The Marketing Strategist:
Artificial Intelligence is the Future of Marketing
Five years from now, marketing without artificial intelligence (AI) will be no marketing at all.
That provocative assertion comes from Malcolm Frank, executive vice president at Cognizant and co-author of ‘What To Do When Machines Do Everything: How to Get Ahead in a World of AI, Algorithms, BOTs and Big Data.’
In an excerpt from a new ITSMA Viewpoint, Frank explains why he is convinced that AI is set to power a new industrial revolution. Don’t be afraid, he urges marketers. If you grab onto the concept and make sense of it, being part of this enhancement and invention story could be really exciting.
ITSMA: What is the current state of AI today and what implications does it have on our work?
Frank: Let me give you some examples of how AI is already impacting various industries. And if you’re not concerned or fascinated by all this, you’re simply not paying attention.
At one hospital, machines can look at mammograms 30 times faster than the best radiologist and with an error rate of only 0.4%, compared to humans’ 20%. The best radiologist has only looked at so many X-rays in his or her career, but an AI computer program (the bot) can look at every X-ray almost instantaneously and start to learn and recognize patterns.
In the automobile industry, as human drivers, we only see certain situations, but a bot will see every situation. For example, if a Tesla were driving through a mountain pass in Oregon and a deer jumped out onto the wet highway, not only will the machine learn from that experience, but the situation will go into the platform so that every car in the system learns from it and how to react to it. Twenty years from now, we will ask ourselves, “How was it possible that we had 35,000 auto deaths or 300,000 auto injuries every year?”
ITSMA: At ITSMA’s 2017 annual conference in November, you told a room full of marketers that “in the next five years, marketing without AI will be no marketing at all.”
Frank: Five years from now, almost every job, including marketing, will be touched by AI in one form or another. One of three things will happen to our jobs: They will be 1) replaced by AI, 2) enhanced by AI, or 3) invented by AI. This is why marketing without AI will be no marketing at all.
Yet we are optimists: We believe nearly 90% of tomorrow’s activity is going to be around enhancement and invention. We believe that AI is actually going to drive the next wave of innovation and growth. By 2025, I think we’re going to see six massive-scale industries pop up.
ITSMA: Which are?
Frank: The six massive growth areas are cobots, wellness, biotechnology, virtual and augmented reality, smart infrastructure, and next-generation IT.
Let’s look at cobots as one example. Cobots enhance jobs. Your best friend at work may actually be an AI bot.
Humans are extraordinarily good at the art of the job. If you’re in marketing, you probably have a very high EQ, or emotional intelligence. We’re good at things like visual cues, emotions, empathy, judgement, ethics, social context, and determination of the right thing to do.
On the other hand, machines are extraordinarily good at the science of the job—things like data analysis and pattern recognition.
The idea of next best action (NBA) is a big topic in AI circles. We talked earlier about how marketing without AI is not marketing at all. AI can help your marketing team with the NBA—whether it’s creating a marketing campaign, managing the customer experience, or helping the sales team put together a proposal. Without AI, we’re just making educated guesses as opposed to identifying the NBA that cobots can provide.
ITSMA: What is your final piece of advice for marketers?
Frank: I’ll leave you with two key principles:
- Never short the human imagination.
- Human wants and needs are completely inexhaustible.
For the complete conversation, see Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Marketing. This document is available at no charge to ITSMA members (password required) and for sale to everyone else.