In this opinion piece, Datorama CMO Leah Pope (pictured below), explains why marketers shouldn’t view artificial intelligence (AI) as a silver bullet, but as a complement, to their campaigns.
Today, it is easy for marketers to become overwhelmed by the volume of their data, but that’s only the start. With an ever-increasing number of channels being used by customers, marketing professionals are stretched thin trying to better understand what makes them tick. As reports indicate, marketers have doubled their spend in social media marketing strategies. This is one data point that reflects how marketers are trying to connect with their customers while trying to expand their lines of communication across new channels.
It’s no wonder why AI is being welcomed by marketers across Australia. Although AI is not a silver bullet, it can be thought of as a marketing enabler that delivers results through automation. Despite AI’s rapid growth, we’re still in the early days of its adoption – for example, only 15 per cent of customer service interactions are expected to be completely handled by AI by 2021. While AI is great at handling very specific tasks such as data integration, fraud detection, and billing, it becomes like a fish out of water when greater context is required.
This is why AI should be thought of as a complement to marketers and their campaigns.
Business leaders who adopt AI early will thrive in a market where competition races to adopt the latest technologies in the most impactful ways. The greatest value of AI will come from the behind-the-scenes data and insights it produces and uncovers, which will prove priceless for business strategy.
Savvy marketers will be empowered, not overwhelmed, by data
The old way of doing things simply isn’t sustainable anymore. Receiving performance reports of individual channels can leave marketers with dated and irrelevant data that is difficult to action. This creates missed opportunities for campaign optimisation and customer engagement, which needs to happen at the pace of doing business in a digital world. For example, marketing needs to be able to speak to the customer in a brick-and-mortar store who is cross-shopping online via their mobile device.
With 62 per cent of professionals expecting to use AI in the workplace by the end of 2018, using AI to act on data in the marketing organisation is only going to become more prevalent. Furthermore, 80 per cent of people believe that unlocking creativity is crucial to business growth. Therefore, by allowing marketers to spend less time number crunching and allocating more time to focus on producing creative marketing campaigns, this places marketers in the driver’s seat to deliver on greater performance.
The benefits of cross-channel measurement
A cross-channel perspective makes it easier and faster to understand the overall impact of a campaign based on business objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs). Rather than starting with the analysis of the number of banner clicks at a certain time in the day, marketers should be able to see in one dashboard how sales were affected and how they compare to pre- and post-campaign activities. With the latter view, marketers are still able to drill into the detail if needed.
In addition to saving time on analysis, this also aids marketers significantly in their own internal reporting, as KPI-based efforts are simpler for stakeholders to digest and set future goals against.
With greater transparency into cross-channel performance, marketers can also generate better opportunities to optimise the ROI of individual channels, which translates into the shifting of marketing spend to the highest performing channels, content, creative, audiences and customers. This is especially noteworthy as consumers don’t use their devices equally.
Taking an integrated approach across their technology stack enables marketers to gain a holistic view of what their campaigns are really doing. Not only will this allow marketers to optimise their campaigns at the pace of doing business today, but it also allows for more creative and effective strategies to be developed. In turn, this will build stronger relationships with customers and, ultimately, drive bottom-line results.