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10 things marketers need to know about AI

James A. Martin | Feb. 24, 2017
AI-enabled marketing isn't just about cute chatbots. Here's what CMOs, CIOs and others need to know to make the most of AI in their marketing initiatives in 2017 and beyond.

More recently, you might go to, where you'd see an ad for an antihistamine. The ad would be displayed to you because you had previously visited the allergy part of the website.

A few years from now, an app or virtual assistant would know if you have allergies, when you're traveling to a certain city and what the pollen count currently is in that city. Then, if needed, it would recommend or even automatically purchase your preferred antihistamine medication,.and have it delivered as well.

In that situation (and endless variations of it), the consumer doesn't need to make a brand decision -- an AI platform does it for them based on what it knows about the consumer, Marshall says. Consequently, "it gets harder and harder to build a brand through marketing." In the age of AI, then, marketing will become much less about promises and claims and much more about outcome and performance.

"AI will and is entirely changing the nature of marketing organization in a way that's tremendous," Marshall says. Over the new few years, he expects that AI will take on many activities such as targeting and messaging. That means that some marketing jobs dependent upon those activities will disappear. So who survives? Those who focus on what the target customer's "next need" is, and those who deliver against that need with better outcomes, will be well positioned for the future, according to Marshall. Likewise, he foresees a shift in the nature of the marketing role from "persuasion" to "insight."

10. AI is about truly knowing your customers and making them fans

As marketing and technology chiefs come to terms with some of the disruption that AI will bring, they can move toward the real value that the technology could bring. That, according to See, will be a more tailored personalized approach to customer service that will help the firms that get it right stand out from their competitors.

"As the world moves forward, being able to differentiate your most-valued customers will be key," according to See. "AI will help marketers find those folks and give them a different level of treatment. It will help them deliver a differentiated experience that will in turn build customer loyalty. And it will do it at scale and cost."


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