How A.I. Will Change the Marketer’s Role in 2017

Last week we assuaged the fears of marketers awaiting an I, Robot–style battle between machine and man. We can all breathe easily knowing that artificial intelligence will in fact enhance — not diminish — the value of the marketer’s work, and that AI will complement creativity and intuition in marketing. Still, the question remains: How will the marketer’s role change as AI is used to improve marketing performance?

“AI is starting to take marketers further away from everyday data and analytic challenges,” says Velocidi’s president, Mark Kovscek. Those challenges include what Kovscek calls “data cleansing” and then “slicing and dicing” the data — the time-consuming, error-prone process most people currently use to sort through mountains of marketing data and organize across channels and campaigns. Integrating data from multi-channel marketing campaigns, digital marketing initiatives, and social media marketing efforts usually takes the form of a somewhat taxing manual effort that requires endless Excel and Powerpoint documents; through automating this process, marketers will move away from manual data cleansing and slicing and dicing of data, into more analysis and insight development. 

“Think about the marketing data and analytics value chain,” says Kovscek. “Most of the work is currently in the front end with data management. Then it gets thinner towards the end where insight development and marketing actions are formulated. What AI does is reverse it. So it’s thinner at the beginning, and fatter at the end where the higher-value activity happens.” 

AI will enable marketers to measure the impact of their marketing performance by beginning with insights that lead to strategic decision-making sooner. Rather than expending valuable time and energy sorting through data, marketers can rely on artificial intelligence to accelerate data management and analysis tasks, and to surface insights based on patterns in that data.

In its exploration of “marketing’s AI revolution,” Contently noted that the marketer will evolve into “someone part data scientist, part creative, who can work directly with AI systems.” There is an inherent fear that AI will undermine creativity and human intuition in marketing. Let’s debunk this! AI is only as good as the data you put in. It is the marketer’s job to understand which data streams are most important for answering the right questions about customer engagement, brand loyalty, and/or media spend efficiency. And while AI can unearth insights based on data patterns, it is the marketer’s job to make these insights actionable through creative and strategic decision-making. As Kovscek points out, “AI is a way to help prioritize those insights, understand how to create action-oriented decisions, and craft strategy.”

Still curious about the use of AI in marketing? Read more on our blog:

(Photo by Christopher Burns.)

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