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Melanie White Head of Content and Communications Adestra

Is AI all it’s cracked up to be, or does email already have the answer?


Artificial intelligence (AI) is getting huge buzz right now, with promises to do things like answering our emails for us and handling customer service.

In fact, a Weber Shandwick survey of CMOS found that they expect AI to transform marketing and communications even more than social media has. And, as consumers, we fully expect artificial intelligence to someday remind us to pick up milk on the way home.

AI does have a lot to offer – someday. At present, it’s an intriguing technology that’s being used to inform the development of everything from self-driving cars to medicine to, yes, marketing.

However, when it comes to consumer interactions, AI has many challenges, according to Tom Wood of Foolproof. These include:

  • Answers to consumer requests are only as good as the AI’s knowledge base.
  • Artificial agents can seem impersonal or robotic; algorithms that can help the AI differentiate between factual and emotional content are needed.
  • Consumer expectations for brand interactions are quite high, and automated responses may disappoint us.

And Garett Sloane of Digiday points out that it’s still difficult for brands to quantify and analyze chatbot interactions.

Mark Smith of Kitewheel throws a bit of cold water on the whole concept of artificial intelligence marketing. In his view, AI is the newest buzzworthy iteration of the kinds of analytics and automation already available to marketers. Besides, we still need human intelligence. He writes, “The intuition that guides marketing implementation is unique to humans.”

Already intelligent

Artificial intelligence and digital marketing alike rely on data. While the devil is in the details, as we all know, data-driven marketing works –- and the more data sources, the better it works. In fact, there’s plenty of intelligence in today’s marketing platforms. While you wait for the machines to take over your marketing duties, are you getting all the intelligence you could be out of the tools you already use?

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