When it comes to AI, less haste means more speed
Posted on: Tuesday 09 April 2019 | Anna Forbes
Not a day goes by without a new story praising the latest AI product, what the tech can do, and where it’s set to go. And the promises aren’t just limited to our industry alone – AI is set to revolutionise the world we live in
It’s tempting to jump in right at the deep end and pick the glitziest AI solution with the most bells and whistles right from the start of your campaign. But while we all want the latest, shiniest gadgets, those aren’t the bits of tech that’ll make the most difference – at least in the short run. Here’s a few tips on why you should avoid the ‘bigger is better’ mentality and get closer to the AI that will make a real difference right now.
The future is here and now
Despite visions you might conjure up of cyborgs and automatons, AI is not just the future – it has deep roots in the past, and is very much the present too. It might feel like it’s come out of nowhere, but the tech we’re looking at now is a continuation of an idea that’s been revolutionising technology for decades. AI is here and now, and by focussing just on ‘the next big thing’ coming down the road, we’re looking straight past what we can actually do right now and missing a lot of wins in the present.
There’s a whole range of basic AI that marketers can be getting to grips with. Whether it’s finding efficiencies to improve workflow, or using A/B testing to identify the best subject line for an email campaign, machines are already fully capable of lightening our load by taking on small jobs which save time and make the rest of our jobs a lot easier. These two examples are a great way to get practical and immediate experience in applying AI to everyday work without having to sign up for complicated and expensive solutions.
Build responsibly and respectfully
As they say – mighty oaks from little acorns grow. Once you’ve got the foundations fully in place, you can work on building up and integrating more complex facets of AI into your campaigns.
That doesn’t, however, give you carte blanche to just let loose. Artificial intelligence is a tool with its own specific strengths and uses like any other – crunching vast reams of data, for example – and it’s important to pay heed to these. Using a tool for the sake of it – rather than as a concrete way to achieve your business goals – is a waste of time and money.
Instead, rather than using new technology as a way to just push out more ads, it can give us a better picture of how best to approach them: quality, not quantity. AI gives us the tools we need to understand our audiences better – including how, when, where, and perhaps most importantly, how much to engage with them. That not only allows us to inform strategies which are truly cross-device, it also gives us a hint on when to implement tactics like frequency capping to make sure we never over-saturate consumers with the same message – or reach them on the wrong platform at the wrong time. That way, you can always stay on their good side.
Advertising can only be successful with consumers on side, and happy audiences are more likely to be receptive to the messages you’re trying to share. So however much of an AI whizz you are, remember to focus on quality, not quantity.
Consistency is key
Nascent technology is often adopted with a piecemeal, siloed approach – one department dabbles here, another there; one team uses it on one platform, and a second implements it on a different one.
For long term success, it’s important to move past simply rolling out new technologies like this. Let AI be a brand-new start, and face it with a consistent, unified approach. Battling within your team about who owns what, what belongs where, and how it’s done is simply wasting time that could be better focussed on driving better outcomes for your organisation or client.
So what does that mean in practise? Whether you’re using AI for dynamic creative optimisation, or using API triggers to create stories from all your data, make sure the implementation is consistent across platforms. Very simply, don’t get yourself jumbled up: if your mobile targeting is informed by weather cues, then desktop should be the same. If twitter sentiment is key to your CTV strategy, then make sure it’s the same on your audio channels.
Whilst the possibilities to apply AI are endless, a more strategic approach based on a few data points is better than a scattergun approach to many. By making sure that your use of AI is unified across all channels, throughout the marketing mix, you’re making sure that your messaging is consistent for all customers – and subsequently, much more effective.
Procrastination is the thief of time – and success
AI isn’t rocket science – it just needs a bit of planning. But at this point in time, it also needs gumption. By waiting around for something bigger and better to come along, we’re missing out on what AI can do for us right now. So hop to it! Start small and find out how AI can both make your life easier and more efficient. By getting stuck into the legwork right now and laying solid foundations which take into account consumer needs and sensitivities – not to mention ensuring you maintain a consistent, unified approach across channels – there’s no reason why your future dreams for AI can’t be a present reality.
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