3 Ways to Excel at AI Marketing

Insight from Digital Expert and Tech Evangelist Jeremy Waite

Editor’s Note: This is just the tip of the iceberg. Learn more about how you can capitalize on AI by watching Jeremy Waite’s Innovator Series video.

AI has the potential to revolutionize the way we do business. And according to Jeremy Waite, Chief Strategy Officer at IBM and marketing technology evangelist, it can also change the way that we do marketing. The promise? To save us so much time that we get back to what we did so well in the first place: build communities and create content that people fall in love with.

Below, Jeremy shares his best tips on how to effectively use AI to better your life and your business.

Fix the broken things first

Everybody wants AI because it’s awesome. You see what it can do, and of course you want to invest in it, but you need to fix the stuff that's broken first. In fact, Kevin Kelly, the founder of Wired Magazine, said, “There's no business case for innovation. You'd better perfect what you know.” Stop trying to invest in too many shiny things.

Marketers should stop trying to invest in too many shiny things—instead fixing what's broken first.


Invest in people more than technology

The companies that are successful are the ones that invest more in people than technology, and their chief executives get it. The ones that fall over are the ones that say, "There's all my money. Get Watson to solve all my stuff." Of course, it's not going to because you need people to make it work.

If you were to buy an AI and have one person training it, that's a problem, because you're relying upon that one person's bias. One thing you'll notice is Watson's only accurate when you put a lot of data into it. The more data you put in, the more accurate it's going to be. You've got huge teams that are going into training the AIs, and the reason Gartner says you need to spend $7 in people for every dollar in technology is so that you don't get into any problems. When you get lots of people training it at scale, it alleviates the fact that it's going to be biased.

Don’t personalize—personify

You don't need to know everything about everyone anymore, you just need to know a few things about a lot of people. The issue is that in 2018, 55% of consumers don't want to give you any of their data, ever. What you should be looking at is not just AI, but is personification. What's the right message to the right person at the right time when you don't have any personal information? That's the big win over the next few years. How do you understand the next best action when you don't have any personally identifiable information?

In fact, here's a good example. If you go to thenorthface.com—you all know, the big climbing brand—they have an expert personal shopper, which is called thenorthface.com/xps. It's powered by Watson. It doesn't ask you for any information at all. You just type in, "I'm going sailing to Stockholm next December." You start having a conversation with it like a real person. It doesn't ask you for anything. No opt-in, no sign-in with Facebook, no give me your details and then I'll show you all of our sexy stuff. It just starts a conversation.

Where brands like North Face are doing incredibly well is realizing, "We need to provide a stupidly valuable experience before we could even have the right to ask for any data." If you go on that website, you'll see it's like chatting to a person in-store. It's basically the store experience on a website. If you get such a great experience, when it says at the end, "Do you want to buy?" They’ve seen a 65% click-through, people spending two and a half minutes on-site, and NPS has shot through the roof. When it asks you for your email, you might be like, "Well, that's cool. That was a great experience. I liked that." You didn't show me the thing on the home page that was super expensive. You showed me the thing in the back that I really need when I go sailing at that time of the year.

As you look to embrace AI, let these strong closing words from Jeremy stick with you, “Technology alone is nothing. What's important is that we have faith in people—that they're good and they're smart. If you give them the right tools, they'll do something wonderful with them.”

Want even more from Jeremy? Check out the full video here:

Editor's note: Curious what's ahead for 2019—including AI and beyond? Check out our tipsheet, filled with 2019 predictions for digital customer engagement from household names including LEGO, NBA, and Southwest Airlines:

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Caitlin Cavanaugh is the Brand Marketing Manager for Spredfast, where she spends her time building the world’s most #SmartSocial brand through the power of customer voice. When she’s not chasing a revolutionary success story, you can find her embarking on her next hunting or fishing expedition or baking up a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies.