Sergey Soldatov/123RF

How AI Will Change the Role of the CMO

  • 25 July 2017
  • Dean Schmid

CMOs have a harder job than ever. Trying to coordinate marketing efforts across dozens of platforms, convincing the CEO that the company needs to spend thousands creating and publishing content for free, and attempting to show returns for these investments the sometimes only result in a sale on the prospect’s 5th or 6th contact with the brand.

In the wake of big data, CMOs have had to expand far beyond their traditional skill set. Having to familiarize yourself with data science is no small feat, but when faced with irrelevance most CMOs started catching up.

The kicker is that big data is only just stretching its legs. It hasn’t even settled into the blocks at the start of the race, and when the starting pistol really fires, we will be competing against IOTs connect appliances, fully wired smart homes, driverless cars, digital assistants, and ever-increasing segmentation data collected by the Zettabyte to target people based on their behavior.

1. AI Will Keep the CMO’s Head Above Water

The only choice a CMO has to stay on top of all the data being created and remain competitive is artificial intelligence. Big data made CMO’s jobs more complicated, but AI will simplify them again.

Algorithms that can demystify and create actionable suggestions out of big data will let CMOs get back to acting on suggestions and making decisions.

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“More than 60 percent of respondents indicated that their marketing teams do not have the right talent in place to leverage data and analytics. In addition to having leaders who are analytically savvy enough to understand the potential of big data and where to apply it,” Spencer Stuart.

Marketing AI is already being sold as a service. Salesforce’s new Einstein AI, s an intelligent machine learning algorithm that was added to many of their existing cloud based marketing tools. The AI takes the software to the next level.

Introducing Salesforce Einstein–AI for Everyone

Instead of page after page of raw data, CMOs use salesforce to get AI generated recommendations about when leads are turning cold, suggestions for target marketing, and a breakdown of customer sentiment. All of this is ascertained from big data with data science.

2. AI Will Automate Campaigns

I think that AI will seriously slim down marketing teams by automating campaigns. Now is as good a time as any to bring up the fear that we will all loose our jobs. People will. There is always going to be new tech that disrupts an industry and skills will no longer be needed. When the automobile took over from the horse drawn carriage people lost their jobs but just think about all the people employed to make, service, and drive cars since.

“Over 80% of executives believe this pioneering technology improves worker performance and creates jobs.” – Media Post.

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AI will deal with repetitive tasks via automation and by shifting through data. The algorithm could alter a campaign in real time in any one of a number of ways.

Say you were running a Facebook campaign, and the algorithm identified that your CPA is much lower in the 13 – 18 demographics. Having a person monitor and optimize every social media campaign is expensive and time consuming. Software that detected this will predictive analytics and retargets the ad so it only targeted younger people could significantly increase conversions per impression and lower the CPA.

From a CMO standpoint, automating these tasks is freeing up man power to focus on the aspects of the campaign that AI can’t handle. In an influencer marketing campaign, the AI might be able to analyze big data to identify the most effective influencer but people will still need to reach out to that influencer and hash out the details of a promotion. In time, it is possible that AI will surpass people, and it will be able to automate marketing entirely. Hopefully technology ushers in an age of leisure around the same time, and we can let machines run the world while people live it up in paradise.

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3. CMOs Will Need to Adapt To 1 On 1 Customer Interaction

With AI’s ability to process big data and create behavioral profiles for individual users in real time comes the very real possibility that all brand and customer interactions will be personalized. When no two customers take the same path through the funnel, every campaign, advertisement, and piece of content will need to be rethought. There is software out there that reconfigures entire websites with predictive analytics and behavioral ques, bots can reach out to prospects and send emails to qualify leads, and if the popularity of Facebook’s chatbots continue they could become individual platforms that customers engage with in all stages of the funnel.

What does all this mean for a CMO? I think that first and foremost it means they need to keep learning and increasing their vocabularies. AI software is intended to be easy. The trick is knowing what is out there and staying in the loop to spot opportunities that can help you. With a lot of marketing tech providers already mingling AI into their software products, they are a great first step along your road to AI mastery. Start off small, and then gradually expand how you are using AI until it plays a meaningful role in your marketing strategy.

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Artificial intelligence can secure you a massive competitive edge. Consider that most of today’s marketing work (80%, according to Boston Consulting Group) is dominated by manual work around reports and data entry. 48 minutes of every hour are wasted with reports and data entry. Do you see how AI can free up your entire department and make them a force of productivity?


About Dean Schmid