As posted in the Gaston Gazette
Our understanding of the capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) – or computers that can perform tasks that only humans were capable of previously – has come a long way since Alan Turing first invented the concept of “thinking machines” in the 1950s and Stanley Kubrick first scared us with them in 2001: A Space Odyssey and the malevolent computer HAL. We are using artificial intelligence already on platforms like Google and Spotify, and its use is only predicted to rise. According to management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, AI could automate up to 45 percent of work activities. It’s also presenting opportunities for revolutionizing business, especially for entrepreneurs who are eagerly looking for a boost.
So what exactly can AI do for you? Here are a few ideas of how incorporating programs that use AI into your workflow will take your public relations and marketing efforts to new levels:
- Improve your data collection. One of the biggest benefits to AI is its data mining capabilities – in other words, its ability to gather information that will help improve your knowledge about your customers and your ability to disseminate information to the people who might want or need it the most. Tasks like searching for keywords or choosing target publications can be handed over to AI. Much of this data mining was considered a human task in the past, but programs that use AI can now do some of that thinking for you and free up time for more essential human interactions.
- Tailor audience messages rapidly. Many businesses and marketing/PR professionals already know how to tailor their messages to their audiences. But doing it rapidly is often difficult, especially for small businesses, because it means processing large amounts of data about their customer base, which can be time-consuming. AI can process data at far more rapid speeds than before, which means that businesses will be able to put out their messages to target audiences far faster than in the past. In a world where the news cycle is moving rapidly and people consume information at an ever-increasing pace, being able to keep pace is key.
- Optimize your time. What’s one of the biggest benefits of incorporating AI into your day-to-day life? The time savings you’ll reap. Because you’ll improve data collection and can serve your clients more efficiently, you’ll save time on tasks that can be not only mundane, but can reduce time that you would otherwise dedicate to seeking out new customers or networking. As a result, by using more automation for certain tasks, you gain time to devote to the most important kinds of human interactions – the personalized and face-to-face connections that every business needs to thrive.
- Grow with you. As your business gets bigger or develops different needs, you’ll be able to adapt the kind of AI you use. Rather than having a stagnant program that struggles to keep up with the needs of a business that’s moving past it, AI is constantly changing. There is a difference between “pragmatic” AI, which learns how to complete specific tasks, and “pure” AI, which literally thinks the way humans do. Right now, pragmatic AI is what most platforms and programs are using; thinking about putting pure AI into practice is a little frightening. But the capabilities are advancing every day and so is our understanding of it. Chances are that by the time we even consider moving toward using pure AI, there will be a clear path and a set of ethics to help guide and keep us from losing the critical human component.
- Augment human insight. Even if AI transitions fully to pure form, it’s unlikely that it will ever be able to supplant human interaction. The act of talking to someone, of listening, of connecting to another human on an emotional and personal level is so critical to a successful business that no matter its talents, AI will have a hard time fully replicating the workings of a human brain and the value of sitting down with someone face-to-face to talk. As a result, think of AI not as a potential replacement for what humans do, but as a way to support it. Even the smartest and most compassionate of us can always use new eyes on our marketing efforts, and AI can be one of the tools in our toolbox to help us serve our customers more effectively.
No matter how you feel about artificial intelligence, it’s coming our way, so it’s good to be prepared. And there’s such a big upside to this technological development that can strengthen businesses and their marketing efforts that we suggest you prepare to make the most of it.