Make Sure You Have the Hard Skills for the World of AI Marketing?
LAURA PATTERSON | November 25, 2021
There seems to be no end in sight for the demand for Marketing to amp up its use of analytics. Studies conducted by Gartner and Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business show companies continue to allocate a significant portion of the marketing budget to analytics despite many organizations being unable to effectively use analytics to improve company performance. Gaining insights from data starts with knowing what questions you need answered and what data you need to answer the question .
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Study after study reveals that marketers are overwhelmed by data and continue to struggle to convert data into actionable insights. It’s no surprise that organizations are embracing artificial intelligence (AI) as a means to understand the vast amounts of data being generated. The term AI refers to the application of computer systems to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages. It encompasses a vast range of technologies such as advanced analytics, machine learning, and robotic process automation.
It is nearly impossible for human beings to consume and make sense of the enormous amounts of data being produced on a daily basis. AI and machine learning make it possible to efficiently analyze this vast trove of data to identify patterns to support better decision making. For example, a McKinsey Global Institute analysis found that when AI combines demographic and past transaction data with information gleaned from social media monitoring, the resulting personalized product recommendations can lead to a doubling of the sales conversion rate.
Being able to make faster and better decisions is a competitive advantage. Hence the sense of urgency to embrace AI, further fueled by studies such as the one by Adobe and Econsultancy, which found that top-performing companies are more than twice as likely to be using AI for Marketing. Success with AI depends on the quality of your data -- see our previous article on the four steps to take before trying to apply AI to your data.
The Skills You Need to Put Your Data to Work
There’s been a great deal written on the value of the soft skills marketers bring to the table, and these are crucial. However, I tend to agree with Colin Lewis that today’s world still prizes and rewards hard skills. Marketers who have the critical hard skills as well as some soft skills will excel in the world of AI Marketing. Take a moment to assess your proficiency in each of the following skills needed in a marketing world powered by AI.
1. Business acumen.
Business acumen is a key factor in achieving credibility. In the insightful words of author Rebecca Solnit, “Credibility is a basic survival tool.” Check out our previous post for four ways to cultivate your business acumen. It’s one thing to answer a question with AI, but it’s another to know which question to ask. Knowing which questions to ask starts with having a solid handle on your business, the market, customers, and competitors. Start by reading analyst reports, joining a professional association, attending relevant conferences that have both subject matter experts and the opportunity to network with peers, and make it a point to connect and talk with customers.
2. Data literacy.
AI is excellent at identifying patterns that rely on quality data. Marketers still need to identify which data sets to apply and how to use the patterns to move the business forward. Here’s a starting point: check out the certificate through the Data Literacy Project.
3. Analytics fluency.
Any data AI delivers needs to be translated by a human. Marketers need to understand analytics and have the skills to interpret the outputs. Digitaldefynd says these are the 10 best marketing analytics courses and certifications.
Whether we like it or not, as marketers we need to embrace AI and keep pace with the changing skill set required to be relevant in an AI-powered world of Marketing. Check in with and bring your hard skills up to speed in order to use AI to your greatest advantage.