Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a hot topic at digital marketing conferences this year, and Social Media Marketing World 2017 was no exception. Talking about the future of AI can be mind blowing, especially when experts estimate that computers will rival (or even surpass) human intelligence in as little as 16 years. What shocked me more than these predictions was that this technology isn’t only applicable in the far-off future; there are actually practical ways to apply it to business today. Christopher Penn, VP of Marketing Technology at SHIFT Communications, was able to deliver some informative answers to the biggest questions about AI; where it’s going and how businesses should be taking advantage of it:
How do I know if my business could benefit from AI?
- If you or your employees do the same task three or more times a day, AI could potentially solve it, because Penn predicts that if you do it with a template today, a machine does it without you tomorrow.
How can I implement AI for my business today?
- You can get 1,000 machine-generated blog posts for as low as $250. Compared to the time it takes an employee to write one, there are a lot of money-saving opportunities for your business when using natural language generation software.
- If you’re not ready to invest yet, there’s a free AI tool you can try right now. Anyone can retrieve immediate answers to marketing questions like, “How much does my competitor spend on PPC?” and “What keywords are they buying?” using GrowthBot, a machine-learning chatbot available now on Facebook Messenger and Slack. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
“Become the guy who helps the machines learn what great writing is.”
Is my job going to be replaced by a robot? How can I avoid this?
- The harsh truth is, as AI grows, we will need fewer humans, especially at entry level. So business professionals should start developing multidisciplinary skills and think about learning a programming language like R or Python.
- It will be a few more years before natural language processing starts to make content creators obsolete. To have a marketing career in an AI world, become outcome focused and let the machines do the heavy lifting. Become the guy who helps the machines learn what great writing is.
How can I convince my company and its culture that AI is important?
- “Scare them,” says Penn. Use competitors as examples to show how your company will either be leagues ahead or left behind if it doesn’t keep up.
You know the triangle where you have fast, cheap and good, but you only get to pick two? AI is going to change that. The reality is that computers are faster, cheaper and smarter than humans, so we should start finding ways to work with AI now. If you don’t, your competitors will.
Been missing out on the movies, and ready for some more Harry Potter action? Then check out our new ad for the Forbidden Forest at the Warner Bros Studio Tour.
Reporting on diversity is tricky for small organisations. Percentages can be misleading when a single hire or departure can shift the proportions in a category by 5 or 10 percent. And you need to be careful about what you’re publishing when percentages on charts might represent a single individual, you risk breaching confidences. Typically, as well, small organisations don’t have HR departments, there’s no one with specific training in what ‘diversity’ questions to ask and how to ask them.
Nevertheless we think it’s important to start monitoring our diversity and equally important for us to share what we can. That report is below. We’re afraid there aren’t any fancy bar charts, there’s not enough data to require them. There’s also a brief note on our method.
Doing this has made us wonder whether there’s a way we can join with other organisations to make this stuff easier for us all, perhaps we can share tools and techniques and create a useful set of comparison data. We’re going to look into that and write more soon.
If you’re interested in joining in, please get in touch.
What have we learned from the data?
We need to be more diverse. We’re doing better than some in some areas; our creative department, for instance, is 40% women, but even that’s not the 50% it should be and that’s a highlight. We’re too male, too white, and too heterogeneous. We need to fix that. That will be part of our growth plan and we will report on our progress here.
Diversity at BETC London March 2017
(We’ve rounded all the figures so they may add up to more than 100%)
- 60% of us are men, 40% are women.
- 33%of the senior management is female (ie there are two men and one woman)
- More than half of us (57%) are between 25 and 34. 22% are 35-44, 13% are 16-24, 8% are 45-54.
- We have no staff who would be defined as disabled according to the 2010 Equality Act and no one with a long-term health problem.
- We are 57% white (of various British origins) and 26% white (from non-British origins). We’re 5% Black British, 5% Arab and 9% from mixed/multiple ethnic background.
- 48% of us went to a state school, 26% attended school outside the UK, 26% went to a fee-paying school.
- 78% of us went to university and 43% of us were part of the first generation in their family to do so.
- 22% of us are primary or secondary carers for children. (So we’re pretty committed to be a family-friendly place to work)
Note on method
We did this by sending round a Google Forms questionnaire which you can see here.
It’s based on this one (WARNING – Word doc) from the Solicitors Regulation Authority. They seem like the kind of organisation that would have thought this stuff through. If you’d like to use our questionnaire for your study please feel free. Get in touch and we’ll share it.