Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a hot topic at digital marketing conferences this year, and Social Media Marketing World 2017 was no exception. Talking about the future of AI can be mind blowing, especially when experts estimate that computers will rival (or even surpass) human intelligence in as little as 16 years. What shocked me more than these predictions was that this technology isn’t only applicable in the far-off future; there are actually practical ways to apply it to business today. Christopher Penn, VP of Marketing Technology at SHIFT Communications, was able to deliver some informative answers to the biggest questions about AI; where it’s going and how businesses should be taking advantage of it:
How do I know if my business could benefit from AI?
- If you or your employees do the same task three or more times a day, AI could potentially solve it, because Penn predicts that if you do it with a template today, a machine does it without you tomorrow.
How can I implement AI for my business today?
- You can get 1,000 machine-generated blog posts for as low as $250. Compared to the time it takes an employee to write one, there are a lot of money-saving opportunities for your business when using natural language generation software.
- If you’re not ready to invest yet, there’s a free AI tool you can try right now. Anyone can retrieve immediate answers to marketing questions like, “How much does my competitor spend on PPC?” and “What keywords are they buying?” using GrowthBot, a machine-learning chatbot available now on Facebook Messenger and Slack. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
“Become the guy who helps the machines learn what great writing is.”
Is my job going to be replaced by a robot? How can I avoid this?
- The harsh truth is, as AI grows, we will need fewer humans, especially at entry level. So business professionals should start developing multidisciplinary skills and think about learning a programming language like R or Python.
- It will be a few more years before natural language processing starts to make content creators obsolete. To have a marketing career in an AI world, become outcome focused and let the machines do the heavy lifting. Become the guy who helps the machines learn what great writing is.
How can I convince my company and its culture that AI is important?
- “Scare them,” says Penn. Use competitors as examples to show how your company will either be leagues ahead or left behind if it doesn’t keep up.
You know the triangle where you have fast, cheap and good, but you only get to pick two? AI is going to change that. The reality is that computers are faster, cheaper and smarter than humans, so we should start finding ways to work with AI now. If you don’t, your competitors will.