AI and the Transformation of Marketing

Friday, June 23, 2017

Event Recap: "AI and the Transformation of Marketing"

On Wednesday, June 21, 2017, I had the pleasure of attending my first AIMA Innovation Series event. This event focused on artificial intelligence (AI) and how it is disrupting the marketing industry as we know it.

Event sponsor and host Nebo accompanied the event with delicious food offerings from Figs and Honey Catering, brews from Scofflaw Brewing Co., and AI themed trivia prizes. Prior to the speaker presentations, members and guests were also invited to interact with a variety of AI focused technology such as Google Home, Google Draw, Amazon Echo, and IBM Watson.

The evening’s speakers included:

  • Matthew Pritchard, Co-Site Lead for Google Atlanta (Head of Industry, Retail & Advertising Partnerships)

  • Derek Banta, Director of Digital & Mobile Engagement for UPS

  • Will Hakes, Managing Director for KPMG

AIMA Event.jpg

As each guest speaker took the stage, they were introduced by Bennett Travers, the Innovation Lead at Nebo Agency.

Google’s Matthew Pritchard kicked off the evening with his overview of machine learning and how it applies to the overarching concept of AI and marketing as a whole. He introduced the theory that machine learning starts with a data set, then that data set goes through an algorithm to identify patterns, and the patterns found are then used to derive insights that marketers can utilize. He really honed in on the fact that machines only learn from what is directly taught to them. Some of the machine learning concept examples he presented were with Google Photos, Google Translate, the Chinese game of Go, and self-driving cars. Matthew reiterated the comment made by Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai, that within the next 10 years we will shift from a mobile-first world to an AI-first world. The shift is already happening and marketers need to start leveraging AI in many of its forms with some of the most common being with smart bidding, targeting, ad formats, and attribution. Machine learning, if utilized properly, can provide huge payoffs for marketers and in the future one of the greatest possibilities for AI can be in predictive inventory planning.

Next, Derek Banta of UPS shared the differences between machine learning and AI with the main focus being that AI is simply just the concept of teaching machines human thinking. He also pointed out that AI isn’t perfect and can fail. Derek told the audience, “AI can help marketers with almost every bit of the ‘What’ but not the ‘Why’.” Due to the lack of human emotional intelligence, AI will almost always struggle with the “Why.” This is where marketers will still be of great value to the industry. Throughout his presentation, Derek also referenced a few AI technologies such as chat bots and Netflix predictive watching to help the audience connect with the real-world application of AI in today’s world. He also brought up an example of how Legendary Entertainment is taking huge advantage of AI to cut down on expenses and predict what movies to make and how to market them through the use of 80 million micro-segments for their audiences. AI is changing the game of marketing and it’s all about finding the right application for the right business.

To conclude the speaker presentations, KPMG’s Will Hakes began by explaining that AI is not a new concept. He presented on the role that AI plays in analytics and introduced the Analytics 4.0 Ecosystem consisting of machine learning systems. Will also made it very apparent that trusting in analytics for companies is key and AI is relevant despite what some managers may think. He introduced the idea of small AI and big AI and how marketers should really be focusing on small AI with data integration and their marketing recommendations. Big AI refers to the holistic picture of artificial intelligence, whereas small AI, also known as narrow AI, focuses on specific goals and objectives in relation to marketers.

A panel discussion and Q&A, moderated by Paul Roetzer, took place following the conclusion of the guest speaker presentations. Paul is the Founder and CEO of PR 20/20 and is also the creator of the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute.

I thoroughly enjoyed my first AIMA event and everything it had to offer. From the amazing networking opportunities within the industry to the innovative guest speakers, this event far exceeded my expectations. I look forward to attending more AIMA events in the future and am excited for the opportunity to grow my professional network!

Blog by Draven Sonnon, a Digital Marketing Intern at Relevance Advisors