For the latest/greatest marketing technology -- and, more to the point, still-emerging machine-learning capabilities -- to really create awesome value, marketers must connect it to brands' emotional roots. Only by combining technology with core insights about the emotions motivating human behavior can we genuinely touch hearts and minds -- and thereby influence behavior.
Of course, better brands already think carefully about their raison d'etre, their Purpose (with a capital P) and related core values, and they act mindfully to imbue that Purpose and those values into all aspects of their operations - with marketing, advertising and customer interaction rising to the top of the list, not necessarily in that order. But the supersonic train freighting artificial intelligence and machine learning down the line suggests the rest of us are going to have to move a lot faster, and more authentically.
While I came across only six artificial intelligence/machine learning acquisitions last month, at least half of them should be of keen interest to marketers and media moguls. And if you're still on the fence about how big a deal artificial intelligence is, check out this list of February buyers (in alpha order): Apple, Baidu, Conde Nast, Ford, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Meltwater Group, the media analytics firm.
Narrative.io is a tiny, not-exactly-stealth start-up that could play a possibly large role in the future of AI by arranging access to the data that is all-important to making AI effective.
For brand marketers looking for ways to engage more deeply with customers, conversational marketing is near the top of the list of options to consider. There are a number of AI-based technologies that make natural language interactions at scale possible without adding bodies to the equation.
Everyone who cares about artificial intelligence and machine learning in marketing is no doubt aware of the big players' recent acquisitions. Seeing how Google and Facebook create magic via AI technologies, all the usual suspects are using M&A to catch up. Ultimately, marketers will find many companies competing to provide the magic.
If you have at least a half-million customers and good customer-interaction data, Matt Fleckenstein has an offer you probably shouldn't refuse. Fleckenstein is co-founder, chief product officer and CMO of machine learning start-up Amplero, a Seattle-based marketing AI company that promises to "leverage machine learning and adaptive experimentation to help marketers achieve what's not humanly possible."
I've begun to get the sense that most marketers aren't yet taking AI seriously enough. Sure, it won't put you out of business next month. It won't make everything you know wrong, overnight. But consider the implications of Bill Gates' aphorism from "The Road Ahead": "We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next 10." No, really, stop -- and think.
If you doubt artificial intelligence is bringing a tsunami of change to a wide array of industries, business functions, and consumer experiences, this piece of intelligence should set you straight: "Amplifying Human Potential Towards Purposeful Artificial Intelligence" was released by the global technology services and consulting firm Infosys this week at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The report points to a high level of activity in large global organizations to adopt and implement AI technologies. There are implications for marketers that should get your competitive juices flowing.
Just because the constant acceleration of technology advancement has become cliche doesn't mean you're prepared. You may think that's OK because everyone is in the same boat, right? Wrong. Some big companies are already way ahead. And the gap between you and the leaders is getting bigger every day. .If you're an agency of any size or a marketer in anything bigger than a small business, it's a little way past time to get very serious about AI.