They are among us: Chatbots, Crawlers, Art bots, Game bots. With the need to “Keep up with the Kardashians,” stay up to date on trends, and be available to prospective customers, it appears we’ve truly over-saturated the digital world with automated systems. Their likeness to human interaction can be uncanny – almost off-putting. More often than not, I ask myself: “is this a real person?” as I clear out the random Russian women from my Facebook friend requests and try my best to resolve some technical issue with a stubborn Chatbot on a company website. While these nuisances are rudimentary programs, automated A.I. systems are constantly modified to help businesses with their digital marketing needs.
Why Do We Need Real People? The Virtual Reality of Modern Marketing
Has the development of these artificially intelligent systems rendered people obsolete? Why pay for a human when we can pay for a service that quadruples the work output in half the amount of time? With these questions in mind, let’s take a look at how A.I. automation has sent unknown technological ripples into the future, becoming an integral part of the digital marketing industry,
To do so, we must further define these automated systems and how they operate as marketing conduits for companies in the virtual marketplace. Afterward, we will review their valuable services for contemporary digital marketing. From this, we can compare automated A.I. systems and full-service marketing firms to see what would be most advantageous for your digital brand. Ultimately, we will see that A.I. is a cog in the systematic “wheel” of digital marketing. When properly used, it can be an integral part of the digital marketing strategy you create with your team of marketing professionals.
A Full-service Marketing Team of Robots? Not Exactly…
To understand the significance of automation, especially concerning marketing, we must acknowledge how we arrived at this stage of development in the digital marketing world. To the disappointment of many sci-fi nerds, Artificial Intelligence isn’t like Terminator’s Skynet “going live” or a rogue Agent Smith from The Matrix – well, not exactly.
Although A.I. certainly deals with human intelligence processes by machines, Artificial Intelligence is thus far the simulation of human intelligence, not actual intelligence. More specifically, it is a multi-disciplinary approach to writing infinitely complex algorithms to train machines to “learn” and “think” as humans do. The potential of these complex systems is only realized when they are fed tremendous amounts of information. In doing so, “machine learning” takes place and, if the program is successful, will be an effective predictor of future information about the specific task for which it was created. In theory, proper programming can create automated systems that learn, reason, and correct themselves based on the information acquired.
How Does A.I. Integrate Into Digital Marketing Strategies?
Automated systems were a necessary response to how the internet redefined the marketing world. The dawn of the information age made it possible for people to contact companies and learn about their products without ever stepping inside a physical store. This easy access changed the landscape of modern commerce and, consequently, the expectations of contemporary marketing practices. Without the need to search for products at brick-and-mortar locations, the birth of the online marketplace meant that speed and accessibility went from hopeful luxury to absolute necessity. As if it changed overnight, we cannot overstate the gravity of this change. It has even affected our psychological structures, giving rise to things like “user fatigue” where consumers lose interest in a product when it takes too long to navigate time-consuming virtual activities.
(Want to know more about User Fatigue? Check out this comprehensive, peer-reviewed article.)
As a result of these new phenomena, automated systems were born to help full-service marketing teams keep up with the demands of contemporary business. Programmers designed these systems to work efficiently on tasks such as data entry and repetitive customer service tasks that would otherwise be mundane or time-consuming for human employees. It provides a consistent and intelligible mode of contact with a consumer base to help streamline the influx of consumer requests because of the new status quo created by the internet.
Generative A.I. and Content Creation Machines
Automated systems can also take on larger projects, like automated email marketing and content creation tasks. Email automation can take care of customer service tasks such as password resets or automated responses to frequently asked questions. This is a huge time saver for digital marketing agencies, who would otherwise have to dedicate employee hours to these tasks.
Artificial content creation is another popular automated marketing service. This can take the form of creating blog posts, articles, or even social media posts. You’d be shocked to learn how often these automated content bots are used in place of traditional content and copywriters (a.k.a humans).
To prove this point, I used Jasper.AI, an automated content creator bot, to write the first few sentences of this paragraph. Knowing this information, one could probably go back and identify some differences between the bot and my other paragraphs, but recent developments in A.I. have brought them scarily close to mimicking the tone, structure, and character of a human content writer.
