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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Will Artificial Intelligence Make Email Marketers Obsolete? | MediaPost Communications - Mobile Insider

Photo:  Loren McDonald
"Forrester Research says intelligent agents (cognitive marketing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, chatbots, etc.) will eliminate 6% of U.S. jobs by 2021.  But machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) are already making inroads in marketing areas usually reserved for humans." reports , Op-Ed Contributor. 

Is it time to push the panic button? Will marketer jobs as we know them today become obsolete in five, 10 or 15 years?

No on the panic button, but some marketing roles will clearly be at risk in the future.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning will bring significant changes to marketing, but those changes will most likely come through automating repetitive tasks that machines can do more efficiently.

This will free up marketers to work on activities where the human touch is more reliable, such as planning, strategy, context and correction.

It's what I call "center-brain marketing," which unites the data-focused left brain with the creative right brain to fuel success in a future driven by machine learning. 

What AI means for marketers
You've seen all the hype over self-driving cars, right? Marketing AI is similar. Both autonomous-driving technology for cars and marketing AI will handle the most routine, repeatable tasks -- but humans, at least for the near future, will set and correct the destination and keep their hands on or near the wheel.

A couple of definitions:
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) is the blanket term. It's the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.
  • Machine learning is a subset of AI that allows computers to learn the same way people do, only faster, without being explicitly programmed. It enables algorithms to improve through self-learning from data without any human intervention.
Machine learning is moving into the email technology mainstream, as you might have read about in industry publications like MediaPost -- or heard when you attend conferences where early adopter companies and technology vendors have been talking about it for a couple of years.

Subject lines are an excellent proving ground for AI and machine learning, because computers can figure out which combination of words, phrases and images in a subject line works best to meet the goals you set for a specific kind of email.

Machine learning can select content assets in emails for hyper-personalization, such as choosing which offers to send to different segments based on behavior and other data. More than dynamic content, these assets represent what works best for the brand.