Gini Dietrich

Why We Should Welcome Our New Artificial Intelligence Overlords

By: Gini Dietrich | June 14, 2017 | 
19

artificial intelligenceThere’s been a lot of recent attention—including in these pages—around this year being the year that artificial intelligence is going to start replacing humans at our jobs.

The Guardian recently reported on a Japanese firm that was replacing a number of its human workers with IBM Watson.

And this isn’t a new thing—newspapers have used artificial intelligence for writing basic sports articles for half a decade.

You might think I’d be worried artificial intelligence was going to take our jobs.

But I’m not!

Instead, I’m excited about the possibilities artificial intelligence and predictive learning allow us to operate better.

Get Rid of Low-Value, Repetitive Tasks

For many, reporting is a combination of Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint decks being used to manipulate and beautify data that’s being cobbled together from a number of disparate systems.

Although larger companies have been able to afford business intelligence platforms that integrate customer relationship management, analytics, and marketing automation data, this has been largely out of reach for small and medium-sized business owners.

As more applications that harness artificial intelligence come to market, we’ll see price points decrease and adoption increase.

This will free up marketing teams from boring, routine tasks that currently take up nearly a third of their time but that can be automated.

Better Decisions on Communications Spend

Your competitor just rolled out a SnapChat customer service channel.

Should you jump onboard, too?

What if it everyone does it and you’re left behind?

But if you start a new customer interaction channel, who’s going to staff it?

FOMO is a terrible thing.

It can cause otherwise rational, ROI-driven people to overextend their resources trying to keep up with the next new thing.

Predictive analytics and artificial intelligence have the potential to take the emotion out of these decisions and instead use data to make these critical decisions.

Bring the Influencer Economy Back Down to Earth

Is it a good investment for a company to spend thousands of dollars for one celebrity social media post with some brand messaging and a product placement?

What about social media influencers—how much should you pay for a piece of sponsored content?

Right now, influencer marketing is still the wild west.

Although there are platforms such as Traackr to help identify influencers with an engaged following and track the results of any campaigns you conduct with them, many marketing teams are taking a manual, ad-hoc approach to determining the level they are willing to invest in each influencer relationship.

As artificial intelligence improves, it will become easier for us to identify and connect with influencers who are more likely to drive purchase decisions.

This is much better than having to depend on vanity metrics, such as audience size and impressions.

Increase Ability to Track Multi-Touch Attribution

If your organization is only tracking the customer communications that resulted in initial contact with your company (a.k.a. “first touch”) and the last piece of content they consumed before purchasing (a.k.a. “last touch”), I guarantee you are making bad decisions about where to invest your marketing dollars.

Unless you are selling an impulse-purchase product that someone will one-click purchase from an Instagram post, your prospective customers may be having dozens of interactions with your brand before they make that purchase.

This focus only on first- and last-touch has a tendency to miss the role that PR has in everything from building brand awareness to get you in the consideration set for a purchase in the first place through to being a source of the third party validation that’s often needed to make a final purchase decision.

Improve Branding Consistency

Even with brand style guides and templates in place, it can be difficult to ensure every communication that goes out from your organization reflects your most up-to-date standards.

And let’s face it—sometimes we make a mistake, such as transposing a couple of numbers in a phone number on a print ad.

This is the kind of error that can cost an organization six figures or more in both the marketing spend and the lost sales opportunities.

Imagine being able to teach an artificial intelligence your brand style guide.

It could use it to proofread every communication before it was finalized.

And have it check phone numbers and URLs against your content management system’s data repository.

Would this put some proofreaders and copyeditors out of a job?

Possibly.

But it can also free them up to spend more time coaching the writers in their organization on improving their writing and fact-checking content to ensure someone hasn’t gotten fooled into linking to fake news.

Artificial Intelligence in Our Organization

This year, I’ve challenged my team to take an objective look at the work they do every day and identify what repeatable tasks could be replaced with artificial intelligence of some sort.

