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AI in Marketing

4th Oct 2023
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AI in Marketing: The Good, the Challenges, and Its Impact on Us All

Salesforce’s Dreamforce 2023 event and its emphasis on AI have me thinking about this rapidly evolving technology and its impact on marketing and us, both as marketers and as consumers.

AI is shaking things up everywhere.  Its ability to turbo-boost data-driven marketing is truly exciting, but it’s not all rainbows and bunnies. Alongside its massive potential, there is room for concern, which we will have to stay mindful of as we all work to embrace this new era.

The Good

People are already producing tonnes (or more accurately terabytes!) of data whenever we act digitally – so much so that making sense of the data becomes an enormous challenge.  AI is being billed as the key to finally overcoming this problem.  With investments that harness AI effectively and responsibly, brands should, once they get the hang of it, be able to supercharge their customer segmentation efforts based on actual behaviours.  

Predictive analytics, harnessing the power of AI, promises to scour a sea of historic data, anticipating future events and behaviours with remarkable accuracy.

As seen in Acxiom’s CX Predictions for 2023, brands that combine AI-powered automation and human-centered approaches are transforming simple chatbots into digital assistants that aid customers with seamless service across their journey, while iteratively learning and improving the experience. 

AI-crafted content is game-changing! That content weaved into social media updates, product descriptions, tender responses, PowerPoint presentations, complex Excel documents, and on and on, represent just some of the capabilities that promise to accelerate how brands complete day-to-day tasks.

The Challenges

But the AI coin has two sides – not all bad, but it certainly warrants increased scrutiny and responsibilities for brands that want to get it right.

First, people want, and should have, their personal privacy protected. That’s a given.  However, as the data mounts, from a multitude of new sources, how will efforts to ensure privacy even keep up? Furthermore, how will brands ensure they comply with a myriad of disparate regulations? 

The enormous amounts of AI-fueled data also created added responsibilities for data management and data minimisation, a key tenet of GDPR. It’s about keeping the data you need, not any data at all, and hoping someday it will be relevant.   How will you adapt and is your business equipped to deal with this?

Then there is the fact that AI is by definition “artificial.” It’s not the result of real human thought, emotion, or intuition.  There is the fear that interactions will become colder, lacking personality and grace.   

As the saying goes, “garbage in, garbage out.”  While AI promises to speed up decisioning, if that decisioning is based on bad or incomplete data, then the AI-generated results simply speed up bad outcomes. This could result in misguided insights, poor marketing decisions, and actions that ultimately hurt brand trust and value.

And then there is just the overriding question of whether this level of personalization will feel welcomed. Are we already seeing a biased world due to the many algorithms that drive these customised experiences? With the level of personalisation increasing, there is a fear that the amount of personalised content could become suffocating if not part of a larger cohesive marketing strategy. 

I think it is fair to say we are entering an accelerated digital moment in time in an industry that seems to have always been in pursuit of and defined by acceleration. Brands need to prepare now to find the right balance and the right places to use AI responsibly. People need to be even more mindful of our data and share only what we feel adds value to our experiences.

Acxiom believes in responsible AI  built on a foundation of deliberate governance and rigorous accountability. Our rich history of industry-leading privacy and governance practices positions us to provide the highest levels of client data protection and gives us a unique perspective on the safe and ethical use of data and analytics technology.

With that said, AI is already enabling Acxiom to deliver value to our clients in a variety of areas as we continue to evolve and expand our use of AI to drive innovation in improving marketing performance. We also collaborate with our network of sister IPG agencies to deliver innovative approaches, leveraging AI across the marketing and advertising ecosystem to create leading customer intelligence and experience design.  We do all this while having people at the heart of everything we do.

So, punch your ticket for the AI rollercoaster, where there promises to be superheroes, villains, and all the emotions they create! Contact us at [email protected] if you need an experienced guide for your AI journey. 

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