In this opinion piece, Mick O’Brien (pictured below), Datorama’s managing director for the Asia-Pacific region, explains why AI will empower, rather than replace, marketers.
With the media currently bombarding CMOs and CEOs with messages of how AI will impact the workplace, the c-suite are facing the critical question of how much their employees’ work will be automated by artificial intelligence (AI) in the coming years. Despite the influx of information and advice, marketers are still unsure of exactly what AI will do to their campaigns and programs.
Simultaneously, there is increasing industry pressure to constantly up-skill in the latest technologies, with AI topping the list. While data management is a hot topic and opportunity for marketers to use data to improve their services and customer experiences, business leaders need to realise data analysis isn’t necessarily where marketers’ passions lie.
Consequently, while data analysis is needed by brands wanting to remain competitive, marketers’ skillsets and motivations are more likely to be applicable to strategy development and creative ideation over the immediate and long-term.
By understanding how AI tools can assist with data analysis, marketers can focus on areas where they truly add most value.
The untapped value of AI
According to a recent Gartner report, CMOs are allocating 9.2 per cent of their total marketing budget on marketing analytics – the most of any capability. With a heavy reliance on marketing analytics, it becomes even more imperative for marketers to focus on value-add areas. This includes conveying data driven insights to their c-suite, developing and defending strategies to protect their budgets, and ensuring marketing teams deliver tangible results.
Furthermore, investments in marketing-specific AI tools enable marketing teams to provide in-depth analysis of large amounts of data in real-time. Making the data analysis process more efficient, AI-enabled tools can detect irregularities within data sets, freeing up time for marketers to spend efforts on up-skilling in strategies to action insights drawn from data sets. Through this strategic use of AI, marketers are enabled to thrive in strategy development and implementation, as well as creativity and driving innovation throughout the organisation.
Marketing and IT teams often fail to work collaboratively together, hindering the development of a progressive environment. In many cases, introducing AI technologies exacerbates this gap between IT and marketing teams, when in fact AI is most effective when there is cross-organisational collaboration.
Therefore, it is necessary for CMOs and CIOs to work in synchronicity to drive their respective teams to join together and propel the innovation debate within enterprises. This will invite opportunities for more seamless collaboration with other departments, including IT, finance and management teams. Whilst some marketers may perceive such collaboration as a potential threat to their budgets, progressively dynamic marketers will see this as an opportunity to futureproof their strategies with buy-in from the entire organisation.
AI will empower marketers
AI will enhance marketing jobs, not replace them. It will enable fast, data-driven decision-making, allowing marketing teams to action urgent tasks, whilst developing strategies based on actionable insights.
When decision-making capabilities are objective and data-driven, the outcomes are far greater by providing proof points and the foundations for teams to understand how to achieve success based on historical patterns influenced by subjectivity and ‘gut feel’.
Furthermore, AI enhances marketing content, and enables marketing teams to deliver personalisation at scale, using data to provide a more efficient service than ever before. According to recent global research by BCG, marketing personalisation will push a revenue shift of close to $800 billion for the 15 per cent of companies that get it right.
Ultimately, with advancements in AI technology, the day-to-day job of marketers will be altered. However, adaption is key to thriving in the future, with a focus on cross-functional collaboration driving the focus on talent development, rather than replacement. Marketing and IT teams must work together across the board, recognising that AI’s arrival isn’t imminent, it is present. Organisations wanting to stay ahead of the curve must ensure their marketing teams are employing AI collaboratively to develop strategies and innovations to help counter new market disruptors.