalize content” based on findings. It is also something that Ayima conveys while outlining modern digital marketing practices: the blending of technology and talent for the purpose of optimizing content marketing. It is not the replacement of talent with technology.
This is an idea that many fail to grasp while blindly assuming that AI is simply taking over the digital marketing process. As much as modern technology can compile information and drive strategy, human creatives are the ones putting that strategy into effect through everything from email campaigns, to written content, to social media action.
This is a simpler point to close with, but it is also important to remember that leaders in digital marketing are still human as well. AI programs don’t go to work entirely on their own, and even if they did there’d be no telling what they would deem appropriate in organizing marketing efforts. Human management is still required to sort through AI options, put technology to work, and coordinate with strategists and creatives to make the whole operation work. It is, ultimately, a collaboration in which AI is a tool for marketers to wield. It just happens to be an extraordinarily capable and helpful tool.
It’s a fascinating topic, and one that is undoubtedly going to continue to evolve over time. For now though, we hope this has clarified your undertaking of how AI works in modern digital marketing. And as always, do check back here at Swiss Cognitive for more updates and analysis on all things AI!
Bethany Johnson is a freelance tech blogger. Her goal is to keep her readers up to date on the latest tech trends happening across industries. In her free time, she plays chess.