By Neil Patel
The time has finally arrived. We’re living in the era of artificial intelligence.
It sounds crazy, right?
To the average person, artificial intelligence doesn’t seem like a reality of our everyday lives. They associate AI with movies when robots take over the world.
While we’re not quite at that point, artificial intelligence is very real.
From a marketing perspective, we need to recognize this reality and plan accordingly.
In fact, artificial intelligence ranked high on my list of the top marketing trends to look for in 2018. As we reach the final quarter of the year, this prediction has held true.
If you are unfamiliar with AI, let me explain. By definition, artificial intelligence is the ability for computers to perform tasks that would ordinarily require human intelligence.
Some examples of these tasks include:
- language translation
- visual perception
- ability to make decisions
- speech recognition
While we may be ready for computers to translate a language, it’s the decision-making abilities that bring AI to the next level.
I know what some of you are thinking. You have a simple business operation, why should you care about AI?
When comparing companies already using artificial intelligence, the top-performing brands are more than twice as likely to use AI for marketing purposes.
Businesses are using this technology to increase sales by personalizing the customer experience.
Over the last five years, jobs requiring AI have increased by 450%.
Artificial intelligence is here to stay. It’s trending upward, and you need to be prepared to handle it if you want to be successful. I’ve identified the top 12 marketing skills you need to survive in the AI era.
Adapt or die.
If you don’t adapt now, you’ll fall behind your competitors and put your business at risk of failure. Just look at how many people are currently using AI and how many are planning to use this technology in the future:
As you can see from this graphic, AI is the fastest growing marketing technology with an anticipated year-over-year growth of 53%.
In my work with business owners, I’ve seen different personalities. Stubborn and closed-minded have a more difficult time growing their businesses.
When it comes to AI, you need to have an open mind and be willing to adapt if you want to succeed.
Don’t be stuck in your old ways. The mentality of “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” is the wrong approach to take when it comes to new technology.
If you’re not willing to adapt to the latest trends today, you won’t be able to survive tomorrow.
As a business owner and marketer, you know how important communication skills are for a successful business. You need to be able to communicate well with your employees, customers, and everyone else you encounter on a daily basis.
But in the age of AI, communication is more important than ever.
Here’s why. AI may eventually replace some of the human elements of your business.
For example, maybe you’re using AI to help you provide better customer service by implementing live chat on your website.
However, you don’t want your customers to feel as if they’re losing that human touch. You still need to be available to communicate with your customers.
You can’t rely on the implementation of AI to handle this for you 100% of the time.
While the technology behind AI is groundbreaking and remarkable, it can’t duplicate an actual human response.
You and your team still need to be accessible. Customers should be able to pick up the phone and talk to a real person if they want to.
3. Budget allocation
Implementing AI technology in your business won’t necessarily be the most inexpensive investment you ever make.
This could be why some of you have been hesitant to add artificial intelligence to your business. You’re not alone.
In fact, the high cost is the number one reason why brands aren’t using AI marketing solutions:
I don’t want to sound corny, but there’s a relevant age-old saying I’m sure you’ve heard before:
You’ve got to spend money to make money.
It’s the truth. Sure, the initial costs of implementing AI marketing solutions may be intimidating at first. But that’s why you need to have great budget allocation skills.
Don’t cut corners when it comes to new technology adoption. Find other ways to reduce costs so you can pay for AI solutions.
4. Ability to analyze big data
Depending on what you use AI for, there is a good chance you’ll be presented with lots of data.
Studies show 29% of brands that have adopted artificial intelligence use it to perform automated data analysis. And 26% use the technology for automated research reports and information aggregation.
An additional 26% are using AI for operational and efficiency analysis.
These applications will result in lots of data for you to analyze. You need to be comfortable doing that.
There are different layers to artificial intelligence:
Machine learning and deep learning are two concepts that are within the scope of your AI marketing strategy.
But the deeper you go, the more data there will be to analyze.
The computer is only as smart as it’s programmed to be. Decisions will ultimately be up to you, depending on how well you can analyze the information you’re presented with.
While coding isn’t a requirement for AI, a background in and general knowledge of coding will definitely help you.
This also helps with your budget, as discussed above. Don’t pay someone else to do something you can do yourself.
If you know how to code, you can set up the data you want to analyze. You can program the data sets, data sizes, and sources for whatever you need the AI to compute.
Many times, AI is used to identify patterns. If you have some coding background, it will be easier for you to understand that.
Those of you new to this should read through some marketing forums and learn from others in the same position as you.
View code samples and video tutorials online about basic coding.
