Leadership Strategies

4 Ways AI Will Transform Marketing

Marketing will be one of the earliest business functions to transform due to AI technologies. Learn 4 ways how this change will take place with IDC.
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Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to transform the way that marketing professionals work, and how organizations target, engage and connect with customers and prospects. Just like how marketing automation created new tasks and job functions, AI will revolutionize the way marketing is performed – and dictate a new set of job needs and skills.

Marketing will be one of the earliest business functions to be massively changed by AI use. In the past decade, marketing automation systems produced enormous amounts of data, much of which has gone unused. AI, which includes machine learning, intelligence process automation, digital assistants, and conversational interfaces, enables more of this data to be used for dozens of marketing applications. In fact, IDC has collected more than 100 AI marketing use cases that marketing technology will be capable of delivering in the next two to three years.

These use cases have revealed four main ways that artificial intelligence will affect the marketing world:

  1. Work Reduction: Fewer people will be needed to do certain existing marketing job as AI takes over certain functions.
  2. Work Guidance: Some jobs will be more productive and be performed either more quickly or with better outcomes as AI provides decision support.
  3. Expanded Work for AI “helpers”: AI can’t function without human assistance. The more AI gets built-in automation, the more humans will be needed to help it be effective.
  4. Expanded Work for Uniquely Human Tasks: As AI takes over lower-level decision tasks, the people who do these tasks today will be freed up to apply themselves to work that requires creative, critical thinking, persuasion, and problem solving.

A thoughtful approach to your AI strategy is needed to navigate the ways AI can benefit your organization and affect your workforce.

Work Reduction: AI Takes Over Repetitive Marketing Tasks

AI will reduce the need for human workers to make repetitive, easily directed, decisions. All digital marketing roles will be affected by this efficiency. The first roles to be affected will be those that are heavily task oriented. Some jobs, such as those in aspects of advertising, have already been transformed by AI. Everything from audience segmentations, to email subject lines, to dynamic content optimization, ad bidding, and many more tasks are already being automated by AI.

Work Guidance: Helping Marketers Create Better Outcomes

AI will accelerate some tasks and improve the outcome quality/error reduction of others by guiding the decisions that marketers make. This increased efficiency will be evident in complex tasks requiring judgment or memory, including communicating, interacting, managing, choosing, and advising.

Work guidance represents a shift from the doom-and-gloom, “robots are taking your job” conversations that seem to crop up around AI. AI technologies will replace some of the most labor-intensive tasks, but it also will free marketers up to focus on higher-level tasks. Rather than net job loss, there will be a lot of disruption in the careers of people who ignore AI and don’t learn to work effectively with it.

Expanded Work for AI Helpers: Creating New Marketing Opportunities

Marketing leaders need to consider the needs of AI support when designing future marketing organizations. While AI technology is a great tool, it needs a lot of human support in order to run efficiently. AI in marketing will need people with proficiencies related to working with data, data science, and data governance and stewardship. As AI expands, the role of marketing data scientist will grow.

Data scientist isn’t the only marketing role that will expand to deliver AI benefits to marketing teams. Most intriguing will be new kinds of jobs for people with the ability to be creative about using data to drive innovation. Collaboration between humans and machines must become more than the sum of the parts so that effort goes beyond “artificial intelligence” transforming into “collective intelligence.”

Expanded Work Requiring Uniquely Human Skills

As AI takes the manual tasks involving information processing, search, and transmission off marketer’s plates, it makes room for work that profits from creative, critical thinking, persuasion, negotiation, and problem-solving skills. Rather than assigning rote tasks to staff, CMOs and marketing leaders will be able to have teams focus on designing innovative customer experiences, strategic initiatives, or storytelling.

AI will shine a light on unforeseen improvement opportunities. Any time that automation is introduced into a business process, it brings hidden gaps into sharp relief.

Artificial intelligence is poised to accelerate digital transformation across your entire organization; learn how to create an AI strategy that supports your organizational and departmental goals with our eBook, “The Four Elements Your AI Strategy Needs”:

Artificial intelligence isn’t the only element marketing leaders need to plan for. Use our “Technology Marketing Leader’s Checklist” to track the responsibilities your organization should prioritize:

Program Vice President, CMO Advisory & Customer Experience