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How artificial intelligence (AI) will influence marketing

We recently attended Firebrand Talent’s Put It To The Panel session in Melbourne that explored how AI is disrupting and enhancing marketing.

While most of the experts on the panel concluded that marketers should embrace AI at every opportunity, there were some other interesting points made worth sharing.

Here are some key takeaways from the discussion:

‘Little AI’ is already at work

AI is not all about the grand self-driving cars and robots that replace humans.

James Greaney, Data Planning Director at CHE Proximity, said we are already seeing a shift towards ‘little AI’ – the bits and pieces of intelligence that could be done or are already integrated into our lives, such as predictive text in messaging.

Another example is Amazon’s one-click shopping experience, which gives customers the ability to make purchases on the internet with just one click of the mouse. There’s no need to enter the same information again and again for each purchase.

Virtual personal assistants like Siri, Google Now and Cortana, are also examples of ‘little AI’ at work. These digital personal assistants help find useful information when you ask for it by using your voice. The assistants respond by finding answers to questions like “Where is the closest supermarket?” or sending commands like “Remind me to call mum at 4pm” to your phone.

Little AI will continue to be a major part of the future and will help make our lives easier. Greaney said the best thing marketers can do is embrace it and try to find marketing opportunities within ‘little AI’.

Put it to the Panel: How AI is disrupting and enhancing marketing

The panel of experts talk about how AI will disrupt and enhance marketing.

AI can predict trends and save time

Michelle Zamora, Head of Marketing for Banking and Insurance, IBM Watson, Analytics and Software Solutions at IBM, said IBM worked with Australian fashion designer Jason Grech to interpret and predict runway trends to create a new fashion collection.

The technology, known as IBM Watson, took data-driven information, analysed trends, and gathered research to inform Grech’s design and decision making for his Cognitive Couture collection.

The technology incorporated Grech’s love of architecture that is prominent in his work by matching architectural images with fashion images, providing inspiration for new designs. It also predicted a colour trend – lilac and other pastels – and directed Grech to work with a colour palette he would not have before considered.

Normally, Grech spends 10 weeks gathering research and inspiration for designs and crams production into a 2-week window. The IBM Watson technology allowed Grech to spend less time in the research and inspiration phase and have a generous 10 weeks to design and create his collection.

“It was his fastest selling collection that he has ever sold,” Zamora said.

“AI didn’t take his job away, AI gave him more time to be a better creative genius. He now spends 10 weeks of his 12-week process being creative and doing the things he loves, and less time doing the admin that a robot can do any day.”

AI will focus on a good customer experience

Rob Lawson, CEO and Chief Digital Strategist at iQuantum, said AI will bring everything back to the best customer experience.

“The customer doesn’t care whether it’s a machine or a person, they just want a better experience. They want it faster, they want it to be more accurate and they want you (brands) to think ahead so that you can provide stuff for them before they even know they want it,” he said.

We’re seeing examples of this already. Think about loyalty programs that track your shopping habits then send you a curated list of your favourite items that are on special this week. This is one way automation and AI can influence how brands market to their customers, and it’s a far more targeted and personalised way to market to a customer.

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