You can even sign up for online coding classes through platforms such as Codecademy.
As you can see, this resource offers different coding options to learn.
While any of these would be helpful for your general coding knowledge, the data science coding would be the most relevant for your AI implementation.
6. Content creation
As marketers, we’ve been saying “content is king” for years now.
The basic idea behind this concept is to create content that appeals to search engines that will ultimately reach the consumers. Your entire marketing strategy lives and dies by the content you produce.
Adding AI to your business doesn’t mean you need to stop your content creation efforts.
Keep doing the things that put you in the position you are today. Don’t put all your eggs in the AI basket.
Improve your existing content production efforts through:
- social media
Use artificial intelligence to help you make your content even better. For example, some brands are using AI software to create Facebook advertisements aimed at different audiences.
This type of process would take humans much longer to complete. Come up with other ways to leverage AI to boost your content strategy.
Whenever you implement new technology in your business, security always needs to be a priority.
Over the past few years, many big companies had security breaches, which severely damaged their reputations. If you develop a reputation as a brand that can’t protect your customers’ information, it could put you out of business.
Consumers are concerned that AI may compromise the ability for businesses to protect their personal information.
You need to take proper measures to make sure all your data is secure.
Put everyone’s mind at ease. Run marketing campaigns and promotions advertising your secure process and your emphasis on customers’ digital safety.
As I mentioned above, AI will gather lots of data for you to analyze.
But unlike humans, computers don’t have a conscience. So it’s up to you to be ethical when it comes to what you do with all the information you collect, which is relevant to my previous point about protecting customer data.
Yes, you want to protect the information from hackers and anyone looking to steal, exploit, or cause harm to others. But you also need to protect this data from yourself and other marketers as well.
Use AI to improve your marketing efforts, but don’t do anything that will cross the line when it comes to the usage of the information you collect.
9. A competitive spirit
Marketing is a competitive game.
There is always a constant battle between your company and the other players in your industry. Consumers have lots of money to spend, but you need to make sure they spend those dollars at your store and not the shop down the street.
As you add artificial intelligence technology to your business, the competition will continue to heat up.
You need a competitive spirit and mindset to survive.
Studies show 84% of marketers agree AI will help them gain or sustain a competitive advantage.
Is your competition currently using AI?
You won’t know unless you do your research. Take advantage of my favorite helpful tools to monitor your competitors.
10. Delegation and time management
When it comes to jobs involving labor, new technology and machine advancements can mean trouble for employees worried about their jobs being replaced by a machine.
But artificial intelligence doesn’t necessarily automate or replace a person’s job.
Instead, it automates specific tasks.
You need to recognize how such automation can benefit your business. Then use that information to delegate tasks to your employees accordingly.
Don’t assign a task to a person that a computer can do.
Once AI replaces a certain task, you need to find ways for that person who used to do it to spend their time wisely.
Artificial intelligence can help you increase employee productivity if you can implement it properly and find the most efficient ways to delegate new tasks.
11. Thirst for learning
To thrive in the AI era, you need to have good learning skills.
As I said earlier, there are different layers to the ways you can take advantage of this technology. There are many unique elements associated with artificial intelligence:
Conduct your own research on this technology to further your knowledge.
Attend classes. Take advice from experts. Listen to people who are teaching you how to use the software.
Don’t approach this new technology with the notion that you know it all because you probably don’t. Even if you have a high level of education, you’re new at this unless you studied AI.
Plus, it’s worth mentioning that technology is constantly evolving.
Maybe some of you have a firm grasp of AI today. However, things may change in the coming years and decades.
Those of you who have an eagerness to learn will have an advantage over everyone else.
12. Big picture mindset
In this moment, does your business need AI to survive today?
Probably not in the same way things such as Internet access, a website, social media, and the ability to process credit card payments impact your survival.
If you don’t need AI today, it may be hard for some of you to justify jumping on board with this technological advancement.
But you need to look at the big picture. As you can see, we’re trending in that direction. It’s in your best interest to get familiar with AI now and figure out how it can benefit your business in the future.
We’re living in the era of artificial intelligence.
Marketers need to recognize this and leverage the new technology to their advantage.
If you’re not using AI right now, it’s not too late to start. But I recommend starting this process sooner rather than later. Otherwise, you’re at risk of falling behind your competition.
There are certain skills that will give you an advantage and help you survive in the age of AI.
Refer to the list I’ve created here to help make sure you adopt these marketing skills if you haven’t done so already.
How is your business currently using or planning to use AI to improve your marketing solutions?