Digital Essays 2023: AI’s Darwin evolution in marketing

The future of marketing lies in a collaborative effort between humans and AI, writes Leadgen’s Rasha Mansour

Artificial Intelligence is often portrayed as an abstract subject that seems far from our reality.

In fact, AI has been seamlessly integrated into our daily lives, delivering a level of convenience and personalised experiences that has redefined our concept of normalcy.

It is for example, when your Anghami suggests a song based on your preferred genre, or when your email provides a suggested phrase, or when Netflix suggests additional movies to watch based on your preferences, and the list goes on.

AI has been infiltrated into a multitude of businesses and had tremendous positive impact and will continue to do so in the future. It is forecasted to generate trillions of dollars to the global economy.

Over the course of my journey in the media industry, I’ve observed the evolution of artificial intelligence in marketing, resembling a Darwinian process, that is expected to undergo further transformative shifts in the future.

When all businesses are laser-focused on digital performance marketing, brands should proactively harness the power of artificial intelligence leveraging its capabilities to revolutionise their marketing strategies.

AI is no longer a discretionary choice but rather an indispensable component to the strategic approach to stay competitive and efficient in this fierce and cluttered market.

The incorporation of AI is accelerating brand communication towards a more personalised experience, providing tailored recommendations and content, enhancing the customer experience, and fostering stronger brand loyalty. 

Unlocking customer segmentations and predictive analytics yields a deeper understanding of the target audience to create more effective and efficient campaigns which in turn maximises ROI. 

Another benefit is automation, resulting in minimising time-consuming tasks, ensuring consistency and accuracy in marketing efforts.

Marketers need to take a bold step and make the leap to be future ready to navigate these new frontiers.

When talking about AI in marketing it is impossible to overlook the significance of Machine learning as a powerful tool that falls under the broader umbrella of AI.

Machine Learning has transformed the marketing industry on multiple levels, one of which is its ability to crunch a ton of data, at an unprecedent speed to build models, and make predictions.

In the past, we relied on third party tools to mirror target audiences of our brands to understand their media and purchase behaviour. 

Today, we harness the power of Machine Learning to segment our actual customers into different clusters to be reinjected into analytics tools for customised communication and for upselling and cross-selling other products or services, or to create look-alike for better outcomes.

This is the true power of the ‘Machine’ in Machine Learning.

Whereas the ‘learning’ aspect revolves around the ongoing process of re-evaluating outcomes as the model receives and integrates new continually gathered data.

 Which brings us to another crucial component: DATA. Historically, we used to rely on aggregated monthly data from the client to be able to perform basic analysis and inform the media strategy.

Today, we gather minute-by-minute data from various sources about our audience, their behaviour, their preferences, and purchase behaviour. But more data is not a synonym for more insights.

Feeding the model with correct, clean, well structure and comprehensive datasets is pivotal. This practice guarantees robust, dependable results with a high predictive capacity. Too little data can cause limitations and too much data can cause confusion or errors.

Brands should leverage the plethora of tools available to collect valuable consumer data, filter it and use it to identify customer insights to deploy advanced analytics that directly impact the bottom line. 

Having the right data is only one side of the equation, the other hinges on having the right talent to adeptly orchestrate the models.

More than a decade ago, in our market, data scientists and analysts were a scarce resource, at least in the marketing world.

In this day and age, it is indispensable to embed this expertise within the organisational structure as an integral component of the marketing team, though one component remains critical, which is bridging the language between the two parties to ensure successful outcomes.

AI is and will grow more to be an integral part of the day in a life of a marketer, yet the combination of human and AI will only be successful if marketers understand where it falls short, AI doesn’t possess empathy, logic, or emotional intelligence; it is where AI cannot replace the human touch: your experience and your skills.  Your super-power cannot be modelled.

AI is a powerful tool that can significantly augment the capabilities of marketers. The most effective marketing strategies often involve a blend of human creativity, strategic thinking and data-driven analysis powered by AI. The future of marketing lies in a collaborative effort between humans and AI.

By Rasha Mansour, Head of Strategy & Analytics at Leadgen