While I could let Jasper.AI write the entirety of this piece, the proper application of A.I. relies upon the competence and abilities of its human user. Rather than sacrifice the integrity of my work and let the bot do the writing, I treat this automated content creation system as one of the many resources attributable to being part of a much larger marketing team.
As one of many experts in a well-oiled marketing system, my full-service marketing firm provides invaluable resources to each marketing team member. Even with the most up-to-date software, general application and monitoring of an automated system can only be done by the human user to ensure efficacy.
Automated Marketing Failures
Over the past few years, automated systems have failed spectacularly, ranging from horribly tragic to outright hilarious public incidents. One of the most publicized P.R. disasters of the automated age was in 2016 when Microsoft’s A.I. chatbot, ‘Tay’ was trained by users on Twitter to become aggressively sexist and racist, causing Microsoft to pull the software within 24 hours of its release. In the end, it speaks volumes about humanity more so than the technology released by Microsoft, and yet, they were somewhat obligated to release an apology regarding the incident.’
A light-hearted and less depressing example is from a soccer match in Scotland, where an ‘A.I. operated’ camera kept mistaking the bald head of a linesman for a soccer ball. Although less relatable to our topic, it shows just how unpredictable the faults can be when automated systems are left to their own devices. (To read more about these incidents, visit Reethu Ravi’s blog post on Jumpstart!)
Uses: Digital Marketing Strategies with A.I. Integration
We appear to be stuck at an impasse when using automated A.I. systems in the digital marketing community. On the one hand, we have a revolutionary, innovative technology that can continue to change the world as we know it. On the other hand, due to the nature of modern technology, any mistakes made by these automated systems are multiplied exponentially. When they fail, companies find themselves in the middle of publicly damaging P.R. disasters. Knowing these magnified risks, the question becomes: how do we use these systems properly?
As I said in my Frankenstein ‘cyborg’ paragraph, half-written by the Jasper.AI content generation system, machine learning systems operate just like any other tool: its efficacy is based upon the skill of the person wielding it. When we treat A.I. as another tool in our toolbelt, it adds dimensionality to the already expansive resources of a full-service marketing firm.
Content generation doesn’t even begin to explain the usefulness of machine learning as an important resource. For example, brand development experts can use A.I. to tailor unique experiences for customers based on billions of data sets over many social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The automated system uses the analyzed data to construct a proper brand based on the decided impact they would like to make on their target audience. This gives the developing company a clear advantage over its competitors who may not have the resources or, a skilled full-service marketing team to properly use the machine learning tools in their toolbelt.
(Want to learn more about brand development? Check out this article!)
The Human Element
All this being said, there is a key factor that determines the efficacy of these systems: the human element. Without a proper understanding of virtual automation, one cannot maximize the effectiveness of these programs. This is why you need to integrate machine learning tools into your marketing strategy and get a quality team of experts behind you who already have the resources necessary to properly integrate automation into your digital marketing plan.
When you work with a full-service marketing firm, their team becomes your team and will educate you on the specifics of your brand, along with each automated system that can be properly suited for your overall marketing strategy. Kimberly Grimms’ article “AI Marketing: What, Why, and How to use Artificial Intelligence Marketing” sums it up perfectly in her AI marketing tips: “Never leave it all for tools when it comes to personalization. The content needs to be natural to users.” As her tip suggests, consumers are turned off by overly automated user experiences. These are fellow people who sense a cold and calculative interaction when we choose to rely completely upon automation. It removes the warmth of our intrinsic human element, which should be a defining characteristic of your brand development and marketing strategy.
When it comes to the fast-paced nature of modern digital marketing, it is easy to acquiesce and choose the easy way out. Nowadays, it is possible to completely rely upon machine learning and automated A.I. systems to execute a plan of attack for brand promotion. Although it is possible if we are unwilling to put time, money, and effort into our brand, why should consumers take the time, money, and effort to buy into a brand that lacks meaningful connection? No matter how reliable these systems have become, they cannot fully embrace the emotional aspect of actual intelligence. Only the owners, marketing professionals, and hardworking consumers can build a lasting foundation, with true emotional connection, for your company.
Need help developing a brand strategy or just want to chat with a full-marketing service firm? Contact the Unhinged marketing team today! They’ll help you write ‘boring’ that long-awaited breakup letter and send you in the direction of success.