More Than Half of Marketers Say AI Is Not Meeting Their Needs

9 in 10 use it, but more than half find it lacking, new report finds

While nearly nine in 10 marketers say they have used artificial intelligence in some form to do their job better, a number of challenges still prevent them from tapping the technology’s full potential.

That’s according to a new survey from Forrester Research and marketing AI platform Albert in which 156 marketers with decision-making power over their respective companies’ tech purchases offered their takes on the current state of the AI hype cycle.

While marketers have rushed to bolster operations with AI to keep pace with a rapid advancement in the field—adoption has jumped from 43% in 2016 to 88% today—many have reported being hampered by inertial institutional problems like a lack of uniform data or outdated systems. Past reports have claimed that as much as 80% of the average data scientist’s time is spent on menial data organization tasks.

Forrester’s researchers blamed some of the difficulties with AI on the limited scope of brands’ use of it. The paper says the vast majority of marketers with AI capabilities use it to surface campaign insights. But only 39% believe it can play a role in creative development, and 34% think it can tie together different business functions.

“We found that while AI has worked its way past vernacular into the common toolset of many marketers,” the authors wrote, “very few are collaborating with AI-autonomous solutions and are thus missing out on AI’s potential to solve for their most pressing challenges.”

Marketers seemed to have the most success using AI to better control the media-buying process—50% said their efforts toward that goal were “well supported” by available technology—followed by boosting campaign effectiveness (49%), improving customer experience (43%) and increasing customer retention (39%).

A broader shortage in skilled data scientists that’s long dogged AI is another problem for marketers. Twenty-eight percent of marketers pointed to hiring and retaining talent as their biggest obstacle with tech adoption, while a similar percentage blamed duplication of vendors and 26% a lack of integration between technologies.