The question of whether AI will threaten human jobs continually floods the media. High profile individuals, such as Professor Stephen Hawking, have put forward their opinions, but what do marketers really think?

In marketing, AI can be used to directly benefit consumers. If used in the right way it can deliver a more personalised experience, but whether this is a common belief amongst marketers remains ambiguous. We took the issue directly to the industry and asked marketers across Europe how they felt about the role of AI in the industry. Interestingly, more than three quarters (78%) told us that they are not threatened by data and technology replacing their jobs.

Technology adoption should be seen as a skill, not a threat. It is increasingly important to success according to eight in 10 marketers. As technology continues to become ubiquitous in the lives of consumers, the volume of information that is created and available to marketers provides opportunities to deliver more targeted and tailored campaigns which deliver real, tangible return on investment (ROI). But only if it is actioned efficiently and effectively to meet the demands of the consumers.

Within their purchasing journeys, consumers move across a number of devices and operate without restrictions on timings. They demand more speed, personalisation and accuracy of delivery in their online lives. As a result, marketing must be in the moment and on point. Interestingly, this is highlighted by the results of our marketer’s survey, which cited data analysis and data management as the top two skills needed to be a successful marketer today.

But what is evident is that most marketers are not utilising their data to its full capability. The major challenge is created by the sheer volume of data which hinders marketers from creating any actionable insights.

Marketers deal with three main sources of data: first, second and third party. If marketers want to identify how, where and when to reach and influence customers to the greatest effect, and get the best ROI, it is essential that they analyse this wealth of data.

Without effectively actioning first party data, much of retargeting spend is wasted on prospects. In some cases customers might not have substantive interest, or show behaviour that indicates purchase intent where none actually exists, or worse have already converted. The role of AI technology, in this case machine learning, is crucial for maximising the speed and accuracy of this delivery.

AI enables machines to learn, which means the technology can automate processes, analyse information quickly and translate complex data into actionable insights for the marketer to act upon. It’s not just location, time of day, current site, and current device that has a bearing on targeting. AI allows for the analysis of demographic, behavioural and contextual attributes too. Recent events also need to be considered, such as ads clicked and websites visited that day, as well as long-term factors like browsing habits, purchasing behaviour, and interests. All of this supports the marketer in reaching customers at the moment they are most likely to buy and is equally crucial in determining the likelihood a consumer will take the desired marketing action.

By honing in on your technology, data management and analysis skills, it is possible to effectively utilise data in order to see the channel, device and objectives together, instead of in silos. This allows brands to have a comprehensive view of its customers and data that is actionable, which in turn means consumers are served relevant, unobtrusive content that drives business results.

AI is an opportunity, not a threat to marketers. It can be utilised to finesse and deliver campaigns that hit customers in the moment and, critically, deliver tangible ROI to the business. In the next five years, we expect to see an uplift in the way these technologies are embraced and deployed by brands and agencies. Technology adoption is central to this. The use of AI will continue to grow in importance, enhance campaigns and become a crucial characteristic of the successful marketer.

 

By David Gosen, senior vice president and international managing director at Rocket Fuel

 

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