Interview with an artificial intelligence expert: What's the future for AI in B2B marketing?
We asked artificial intelligence expert Justin Hall for his thoughts on where AI technology is heading and the opportunities and challenges it will present
Justin Hall is CEO and founder of Protocol and co-founder of Soto – a cognitive marketing cloud for B2B content marketers.
What‘s the single biggest thing that will change in marketing as a result of AI in the next five to 10 years?
Justin: The single biggest change will probably be the additional resource that AI will bring to marketing functions. Discreet applications powered by machine learning and cognitive marketing will undertake the heavy lifting for research, automated analysis, segmentation and personalisation.
How will marketing departments deal with the changes that AI will bring?
Justin: Marketing teams will deal with the changes very well. Many marketing functions struggle with the challenges of limited resources, time, budget and skills. AI will empower them to undertake the projects with the confidence, rigour and detail that they've always wanted to do but have struggled to realise in everyday life. AI will usher in a new renaissance in the marketing world.
Which marketing skills will become more important, and which skills will become obsolete?
Justin: Looking through the lens of modern marketing teams and demand centres, there's usually a mix of research, operational, technical and creative skillsets. We think it’s unlikely specific job roles will become redundant, but many manual, time-intensive operational and research tasks may be delivered by AI – as well as many low-level creative and technical tasks that could easily be given to AI to learn. We believe technical skills will become increasingly important (roles such as machine learning analysts, marketing automation analysts, data scientists and AI trainers) – as will high-end creative functions such as art direction and thematic development.
With new vendors appearing all the time, how can marketers keep up?
Justin: We think it's important to keep your ear to the ground on developments, but every organisation has its own unique challenges. Ultimately staying in the loop at B2B events is critical to ensuring you're not getting left behind. There are also many tools delivering solutions and solving problems that many people are surprised AI can do (from personalisation and research to content curation and account selection).
What are the most significant changes you expect to see in business as a result of AI?
Justin: We think there are some existential issues that will need to be addressed down the road with AI, particularly around how society leverages it, governs it and manages the economics (taxation, for example). This is probably a way off but you can imagine a scenario where many critical tasks and decisions are machine-based. In the immediate future, there's the issue of trust. How well can a machine mimic a human response? Should business-critical decisions be based around digital intelligence? And who gets the blame if and when things go wrong?
The advent of artificial intelligence is worrying for some and exciting for others. But what does it actually mean, particularly in the context of B2B marketing? This guide takes the mystery out of AI, explaining its specific meaning, what the term includes, and what its rise means for marketers now and in the future.