Let’s pop the balloon. Despite everything you have read or heard in recent months the machine won’t answer all of your questions, and it won’t replace you.

It might even create more work for you if you are not careful. But the bottom line is that an ancient rule of information technology remains undisturbed. If you put garbage in you get garbage out.

This is the key messages we wanted out customers to take away from this year’s Oracle Modern Marketing Experience. As a time when AI is fast approaching the very peak of inflated expectations, it is important to understand clearly what AI will and won’t do for marketing over the next few years.

First the good news. AI will make a difference and will make for more effective marketing for those brands who have their data story straight, and who know what they are trying to achieve.

Even without AI, brands now have access to amazing pools of third party data and can already utilize tools like DMPs to run more effective digital advertising campaigns.

AI however, will help brands leverage that data to make the right kind of marketing offers.

There’s no such thing as exactly the right offer because all offers are relative. We’re human beings and we are trying to tap into emotions.

Decisions, decisions

When you send an email you have a series of decisions you need to make for instance about the subject line. Then you have decisions to make about the premium real estate inside the email, which usually consists of the preview pane or the first sentence of the text body.

In the world of the email, it’s all about “How do we know we’ve got the right subject line? How do we know we’ve got the right first statements making the offer? How do we know we’ve got the right imagery? How do we know that we’re making the right offer at the right time.”

AI is a way of leveraging that data to see if we can make a better decision. Brands already have access to cool technology from companies like Oracle to help them test and learn quickly, but that testing and learning is based on how people respond to it.

Testing is a really good approach, but imagine if we had access to that broader pool of data to make decisions about a much wider set of possibilities.

In simple, yet really exciting terms, AI is about using third party data along with your other data sets to help you make a decision on which offers to make

That is the reality of AI in marketing today, and for the foreseeable future. It is about making better decisions on what to say to somebody. There are different points in a customer’s journey when you need to make a decision about what to say

Work to be done

Now the less good news. Whether the use case is improved decisioning around digital advertising or the content in emails, marketers still have to do almost all of the same work as before around the management of that campaign.

Sure, you have additional insights to help you drive a better result. But AI won’t take away the process determining the nature of your campaign and planning out what offers to make and to whom.

But here’s the rub.

Brands still need to feed that AI machine with the right data to help make the right decisions.

If you give the machine the wrong data it is not going to tell you, “You’ve given me the wrong data.” Instead, it is going to make a decision based on that data and that is almost certainly going to be a wrong decision.

The bottom line is that AI will make your marketing more effective. But while it is taking some of the work away, but it’s taking work that you couldn’t have done yourself, to begin with.

About the Author

Will Griffith is the regional vice president, Sales APAC, at  Oracle Marketing Cloud which is a member of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit. Members contribute their expertise and insights for the benefit of our readers. Membership fees apply.

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