Call it automation, AI, or machine learning. It’s coming and it’s taking human control away from aspects of marketing. Here are some important considerations.
Google just announced that they’re eliminating a popular option on Google Shopping called accelerated ad delivery. They now think this delivery option is inefficient. They actually call it “less optimized”.
Less optimized…than what?
Facebook Ads is shifting in this way as they remove budgeting from ad groups (effective September 2019). They feel their AI system will do a better job of optimizing budgets from the campaign level.
The writing is on the wall. Manual execution of tactics is considered less optimized than machine learning algorithms.
The tactical execution of business marketing is being automated. Indications are that in the near future, there’ll be little manual execution left for people to do. Instead, you’ll outline what you want to achieve with a campaign, set high-level parameters, and machine learning will “optimize” to reach your audience and maximize your budget.
What does this bode for the nature of business marketing? A few things for sure.
Competitive advantages will be at the strategic and product development level.
Say you have a business idea for a health supplement. You figure you can market online and find enough of an audience to be profitable.
At the product level, you don’t have a competitive advantage.
Now, consider marketing automation. You’ll push a few buttons, write copy, and download images. The systems will optimize and deliver your campaigns.
And these same systems will do the same level of optimization work for your competition.
What advantage are you going to leverage to win business?
Tactically, marketing automation will level the playing field. You won’t be able to hire someone with inside knowledge or tricks of the trade that will give you an advantage.
AI executes tasks with efficient impartiality. You can’t compete at this level with a marketing campaign any more than you can hope to beat a computer at chess.
Your competitive advantage, then, will be strategic. This where you come up with the idea for your offer in the first place. It’s where you focus on who it’s for and what it’s for and establish the goals and outputs that drive business success.
Marketers will need to educate and guide the algorithms.
At this point, it is a safe assertion that the “button pushing” aspect of working with advertising platforms like Facebook Ads or Google Ads will be automated.
In fact, at Marketing 360® we’re refining our tools to help SMBs automate the marketing process, allowing for inexpensive DIY execution of tactics.
The algorithms have the ability to learn as they execute campaigns. But you’ll have to guide them with respect to the core message you communicate and the goals you want to achieve.
For example, if you tell Facebook you want to target people likely to watch half your video ad, it will target that behavior to the exclusion of other things. It will literally find people in your audience set who tend to watch videos with longer durations. You have to know if that serves your greater business purpose.
Algorithms don’t have intuition. To gain that element with your marketing automation, you’ll have to monitor what’s happening and refine what you’re telling the system to do.
Computers will manage the tasks, but the outputs of that work will still be on you.
What message are you amplifying?
Think of marketing technology as a microphone – an effective tool. It amplifies a person’s voice across a vast space.
But this tool is only valuable if the person speaking through it has something important to say. The technology itself is just a means to an end.
Machine learning technology and algorithms will amplify your marketing message with precision. If you have a message, audience, and budget, you’ll reach the right people.
Reach, alone, won’t be difficult. And because of that, it won’t provide any competitive advantage.
The only thing that will count is having a message worth hearing and a solution worth using. That’s not only the marketing of the future, it’s really marketing today.
Marketing tactics – made fundamentally equal by AI – won’t save an unoriginal product idea with no competitive advantage.
In the automated age, if you don’t have a differentiated product or offer that solves an active, real problem for a specific group of people, you don’t have anything for the technology to market.
The stage is open and the mic is on, for one and all.
What do you have to say?