This article was published by www.martechadvisor.com and curated by Closer Spot. Be sure to check out other Closer Spot news and advice to help you win more business.
Artificial intelligence (AI) was a very hot topic in 2017, making headlines all year long and generating considerable buzz for tech companies. Consider that in January 2016, according to Gartner, “artificial intelligence” wasn’t even a top 100 search term on the analyst firm’s website and by May 2017 it was ranked No. 7.
Marketing is one of the areas that AI is rapidly changing, with its ability to leverage the enormous volume of data that is now available to marketers to provide better understanding of customers, campaigns, message effectiveness, you name it.
AI’s ability to take marketing automation to the next level-eliminating repetitive tasks and assisting humans in driving more engaging, personalized marketing-is an exciting development.
But despite AI’s huge promise, marketing, I believe, is among the knowledge-work activities where only so much can be automated. It’s difficult to imagine that computers can ever replace essential human traits such as creativity, instinct and people-to-people interactions.
As a McKinsey report put it: “For now, computers do an excellent job with very well-defined activities, such as optimizing trucking routes, but humans still need to determine the proper goals, interpret results or provide common-sense checks for solutions.”
So marketers can embrace AI with the knowledge that there are core skills that the robots can never supplant. Here are five:
Creativity: “Robots do not have the kinds of emotional intelligence that humans have ,” MIT professors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee wrote. “Consider, for example, the idea of a robot giving a half-time pep talk to a high school football team. That would not be inspiring.”
Nor would a marketer without creativity. When a computer is smart enough to come up with fresh ideas and drive them to fruition through the organization, I’ll worry about the future of marketers. Until then, I think the creative marketer will remain indispensable.
Strategic thinking: There’s a reason it’s called marketing strategy. Marketers who think strategically are growing even more vital to companies as they address the new realities of digital business .
“Many marketing organizations have staff who are skilled in tactic execution but lack competency in strategic planning,” says a report by SiriusDecisions. “CMOs are seeking to up skill marketers with the ability to interpret corporate growth strategies and define appropriate marketing strategies that support business objectives and marketing goals. They want marketers who can support the shift from product-centric to audience-centric marketing, develop and implement integrated campaigns and determine effective and scalable digital strategies.”
Anyone know of a computer than can do that?
Communication abilities: Marketers are born communicators. AI can help with certain mechanical aspects of targeting customers with the right messages at the right time , but it will always be up to marketers to craft the clear, compelling messages and content that expresses a brand’s value.
Superior communication skills remain a highly sought-after credential for marketers, and AI isn’t going to change that.
Analytical knowledge: Today’s marketers don’t have to be data scientists, but they are increasingly expected to be able to apply analytical concepts and tools to gain insights about target audiences. Marketing has become the primary owner of customer data in the digital era, so it’s incumbent on marketers to understand what all this information can reveal about every customer’s journey, the effectiveness of marketing programs, and more.
AI can be a marketer’s best friend in sifting through vast amounts of data and helping draw conclusions, but it’s still up to humans to combine what the computers tell them with their own knowledge, experience and intuition to decide on courses of action.
Being a team player: Marketing is one of those fields where the cliché “I’m a people person” actually is meaningful. Marketers must be able to lead teams. They must possess powers of persuasion to, say, convince the CEO to fund a certain program. They need to be able to align with others in the organization, such as the head of sales, to drive a holistic strategy.
AI is smart but not that smart. I mean, it’s not a person.
In 2018, AI is likely to remain a hot story, and that’s good. But while this technology is quickly turning into a requisite tool for today’s companies, we should remember it will never replace the human touch that marketers provide.