AI in marketing: Is it ready to fulfill its potential and are marketers ready?

06 July 2018 / Martin Benson
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the latest buzzword in marketing – but do marketers really understand what its potential is, and are they ready for it? Martin Benson, Head of AI Consulting at Jaywing, explores the topic and reveals all in our latest blog. 


Are marketers ready for AI?

From chat bots and virtual bank assistants, to face recognition and machine translation, AI has been big marketing news over the past few months and is being used to automate previously manual tasks and generate deeper insight from data.
Yet in our data-driven marketing research report, we discovered that many marketers, across all sectors, are lagging behind with data analysis skills – even at a basic level.

The research, which captured the views of over 250 managerial to c-level marketers across four industry sectors, revealed that two-fifths of marketers (40%) believe a lack of data and analytical skills is preventing them from delivering effective customer relationship management (CRM) strategies.

Yet now more than ever, marketers need to be able to capture and refine vast amounts of data to generate better and deeper insights on customers, with the ability to predict what customers will need next, and when they need it. With data proliferating like never before, the potential to use it in predicting customer outcomes has never been greater, yet this proliferation in some ways makes it feel more difficult to achieve.

Is AI ready to fulfil its role in marketing?

For many years now, marketers have used statistical techniques and data to generate insight and to automate and optimise decisions. While advanced modelling techniques such as neural nets have been available throughout, they have not been heavily adopted to date, with people tending to stick to relatively straightforward approaches instead. There have been a number of key developments in the last few years which mean that is about to change.

A new dawn for AI?

The first step-change is processing power. Computing power has marched on according to Moore’s law, which says that processing power will double roughly every 18 months. And, the shift from CPUs (Central Processing Units) to GPUs (Graphical Processing Units) has also super-charged AI’s modelling capabilities. It’s now possible to train deep neural networks more than a thousand times faster than it was 10 years ago. 

Furthermore, hardware designed specifically to accelerate deep learning is being brought to market (for instance the Tensor Processing Units that Google has developed) and will drive further significant gains.

The second big development that has really moved things forward is the algorithmic improvements that have been made in the last few years, such as ‘dropout’ and ‘rectified linear units’. These mean it’s now possible to train better, deeper neural networks than ever before, which has radically improved efficiency and significantly improved the performance of deep neural networks compared to linear models.

Finally, as more, richer data has become available over time, advanced techniques like neural networks have become more valuable since they’re better able to exploit the additional data than simpler approaches are.

Embracing AI the easy way

The rise of newly developed technology, such as Jaywing’s modelling software Archetype, allows marketers to unlock greater customer insights. With access to tools that create better performing models, brands can transform the way their CRM campaigns work, targeting personalised campaigns and content across all channels, at the people most likely to respond, amending their strategies to focus retention activity, or using insights from deep within their data to eke out more profit than traditional techniques. This allows you to focus your marketing activity where it’s going to make most difference.
Archetype provides a uniquely simple way to generate powerful predictive models on your own data. Where other tools require detailed statistical and programming knowledge to produce good models, Archetype has been designed to make producing machine learning models easy and accessible. Anyone with a good understanding of the business problem being modelled, and the data available can create great models – no statistics PhD required!

This unique tool enables brands to model almost any outcome on almost any data set - whether that’s in pricing, product and channel propensity, customer value, marketing attribution, digital activity or a host of other fields.  They help brands do more, in less time, with better results so they can focus on what’s most important – their customers. Archetype is a significant advancement in the market and for which Jaywing has applied for a patent.

The key to smarter marketing

AI and machine learning can enable marketers to quickly deliver sophisticated data-driven marketing, based on smart data insights, such as razor-sharp customer segmentation, predicting customer behaviour and delivering personalisation across all channels. 
But modelling is not the only area of application of AI in marketing.  Jaywing can provide AI-based tools such as Decision, an automated bidding tool which optimises your Pay Per Click campaign activity in real time, increasing and decreasing bid prices as the market fluctuates to keep you at the optimum point in the listings.  And we can work with you a project basis to apply AI techniques to almost any business problem that can be improved with the addition of machine learning or AI.


Find out more about Jaywing’s AI predictive modelling software Archetype and AI Consultancy Services.