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It’s been quite a ride.
COVID-19… The Great resignation… Hybrid work styles…
For marketers, this has been the most tumultuous 2+ years in recent memory.
But if you’re reading this, congratulations, you made it this far...
So enough already. Enough looking back, enough lamenting about what was.
Let’s take a look ahead.
What’s out on the horizon?
What could impact your business in the next two years?
Well, how about Artificial Intelligence (AI).
For years, businesses have dreamed of handing over more and more work to machines in the hope of cutting costs and improving efficiency. It all started back when assembly lines took over the repetitive and mechanical tasks that were originally done by humans in a process known as ‘manual labor.’
Today with all the advances in technology, especially in AI, the idea of machines taking over more complex tasks is not as sci-fi as it once seemed.
And small to medium-sized businesses (SMB) are the ones that will likely benefit the most from AI— adding efficiency to operations and streamlining the overall workflow. As a result, SMBs can spend less of their valuable time micro-managing the business and more time actually growing it.
But if you’ve noticed, many marketing AI apps are designed to focus on tasks like scheduling meetings or responding to customer requests. Although there are others that dynamically adjust marketing campaigns based on insights or even analyze consumer purchasing patterns.
It’s these kinds of apps that promise to level the playing field, giving equal growth opportunities to SMBs. The goal isn’t just to make it easier to run a business, but to actually help make the business more productive… and more profitable. In fact, using AI in market analysis and business intelligence can empower businesses to think differently and come up with out-of-the-box solutions to bolster the firm's bottom-line growth.
According to Harvard Business Review, while AI applications can cover a full range of functional areas, they will probably follow the money. For example, in retail, marketing is where many businesses start implementing AI; in advanced manufacturing or in operations, perhaps it's supply chain management – but in any case, AI can be used across the entire enterprise to increase efficiency, improves processes, and cut costs.
What businesses need to decide is where AI might help their business. All companies, if they’re looking to invest in AI with the hope of gaining a competitive edge, need an AI strategy…and good data.
PriceWaterhouseCoopers, has listed facets of responsible AI that are worth sharing:
We need to address bias when using AI and minimize bias in our data and AI models.
Can you explain how an AI model makes decisions and ensure those decisions are accurate?
Robustness and security:
How secure is your AI system and can you rely on its performance?
Who is accountable for your AI systems and are the proper controls in place?
Compliance and regulations must be accounted for, and companies must consider how system ethics will impact employees and customers.
Also, when implementing a model, “Don’t Shoot for the Moon.” If done right, developing an AI model for one specific task can enhance an existing process or solve a well-defined business problem, while simultaneously creating the potential to scale to other parts of your organization. Select your task, and shoot for that.
Remember, the ultimate goal all marketers have is to engage in a meaningful one-on-one conversation with the consumer. Not that long ago, this idea still seemed a bit out of reach. But in recent years, we’ve seen glimpses of what that conversation “could be.” And today—empowered by functional and accessible AI— that one-to-one dialogue is becoming increasingly achievable.
For over 40 years, J&C has been helping businesses big and small achieve better performance from their marketing efforts. Whether you need an AI strategy, data strategy, acquisition campaign, retention program, or help with your marketing plan, J&C can help. Get in touch today.