Our phones, tablets, and other devices may not be alive, but that doesn’t mean they can’t think for themselves—and for us, too. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are some of the most exciting developments of the digital age, and whether we realize it or not, the vast majority of us already interact with AI on a daily basis. For marketers, the advent of AI represents nothing less than a revolution for the industry and the creation for new channels to engage with consumers.
For high-tech neophytes, a crash course in AI and machine learning is in order. AI refers to any device or program that can carry out tasks independent of human interaction; for example, think of Google Assistant, which can search the web, schedule your calendar, and more without even the push of a button. Machine learning, on a related note, is a process where programs are presented with various examples or pieces of information until they can identify patterns or trends and learn from them.
While this may sound like inside baseball, marketers need to understand the mechanics of how new technologies work if they’re going to understand how they can use them to more effectively reach consumers.
Where AI will truly shine is in personalization. Prior to today’s tech capabilities, human analysts would require days and weeks to pore over consumer data and craft relevant strategies, AI can review enormous data sets—including searches, browsing histories, purchase histories, emails and messages, location, and more—and distill insights instantaneously. Furthermore, because AI inhabits the phones and devices that consumers use every day, it will always have the most up-to-date information.
As a result, AI will give brands the power to hyper-customize campaigns to suit consumers’ exact needs and preferences: They’ll see the most relevant ads for what they want in the moment in the exact format that most appeals to them, and once they’re ready to make a purchase, AI can even help them to arrange the transaction. In the words of Google’s own Marvin Chow, “It will be like having a million planners in your pocket.”
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of AI is its youth. While it’s making an appearance in just about every field of contemporary life, AI is a relatively recent development that has plenty of room for further development. So as AI and machine learning continue to evolve, marketers should pay close attention to determine how they can weave these exciting new technologies into their campaigns.