The State of AI in Our Modern World
There is a notion that transformation is a single, big bang event as opposed to a continuous ever-evolving undertaking
Just as we are in the midst of wrapping our heads around the digital transformation wave, the next wave, artificial intelligence (AI), has already rolled in. In mastering digital, both the pace and the need to fail fast were underestimated. Most early adopters were not early, but on pace, but those who were permitted to fail early are now winning faster.
The rush to digital also caused hiccups with privacy, the maintenance of secure data, and consumer expectations; these missteps in execution brought about a tendency to overcorrect across marketing, advertising, and social. In each of these areas, priority was given to keep up with the technology, while failure to define the business and customer experience problems took a backseat.
Data, owned, earned, and paid is the currency for the new state of transformation. In fact, the data and marketing Cloud has been the most transformative in the last few years: facilitating and managing massive amounts of data at a cheaper price point, creating a central location for all micro-moments of the customer journey, and transforming organizations to enable direct access to consumer data. A hybrid approach of online and offline has been adopted by even the most stringent industries (banking and pharma) to create centralized decision making.
Recently I had the privilege of listening to a panel discussion, hosted by Oracle Marketing Cloud and Oracle Data Cloud, which featured leaders of brand, partner, and agency organizations; the key theme was transformation. Below are some takeaways from that session.
Today, we are slowly getting more comfortable in letting the machines make the decisions…
AI as a term is akin to transformation – it’s a big concept, but in reality, it’s about executing against a strategy more efficiently. The panel believed that the definition of AI will also evolve, as marketers learn more and the technology itself evolves.
The industry has moved from minimally intelligent content pushes to adapting and predicting behavior before it happens. The combination of business rules and micro-services of real-time decision-making for communicating actions and offers appropriately across channels is where AI starts permeating reality now. It’s not the big bang, but it’s all the little enhancements that will help make better decisions.
True AI is when the system can learn on its own and make decisions without order or business rules. But we are not there yet. The panel agreed that we are now in an “intelligent automation” stage. Marketers can make the rules, but they can’t process all the rules in a timely fashion or in a way that actually makes an impact, which is where machine learning comes in.
Pure machine learning, pattern recognition, and predictive modeling bring high-value actions and hyper-targeting. It is the next level of targeting — at the individual level instead of the segment — driving the right content to the right person that matches the micro-moment.
Using IoT to solve a business problem will allow disruption in a positive way.
IoT (the Internet of Things) is directly connected to AI by collecting behavioral data at a granular level and then connecting to the physical perspective – driving to the specific individual and their needs.
Some examples of this:
• International airports can now absorb multiple data streams such as weather and flight times, with multiple sensors detecting traffic at security lines. Their goal? Creating absolute efficiency in the airport.
• Large appliance companies are connecting their consumers’ journeys in ways they never imagined. For example, owning the food journey — from designing a menu to purchasing groceries, to suggestions for leftovers.
It will be important to be mindful of the consumer’s ability to adopt technology in an affordable and integrated way. For example, there are currently multiple ecosystems within the home, creating walled gardens from one set of commands to the other. There is an expectation that consolidation will happen that will create extendibility and interoperability.
Solid Tech Foundation. Define the North Star. Solve Business Problems. Incrementally.
Audiences and buyers of technology are shifting from CIOs to CMOs who may not understand the complexities. Companies must start with a solid technology foundation that allows seamless integration across marketing-technology and advertising-technology. There should be defined standards that tie back to data structures, avoiding spending time and money trying to figure out what investments have already been made.
Partners and agencies are available to help companies define their North Star and bubble up all of the various bite-sized business problems to show immediate ROI and draw funding for the next set of challenges, driving incremental change.
Data is the currency that we are working with today, with access to even more on the horizon. AI is the best way to leverage that currency and drive ROI. Bringing man and machine together is powerful but we must remember who is at the end of every journey — a person trying to make a decision.
To Read More: Advertising Week: Fragmented and Holistic Responses