3 AI trends to watch for in 2018

AI brain image
Over the past half-century, the concept of artificial intelligence (AI) has progressively moved from the sphere of science fiction like “Star Trek” and Steven Spielberg movies to real-life knowledge applications.

Depending on who you talk to, that progress opens the door for any number of revolutionary applications or should be reined in because it might decimate the labor force – or worse. What’s clear, though, is that AI technology has now advanced well beyond its years-long hype stage and is set to be incredibly important as 2018 begins.

That importance won’t be limited to the most tech-savvy companies and employees, either. There are several emerging trends in AI that could affect you as a marketer. This also means you have a chance to get ahead of your peers in taking advantage of AI, as a recent eMarketer survey said that more than a third of marketing executives currently feel unprepared for working with AI technology.

Here are three of those AI trends to watch in 2018:

Defining your brand

When you first think of a new technology like AI and branding, your first inclination may be to wonder up how big data and new computing power can personalize your company’s brand to thousands – or millions – of prospective clients.

That’s certainly a huge possibility, and could make today’s methods of targeting seem downright pedestrian by comparison.

Smarketing Vice President Amahl Williams writes for Forbes, “In the past, marketers had to tailor their marketing efforts to appeal to a specific sector or demographic, but with the advent of AI technology, they can now target business entities on a case-by-case basis.”

However, defining your brand with AI can also go the other way, ensuring a level of consistency across all points of the buying process to everyone.

“In a world with more brands, channels and customer touch points than ever before, customers are inundated with the new and different. The more we flood them with change, the more they long for consistency,” writes Ben Lamm for Adweek.

Lead generation

Regardless of whether you enjoy lead generation or not, you know as a marketer that generating leads can be time-consuming and/or frustrating. But now, with AI technology emerging to integrate existing marketing tools, big data analytics, and human-like decision-making, putting together sales leads might get a whole lot easier.

Even with marketing execs apprehensive and unfamiliar about AI at the moment, there’s a clear recognition that leads are an area in which AI can immediately make a big difference. A survey by the Aberdeen Group found that a majority, 61 percent, of businesses investing in AI cited better lead generation as their primary reason for doing so.

Rise of the bots!

Don’t be alarmed by this trend. This doesn’t mean that cyborgs and aliens will be coming along to exterminate your business in 2018. However, they might just help you with customer service and save you much-needed time.

As 2018 progresses, chatbots for customer service uses will likely be able to pick up far more regular speech and idiomatic phrases than typical software in use. That means you can possibly look forward to a time where customers not only aren’t annoyed by a misunderstood direction said over the phone to a non-human, but are potentially helped in full by that non-human.

As evidenced by the eMarketer survey, AI is still regarded as an unknown in digital marketing, despite its years of hype as an engine that could potentially affect most any industry. If you’re a marketer, there are things you can take advantage of this year – and still be ahead of the curve on compared to your peers.


Ross Lancaster

Ross Lancaster

Senior Content Editor, MultiBriefs

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