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The Impact of AI: Mark Phillips of McKinsey

Mark Phillips is VP Digital at McKinsey & Company. The views and examples provided below are directly from Mark, and are not representing McKinsey & Company or its clients.

What are the main ways AI/machine learning will impact marketers and their work in the next year or two? 

While AI has tremendous potential, I believe we are still a few years off from having it solve “real world” operational problems at scale. But in the meantime, marketers are benefitting from the speed and breadth of the insights afforded by AI. 

Early success examples have focused on creative – we’ve started to see the optimisation of creative using AI, such as improved digital product experiences (see Olay’s skincare app as an example) and of course much better media targeting (such as Demandbase’s new AI product). Both B2C and B2B marketing stands to gain from AI.

In summary, what will be the long-term impact of AI/machine learning on marketing? 

AI and machine learning will enable full personalisation of the customer experience, driven by the real-time integration of media, creative and analytics. Marketers will be more efficient, and customers will receive more relevant information in the right place at the right time.

How is AI/machine learning incorporated in the work you’re doing? 

AI is and will continue to impact how work is done globally. McKinsey’s research has showcased various examples in Germany’s industrial sector,across industries in China, and in manufacturing globally. We can point to impact examples not only in marketing but also in areas like service operations – more and better information processed faster can truly help brands serve consumers better, agnostic of sector or geography, and there is tremendous, as-yet untapped power there.   

In your experience, is AI/machine learning already affecting what brands do, or are awareness and adoption still very limited? 

It is still early days in AI – while the technology exists, brands will need to structure their infrastructure (e.g., processes, teams / talent) to fully operationalize and leverage it, which will take time. The auto industry cites significant investment in this space – from driverless cards to enhanced connectivity during the driving experience. But the real power in personalisation and truly dynamic storytelling has not yet seen its full potential of impact.

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