When you introduce AI to marketing, you need more creativity and insight, not less.
It seems like articles about artificial intelligence (AI) changing the world are in vogue, and it is easy to see how AI can be a disruptive force in many industries. Will AI replace us marketers, leaving us out of work? In short, I think not.
Artificial intelligence is becoming widely used in marketing and advertising. In some areas, AI is automating manual, rote work we have done before. For example, paper insertion orders (IOs) in paid advertising used to take a long time to process and are now effectively executed in milliseconds with programmatic ad buying. Marketers and their agencies remain as important as ever in paid advertising, now driving more sophisticated strategies more quickly.
Another area AI is impacting is the optimization of conversion rates for web sites. There are three broad functions required to successfully optimize the conversion rate of a web site:
- Customer intimacy: Understanding prospects and existing customers. Internalizing a day in their life and how they could use our product or service
- Ideation: The creative work of designing new messaging, new content, and new assets to connect our product or service to prospects’ day to day needs. The goal is to persuade our prospect to buy / use our product or service
- Experiment management: The mechanical work of building experiments, observing prospects’ behavior, analyzing the resulting data, and implementing changes to our websites based on the results
Marketers and machines each excel in different parts of the process. Marketers are uniquely qualified to understand prospects and customers and to develop impactful ideas that influence and persuade those prospects and customers to buy.
Machines are exceptional observers, able to watch 24×7, ingest lots of data, and draw quantitative conclusions at a scale no marketer ever would. For example, one of Intellimize’s clients worked on a campaign that tested 4.5 billion possible versions of a single page. No marketer would ever monitor that many versions of a page, but a machine can.
So what impact will AI have on marketers? We will test more ideas, more quickly and learn more than we could have before. Successful marketers will learn to use AI as an effective tool and will drive more conversions while spending far less time on the mechanics and process of experiments.
We can instead invest more time in knowing our customers by visiting them, observing their behavior, and talking to them. We can focus more energy ideating, creating, and developing new ideas to persuade our prospects to take the actions we want of them. In short, we can do the things we, as marketers, are uniquely great at doing.
When you introduce AI to testing, you need more creativity and insight, not less.
As with other roles, the adoption of AI has implications for the skills marketers may be valued for in the future. Our unique ability to intimately understand our target audiences and to communicate with those prospects in a compelling and converting way will probably be worth more. The rote work of setting up and managing experiments will probably matter less. If there is a threat AI poses to marketers, it may be that AI will push our creative abilities and our need to directly connect with prospects – and perhaps push us out of our comfort zone.