It’s the marketers who are weaving the stories around the developments in artificial intelligence and they ‘get it’ when the doomsday scenario is played out at the various media outlets and government chambers every day.
In spite of this, I have come across numerous marketers who just shrug away the possible impact that increased automation might have on their jobs. There’s reality and then there is virtual reality (no pun intended); quite a few marketers are living in the latter.
Automation hasn’t been lurking around the corner. It has been present all the while.
Adobe Analytics has been dishing out predictive analytics since the time it was known as SiteCatalyst. Google AdWords has had a predictive and automation element at the core of the product since its beginning.
Look at cookies! They have helped those who wanted to automate processes, since the entire world took to internet. I am no harbinger of ensuring job security (a phrase that’s still in use) but I have a few suggestions for my fellow marketers.
A marketer who does not write is akin to a painter who just collects colors but seldom gets down to painting. The said painter might find great interest in looking at what others have painted and believes that he or she is better at the craft than the others but the references to prove this assumption are few.
A marketer must be a storyteller in some measure.
You can’t get away by saying that writing content is the job of the content writer and not the marketer. Not writing content might have worked for a marketer at some point in time but it has become an absolute necessity over the last decade. If you are surprised at the aforementioned statement, you might be at risk of not staying relevant.
Artificial Intelligence driven tools can churn out summaries and concise content based on an entire report, in a matter of seconds. The same goes for generating an analysis of financial data replete with the ups and downs in a company’s performance, based on data-points in a simple Excel spreadsheet.
LEARN about technology
If you are a digital marketer, for instance, and belong to the school of thought that technology is what a technologist must know and not a marketer, you are in the wrong job. Technology is the enabler that helps take your brand’s message to the audience that you intend to target.
An understanding of technology – how it works, how has it evolved, what’s next – essentially, what’s under the hood right now and what will be there later, is of paramount importance if you want to be successful in an artificial intelligence driven world. Looking at a piece of basic HTML code and saying that it’s all Greek to me (assuming that you can’t read Greek) doesn’t cut it.
Take some time off from your binge-watching and read up about the basics. Trust me, it will help you understand a bit about how things work. Learn about how data moves from one platform to the other.
Bonus: You’ll be able to figure out what the next big marketing platform might be!
It’s things like these that will help you stay relevant and for a change, your friends might even listen to you!
NURTURE your colleagues
Replicating human emotions is the most crucial impediment in the entire story of evolution of artificial intelligence. Intelligent machines and applications can learn a few tricks on their own but they cannot decipher human emotions (ask someone who is in a relationship. Or better, ask someone who has come out of a relationship.) As a marketer, your people skills are important. It’s a soft skill and is not directly going to affect your experience with artificial intelligence but it will assist you in sourcing better ideas.
People make a brand. People make a leader.
If you refer to what I had mentioned about ‘writing’, the intent was to apprise you of the reality that marketing begins when you start communicating a particular message to the target audience. A healthy communication channel with your co-workers is more important than what your brand communication might be. Needling people for trivial tasks comes easy to humans and it also shows the world about the pettiness of your thought process (shallow, is the word, in case you were wondering).
THINK about the details
As a marketer, you are selling to humans. And humans love details. What aspects of your marketing campaign can be automated? Sending out emails, generating a tracking report, sending follow-up emails, displaying ads, generating more reports and generating more insights – all these and more can be automated. Your human brain comes into play in identifying the small details.
Did you see a sudden and unexpected spike in sales from a particular region? What might be the regional conditions that resulted in such a behavior? Was it a holiday that you were not aware of? Your brain can come up with many such questions and the responses to these questions can help you make changes to your existing or future marketing campaigns.
Developments in artificial intelligence and automation will ensure that the external factors identified by your brain are tracked henceforth and a sudden spike will not seem so sudden later on. The learning ability of the systems that we work on will improve and it is up to you, the marketer, to make use of it.
CREATE for yourself
If you have not created anything in a long time, create it. The simple reason why I urge you to perform such an activity is that it helps broaden your thought process. The human mind gets attuned to a certain way of working on tasks.
Your brain requires new experiences to soak in the new and explore what lies beyond the realm of its usual tasks. Creating new things helps bring a different perspective to problem solving. Creating a simple origami bird will challenge your existing logical web of thoughts.
Artificial intelligence can help you with computations and present a step-by-step procedure to make that bird but it’s your human brain that will tweak with the steps to come up with something more relevant to your expectations. Make use of the artificial intelligence behind the computations to learn come up with better solutions, a better origami bird.
Never stop learning. Never stop teaching.
If I could summarize all what I have written – learning ability – will be the phrase of choice.
This blog was first published by the author on LinkedIn Pulse.