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Rock me Amadeus - AI and marketing

I imagine the marriage of AI and marketing as the sound of a celebrated organist performing in a vast cathedral - the sound is inspiring but how it’s created remains a mystery.

It seems so as AI becomes ubiquitous, accepted and increasingly clever without our knowledge of the alchemy within. Take Google maps - it’s a vital time saver but how does it work? Who cares, it’s great!

As this transformation happens, the general consensus is we’re still decades away from reaching what’s known as “the singularity” – the point where machines surpass humans in terms of overall general intelligence.

I'm someone who has worked in public relations since fax machines were “de rigueur” and I’m hopeful this so-called singularity is way way off, and may never happen.

My possibly old fashioned opinion is people, their views, beliefs and emotions make marketing and all its disciplines unique, ever-changing and vulnerable. And this means marketing is interesting, creative and eclectic, rather than mechanised and manufactured.

Marketing in my world has intrinsic gut feel, and the last time I looked AI doesn’t have guts, lumps in throats or butterflies in tummies.

That said the AI trajectory we’re on is having an ever-increasing impact on our lives.

And that’s scary - mainly because of the fear a chosen career or hard-earned job is going to be pinched by a bot designed to disrupt.

It’s a bit late to fret as a lot of AI is redefining marketing already as intelligent technology is deployed to reach and interact with existing and potential customers.

So will AI really decimate marketing jobs? Probably not, but it will change them.

Concern about AI’s impact is born from a lack of understanding about its potential while also being driven by ill-informed commentary.

I’m a PR professional, not an AI expert, so I read to grow my understanding. The conclusion I’ve reached is the best use of AI is to enhance existing processes, where humans remain in control. Think of those time-consuming repetitive activities that could be automated, from researching content topics and keywords, to testing communication and reporting, and a plethora more.

Some years back I worked with Coca-Cola Schweppes Beverages UK and marvelled at the way one marketing manager could efficiently control all activity across multiple brands. Her role was being the master controller of agencies from sales promotion and merchandising, to advertising and PR. She sat in the middle as an outsourcing guru, with all the support coming to her in the middle and she would direct.

I see the same with AI - becoming a marketing and communication controller using AI augments a role, and doesn’t steal it.

Sounds grand and powerful - back to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, an organist pulling stops, tinkling keys and pressing pedals to create unbelievably cavernous sounds.

So what’s next?

Before I started looking into AI and marketing I had never heard of the phrase “use case” but now it’s the all important focus to achieve breakthrough.

The best use case for anyone is the number one most relevant job where you would like AI assistance. What would make your life easier? What takes a long time and doesn’t really add to your bottom line but has to be done anyway? What do you loath doing every month?

For instance, it could be reporting. Why spend five hours creating a summary when it could be automated in a fraction of the time, with a personal top, tail and some narrative added. It could be the continuous treadmill of creating an ever increasing index of content when your brain is fried after a multi-client, issue riddled, deadline driven week. You may just need some help, a hand, a leg up. How would that feel?

When thinking of the best use case or task, keep in mind AI’s dual role of reducing costs by intelligently automating repetitive tasks and increasing revenue by improving the ability to make predictions.

I’ve had a right brained career (that’s the creative, intuitive side) but AI has fascinated me as a major step forward in all things marketing. Putting a toe in the water and trying it out will provide lessons, probably a lot of frustration and eventually better processes to achieve success for the organisations I support.

I’m confident there will be a balance between human and AI powered marketing and communications - both working together in an exciting future. As long as it keeps an emotional side, I’m happy.

(Photo: Unsplash - Michael Jasmund)

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