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There’s a way to do it better – how marketers are successfully embracing AI


by Katie King

Mobile phones, thanks to rapid developments in smartphones, have transformed consumers into always-connected global beacons. These smart devices have developed into peripherals of our very selves. For some consumers, social media and the Internet act as primary means of interacting with others – and, of course, with brands.

As marketers, we have already witnessed the revolutionary impact that social media and the Internet have had on the way businesses operate, and especially the way in which brands expose consumers to products. Here are just a few of the ways marketers have benefited from the rise of AI so far, and what the journey has in store.  

Data is the new oil

With social media platforms comes a vast amount of data, which has been labelled “the new oil” given its extreme value. These channels collect and store all kinds of analytics for varying purposes. Thanks to emerging AI tools and breakthroughs in machine learning capacities, data is now utilised as a means of analysing customer patterns for sales, advertising and marketing purposes, to develop automated systems and customer profiles to target certain markets.

One way to think of this is like an automated recruiter or interviewer. AI can sift through piles of data to find the ideal customers, clients and even recruits based on information that it already has and the programme that it’s using. In some cases, it can also predict or rate how good or “hot” a given lead is and how likely it is to deliver the desired outcome (i.e. the candidate being successful and securing the job). This can save a lot of time and energy on basic searching, giving users more time for tasks like pitching and sales calls that may require a more human touch.

Several programmes already exist that do just this, such as Node – an open source platform which uses metadata to recommend new customers. LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator tool is another popular premium tool, which uses AI algorithms to ultimately help users find employment leads and generate business.

Personalisation is the name of the game

Personalisation is a huge aspect of the AI transformation within the marketing realm, and is currently the name of the game. So much so, consumers now expect that personalisation. Personalise, or risk falling behind.

The notion of personalisation is simple. One example would include your favourite brand presenting you with products that are curated specifically for you, as opposed to the same 3 products everyone else sees.

As a marketer in today’s digital age, it is extremely important to create experiences, which match our audience’s style, shopping preferences, and individual tendencies down to the smallest detail. Marketing’s goal is to drive sales, so if we master the above, then we are on our way to achieving this objective.

Thanks to data and machine learning, we can infuse website (product) recommendations into our strategy to build trust with customers. And with AI-enabled technology, product recommendations can be populated automatically with a simple email or website widget informed, of course, by your customer data.

Send Time Optimisation improves social media efficiency

There are many ways AI has already transformed marketing. However, one tool that deserves a special mention is Send Time Optimisation. Incredibly, with machine learning, you can teach your automation platform (i.e. your scheduling tool/platform such as Sendible) to learn the best time to send an email/post/video (or whatever you may be scheduling) for each individual customer or client. When set in place, the machine will use past customer interactions to identify the best times to reach the audience.

Using technology like this, which powers Send Time Optimisation, not only lets you to maximise your reach and spark the greatest engagement, but it also focuses your marketing efforts from how and when to send such posts, to pure relationship building or lead generation.

The life of a marketer in 5-10 years

Automation and machine learning not only create efficiency and boost productivity, but can result in potentially more satisfying work for the employee due to a reduction in repetitive and mundane tasks. 

AI can free up time for higher level strategic work that will most likely lead to greater levels of employee happiness and professional development, not to mention business results.

New hires will naturally need to be more strategic, more proactive and moderately more advanced than simply managing the “everyday” “admin” tasks – since this can be taken care of by our new artificially intelligent co-workers. Entry-level positions will look more like mid-level positions do today, requiring more creativity, decision-making and delegation (to a bot). 

While some sceptics may argue that bots could make marketing messaging and content too predictable, the upside is that marketers will have more brainpower/capacity to augment what bots produce, which means they will have the capacity to add creative touches and outside-the-box campaign ideas to the bot’s automated foundation.

Katie King is a respected management consultant, author, Keynote speaker and trainer, delivering inspiring but down-to-earth training and talks on Artificial Intelligence, Digital Transformation and entrepreneurship. She is a regular international speaker and frequent commentator on BBC TV and radio. She is Managing Director of the award-winning business consultancy and content marketing agency, Zoodikers, and the Founder and Director of AIinFM (Artificial Intelligence in Facilities Management). She recently wrote a book on AI in Marketing, which is available to pre-order and is due to be published in February 2019. King will be teaching the Data Analytics and AI for Marketing course in London this November.