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MarTech 2021 | Enhancing a Marketing Strategy with Artificial Intelligence

David Paul

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Marketing strategy

Speaking at DIGIT’s inaugural MarTech Virtual Summit, Daniel Winterstein, CTO at Good-Loop, discussed the ‘evolution’ of creative AI, and how the tech can aid your marketing strategy.

In recent years we have seen a series of breakthroughs in the capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

We are now adopting AI tech across industries worldwide and using it to power thousands of products in our lives, including computers, cars and even our kettles.

Business leaders, too, are beginning to see the value of AI integration within their organisations.

Research carried out in 2019 by Accenture revealed that that four out of five UK executives understand the need to scale AI across their firm to survive and remain competitive.

But how can AI be utilised for marketing purposes? In his talk at DIGIT’s inaugural MarTech Virtual Summit, Good-Loop CTO Daniel Winterstein covered a “realistic look” at what AI can do today in advertising.

Touching on the power of “unlocking smart personalisation and dynamic creation,” Winterstein also discussed the problems with AI and the creation of ‘bland’ advertising.

AI can allow marketers to create ‘on the fly’ and personalise campaigns for users. “What could possibly go wrong with that?” Winterstein asked.

What can AI do?

Using examples of historic versus current marketing logos and products, Winterstein suggested that the move to more modern advertising means that marketing campaigns and products have “lost a lot of identity”.

Winterstein identified that identity loss has been happening across advertising and marketing, driven by market testing and a push towards the mainstream; something which could be now accelerated by AI.

But to understand how AI can impact your marketing, you must first understand what AI itself is. Winterstein said that AI can cover a lot of areas, and means different things to different people.

“There are deep learning neural networks behind much of the cutting-edge AI. A lot of practical AI, though, is often driven by simplest things like flowcharts,” he said.

AI can also mean automation. Tasks that were once carried out in factories are now being done in offices around email and signup flows. However, Winterstein said that AI might not always be as it seems.

He commented: “It can sometimes mean people in disguise. More than once, a service that has been presented as AI has actually been powered at the back end by humans. And it can be a buzzword. Sometimes something masquerading as AI is just common software wearing shiny clothes.”

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Despite these potential issues, he said that all the tasks that AI can carry out are valuable and “have their place in our businesses”.

Current tools using AI software to generate images are useful for marketing purposes. While searching for or creating an image to use for marketing, you would have to consider copyright and privacy concerns. In the case of AI-generated images, this is not the case.

Winterstein said: “These tools have the ability for you to set up photos that have never existed. You can do Photoshop from your office computer [to produce these images].

“This technology is getting better year on year; it’s hard to say where the limits are. I am not sure if there are limits.”

Don’t be bland, and consider the ethics

However, Winterstein brought the talk back to identity loss, and the more common issue of marketers simply using AI to create blank advertising simply because it ‘works’.

“When people start looking at deploying AI in brand-safe spaces, there will be this push for bland, because it’s safe,” he said.

“Just because we have these tools which can create and personalise, it doesn’t mean that they are always giving value. Personalisation often isn’t actually that personal.”

So how can we avoid the creation of bland marketing campaigns? Winterstein suggests that, by injecting purpose and identity into the heart of your campaign, purpose-driven AI can deliver real results.

However, Winterstein also raised an important point on the ethical issues surrounding AI, mainly that every AI project should implement an ethics plan. Failing to do so can have a hugely negative impact on any project.

“If you roll out an AI without thinking about what you’re doing and what can go wrong, then it is all too easy to have unintended consequences, like systems which are sexist or systems that are racist,” he said.

Winterstein’s talk ended with a comment from AI software on the importance of ethics and the consideration of the purpose of your marketing campaign: “Design is a way to communicate your values to your audience. In order to do that, you have to really know who your audience is and what they care about.

“Brand purpose is the single most important way to drive the identity of your brand. The best brands are the ones that aren’t just trying to win customers but are also trying to make the world a better place.

“AI projects should be purposeful by design. One of the most important things to remember about projects that involve AI is that they should be inherently useful and help you achieve something that you couldn’t otherwise achieve without.”

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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