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New AI Report Points to New Roles for Human Marketers

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The Borgs are coming--resistance is futile.

Thankfully this isn’t Star Trek, and we’re not expected to assimilate with rapidly proliferating new marketing technology. In reality, AI-powered machines are becoming more and more human-like in their capabilities.

What does this mean for marketers and the roles we keep in an industry that has largely been stagnant over the last century? A forward-looking new research report from Business Insider Intelligence digs into the most compelling and promising innovations in marketing technology, showing what it will mean to work alongside our very own “Borgs” in the near future.

Here’s a peek under the hood of BII’s new AI in Marketing (2018) report:

AI is Expected to Grow Faster Than Any Other Marketing Technology

Connected devices, marketing automation, social listening tools, and customer identity and access management tools have all been widely adopted by global marketing leaders (3,500 of whom were surveyed in this study). BII expects to see adoption of these technologies grow at a rate of between 30% and 34% YoY.

Even as it grows by leaps and bounds, its capabilities expanding exponentially, AI hasn’t been as widely adopted. Just over half (51%) of global marketing leaders are currently using AI-driven marketing tech. In the near future, we can expect AI to make massive in-roads, with projected growth at 53% YoY.

Smart Marketers Are Capitalizing on Efficiencies in Voice and Video

As our machines become more “experienced” in the data they’re working with, machine learning—particularly deep learning, both supervised and not—is enabling marketing tech to mimic two human senses quite well. While we’ve traditionally relied on our senses of sight and hearing to help us understand visual and audio content, AI-driven marketing tools can now help us categorize and describe various types of content.

Descriptive text is crucial in improving accessibility, but it also has applications in SEO, video optimization, and repurposing content. If you aren’t comfortable with the idea of simply handing an AI tool the keys, consider ways these capabilities could be incorporated in your existing workflow. Alleviating the manual legwork involved in tagging videos, transcribing audio and video, and describing images can free up valuable time for your human marketers to tackle more creative tasks. It can also provide them a greater volume of content to work with.

AI Is Changing the Human Marketer’s Role in Content Creation

As the report says, “It’s still early days for marketers to use AI to automatically create editorial content or stitch together the right image with the right messaging for display ads.” Even so, AI-powered machines have an important role to play today in a successful content strategy.

AI can help marketers understand with greater precision exactly what types of content their audience will respond to best. The enhanced insights gleaned from the analysis of larger datasets than humans could possibly process can help your team focus their creative efforts where they’re likely to have the greatest impact. AI is critical in determining the most profitable and successful content distribution, as well, even driving optimizations and new placements in real time based on user interactions. 

AI Is Causing a Fundamental Shift in How Marketers Plan

With AI comes deeper, more meaningful, and more impactful insights that enable us to not only respond to consumer needs faster, but to actually predict a need or behavior with a granularity that seemed impossible even five years ago.

BII predicts that AI will transform marketers from reactive to proactive planners. As their report states, “The enhanced analytics that AI provides will help marketers more efficiently plan and execute campaigns in three main areas: segmentation, tracking, and keyword tagging.”

This isn’t all forward-looking, though. The vast majority of marketers expect marketing tech to be AI-ready in some fashion, as we learned in BrightEdge’s recent Future of Marketing and AI report. When asked as a part of that survey if they expected their marketing tech provider to have native AI capabilities, just 9% of search, content and digital marketers answered “no.”

For more on making best use of the AI applications available to you right now, don’t miss my last column, 5 Practical AI Applications That Enterprise Marketers Can Use Right Now.


The full AI in Marketing (2018) report from Business Insider Intelligence promises to:

  • Discuss the top use cases for AI in marketing and examine those with the greatest potential in the next few years.
  • Break down how the role of marketers will evolve once AI automates remedial tasks.
  • Explore how the customer experience is becoming more personalized, relevant, and timely.
  • Provide potential roadmaps for companies that are beginning to invest in AI and machine learning. 

It’s available for purchase here.

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