The topic of artificial intelligence and machine learning is making headlines across the world. While everything you know about AI may have come from Westworld, it’s a market that’s growing and being adopted by multiple industries. Right now, the AI market is estimated to reach $5 billion by 2020 (up from a mere $5 million in 2014).
With examples of machine learning like Facebook’s chat bots, Amazon’s Echo, Tesla’s self-driving car and IBM’s Watson gaining in popularity, companies in many fields are trying to figure out how they can use new AI tools to their advantage and to get ahead of competitors.
But what does all this mean? The way some marketing and news outlets tell it, if you’re a student right now studying web design, graphic design, journalism, advertising, or even fields outside of marketing and communication, you’ll likely be out of a job before you graduate. In fact, we all may be out of a job.
And it’s easy to see where that depiction of the future comes from.
I’m Dutch. I lived in the Netherlands my whole life, went to school there, the whole nine, until coming to college in America. Right at the top of my list of FAQs is “Why don’t you have an accent?” and then “So what are the differences between Holland and America?” Most of the differences are immersive rather than things you can just explain. But one hard difference stands out: the commercials.
When it comes to controlling search results, SEO specialists walk a fine line. Many consider SEO to be the process of “manipulating” search results by making methodical edits to websites so they will rank higher. “Manipulate” is such a negative word though. Yes, Google instructs SEO specialists on how to “manipulate” its search results, but that doesn’t mean we should falsify or misrepresent our websites. We aren’t trying to deceive search engines into ranking us higher.
However, in the wild west of the internet, there are parties out there with less admirable intentions. After both the Brexit and the US election, a hot topic emerged: fake news.
This time, the public was being manipulated.
I count my blessings every day that I work somewhere that values fun. Here at Nebo, we’ve got a Ping-Pong table, a championship-winning kickball team, Beer Fridays and Slack channels that range from The Bachelor to Soylent (though no one is in the Soylent channel, so maybe it's not that fun after all).
Nebo has more “distractions” than anywhere I’ve ever worked. But it’s also the most productive and efficient place I’ve ever worked. We work hard here at Nebo to make cool shit and make it right — and having fun plays a crucial role. According to Dr. Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play, “when employees have the opportunity to play, they actually increase their productivity, engagement and morale.” It’s been proven that employees who report having more fun at work are more engaged, have higher attendance and are less likely to take sick days.
But having fun goes beyond the candy drawer and the office dogs. To be successful marketers and advertisers, it needs to emanate from our work.
Here’s why having fun is the most powerful tool an agency can have.
This is an amazing time to be in marketing and advertising. We can understand and target consumers in ways we’ve never dreamed of. It’s powerful. It’s precise. It’s personalized. It’s like being a kid in the candy store, and the store is full of target audiences just waiting to be served with ads.
We have the ability to combine demographic, psychographic and behavioral targeting into our social campaigns. We have incredibly precise geo/local targeting capabilities that can be layered on top of intent, demographics and device. We have programmatic media buying that is powered by AI and lookalike consumers, combined with actual behavioral data to maximize our awareness budgets.
We have a second chance to make an impact with retargeting. We have ad platforms that target based on what’s in your inbox. We have personalized and behaviorally targeted emails using algorithms that continuously learn. We have personalized website experiences. We can use consumer offline behaviors to inform online strategies. We can reach people through the apps they use. We have multi-channel analytics and measurement.
Basically, we have everything we’ve ever wanted. We have the consumer in our sights and can be a part of their lives in ways they never imagined.
But we need to be careful what we wish for. Because sometimes — many times — what we want isn’t what we need.