Kaitlyn Y. Kim
In the 1960s, Herbert A. Simon, one of the most influential people in the world of computer science, once said that “machines will be capable, within twenty years, of doing any work a man can do.” It’s safe to say, sixty years later, that Simon’s prediction has absolutely become a reality.
Artificial intelligence, AI, has now become ingrained and popularized in different parts of modern reality. From ChatGPT to Disney’s 2008 classic, Wall-E, AI has stretched long and far from its roots in the 1950s. It has impacted many jobs from writing to telemarketing, but one may ask: how does this affect marketing?
After the events of the pandemic, social media usage has skyrocketed. 53% of consumers have reported higher social media usage over the last two years in comparison to four years ago. As the world becomes more and more digitized and consumer culture shifts from Black Fridays to Cyber Mondays, customers can only assume that brands will either get with the times or become completely obsolete.
With this also comes different expectations; a new statistic shows that 68% of consumers report being predominantly dependent on social media in order to stay informed about new products and services. Customers have also begun to expect access to exclusive promotions or deals. Because of this, advice has been given to remain vigilant in regard to their social media teams. Jamie Gilpin, the CMO at Sprout Social, stated in an email that “This demonstrates why it’s more important than ever for social media teams to be in lockstep with product, sales, and customer service teams”.
“The Sprout Social Index Edition XIX: Breakthrough” holds importance due to the data the company collected online. 1,817 consumers located in both the United States and the United Kingdom and 903 full-time social marketers from businesses in the same regions were interviewed and with this research, Sprout Social has found that each individual consumer has been following at least five different brands on social media.
From this June 2023 report, all percentages seem to point positivity towards the relation between social media, customer services, and AI. The website reports that of the most memorable brands on social media, 51% respond to customers. 76% of marketers rely on social media insights to inform other departments, and 81% of marketers believe that AI has already had a positive impact on their work.
There are many objective positives to AI in marketing, including improved relationship between company and consumer, improved efficiency, fast and accurate customer data processing, optimized marketing campaigns, and lack of human error. Examples of effective AI would be the trend of chatbots, automated emails, and personalization to individual customers.
AI’s ability to analyze trends and decrease error is easily an appealing characteristic if anyone is interested in investing, however, there are some concerning disadvantages, such as data privacy, biases, and originality.
Data privacy is a question one must ask when it comes to how much AI should know. In order for AI to fully thrive, data privacy cannot be entirely ensured to customers. This can be a red flag to potential consumers.
Biases can also interfere with creating the ideal experience. The main premise that AI thrives off of involves a control group of data. If this data involves a disproportionate representation of a company’s customers, it can entirely throw off the trajectory of the AI. Instead of producing productive and personalized advertisements and interactions, the AI will then produce inaccurate and biased advertisements and interactions, leading to even more distance between the consumer and the company. Although human error can be effectively avoided, AI error cannot be completely avoided.
Originality is also a question when it comes to AI. There is a clear debate of how much AI is allowed to interact with the arts, if at all, and this clearly reflects in the marketing community. AI, no matter the programming given, cannot think and therefore cannot create independently. Humans are naturally reliant on other humans to draw attention to each other. Comedy, bright colors, signature fonts, and mascots are very human concepts created to grab the attention of other humans. The probability of an AI recreating such an innately human concept is incredibly unlikely.
With modern digital life, AI has created a place in several industries, including marketing. While AI appears almost everywhere on the Internet, one must ask the necessary question: is AI the key to Marketing? The reality is, this question cannot be definitively answered. One must analyze both the positives and negatives of AI before making the decision to incorporate it into their marketing. However, it is safe to say that AI can successfully be integrated well into a company as long as there is a healthy mix of human and AI interaction between company and consumer.
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