AI Can Transform Marketing. Why Isn’t Your Business Using It?

By using AI, marketers can mine and optimise that data to get better insight on customers and prospective customers, and, most crucially, to predict customers' future behaviors. Overall, AI helps marketers create high-impact content, automate routine tasks and surface key insights from data.

Data has already transformed the way businesses do marketing. The prospect of artificial or augmented intelligence (AI) and machine learning revolutionises the speed with which we, as marketers, can take action on insight to offer better, more relevant and engaging content to customers. 

Much has been said about AI in recent years, but one thing that continues to be overlooked is the need for marketers to develop their own skills sets, as well as for organisations to embrace a learning culture. Marketers of the future will need to be equally proficient in analytics, creative thinking and AI integration.

Put simply, we will need marketers that can think like data analysts and data analysts who can think like marketers.

The rise of the data-driven economy has already seen a substantial increase in technological investment. But the key skills and competencies to utilise this technology, whether AI or martech- are a critical business challenge. Innovation and shiny new technology for its own sake are not the answer. Marketers must be able to use technology to make them more productive.

The Jobs are there, but are the skills?
 The Institute of Diect Marketing's (IDM) most recent research into the key skills businesses need to succeed today and into tomorrow will be released in the coming months as part of the “Business Skills Census 2019” report. What can be revealed now is that AI and machine learning have been identified as the most important area in which organisations must develop staff skills. 

The research asked marketers to identify the skills and challenges facing their organisations today and their importance in the future. Skills in AI and machine learning were found to be available right now within 45% of organisations, according to marketers, but 64% stated that these skills would be important to the future success of their respective organisations, revealing a substantial skills gap (19%) within this survey. 

Furthermore, 87% state that developing skills in AI and machine learning is vital to their organisation’s current success. This highlights the urgency with which businesses will have to address this knowledge gap if they hope to succeed. In fact, when we asked marketers about their own abilities and the areas they need to develop to progress in their career, as part of the “Professional Skills Census 2018”, they again highlighted AI and machine learning as key. 

The number of roles in AI has risen by 485% in the UK since 2014 and there are twice as many jobs requiring AI and machine learning skills as there are applicants.

Don’t get left behind 
AI and machine learning systems will only increase the availability and scope of data, and so marketers will need to be able to interpret this information effectively and understand how to communicate this back to management teams and adapt their marketing approach accordingly. 

In this era of augmented intelligence and machine learning, the technology at our disposal and at the disposal of customers is more powerful than ever. But with powerful technology comes great responsibility.

Marketers will, therefore, be responsible for training the AI that will work on their behalf to create great experiences for customers. A key part of this will be the ability to create the ethical frameworks in which these new technologies operate. 
Marketers will no longer be responsible for just their company’s short-term sales and long-term brand loyalty, but to the actions of the AI that they create, too. People need to feel safe in the new data-driven economy and that they understand the benefits, as well as the exchange in value that’s taking place. 

AI and machine learning will fuel the future of the data and the marketing industry. 

However, in order to capitalise on this new technology, we need to see the skills gaps our research identifies being addressed, as well as a cultural shift within organisations towards a belief in the power of continual learning. Because if you can’t actually understand and use the technology, you can be sure one of your competitors does and you will be the one left behind.

DataIQ:    

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