AI – beyond the hype

Replacing traditional marketing tools?

Traditionally, marketers have relied on a plethora of tools and techniques to understand consumer behaviour, analyse data, and optimize campaigns.

These practices were often categorized under terms like data analytics, machine learning, or automation. Yet, in recent years, there has been a notable trend of attaching the AI label to these existing practices, often without substantial changes to the underlying technology.

For example, chatbots. While chatbots are undoubtedly valuable tools for automating routine inquiries and providing immediate responses to customer queries, they do not necessarily constitute true AI. Many chatbots operate on rule-based systems, following predefined scripts to handle common scenarios – not necessarily something you can consider as true AI.

Likewise, with predictive analytics. This has long been utilised by marketers to forecast future trends and identify potential opportunities. While genuine AI-powered predictive analytics leverage advanced machine learning algorithms to analyse vast datasets and uncover complex patterns, many existing solutions fall short of this standard. Instead, they rely on simpler statistical models or basic algorithms, something they have been doing for years, but are now repackaged with the AI moniker.

AI – truly a transformative technology

Despite these challenges, there are genuine examples of AI-driven innovation in marketing that demonstrate the transformative potential of the technology.

For instance, recommendation engines used by e-commerce platforms leverage sophisticated AI algorithms to analyse customer behaviour and preferences, delivering personalised product recommendations in real-time. Similarly, programmatic advertising platforms utilise AI to optimize ad placements and bidding strategies, maximizing the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

Does what we call it matter?

Yes and no. AI is the current buzzword – designed to attract attention and investment whenever it is mentioned. For many marketeers it’s becoming the easiest way to refresh a product or a service by attaching an “AI” moniker, some could say that might be misleading – “dressing mutton up as lamb”.

We’ve lived with various forms of “AI” for years, you could argue, for example, that the predictive text on your phone is AI, as well as the more advanced forms of spell checkers. Likewise, Siri and Alexa have been doing their thing for several years.

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