Is AI Terminating the Human Marketer?

by Chelsea Barone

Artificial intelligence (AI) offers a treasure trove of advantages to marketers, with knowledge of the customer being the crown jewel. AI gives marketers the ability to anticipate their customers’ needs and challenges effortlessly, thus enabling them to surprise and delight these customers more effectively than ever before.

Mike Mack, CEO and Co-Founder of Fract

Because implementing AI into your company’s marketing strategy is no longer optional, no matter the industry, Modern Marketing Today sat down with Mike Mack, CEO and Co-Founder of Fract, to discuss how AI initiatives affect today’s marketers, specifically through a retail lens. Fract creates geospatial AI platforms for retailers that allow their users to capitalize on the endless trends and algorithms that AI can capture.

In our discussion, Mike made it clear that AI possesses analytical abilities with which traditional market researchers could never compete. The quantity of data and the speed at which that data can be processed by AI platforms somewhat displaces the role of traditional market research – something that can take months and a rather large budget. Mike explained, “AI runs all the time and creates patterns that don’t even exist yet. You could hire 100 people to try and do this, but it’s just not possible.”

This prompted a reaction that is the foundation for so many sci-fi novels and movies. Is AI a threat to human jobs in marketing? And the answer is more complicated than you might think.

While AI is certainly taking over more mundane responsibilities like data gathering and number crunching, jobs for humans won’t disappear by a long shot. It simply will result in a higher caliber of marketer. One that’s armed with mountains of invaluable data, the knowledge to take action based on that data, and the ability to allocate more time and resources towards strategy.

This also means that we’ll likely see a rising demand for data-savvy marketers that can operate as AI specialists. As Mike put it, by having to function more as a “consultancy to the AI,” marketers of tomorrow will notice a shift in their required background and credentials. They must educate themselves and adapt in order to be successful and competitive in their desired field.

Even though our discussion with Mike mainly focused on the application of AI in consumer retail, these circumstances can be applied to both the public and private sectors. People spend thousands of dollars and hours on market research – something that AI can perform in seconds at a much lower price point. And that price point for AI infrastructure will continue to drop as the technology mainstreams.  That’s an advantage that cannot be overlooked in a time where our federal budget is particularly strapped.

According to Mike, no one is going to care about AI soon enough because it will be so ingrained in our business structure. It will be like asking if a company uses email. So in the coming years, marketers should be prepared to properly wield their strongest weapon out in the field: artificial intelligence.