Is Cognitive Technology the End of Marketing As We Know It?

Is Cognitive Technology the End of Marketing As We Know It?

Author: Lee Odden / Source: Online Marketing Blog - TopRank® “Will artificial intelligence replace marketers in the near future?” This i

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Cognitive Marketing

“Will artificial intelligence replace marketers in the near future?”

Loren McDonald IMB Watson Marketing

This is the compelling question posted by Loren McDonald of IBM Watson Marketing during his presentation at the recent Digital Summit conference in Los Angeles. While many marketers might consider this a provocative presentation opener, there are some blunt realities marketers need to consider if they want to remain in the field and be competitive.

Consider these stats:

  • ‘Intelligent agents’ or AI will destroy 6% of all jobs in the US by 2021. Forrester Research
  • AI could threaten up to 47% of jobs in two decades. Eric Berger, ars Technica

So what does artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning mean, anyway?

Artificial Intelligence is about the development of computers systems that are able to perform tasks that would normally require human intelligences such as visual identification speech recognition, decision-making and translating between languages. AI performs a role in many of the stems that you use everyday from using Siri on your phone, a chatbot on an ecommerce site like Staples or 1-800-Flowers or every time you use Google.

Machine learning is a subset of AI that allows computers to learn much the same way that people do, only faster and without being explicitly programmed for every task that they can complete.

“In economics, things take longer to happen than you think they will, and then they happen faster than you thought they could.” Rudi Dornbusch, German Economist

With oncoming ubiquity of AI in our everyday lives, you have to wonder where that trend will intersect with marketing. Loren considered whether marketers will be out of jobs in 10-15 years like Uber & Lyft drivers are expected to be. It’s a reasonable question to consider.

I was able to see a demo of IBM Watson’s Cognitive Technology for marketing at the World of Watson conference and there are some impressive possibilities. Outside of considering all the ways AI and machine learning could help with extracting insight from large amounts of data and the ongoing optimization, my big takeaway from the demo was that as with all industries that change, those that adapt will survive and thrive. Those that don’t, won’t.

Things like PPC, social ads and any other kind of online advertising would be ripe for AI. Another immediate and practical example of how AI and machine learning could help marketers is email subject line writing and testing….

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