Instead of investing in growing our team by another human member this year, we plan to invest in technology that takes routine tasks off our plates to give us more time to focus on work that needs our brains and our collaboration to get done.

This isn’t just an attempt to get more productivity out of our team—they’re already incredible at their jobs.

It’s about freeing up more of their time to focus on the parts of their jobs they love to do and that will drive our business forward.

No one is going to miss their spreadsheet jockeying or the calendar scheduling email rounds.

But I bet they will be excited about offloading a substantial part of their monthly to do lists to a fast, efficient system that does exactly what they tell it to do.

I can’t wait to meet our new artificial intelligence robot assistants—we have some work for them to do!

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • paulakiger

    I am doing a lot of thinking about this, in large part because AI is infused through many of the stories I summarize every day for Smartbrief. Whether it is for lawyers “will AI replace me? (mostly about tasks like research, etc.) or manufacturers (there is SO much AI can do —- a sensor to determine if a machine is malfunctioning without a human having to endanger themselves to check it — the list goes on and on). I think we will all do well to become conversant in basic code and understanding of AI — because it’s still going to take humans to help everyone understand AI’s role. Gonna be exciting!

    • Did you see (or read) Hidden Figures?

      • paulakiger
        • This moment of time we are in right now reminds me of how the human computers were moved to machine computers. We all survived because we evolved.

          • YES! Definitely that.

            Actually, our current time reminds me of that era a bit in a lot of ways. As it does the civil war era. All times of change and evolution, and a fight culturally, socially, professionally between those who accept the process of evolution and put it to work for them, and those who hang on desperately to fairytalized versions of what they are comfortable with.

            And you need to read the book Paula

          • Dawn Buford

            Adapt or die. It’s not dissimilar to nature really. I am all for moving forward. Bring on the self-driving vehicles!

          • Hello Tesla!

          • This needs to be framed: “those who hang on desperately to fairytalized versions of what they are comfortable with.”

  • Sue Duris

    Went to a very enlightening event last night at Salesforce and the panel discussion topic was AI and Marketing. With more than 4,000 AI companies out there, and just not enough customers yet, it’s a very crowded place. Even a VC present said that not even the best products are winning. But the market is huge – forecasts are for $1Trillion revenues for CRM-related AI by 2021. No wonder the likes of Google, Nvidia, Salesforce, and Oracle are doubling down on it.

    • That is insane! I love that it’s moving that quickly. What did you learn last night that you can apply to your job?

      • Sue Duris

        My interest is in knowing how quickly AI tech is going to be able to incorporate emotion – that would really move the CX needle. Not there yet even though I’ve heard some rumblings about it. The focus last night was on moving low-level tasks to AI. So, differentiating a low-level task vs. the rest is a good first start.

  • Pete Salmon

    I received a Watson for my 50th birthday. I have been feeding it content from Laura Petrolino for about two weeks now. I have asked it for a full psychoanalytic personality report, which I will post upon completion.

    • I MISS YOU! We were just talking about how much we miss you.

      • Pete Salmon

        The feeling is mutual. Such a team. Such a joy for life! The tightened lips of the crew signifying suppressed laughter. OMG, Watson overheated and shot a spring across the room. It broke my window as if it was frozen string-cheese. I knew the task I asked it to do would push it to the limit…but this?

        • Even Watson doesn’t want to go inside my brian……which consists of a very unstable mix of 7th grade humor, songs from musicals, and dumbbells.

          We miss you! Hope your summer is filled with wieners and wine.

          • Pete Salmon

            Why would Watson go in a person named Brian?
            I have had plenty of the former this summer.

    • Hi Pete! So lovely to “see” you here! We miss you!

      • Pete Salmon

        It’s been two months to the day. I think about your passion for life frequently!

  • While reading, I was nodding in agreement from the beginning up until the end of the article.

    Yes, we want AI to take boring tasks off our hands so we can be more creative, give more, do more.

    Such exciting times we live in.

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