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Access AI has just published a free introductory and practical AI guide for marketers. The AI ebook is refreshingly free of jargon, offers several practical case studies, and is not uncritical of the hype and nonsense surrounding AI in marketing.

The short 22 page ebook is worth a download, but here’s a speed summary if you’re the time-pressed

  • Much of the excitement around AI in marketing is being generated by Google; 90%+ of Google’s revenue comes from ads, and Google is promoting its use of a sub-branch of AI called ‘machine learning’ to better match its ads to people (by, for example, using more ‘intelligent’ algorithms that can understand the context, intent and meaning behind search queries).
  • AI has not been delivering for marketers because of over-hype and false-starts – such as the short-lived fad for ‘Messenger Bots’, that were more dumb than intelligent (e.g. using canned responses, based on trigger words of phrases). Likewise for chatbots – Microsoft’s Tay chatbot damaged AI reputation by becoming “sexist, racist and genocidal within days of launching”. And ‘predictive algorithms’ that ended up placing “relentless amounts of digital spam filling every part of a ‘target consumer’s’ digital path” and further damaging marketing’s reputation
  • This has led to widespread cynicism about AI in marketing (although 57% of marketers surveyed by Salesforce say AI has become essential part of marketing, although another survey by Adgorithms found that 40% of marketers who thought they were already using AI, weren’t)
  • Practical use of AI in marketing include
    • up-selling or cross-selling using intelligent ’recommendation engines’ that use machine learning to make relevant product or content recommendations
    • diagnosing and analysing brand tone of voice and character using IBM Watson Twitter analysis tool
    • automating marketing decisions and tasks with marketing automation software (that has dropped in price from $2k/month to $900/month) – for example, FreestyleXtreme sports uses Emarsys, a marketing automation platform to run personalised email marketing campaigns. They claim AI is responsible for an 8% increase in website revenue (4.2% overall revenue) and a 95% reduction in time to run email marketing campaigns
    • placing “relentless amounts of digital spam filling every part of a ‘target consumer’s’ digital path” using predictive algorithms that make more or less intelligent guesses about future behaviour
    • generating consumer insight from online conversations using natural language processing
    • improving’ customer experience with online conversational interaction. For example, using Using Amazon Lex and Amazon Polly, the Kelley Blue Book Bot allows users to get real-time trade-in value for vehicles by just asking.
  • The future of AI – consumer-empowerment. Futurist Tom Cheesewright suggests that AI has the potential to empower consumers, not just marketers, with personal digital assistants taking over mundane grocery and utility purchases, and also filtering out the marketing spam from our lives.