Written by Todd Duncan
Let’s face it, the future is here thanks to the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Industries of all types, including digital marketing, must face the reality that robots could one day replace the need for a human workforce – and in some sectors, that reality is already here!
There’s no need to panic just yet about this robotic invasion. Skynet hasn’t become self-aware, taken over the planet and there isn’t a muscle-bound T-800 Terminator and a kid roaming around on a motocross bike – yeah, we’re a long way off that happening!
In the digital sphere, AI is more likely to change how we as marketeers work and think, rather than replace us. Although there is no question that the displacement of work will continue to change, the future of automated marketing may not be so bleak.
What exactly is a marketing robot?
Marketing robots are mainly software-based tools or interfaces which work on extremely complicated algorithms to function. According to robotshop.com, something can only be determined as a marketing robot if it behaves like the following:
“To qualify as a robot, a programmable machine requires some level of intelligence and a mechanical component. This includes the ability to analyse its tasks rather than operating like an automatic machine.”
Robots within marketing
Robots have been operating within the digital marketing industry for years and have helped us automate, optimise, and evaluate. The term marketing automation comes from this exact ability to precisely programme marketing actions. Here are some of the essential jobs for robots in the marketing industry.
- Automated social publishing
For most social media professionals, it’s the status quo to be using social media software to strategically plan content to be automatically published. These algorithmic robots can also pull in their own topics for content, develop optimal times for posting per platform and trawl through social media to report on specific hashtags and keywords which have been used in relation to a brand. So beware, the robots are always watching without you even knowing!
- Copywriting and content creating
Yes, content creation can now be done by marketing robots. According to Forbes, The L.A Times utilises robots to create reports on earthquakes by using an algorithm that gathers magnitude data, time and a place from a geological site.
- Better customer care by robots
Robots can now be used as interactive marketing representatives and customer service attendants, with most websites having introduced chatbots to initiate a one-on-one conversation with a customer to help them navigate a site, or assist with product orders and general enquires.
So why don’t we need to worry?
If we take a look at a type of technology explained above, automated social publishing, despite the name, doesn’t automate marketing – it just allows marketing professionals to set up sequences of content to be automatically published at specific dates and times. It still requires a human element to input and ultimately decide which content is published.
More importantly, there are a handful of distinctly human characteristics essential to marketing that will likely prove difficult for silicon to reproduce.
AI based tools like Dashthis can evaluate possible correlations within Google Analytics then produce a report detailing the most significant results, however these results still require a human to interpret them and transfer them into something actionable. An AI tool can only present us with the facts, not spot the areas in which to take advantage. Also, with words like, sick, mad and bad being used as positive terms in slang, machines may struggle to see past these being used as negative connotations to associate with your brand, whereas a humans won’t.
This side of marketing appeals to our emotions, and therefore requires human creativity. Using AI systems to help bring the idea to life is vital, but creating an emotional connection plays a significant role in every B2C and B2B buying decisions. For example, it would be difficult to imagine a sophisticated AI system coming up with a heart-warming John Lewis Christmas advert.
Very similar to creativity, AI can help marketers enhance current channels, but it will not develop radically new ideas. For example, AI may help with optimising messages and timing on social networks, but it couldn’t have instinctively computed Oreo’s famous Superbowl blackout,dunk in the dark tweet… or even suggested creating a profile for KFC’s famous founder, Harland Sanders, on LinkedIn.
What is the future of automated marketing?
For now, we can say that automated robots and marketing will always have a great relationship, as they continue to rely on each other to develop. Both have varying characteristics and advantages over one another, which come together to allow us to create brilliant ideas with flawless execution. Safe to say there is no need start thinking about your exit plan, unless your new software’s name is HAL 9000 that is.
At Brand8 PR, we’ve got a range of expert knowledge in developing, implementing and maintaining marketing strategies for a wide range of clients, using some of the latest automated marketing software. Send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we can discuss how we can grow your brand together.