Most people have heard about artificial intelligence (AI) - computer systems that can imitate human intelligence. Yet, far too few understand how the rise of AI is transforming marketing.

AI promises to accelerate marketing, enabling marketing software that is autonomous and self-driving. Most importantly, it’s expected to make all your marketing tasks, like email acquisition significantly more effective. Here are four ways AI is set to disrupt marketing as we know it.

  1. Sales bots. Automated chatbots like Apple’s Siri are mushrooming online. Bots are especially valuable for brands as they enable ‘conversational commerce’. Providing chatbots on a company website or platform like Facebook Messenger, gives consumers a way to gain information about your services simply through chatting - just as they would to a human sales person. Most excitingly, as AI becomes more advanced, chatbots will increasingly be able to learn from their conversations with consumers, and improve on marketing efforts.

  2. Improving recommendations. AI has the power to finesse recommendations, such as those that provide targeted content to lead consumers through the sales funnel. By combining and crunching diverse datasets, AI can offer up more accurate advice and targeted recommendations. For example, Under Armour worked with IBM’s AI Watson, which combined a range of data and research on relevant topics like fitness, enabling the brand to provide highly personalised training advice to customers.

  3. Predicting needs. Imagine if you could see into the future and decipher when a customer might approach you and for what reason. AI technology is making this possible, allowing businesses to better plan and allocate resources to handle customers more effectively. Finance company USAA is among those firms leveraging AI to predict how users will contact it, and for what products. This has had significant success to date, with the technology improving its guess rate from 50 to 88 percent.

  4. Targeting ads. Better targeted advertising is key to reaching your target consumers. With the power to detect trends in user behaviour, AI can help to significantly enhance ad targeting, increasing the likelihood that people will click. For example, AI could optimise advertising copy to suit niche demographics within your target audience - which could maximise conversions.