What Human Teams Can Learn From Machine Learning Marketing Algorithms

Opinion: If you can’t beat it, copy it

The clock is ticking as machine learning algorithms get smarter with every new campaign
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Artificial-intelligence-powered automation of human jobs has been a hot topic over the past decade. But while factory workers and other manual roles may have grimly accepted their position in the firing line, most skilled white-collar workers with creative roles have been assured that time is on their side.

However, ex Google president Kai-Fu Lee’s recent prediction that AI would soon obliterate one-half of all jobs, and that white-collar jobs would disappear first, may have marketers, content creators and other creatives feeling the heat.

The biggest disruption to marketing as we know it comes from machine learning AI applications, which can learn and improve over time independently after being taught with massive datasets of information. Ironically, the technology that is now making humans redundant was actually designed based on how the human brain works.

However, before marketers start running to the hills, it should be noted that smart marketing apps are not actually new. Facebook has long been using machine-learning algorithms for targeted advertising, and Gartner predicts that 20 percent of all business advertising content is already being authored by smart machines.

So, with AI getting smarter every day, what qualities can human teams learn from machine learning marketing algorithms in order to stay relevant?

Focus on making creative campaigns more relevant and real-time

In the fast-paced internet age, it can be difficult to stay up to date with consumer trends. To market effectively to consumers, you need to know what is hot and what is not for different demographics in real time.

The main lesson to be learned from machine learning AI is the importance of being relevant and assessing trends in real-time. Machine learning marketing apps are designed to provide the most relevant information instantly by constantly analyzing data from millions of sources in order to ensure that insights are always up-to-date and of value.

Traditionally, a common pitfall for human marketing teams has been building creative campaigns around their clients’ products and services, rather than actually working out what content is resonating most with their target audiences at that time and handcrafting campaigns around it.

Even today, in a world when consumers are constantly leaving digital clues about their behavior online using search engines or social media, marketers still use outdated techniques to gain insights such as focus groups and surveys. To top it off, once information has been gathered and processed, creative campaigns can take months to actually come to fruition, by which point they risk having become irrelevant, or old news.

If human teams are to stay competitive, they need to become more data-driven and find a way to accelerate creative projects that speak to their target audience on a personal level, based on hard data about what is catching eyeballs. This could mean harnessing free tools like Google Trends or using software-as-a-service providers like Sprout Social to monitor internet chatter on particular themes and current events.

Teams also need to find ways to streamline the creative content-production process by building a library of potential content based on a forecast of upcoming events and reducing the amount of approvals needed for sign-off.

If they can do so, human teams have a head-start over AI due to their creativity. However, as AI becomes smarter with time, this gap will shorten—and quickly.

Evolve naturally by staying on top of technological trends

The most amazing aspect of machine learning algorithms are their ability to evolve, adapt and make decisions independently, without needing to be programmed to do so.

In an age where trends and technologies are evolving at breakneck speed, creative teams need to adopt this level of proactivity and stay in tune with developments and technological advances in their industry. Advertising has moved well out of the comfort zone of print and TV. Whether it be on social media or sponsoring esports teams, marketers need to keep their finger on the pulse of where their target audience is spending its time and move at lightning speed.