AI is all the rage in tech circles. Computers that can think and learn are predicted to change life as we know it.
So what will this new technology mean to the field of digital marketing? Will computers replace humans?
AI’s allure is its ability to look at and analyze huge chunks of data quickly… far more quickly than a human ever could.
When I first started in this field with Scholastic, the publisher of children’s books and magazines, the field was referred to as “database marketing.” Our team spent weeks each month pouring over massive computer printouts to find patterns of data that might suggest profitable markets for our children’s products.
As computers and their programs have grown more sophisticated – data crunching has gotten a bit easier and certainly faster.
Fast forward to today. With tools like Google Analytics (free or Enterprise version), Chartbeat, Clicky, Heap, and others – companies large and small can track the performance of websites, apps, email, social media and all things digital as well as customer characteristics and behavior with a very high level of sophistication.
Now imagine a computer that can be taught what to look for in massive data sets, that can perform complicated analysis and reporting with blinding speed, and that has the ability to teach itself to parse data with ever greater precision.
Sounds pretty awesome – right?
So where will humans fit in?
While it’s true that in the next 10 years computers will take on more of the data management and analysis tasks for humans – it’s also true that deciding how to use that data creatively will fall to humankind for the foreseeable future.
One of the most fundamental creative tasks for a marketer lies in determining the proper strategies to employ when trying to gain a share of a prospect’s mind. After all – all marketing is a battle for the mind. That’s where positioning comes into play.
Without question, positioning strategy remains one of the great challenges for marketers now and into the future. It’s a problem even now due to the accelerating proliferation of communication platforms and the vain need some marketers have to vary messaging and design across platforms.
With or without AI– knowing how to use vast amounts of data to create a clear and effective positioning strategy and apply that strategy across multiple platforms will continue to separate the great companies from the also rans.