Advertising in the age of artificial intelligence

artificial intelligence

For many people, the concept of artificial intelligence (AI) is a distant idea that has relevance in the field of advance programming and analytics.

However, AI has never been so important to our connected world than now.

Also called ‘machine learning’, AI is simply is any computer algorithm developed to enable a device and or software perform intelligent tasks by perceiving its environment.

If the definition above sound too abstract, let us make a practical example.

Jide takes coffee every week day morning, his connected coffee maker will not just make the coffee, but add no sugar, use two table spoonful, cool it to 30 degrees till Jide wake up from bed by 6.30am. He also runs a small coffee shop in Victoria Island. Over 2,500 customers have patronised Jidon Cafe since 2015. His corporate email sends customised birthday greetings to every customer with a coupon for a free coffee with their exact preference, from the measurement of their milk, sugar, temperature and even reserve their favourite seat at the Cafe.

If this sound so science-fiction, that is exactly what AI is. However, it is a tip of the iceberg. AI has applications to everything we do and or have. You must have heard about this buzz word: ‘Internet of Things (IoT)’. AI is the backbone of IoT, we are now in the age where everything we have that has an IP (Internet protocol) address can function intelligently and almost independently.

For us in the marketing industry, AI is the ‘Holy grail’ of advertising.

Back in the days when David Ogilvy said 50% of marketing budget are wasted, he might not know that man will push the envelope of imagination to develop intelligent systems that will not only cut waste but spend it the right way by targeting the right person, at the right time, in the right mood and at the right price.

Apart from managing our budgets, application of AI to advertising will also do away with over-simplified assumptions and cliched strategies. The idea of ‘bulls-eye’ target might finally become obsolete. All human beings are different and behaviours are also multilayered. The current segmentation model lumps up people into a psycho-demographic silo will no longer be needed. Your customers will now be recognised by not just their names, by everything they stand for.

There will be no need for using error-prone, sometimes compromised, outdated and historical data to predict future behaviours and possibilities. Instead, historical data will be validated in real time to make the present and the future more meaningful.

In case you are wondering if AI is relevant to us, look no further. Two young Nigerians recently launched, a Facebook Messenger chat bot that talks to you like a friend and human being but also sells you digital products (such as airtime, payTV bills and data plans). Kudi is not yet perfect, but in the next few months, he might be speaking pidgin to Odafe from Warri and Hausa to Musa in Potiskum.

AI still has its flaws, fears and oppositions. However, marketing people have more to gain by understanding what it is and its implications for our business futures.