If there is anything every business leader in the world can agree on – let's face it, there's not a lot – it is that AI is about to have an indescribable impact that will change the way business looks and among the areas it is set to revolutionize entirely is marketing.
According to PointSource, when AI is present, 49% of consumers are willing to shop more frequently and 34% will spend more money. Meanwhile, Strategy Analysis discovered that 41% of consumers believe AI will improve their lives. So, it is clear that marketers must adopt AI or risk obstinance.
To find out more about AI and its impact on marketing in the coming year, DATAx spoke with Kyle Lelli, general manager of The Tylt, the largest and fastest growing social polling and opinion platform among millennials.
"Beyond simply being a buzzword, marketers are already beginning to experiment with AI to expedite processes, enhance user experiences, accurately identify target markets and predict customer behaviors," says Lelli. "In 2019 and beyond, we expect more marketers to experiment with process automation and AI and discover its true potential beyond repetitive tasks."
So, what does a robot bring to marketing that humans can't? Lelli tells us that it is its ability to search and interpret marketing data much faster than humans.
"This type of automation can free marketers from the data deluge to focus on what truly matters: Humanizing the brand, delighting customers and sustaining authentic connections over time," he explains.
As Sarah Hoffman, vice-president of AI and machine learning at Fidelity Investments, outlined during her keynote presentation at DATAx New York:"Americans on average now fear computers and robots taking their jobs more than they do death." So, does experimenting with AI spell the end of human marketers?
"Humans are essential to creating marketing success," affirms Lelli. "Marketers are the owners and stewards of the messages and promises that the brand has to deliver on. The success of a marketing campaign is dependent on skills that AI cannot deliver including creativity, ingenuity, strategic thinking and the ability to interpret meaning from disparate data and information." Without humans in marketing, he argues, brands will struggle to deliver marketing strategies and brands that audiences actually care about.
Discussing some of Lelli's other predictions for marketing in the coming year, including how companies can stand out from the crowd with their social media strategies, he notes: "It can be challenging for brands to cut through the noise on social media because no matter what specific demographic a company is targeting, users only have so much time."
Lelli, however, outlines a few tactics for increasing engagement.
"First and foremost, a brand must have a clear understanding of who their audience is. After identifying a specific target audience, brands need to determine their own voice on each individual social media platform and ensure that this "voice" is original," he advises.
"The last step in this process is for brands to consistently create content that stands out from the masses and engage with its audience. When I think of the most successful brands on social media, they are most often creating content that is unique, personable, sincere, provides a utility, is original and invites their audience to get involved."
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In terms of the way social media is used in 2019, Lelli believes that Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat will remain as important platforms due to their unique way of connecting people.
"Facebook will continue to be a dominating and important channel for marketers, but platforms like VSCO, Discord and Twitch will continue to gain traction with younger audiences," he suggests. "Reddit should also be a part of many more marketing plans to capture the elusive attention of Gen Z."
How exactly are Gen Z going to change marketing next year and beyond?
"Gen Z craves authenticity from brands," Lelli notes. "In working with this audience at The Tylt, we have noticed that Gen Z expects brands to create a personal relationship with them and maintain that relationship with transparency." This authenticity is also set to impact influencer marketing in the coming year.
"Separately, millennials and Gen Z have different views on influencer marketing," Lelli explains. "Millennials are more responsive to celebrity marketing, whereas Gen Z audiences view this type of marketing as inauthentic." Lelli believes this is because Gen Z audiences view influencers as much more relatable than traditional celebrities. He also believes that different generations have different expectations about using data.
"Older Gen Z has grown up in a digital world surrounded by technology and have deeper concerns about how their data is used by companies, marketers and brands. They expect brands to use their data responsibly and be transparent with its intended use."
Lelli concludes by telling us a bit about what he thinks content marketing will look like over the next few years.
"I anticipate content marketers to foster audience participation through polls, audio and embedded rich media for storytelling," he states. "Driven by audience opinion, marketers have the opportunity to create a consistent feedback loop to understand and then publish the content their audience truly cares about. Using opinion gathering tools – like an online poll – helps to generate content ideas that an audience is tied to emotionally, deepening their personal commitment to a brand."