It’s that time of year again, and we’re all gathered round the toasty fire. For our look ahead, we encouraged our talented experts to focus on tangible presents ready to be unwrapped and put to use now. Predictions, too often, resemble I.O.U.s or wistful sugar-plum visions. There is no mistaking today’s topic, AI, for a bust, an expired gift card or carton of eggnog. The applications for machine intelligence permeate the industry – which makes zeroing in on specific capabilities and functions the greatest gift to our readers.
Smart listening tech Artificial intelligence will help derive value from listening for the whole enterprise in three ways. First, it will make listening more scalable. Much like doctors now use AI to extract insights and advice from the previously overwhelming number of medical studies published each day, so too is marketing AI making it easier for marketers and others throughout the enterprise to augment their reading and comprehension of public signals beyond the capacity of a human reading one article or tweet at a time. The wisest organizations will use this AI not just for cost savings, but to power ideation and innovation. Second, marketing AI will create a virtuous cycle of data-informed, artificially-generated, first-draft creative collateral for marketers to iterate on and save time doing the least-creative parts of creative work. Finally, marketing AI will enable smart segmentation and audience targeting with the insights and creative captured by smart listening tech.
– Marshall Kirkpatrick, Senior Director of Influencer and Analyst Relations, Sprinklr
Speed AI is speeding up the vetting process by matching for specific criteria based on a brand’s needs within minutes, while human experts in the space interpret and analyze the data to find the best influencer partner specifically for that brand and campaign. Currently, the industry is experiencing an influx of data from the millions of pieces of content floating around the digital space. Before AI, this would have been a problem since it was believed only humans could interpret common types of unstructured data like imagery, audio and video. However, with advancements in AI it was discovered that for the greatest insights there actually needs to be a marriage of human and computer intelligence. With this marriage, influencer marketing is finally able to help marketers achieve greater scale. As the industry grows and marketers find themselves more entrenched in influencer campaigns, AI will be instrumental in helping brands find the influencer partner most likely to deliver results. Being able to understand consumers’ needs and opinions, and the motivations behind the two, especially at scale, will only result in higher ROI.
– Ricky Ray Butler, CEO, Branded Entertainment Network
Responsive search ads Google has put machine learning capabilities into the hands of advertisers with responsive search ads, reducing the need for traditional A/B testing of campaigns. As machine learning/AI continues to transform advertising, marketers will need to focus their time on creating smart and innovative campaigns in order to deliver relevant and engaging ads to their customers. Marketers will spend less time testing multiple creatives and instead focus on the real goals and core deliverables of their marketing initiatives.
– Wes MacLaggan, SVP of Marketing at Marin Software
Specific advice on sales and beyond One of the most surprising things about AI right now (in a good way) is how adept this technology is in predicting customer wants, needs and behavior. For example, we see well-trained AI tools being used effectively to predict what products customers might buy (based on highly granular demographic and behavioral data), even in complex B2B businesses. So, for example, AI technology is now delivering very specific deal-by-deal advice to sales teams on where and how to spend their time to increase their footprint and sell more. AI also enables businesses to spot the right price for a customer under specific circumstances (such as responding to rapid changes in markets.) This kind of capacity is demonstrative of the next wave of AI technology, which will finally start to unlock the full potential of all the data businesses have been generating and storing for years. It also firmly bridges the worlds of marketing and sales, drawing on marketing data to deliver actionable, prescriptive insight for sales leadership – and anything that enables sales and marketing teams to work closely delivering greater value to the business (and their end-customer) is something we’d all welcome under the tree this year.
– Geoff Webb, VP Product Marketing, PROS
From predictive to prescriptive In 2019, I believe we’ll see the next phase of AI in marketing. Rather than just being predictive, next gen AI will be prescriptive and give marketers specific guidance about what campaigns to implement, what follow-on actions to take when a customer engages, where to invest for highest return, etc. Rather than automating these processes, marketers will turn to AI as a trusted advisor for what marketing actions they should take for maximum results.
– Omer Artun, CEO, AgilOne
A marketer’s best friend In 2019, AI will be an essential part of the marketing strategy. Trained models around predictive analytics, sentiment analysis, programmatic advertising, to name a few, will revolutionize how marketers automate more aspects of the marketing pipeline and develop highly targeted Account Based Marketing (ABM) strategies. This will require investment in new technologies but will also lower custom acquisition costs by making marketing dollars more effective.
– Daniel Raskin, CMO, Kinetica
Dynamism AI’s impact as it relates to marketing in 2019 isn’t a question of what will change, but more of a question of what will be left untouched. The use cases are already here, from demand gen to administrative tasks. The major shift however, will be in how marketing teams leverage AI to become more holistically dynamic. Rather than focusing on the individual processes, AI will move upward as a driving factor in overall brand strategy, influencing everything from personalized creative development to optimized resource allocation models. Algorithms and AI-powered assistants will become increasingly embedded into the business world across different departments, functions and industries.
– Siddharth Taparia, SVP and Head of Marketing Transformation, SAP