The catch-up on Kopi Chat Deep Dive — Colliding AI with marketing: How is it bringing content to the next level?

Contributed by Kwon Know Young

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasingly being applied in many industries including the marketing industry, which analyses thousands of datasets of CRM, UX, SEO, and Customer feedback. AI has big, inevitable potential impact on marketing despite it being not fully utilised today and being at a relatively early stage.

In our Kopi Chat Deep Dive panel on 23 September 2020, we discussed the topic in depth with our two specially invited panellists:

- Yiwen Chan, Co-founder and Head of Commercial, Hire Digital & Content.co

Yiwen has helped hundreds of organisations including fortune 500 enterprises, growth start-ups, and government agencies to fulfil their talents needs. Previously a journalist at The Business Times and a Forbes 30 Under 30 alumnus in Media, Marketing & Advertising, Yiwen has been featured in various publications including Marketing Magazine, Forbes and The Straits Times.

- Thibaut Briere, Founder, Growth Marketing Studio

Thibaut provides consultancy (boutique agency) for start-ups, and entrepreneurs define their growth strategies. He is a developer by training, marketer by trait, and has worked with both start-up and corporations like Nokia, CISCO. He is on a mission to help start-ups with their content strategies and growth marketing.

Quick overview: How can AI help in marketing?

To put some context into how AI has been integrated in marketing, Thibaut outlined the role of a marketer, “As a marketeer, you have to understand AI. Because it is already [here]”. He further explained that advertisements by big companies such as Facebook and Google made use of AI for targeted marketing and therefore it would be essential to understand how these algorithms work on the surface-level.

On the other hand, Yiwen explained that while companies can be intimidated with new AI applications, machine learning technologies soon after assimilation to the digital marketing landscape but it is a marketer’s job to seek the right audience, nuancing the right message at the right time, through the right platforms and channels. We should always think about using the various technological tools in how it can refine the marketing objectives and add value to the branding of the organisation that you are supporting.

Both our speakers explained the importance of AI technology as another tool for marketers to leverage to communicate with customers. AI is also only effective when there are enough datasets and traffic to do for example, A/B testing. So, AI becomes more appropriate for companies with a certain size and traffic.

Food for thought #1: Does AI remove human biases?

One of the strong propositions of the use of AI are that it removes human errors and biases. But this is true as far as the team who is building the system set the correct algorithms behind it. So, while AI can seem to have lesser human biases, it can never be completely be free of them. Another bias which is difficult to avoid would be caused by the various interpretations that marketers might have while looking at the data.

Hence, it is necessary to have human intervention in the process to analyse data meaningfully. Ultimately, whether AI can actually remove human errors is up to question.

Food for thought #2: Challenges of AI in marketing could be more of an internal problem?

Thibaut highlighted that a potential challenge is when companies utilise AI third party services with ‘proprietary AI black box’, they can optimize ad spending etc. without having a clue on what is going on with their marketing campaigns. Not knowing the ‘why’ and not understanding the technology can be risky and lead to overreliance on the service provider.

Having worked with multiple teams before, Yiwen pointed out that current marketing teams tend to work in silos, making it difficult for an agile process. Agile marketing can be started with squads which do not report to higher-ups, cross-functional teams, supporting functions with Tests, KPIs, and Scrum.

Food for thought #3: Can AI really learn everything?

Some companies may have CRM specialists or a team of specialists that devote their attention purely on cleaning the data, which can lead to more accurate analysis. While AI is making huge progress in learning to predict outcomes or propose a certain solution but, in most cases, they perform best under fixed rules and conditions. But today it is often that AI is left on their own without human invention. This causes a conflict because an AI machine may not know the next steps for outcomes that are ambiguous — For example, AI may not be able to differentiate a joke or a sarcasm which any human can.

Food for thought #4: Will AI marketing ever take over traditional means of marketing?

Interestingly, Thibaut’s view was that AI is clearly here to stay but human interactions, innovative emotions and empathy in content creation will be something that AI cannot conventionally detect and hence there has to be human focus in these areas as well.

Yiwen on the other hand, believes that the future will depend on how traditional marketing and AI are defined as there are many forms of integration of marketing at different stages of the product-life cycle. In some ways, AI complements and makes traditional marketing methods even better. For instance, AI can completely replace menial tasks such as news reporting and automation of simple tasks. This will allow marketers to focus more on optimising content on channels and in-depth analysis. She also agreed that AI in marketing will be here to stay as but as a marketer, maintaining the agile marketing mindset would be most important.

Our final conclusion

Ultimately, integration of AI will be inevitable within 3–5 years down the road despite it being in early adoption stages today. It is vital to understand AI as a tool and it should never be fully relied on. With its current limitations, the human eye is still required in order to beef up content and marketing.

To find out more about the panellists or to join their teams, head to:

● Hire Digital & Content.co: hiredigital.com & content.co

● Growth Marketing Studio: https://growthmarketingstudio.co/

If you are keen on entrepreneurship and technology, check out similar events on NUS Enterprise website (https://enterprise.nus.edu.sg/).

Watch the full session of — [Kopi Chat Deep Dive — Colliding AI with marketing: How is it bringing content to the next level] for free over here!

Upcoming next month — we will be chatting with Ajay Bulusu, Co-founder of NextBillion.Ai on 4 Nov. Sign up here!

NUS Enterprise nurtures entrepreneurial talents with global mindsets, while advancing innovation and entrepreneurship at Asia’s leading university.

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