With the recent influx of dystopian fictions out there – we’re thinking Black Mirror and Westworld, for example – it’s easy to guess why we’re somewhat dubious when it comes to the use of Artificial Intelligence in marketing.
And yet, more brands are deciding to integrate AI into their marketing, whether that’s in the form of chatbots, social media accounts, insights, robots, and so on.
AI is very much a technique in its infancy, so we’ve still got a way to go before this trend has fully developed.
In its current state, however, what exactly does this highly-convenient tool offer brands and their marketing?
When brands meet bots
Experts predict that 80% of brands will be using chatbots for customer interactions by 2020.
Many large companies are already using chatbots – Domino’s and Just Eat are just two that immediately come to mind.
“Dom”, the AI-powered bot for Domino’s, is programmed to assist customers quickly and easily, having the ability to make orders from a single emoji via Facebook Messenger.
Speculatively, there are a number of reasons brands may want to optimise chatbots. For starters, they are valued for their ability to provide customer insight. In theory, they also provide for a quicker and easier process when questioning or ordering a product or service.
However, according to a recent survey, 56% of customers say they prefer to speak to an actual human rather than a chatbot.
Especially for those less tech-savvy, chatbots may seem like the worst case scenario in the customer service mix.
The infatuation with robots won’t phase out any time soon – that’s for sure – but it seems like chatbots, in particular, may have an expiry date.
Creative Artificial Intelligence in marketing
Chatbots aside, we must question AI’s future in creative marketing.
The team behind the task created a database of all of the most successful and award-winning Japanese adverts over the last ten years.
The aim of the project was to create an advert for Clorets Mint Tab that included the message: “instant-effect fresh breath that lasts for ten minutes”.
Two ads were then created; one by the AI robot and one by the creative director. Both were then thrown into a nationwide poll, showing the AI robot narrowly losing out to the creative director.
View the ads below: which would you have said was the work of the robot?
The answer is at the end of this post…
The hidden dangers
AI is an incredibly complex concept which requires time, money and research in order to actually have a shot at working.
Because of this, it comes as no surprise that the big companies – Google, Facebook, Microsoft – are investing a lot in this field of work.
Even then, there’s no guarantee that these larger corporations can get it right. You might remember Microsoft’s issue with their AI social media bot “Tay”. In the end, the bot was pulled on account of the controversial content it was churning out daily.
Controversy aside, AI – in any form – is limited to those who have the time and money to invest in its development.
Even if it becomes a long-standing marketing tool for big tech-giants, smaller companies may unfortunately fall behind the curve.
Limited by our imaginations
As much as we try to, predicting the future of technology is tricky.
On top of that, predicting the place of technology in marketing is even trickier.
There’s no doubting AI for its ability to enrich data research and insights, but its development is still in its primary stages in marketing.
In addition to this, AI comes in so many different strands and forms that it’s difficult to summarise it in general terms. As time goes on, it may well be that AI finds itself integrated into even more forms than we imagined.
One thing’s certain: we’re nowhere near its full potential yet.