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AI marketing tools and algorithms are all very well and have their place, but if the consumer, who is a person, becomes just a number or piece of data to be manipulated by AI, companies have lost sight of something important. We don’t market to robots. We market to real, live people.
Yes, algorithms and AI run the world, but there are often severe and hidden consequences to this kind of business model. No one who creates an algorithm or AI tool is the best judge of how that tool will be used or misused. And if AI gets smarter with more data (as it does), then companies can’t always predict what an AI systems will do or if those actions are in line with company values. Take bots, for example. Bots are AI generated tools that are partly responsible for tons of fake news online. Sometimes this can be the result of manipulation for nefarious purposes, but sometimes the bots create this “news” without human intervention of any kind.
We live in a world where what’s valued is what can be done most quickly and efficiently. If we can shave time or costs to get the same job done, then we’ll do it. And while we understand that this is the way the world works and the way business marketing is trending, we would put in a passionate plea for marketers not to go too far down the rabbit hole. Use these tools responsibly, as tools. Always put your customer’s trust in you first. Do everything you can to not break that trust. You do this by never forgetting that there’s a human at the other end of your marketing efforts. If they ever become just so many units to be manipulated for as much money as possible, then you’ve lost the connection that kept you honest. When people become data points, less than optimal manipulation and control of those data points is so much easier to rationalize. Now you can do things behind their backs without feeling bad about it. Always remember: no matter how sophisticated AI gets, it will never come close to replicating a human being in all of their nuance. We market to humans. Let’s make sure we never forget that.
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