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Part One: Will Artificial Intelligence Exceed Human Performance in Marketing and Sales by 2025?

Artificial Intelligence is defined by Forrester as “The theory and capabilities that strive to mimic human intelligence through experience and learning.”

Artificial Intelligence (AI) may be out of the sci-fi closet but the adoption within MarTech industry is still very much in its nascent stage. With the advent of wireless and virtual technologies in last two decades, businesses have evolved at a breakneck pace. And now, the biggest force pushing that momentum is the refined combination of AI and Machine Learning (AI/ML). While the first half of the decade focused on leveraging Big Data, AI technology in business, especially in sales and marketing, has taken a major lead with its equitable adoption rate. The promise AI offers – intelligent software running on AI/ML algorithms would perform tasks better, faster and cheaper, is an optimistic opportunity within MarTech.

However, one questions remains to be answered –

When will AI actually exceed human performance in marketing and sales? To be more direct—when will virtual assistants take over human marketers and sales reps?

AI Takeover
via Emerging Technology from the arXiv

According to a survey by the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford, AI will take over human jobs in phases, depending on specializations and degrees of precision required. For example, intelligent assistants will take over translational tasks by 2024, while it may take as many as forty-five years for AI to replace humans in tasks that require surgical precision based on intuitions. In short, marketers and sales reps will either be assisted by or compete against intelligent AI-driven assistants for the major part of the century. Scary thought?

Shouldn’t be. Why?

Because– it’s great for the business and for the human brain that would no longer have to crunch data and numbers to arrive at a conclusion. In fact, AI will set the human brain free to get more creative with strategies and their implementation, rather than scratching heads during execution. The failure rate in campaign executions will drop, and targeting customers for conversions will become accurate.

In this four-part series, I will discuss the eight core MarTech categories that are leading the pack in AI adoption, witnessing deep involvement of cognitive and predictive learning to understand consumer behavior; promising to match, if not exceed, human performance in meeting business objectives.

Discover “Everything” with The Infinite Search

Expected Year of Total Takeover: 2031

Marketers use AI to master the maze of online marketing. From finding relevant images to sourcing the first source of high-importance news, AI recognizes patterns and provides predictions on future events based on existing data. Every search will be a quick activity based on historical data, predictive analytics, and recommendations.

The option of using a search engine for “everything” now has a new meaning—‘Infinite’ search.

Google spiders and web crawlers index dynamic content through the eyes of the internet users. AI capabilities of search engine help marketers in grasping the ‘User First’ logic — identify relevant websites and pages about a particular topic that provide the most value to visitors and place those at the top.

Ever since the news about Google using RankBrain to interpret ‘very large fractions’ of queries using AI came out, customer experience within the search engine has improved significantly. Modern search engines now deliver holistic user experience through content development and link building to improve search results significantly. Predictive product recommendations automatically populate the search gallery to manage and ease browsing habits. This will deliver better mobile-centric search with easy send time personalization.

“Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2) aims to create a system that will answer science questions, propose new experimental designs or throw up useful hypotheses. “In 20 years’ time, AI will be able to read—and more importantly, understand—scientific text.” — Oren Etzioni, CEO, Allen Institute for AI

We are staring at infinite search across AI-powered engines based on sophisticated search intent algorithms. Each AI algorithm will enhance the value of search within customer’s decision along the journey. (This decision tree comprises of initiation, research, comparison, transaction, and experience.)

AI algorithms will solve the challenges that arise from –

Navigational intent

David Gosen, GM Global Platform Solutions and SVP International at Rocket Fuel Inc., explains how AI can be used to analyze contextual attributes to drive consumer into taking the desired marketing action.

“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.”— David Gosen

For the sake of searching for relevant content on specific websites, users are most likely to engage longer on some URLs compared to others. However, there are instances when a URL may not feature within top 10 pages. And, then there is the ever-so-competitive topic of domain authority and SEO benchmarking.

