5 things marketers need from artificial intelligence

John Koetsier

All of us use artificial intelligence every single day. We talk to Siri, we search on Google, we ask Alexa to turn on the lights, and Cortana schedules meetings for us.

But what do marketers need from AI?

Marketers are already getting a lot from artificial intelligence. A/B testing and optimization tools often use some form of machine learning. Natural language processing does as well. And some marketing clouds are starting to use AI to help marketers understand and predict their customers’ journeys.

Five things marketers still need from AI

1) Emotional intelligence

Ayelet Noff, CEO and founder, Blonde 2.0

Ayelet Noff, CEO and founder, Blonde 2.0

We already have sentiment analysis. Now we need to hook it up to smart systems that help us understand how customers and prospects feel about our brands and our services.

And, how we feel when we’re working.

“Machines are lacking an emotional understanding that enables them the emotional capacity to interact with us as humans.”

Ayelet Noff

2) Contextual awareness
The time of the day, current location, weather, and nearby events can have a profound impact on what we want, our urgency, and how brands should react. Artificial intelligence systems like bots or chatbots need to know about the world we live in as well as the things we’re asking them for, to better contextualize their responses.

We need to be better understood by technology and receive better experiences based on things like location and  timing. Software will have to adapt in order to deliver these experiences.

Bryan Kramer

3) Automation of busy work

Douglas Karr, CEO, speaker, author, founder of the Marketing Technology Blog

Douglas Karr, CEO, speaker, author, founder of the Marketing Technology Blog

Marketers still spend far too much time in Excel or other data aggregation and analysis tools. They need AI systems that can ingest data and then respond to natural language questions … as well as suggest fruitful lines of inquiry.

Most of our time is spent configuring and moving data.

The API of the future will be a drag and drop, intuitive user interaction that will move us away from working on the programming problem and closer to simply working on the business problem.

Douglas Karr

4) Integration with other AI systems
Putting AI in your marketing cloud, another in your chatbot, another in your Alexa skill, and yet more in your multivariate testing tool is great. Much greater is integrating them all into a smart community that can help marketers globally.

I’d change software to help make even more decisions instead of just collecting data. We have enough data. We need to know what to do with it.

Software and apps should also be able to surface the right information at the right time, integrating with our calendars and our emails to show us what we need, when we need it, whether we realize we need it or not.

Phil Gerbyshak

5) Understanding the customer journey

Chris Messina, Developer Experience Lead at Uber

Chris Messina, Developer Experience Lead at Uber

The customer journey is long, complicated, and complex. Much of it is obscure to marketers, and as a result, it’s unclear to brands where their adspend and marketing dollars will have the greatest impact. Artificial intelligence can help by ingesting vast quantities of data and — in ways that respect individual privacy — highlight common (and not so common) paths to purchase and loyalty.

AI can help brands and companies also be more adaptable to the level of sophistication of each customer, making onboarding funnels smoother and more personalized.

Chris Messina

How are you using AI right now, or how do you see AI being helpful in the future? Add your thoughts in the comments.

And, check here for more on what 50 marketing influencers told us about AI, mobile, and marketing.

John Koetsier

Before acting as a mobile economist for TUNE, John built the VB Insight research team at VentureBeat and managed teams creating software for partners like Intel and Disney. In addition, he led technical teams, built social sites and mobile apps, and consulted on mobile, social, and IoT. In 2014, he was named to Folio's top 100 of the media industry's "most innovative entrepreneurs and market shaker-uppers." John lives in British Columbia, Canada with his family, where he coaches baseball and hockey, though not at the same time.

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