Why Intelligent Automation is Needed
Let’s face it: the future isn’t shaping up to be what was predicted for it in previous decades. There are no flying automobiles, and Alexa and Siri are the closest thing to robot butlers. By suggesting local Thai restaurants or taking care of our virtual shopping carts as we shout our shopping lists across the room, they may be quite helpful, don’t get me wrong. They are not, however, truly artificial intelligence (AI). In reality, nothing that is being offered on the market truly is—at least not yet.
For instance, any martech has an AI designation when used in marketing. However, a large portion of what marketers advertise as their machine learning, data-driven, lead-boosting, and conversion-creating tools is merely AI in the strictest sense. Thus, intelligent automation, or IA, is a better term to characterize these technologies.
What distinguishes AI from IA, and why does it matter?
Narrow vs. General Intelligence
Understanding the differences between broad and narrow intelligence will help explain why most martech is not AI.
- AI generally
General AI refers to the artificial intelligence that we are familiar with from science fiction. Similar to our own human intelligence, it is adaptable and always learning. In actuality, the only notable distinction between AI and human intelligence is that AI was created by humans. Much like humans may decide how and what we will learn—and what we will do with that learning—it has the ability to set its own parameters.
It’s conceivable that general artificial intelligence will materialize at some point, but it’s unclear when this development will take place or what all of its ramifications will be. While we wait for HAL from 2001 to materialize, we have restricted AI.
- Narrow AI
In martech, we often discuss narrow AI rather than the AI seen in robot butlers and sci-fi movies. The apparent voices and faces of narrow AI are Alexa and Siri, but this form of intelligence is always operating all around us. Narrow AI can manage calendars, reply to basic customer inquiries, spot probable fraud, and warn you about improper content. It does a superb job of evaluating data depending on predetermined criteria. It is intelligent in the sense of multiple-choice questions, but the jobs it can perform are more confined. This
Actually, narrow AI is just advanced automation. Automation is also nothing new. It has likely existed since the 2nd century B.C.E., when the Greek engineer Ctesibus developed a feedback control system to maintain the operation of his water clock. Automation is used in everything from auto assembly lines to elevators and phone switchboards, all based on guidelines established by operators or engineers. But even extremely complicated automation isn’t considered “intelligent” in the perspective of AI.
If you press the “door open” button on an elevator while it is moving rather than after it has arrived at a certain floor, for instance, the elevator will react differently. There is no mental process taking place, therefore an elevator is not intelligent. However, we refer to our email marketing platforms as “artificial intelligence” because they essentially perform elevator-like functions when given the proper instructions.
We like the phrase “intelligent automation” because of this. In a way, the automation is clever. After all, it is intended to understand specific facts and respond appropriately. It isn’t actually artificial intelligence, though. Elevators, marketing software, and Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation are very different things.
How Marketing is Being Revolutionized by Automation
We shouldn’t undervalue automation even though it isn’t science fiction. Actually, it has already changed the marketing industry.
Already, marketing automation enables:
- Revenue increase – Nearly 80% of CMOs cite revenue growth as their top motivation for using automation. The lifetime value of customers can be raised by automating up-sell and cross-sell emails; add customer follow-ups and lead prioritization to the automation mix and you’ll probably see an even higher revenue bump.
- Increased Productivity – Being able to automate repeated operations gives your marketing team more time to develop strategies, create content, and build campaigns instead of having to plan and carry out standard workflows manually, like sending emails or updating social media.
- Reduced time to conversion – Automation improves efficiency, reaching more leads faster than is humanly possible, unless you have a very large workforce. Automation can, in some cases, speed up conversion by as much as 70%.
- Other advantages – Automation enables uniformity in branding and scheduling, smaller marketing staff, and the creation of data for tracking ROI and other metrics.
- These advantages, however, are merely the tip of the iceberg. Automation may significantly affect how you do tasks—as well as how quickly and effectively you complete them—when the correct kind of intelligent parameters are used.
Future Trends in AI and Marketing
Marketers can anticipate more intelligent tools and engagement-generating strategies as martech suppliers continue to improve our automation capabilities; some of these products and strategies are already beginning to blur the line between narrow and general artificial intelligence.
Consider the fact that certain automated platforms now go beyond simply searching databases for content; they also produce content. The Washington Post utilizes a robot named Heliograf to produce hyper-local reporting for high school sports as well as content about politics and the 2018 Olympics. The Associated Press has already utilized AI to author stories. The phrasing occasionally sounds less than human, with occasional imprecise word selections reminiscent of Google Translate, and it works best for relatively simple, factual pieces. Although it’s not yet time to fire your authors, programs like Heliograf probably won’t get any worse.
There are other other developments in automated, intelligent martech. Some exist to facilitate dialogues with audiences, while others work to more thoroughly and effectively tailor consumer journeys. We’ve come a long way from the Ancient Greek water clocks, but it’s anyone’s guess when these emerging technologies will cross the finish line and start to resemble Optimus Prime rather than chatbots. Asking Siri to tell a joke will help us all make the most of our present tools in the interim.