Artificial intelligence – cinematic fantasy or helpful marketing tool?

Self-propelled cars, human-like robots that take over world domination or self-filling refrigerators – there are no limits to the imagination, but there are limits to current technology, at least not yet.
What do all these visions have in common? They are based on artificial intelligence, or AI for short. This is the basis for exciting ideas, sometimes frightening scenarios and above all many advantages for marketers.

What is AI?

Google is probably one of the best known inventions in the field of artificial intelligence. But what is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
The lexicon of neuroscience gives us the following definition: „Artificial intelligence (…) is a branch of computer science which deals with the investigation of mechanisms of intelligent human behaviour (intelligence)“.

The aim of artificial intelligence is to support the human and simplify his life. Especially in times of information overload and stimulus overload, AI helps us to find our way in the jungle of offers and to filter out the contents that are suitable for us.
AI is based on software that can not only be programmed, but also trained. It thus learns from its own behaviour and improves itself.

Especially in connection with personalized websites, everybody is talking about AI. With this technology, the task in marketing is no longer to collect data, but to efficiently evaluate the data collected by AI and derive recommendations for action from it. Even if some suspect that jobs will be lost as a result, AI primarily offers great opportunities.

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What opportunities does AI offer?

With the help of AI, marketers can manage the huge amounts of data generated by Big Data. The main thing is to identify the right data, filter it out and derive certain patterns from it. The AI’s task is to support people in data analysis and evaluation – at a speed and on a scale that we humans cannot achieve ourselves.
In addition, marketing experts can use AI to implement targeted and individual campaigns that reach customers at exactly the right moment. Or imagine buying a satchel for your child online – you usually only need one. With the help of AI, you won’t get any more advertising from school satchels, but rather from pencil cases, pens and calculators. And of course, your age is not automatically adjusted, but the system recognizes that you are still interested in adult topics and have only acted in your role as a father or mother.

In addition, with the help of AI it is possible for you as a company to evaluate the success of your marketing measures much more quickly and to react specifically to them and make adjustments if necessary.

The fact that AI has long since arrived in our everyday lives shows functions such as face recognition of the new iPhones – called Face ID. This program remembers various features in the user’s face, such as the interpupillary distance, and decides whether the smartphone is unlocked or not.
The news feed on Facebook is also based on artificial intelligence, as are chatbots on websites and Alexa.
Alexa turns on the lights and wakes us up depending on the traffic so that we arrive at the office on time. A few years ago such fantasies were dismissed as a visionary fantasy of creative filmmakers and book authors. In the meantime, these technologies have become an integral part of our everyday lives.

KI wants to simplify and improve our lives first and foremost. And especially in online marketing, it offers many opportunities and competitive advantages, which is why it is especially important for marketers to understand and deal with self-learning technology.

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AI in Online Marketing

With all the opportunities offered by AI, it is likely that technology will fundamentally change marketing. So far, AI has mainly been used in marketing to automate processes and functions in order to save costs and time.
Another possibility would be to enrich decisions with important information, such as a competitive analysis or the analysis of current and emerging trends.

As a company, you should therefore focus on the two dimensions of automation and augmentation: Which marketing processes can be automated and which decisions can be optimized?

Since augmentation is much more complex than automation, its degree of maturity and distribution is currently much lower. This is also shown in the following graphic.

Above all, cross/up selling and ads/bidding are both mature and widespread in practice. Hints like „you might like that too“, or even personalized advertisements are now familiar to almost all Internet users. More detailed insights into the psyche and the probable behavior of customers would definitely have an even greater business impact – but it is also much more complex with regard to the technology on which customer insights are based.
One area that is relatively mature, but has not yet found its way into too many marketing departments, is that of Look Alike Audience. The principle here is to use your communication to reach people who resemble your existing target group. This way you can win new customers as well as develop new target groups. Facebook Custom Audiences is such a tool to use this relatively uncomplicated in the field of social media.

Another exciting area for companies is content creation. AI algorithms automatically search the Internet for information on a specific topic, merge it and create readable content from it. Especially in the areas of sports, weather and finance, this is already frequently used to produce data-based reports.

And of course the chat bots must not be forgotten when we talk about AI in online marketing. For companies, this means that online users no longer share their content and moving topics with the general public, but only with a select group of recipients. But it also means that by using chat bots you, as a company, have your finger on the pulse and can communicate with your customers and website visitors. One advantage is certainly that more detailed information is exchanged and communicated within a supposedly protected framework. All you have to do is listen and then evaluate and process the information.

Conclusion

Artificial intelligence offers many advantages and opportunities and will continue to influence our daily lives in the future. The concern that AI could replace humans seems unfounded at first. Rather, it will be a question of complex AI solutions and analytical and creative human skills jointly producing good solutions. Artificial intelligence will not replace humans, but will increasingly relieve and support them.
But what must not be ignored in the future and will always be on the agenda are the dangers that technology poses. Some people are already afraid of being deliberately manipulated. It is therefore particularly important for you as a company to deal with the relevant regulatory mechanisms and ethical standards.
Consumers will certainly be required to have greater competence and sovereignty in dealing with the media and evaluating information. If artificial intelligence is handled responsibly, it offers many opportunities and advantages – both for companies and for consumers.