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The general consensus is that we’re still decades away from reaching what’s known in artificial intelligence circles as “the singularity” – the point where machines surpass humans in terms of overall general intelligence.
In the meantime, however, we’re constantly reminded that that’s the trajectory we’re on. AI is having an ever-increasing impact on our lives as the technology makes exponential strides on a number of fronts.
Sales and marketing is one area where we can expect to see AI-driven technologies exert a growing influence on the way business is carried out. Around the world, intelligent technologies are increasingly being employed to reach and interact with customers and potential customers. It’s a trend that’s set to redefining effective marketing.
Will marketing jobs disappear?
Given these developing technologies and a number of other AI applications in marketing, are the jobs of those working in the industry doomed?
In a recent HubSpot webinar, AI marketing expert Paul Roetzer said the technology presented opportunities for marketers to push their companies, and their personal careers, to new limits.
“The way I look at it for marketers right now is, it can be your competitive advantage, within your career. For your brand but also you as an individual. The more you grasp it and what it’s capable of doing, and the more you start finding ways to do things more efficiently in driving performance. You may replace some of the tasks you probably hate doing anyway [and] you’re going to be a better marketer.”
Tapping into AI’s marketing potential
Taking the first steps towards incorporating AI into a marketing strategy can be daunting, but Paul says rather than viewing the concept as overwhelming, the solution is to commit to learning about the technology’s potential.
From there it’s a matter of picking a “single use case” as a starting point, he says.
“Look at which things you spend the most time and money doing that are really time intensive and that maybe are really inefficient, or they have a bunch of data involved. And say, could I intelligently automate this? Is there a tool to intelligently automate this task?”
AI is bringing exciting developments to marketing practice and businesses that understand and embrace the technology’s potential stand to reap the benefits.
Further reading about AI in marketing
When it comes to online marketing – and the quest to capture potential customers’ digital attention – many of us default to thinking about social networking.
How can we be engaging on Facebook? What can we do to build an Instagram following? Should we be on Twitter?
But how many of us give much thought to direct messaging as a marketing tool? We should, given messaging apps now boast more than 5 billion monthly active users, surpassing the number engaged on social networks.
And it’s chatbots that are driving conversion through messaging, Justin says, because these automated, artificial intelligence-powered communicators “give us the opportunity to tap into it by creating scalable, one-on-one interactions directly with consumers”.
Harnessing the marketing potential of chatbots is a topic Justin specialises in through his role as Head of Growth for GrowthBot, an AI-powered chatbot developed by HubSpot.
Why are chatbots such a game-changer for marketers?
In Justin’s words: “Modern chatbots are, at their simplest, digital assistants that deliver specific results via a conversational interface. At their most complex, they are artificial-intelligence-powered tools that will make highly-personalized marketing scalable.”
HubSpot believes chatbots are the future of marketing because they enable consumers to engage efficiently with a product or service provider no matter where they are or what device they are using. With chatbots there are “no forms, cluttered inboxes, or wasted minutes spent searching and scrolling through content. Communication, service, and transactions intertwine”.
Developing AI-enabled chatbot tools was part of HubSpot’s drive to increase its overall offering to customers, Justin says.
Air New Zealand is one company that’s taken the next step in the chatbot evolution, adding a human factor with the launch of a virtual assistant called Sophie. The airline called on kiwi company Soul Machines, which specialises in creating avatars, to develop Sophie – a bot who is not only AI-powered to learn from her interactions, but also has realistic facial responses to those interactions. She is even dressed in the same uniform as Air NZ’s “other employees”.
It’s not hard to imagine more “Sophies” popping up as the digital faces of other organisations. With its life-like, interactive and AI powered virtual assistant, Air NZ has hit on a formula that ticks many of the boxes bots can deliver on as a sales and marketing solution.
Chatbots have the potential to offer a powerful level of cut-through and connection to customers, so make sure they’re on your radar as a tool you should be considering adding to your marketing mix.
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