Marketing seemed to step further into a sci-fi future this year through strides made in artificial intelligence, machine learning and automated interfaces. As a result, automation progressed from having a small role mostly via programmatic buying to being an exciting oddity, as shown by the interest in chatbots, to earning a prominent spot as a must-have for marketing’s next era.
From the explosion of over 30,000 chatbots on Facebook Messenger to IBM’s ever-more intelligent Watson program, AI and its adjacent technologies demonstrated they’re more than capable of handling many of the mundane aspects of marketing — and some of the creative ones, too.
On the consumer front, buzz continues to abound for Internet of Things devices like Google Home and virtual assistants like Alexa. Behind-the-scenes, trends toward programmatic ad buying and placement far outpaced industry expectations, according to media buyers and analysts. The effect AI tech has had on the evolution of the way marketers and consumers think about digital has been hard to overstate, and only stands to grow going forward.
“We’re at the beginning of the AI revolution — we’re just starting to scratch the surface of what’s possible,” said Chris Pierantozzi, creative director at Saatchi L.A. “It’s going to create a whole new era within the marketing landscape.“