By Maxine Brenner, Head of Content and Outreach, Hive19
It’s strange to think back just a couple of years when, to most marketers, artificial intelligence (AI) was just a villain in a second-rate sci-fi movie.
There had been rumblings of the day when AI would arrive in reality and start changing the world – but to many, this sounded like a problem for future generations. And yet, we’ve now seen the dawn of AI as something that affects our day-to-day lives.
AI is becoming prevalent everywhere from cyber security and medicine, to business finance and legal cases. And perhaps nowhere has seen a greater integration of AI than in marketing.
We’re seeing transformative technologies evolving before our eyes. AI went from the niche of nerds and computer science graduates to headline news. And while the to-be-expected old trope of ‘machines are taking your jobs’ is just tabloid panic – there have genuinely been some worrying signs about the dangers AI could present to the world, as well as the positives.
Geoffrey Hinton, the so-called ‘godfather of AI‘ stepped down from a position at Google to focus his time on discussing the dangers of AI. And while the allure of AI’s potential is certainly something that is going to continue to be a huge interest to businesses and consumers, it’s important to recognise that there are risks alongside the potential opportunities for marketers.
There can be no doubt about the potential power of AI within marketing, but to become too reliant on it is a mistake. At Hive19, we’ve been able to ethically integrate AI into our workflow to improve efficiencies and streamline our workflow. From content ideation to measuring authority gains for SaaS and fintech clients through the backlinks we earn, AI supports us by replacing manual tasks and automating the heavy-lifting, manual parts of link building.
Agency owners and independent marketers alike should be mindful of AI’s lack of creativity and independent thought when implementing this technology within their work.
Paying attention to Google’s continued focus on providing E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) within search results is likely to only increase in years to come. AI technology hasn’t advanced enough to be able to provide the E-E-A-T that audiences and consumers expect from online businesses.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the major marketing opportunities presented by AI but counterbalance that by showcasing the challenges and the risks we should all be aware of.
The rapid rise of AI
The rise of AI in a very short time has been nothing short of astounding. AI is evolving before our eyes – as it affects one section of marketing, it rapidly moves to the next, as machine learning and predictive analysis have gone from the domain of tech giants and international enterprises to something available to everyone.
But what has enabled AI to rise at such a staggering rate? The truth is there are a large number of factors at play.
The first is that AI is extremely effective – take a piece of software like ChatGPT that is able to write create detailed briefs for content in seconds rather than the hours it would take a professional SEO or editor. The quality of these blogs (if written by ChatGPT) can be questioned – but the speed and efficiency in creating briefs can’t.
The second point comes in the accessibility of tools. Once only available to data scientists and computer specialists, AI tools are available easily to the public. Some are even currently available completely free.
The expectations for AI from marketers have changed. Customers are demanding personalised experiences, and AI is providing marketers with a way to offer that to them. The idea of personalised product recommendations might have once been only a theory – now it’s very much a reality.
The opportunities of AI
It’s clear that there are huge opportunities for marketers to use AI effectively – and these opportunities don’t simply represent small time savings or slight improvements to the way you work; they can be transformative.
One of the most crucial ways that AI can benefit marketers is by providing them with the ability to glean deep insights into the behaviour of customers.
Machine learning algorithms can offer details of customer preferences and demographics which can then be utilised to create far more tailored marketing campaigns.
But AI can help in more ways than one. An example of this is the ability of AI to take away much of the grunt work from marketing – AI tools can be used to automate processes such as social media posting and email marketing campaigns.
And more effective customer experiences are now within reach, thanks to AI. Chatbots and virtual assistants can provide 24/7 support, answering customer inquiries promptly. AI also enables sentiment analysis, allowing you to gauge customer satisfaction and address concerns in real time.
The challenges of AI
It is certainly the case that AI comes with challenges for marketers – one of the key issues is data privacy and security.
AI tends to be data-hungry, and there is growing concern over how consumer data is handled and whether this can comply with regulations like the GDPR. Marketers need to feel confident in the software that they use and that it effectively navigates all of the intricacies of data protection regulations.
Additionally, there are potential problems with algorithm bias. AI systems are only ever as effective and fair as the data that they are trained on – if there is bias contained within the data it uses, this can lead to consistently poor or even unfair outputs based around discrimination on characteristics such as age, gender, sexuality or race.
The risks of AI
While challenges are a part of any type of marketing trends or technological advancements – AI also comes with increased levels of risk for marketers.
AI softwares are still extremely new, and the pace of change that developers are attempting to keep up with is causing these product makers to take risks, in the race to secure themselves as early key players in shaping the role that AI will play in the future.
Ultimately, then, we just don’t know how the development of AI is going to affect marketing plans. For example, the use of AI copywriting might seem like an opportunity to save time. However, Google will likely determin low quality AI content as a problem for users and begin to penalise websites for using it.
AI tools can begin to force businesses down marketing routes that they might not be familiar with. If the work that AI tools recommend becomes ineffective, it may be difficult to overcome the problem that AI simply doesn’t understand a certain factor about customer behaviour.
About the Author
Maxine is Head of Content and Outreach at Hive19, specialising in growth marketing for brands across sectors including fintech, SaaS, eCommerce, and disruptor startups. Maxine has provided link building and content marketing for some of the world’s highest-trafficked websites. Connect with Maxine: @MaxineBremnerPR and LinkedIn.