DATAx presents: Knowing when to implement AI in marketing

We speak with Kevin Guo, co-founder and CEO of Hive, about how AI can benefit marketing – but only when it is used in the right way


You'd be forgiven for being more than a little confused about AI's genuine potential to disrupt our world. On the one hand, we've got Tesla's Elon Musk claiming that AI will spell the extinction of the human race (although given his recent Twitter activity, we wouldn't blame you for remaining a little unconvinced). On the other hand, we are being told it will turn normal business on its head due to its ability to make sense of complex datasets – impressive, yes, but not as glamorous as robotic overlords.

As such, it is difficult for business leaders to fully get to grips with what AI is truly going to change in their organizations' immediate futures.

So, it is little surprise that, in the face of such an intimidating and advanced technology, many marketing leaders are still shying away from AI. Just 20% of C-suites have begun implementing machine learning so far, according to McKinsey, despite the fact that Point Source research tells us that when AI is present, 49% of consumers are willing to shop more frequently, while 34% will spend more money.

To separate the sound from the noise, DATAx spoke with Kevin Guo, co-founder and CEO of Hive, a full-stack deep learning company focusing on solving visual intelligence solutions for enterprises and governments, ahead of his presentation at our AI in Marketing Summit at DATAx San Francisco on May 14.

Guo begins by telling us about Hive's role in the increasing automation across a number of verticals.

"Hive's business solutions range from a variety of verticals including autonomous driving, retail and media," he says. "Several companies use us for data labeling and model development, as well as improving and automating existing processes.

"In the autonomous driving space, Hive has worked with a number of large automotive companies to help them solve perception problems including object detection, semantic segmentation and depth prediction."

He then steers the conversation toward Hive Media, the company's flagship enterprise solution and the impact the company is having on media as a whole.

"Today, we ingest 400+ channels across the US and tag every second of this content with our core AI models, such as logos, commercials and celebrities," Guo says. "We then overlay this with one of the largest device level viewership sets (12 million+ households), as well as partnerships with location data and payment data providers."

Brands and advertisers are then able to utilize Hive Media for tracking, audit execution and measuring its TV ad campaign ROI.

"We enable the media industry to become data-driven in a manner that was previously unattainable before the advent of AI," he remarks.

Of course, even with AI being hailed as the holy grail of, well, just about everything in marketing today, integrating AI into your strategy is no walk in the park. What sort of mistakes do marketing leaders end up making when it comes to implementing AI?

"AI should augment business practices, not replace them," Guo tells us. "Marketers should understand that AI does not have to be used everywhere. The first step to knowing where and when to implement AI is to understand data and understand the marketing goals. In particular, not all AI is created equal, and oftentimes the technology is simply not yet there to solve a particular set of problems.

"Before implementing any AI solution, significant amounts of auditing should be done to ensure the technology actually is enterprise grade."

It is safe to say that, as much excitement as AI is currently generating, it is creating – in equal parts – fear. And, when it comes to business, the fear is no longer fixated on a robotic apocalypse and rather the focus shifts toward a much more reasonable concern: AI's potential to augment, automate and obliterate jobs.

A two-year study from McKinsey Global Institute predicts that that by 2030, intelligent agents and robots could eliminate up to 30% of the world's human labor, rivaling the industrial revolution. This could mean the displacement of between 400–800 million jobs globally. So, should marketers be worried about the inevitable day their Siri's evolve from helping them to find the nearest Walmart to actually one day taking their job?"The growth of AI in marketing means collecting more precise data and automating menial and repetitive tasks," explains Guo. "AI can help generate more robust datasets. Although the advent of new technology may be daunting for marketers, AI will never fully replace them.

"Humans are needed to analyze the data collected and develop marketing strategies from their insights," he tells us. "On top of increasing efficiency, AI also allows marketers to shift their focus to what they do best – connecting with people and telling a story. Energy and resources will be reallocated to strategy and creativity."

More than just keeping their jobs, Guo believes that AI will bring about an era of more enjoyable, more effective work: "New technology will actually help marketers be better at their jobs by making more educated and highly personalized decisions. AI should be viewed as an opportunity that will bring data and actionable insights to the table. It's up to humans to innovate and execute."

Kevin Guo, CEO and co-founder of Hive will be speaking at AI in Marketing Summit at DATAx San Francisco on May 14. Check out the world-class agenda and book tickets HERE.

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