AI will even that out for all content marketers. By 2025, AI will remove most part of the ‘search’ and ‘surf’ activity completely to deliver accurate to-the-point results in less than five seconds.

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Purchase queries

Marketers continue to find themselves skirting through the challenges of marketing attribution. At what stage of the customer journey does user actually show the intent to purchase an item? AI will help marketers zero onto the exact point of engagement online through attribution to first purchase queries.

BrightFunnel's Machine Learning Attribution Engine (PRNewsfoto/BrightFunnel)
BrightFunnel’s Machine Learning Attribution Engine (via PRNewsfoto/BrightFunnel)

Most importantly, AI in advertising will enhance unaided brand awareness across the search engine, taking the customer to brand’s landing page based on purchase queries and clickable ads.

AI in Marketing Automation — The Fastest Phase of Evolution

Expected Year of Total Takeover: 2025

Marketo & Ascend2 “Marketing Automation Strategies for Sustaining Success” (2015)
Marketo & Ascend2 “Marketing Automation Strategies for Sustaining Success” (2015)

Every second marketer would agree that they use marketing automation to achieve ultimate business goals. Despite rapid adoption of the technology, CMOs are yet to justify their investments into automation. While businesses intend to expand their MarTech budget in coming years to achieve 100% automation, the ROI remains a critical factor. Blame it on the human expertise required to deploy and execute marketing automation campaigns.

Ascend2 “Marketing Technology Strategy” (August 2015)

Enter AI.

AI can virtually replace the human factor in key stacks of marketing automation, including Email, Social Media, Data Management, Content Analytics, CRM, and Search. This replacement can be directed at creating a connected business with the audience.

Boomtrain’s Smart Marketing Platform leverages AI to enable marketers with seamless connectivity to audience data. The power of predictive analytics keeps omnichannel marketing efforts sleek and error-free. This combination is particularly critical to B2B marketing as it provides 1:1 experiences based on unified customer data and behavioral segments.

AI delivers real-time insights into customer personalities. Based on the real-time recommendations to marketers, marketing automation tools can create customized content to drive personalized digital experiences for prospects and customers.

For instance, email marketing campaigns can be customized to perfection to meet every B2B customer’s choice and taste. If you have customer data, Natural Language Generation (NLG) platforms like Wordsmith can deliver content at any scale and format and language.

via Wordsmith
via Wordsmith

Personalization using AI

Bots are now used to curate personalized content to interact with B2B sales prospects. Personalized content for lead nurturing results in 20% more sales opportunities compared to plain content. Text analytics and natural language processing technology hold the keys to revolutionizing marketing automation in coming months. However, the largest MarTech group to envisage AI for personalization is email marketing. According to a report by Boomtrain,  the open rate of personalized emails is more than 60%. By adding an AI engine to subject lines of emails, the personalization lift in open rate increases to 228%!

Currently, this is how AI-powered email personalization campaigns work–

Scope of AI-powered Email Personalization
Scope of AI-powered Email Personalization

Following close on the heels of email marketing is the use of AI for personalized video advertising. Personalized videos help marketers to weave a flawless brand story instantly. Innovid’s Video Experience Suite is a classical platform that offers creative-relevant personalized video marketing with enhanced ROI opportunities. Synchronized to customer journey, the similar video experience platforms based on intent data will significantly improve business results.

Walking a little further into personalized video advertising stitched into email marketing campaigns, keep an eye on Jivox. AI-powered personalized ad campaigns within emails will exceed the human capacity to curate creative programmatic across platforms. Add to it the magic of reporting thereon.

It’s a sheer joy to see algorithms seep deeper into delivering hyper-personalization. I am not even discussing the proliferation of AI/ML and intelligent assistants into video measurements and viewability metrics. (For some other time!)

To be continued…

Stay tuned for the Part 2.0 that will feature the exclusive timelines of AI taking takeover human performance in social media, sales, ad fraud and more.

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