It used to be that only big businesses with plenty of budgets were able to harness the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for marketing. However, technology has come so far and has become a lot more affordable, meaning that today, even smaller companies can access AI.
Along with many sectors, the marketing industry has been badly disrupted during this time. Events based marketing has been hit hard. Nor has online been immune, numerous campaigns, months in planning and preparation, have been canceled as they are not appropriate for lockdown. Meanwhile, on the supply side, publishers are seeing an increase in readers – but a fall in revenue.
However, for the marketing industry, AI doesn’t have anything to offer. Because AI is driven by modeling the past where it excels at analysing past data, preferably from regularly repeated situations. When there’s no historical data to go on, or when the world has shifted and the old data is no longer representative, then AI is lost and unreliable.
Here are some of the challenges Covid-19 and lockdown have raised within marketing – and how with preparation, AI could be used next time.
One of the first effects within advertising was a widespread canceling of adverts by many corporates. A lot of email marketing was also switched off for the same reason. This was not unwise there are lots of examples of automated email systems that sent out inappropriate messages, accidentally exhorting people to break lockdown rules.
AI could help us to be more selective by filtering adverts to flag which ones are inappropriate for a crisis mood, and which ones might conflict with lockdown rules.
By using more advanced AI analysis of news articles, crude keyword blacklisting can be replaced with more nuanced and emotionally-intelligent screening. AI can help us understand whether or not it’s appropriate to place your brand advert next to an article that mentions coronavirus, or similar “bad” words. This would be good for both publishers and advertisers.
Looking behind the ads to the industry that makes them much of what we do is digital and can carry on regardless of lockdown. However, working-from-home has disrupted workflows and staff. Automated scheduling and task-management tools can provide more dynamic workflows by allowing companies to handle such disruption smoothly. Advertising is also a key tool for public information. Governments and health-services have been using advertising to distribute information on coronavirus. The marketing industry is not as crucial as medical staff and ventilators, but it does play an important part in supporting healthcare. Smarter and better advertising systems can help spread information when it is most needed.