AI and Tech are key but not everything!
No, 2021 will not look like iRobot starring Will Smith. However, it is getting closer and closer. With the inception of new technology features such as Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Tesla, and others, we are faced with the ultimate reality: computers will be eventually be so vastly functional, that they will be able to replace many human employees. We have already seen it happen within certain industries such as automobile production, farming, and military uses. Eventually, groundbreaking technology will make its way into the marketing/media buying industry. In fact, some of it is already here.
I wrote an article on automated reconciliations (see here), but software technology can and will be able to do so much more than that. As of 2020, billboard impressions can be dwindled down to be considered “a best guess estimate”, because obviously, while you can label every single car that goes by as an impression, the truth is they are not. However, what if that billboard had an eyeline monitor to measure how many views it truly received? What if all out of home was accurately measured down to the single eyeball? This brings up an interesting scenario, because then all OOH companies would be able to bill clients for actual views down to the exact dollar amount, possibly even the exact penny.
Outside of more exact impression numbers, computer technology has several other strides we could see in the coming years. For example, computers could lessen the load of creative designers by designing more elegant designs, with the absolute, most optical color schemes.
In a report by IAB.com, they noted “Paint brand Behr came to IBM Watson Advertising looking to reach and engage consumers with personalized recommendations that make their interior paint color selection process easier. Since the process of selecting paint colors is a personal experience, IBM Watson Ads provided a perfect way for Behr to offer personalized paint color recommendations at scale, helping to take the indecision out of the interior painting process.”
“Behr exceeded brand benchmarks and saw meaningful time spent with consumers with more than 15,000 conversations between Behr and consumers, a 17% increase in purchase consideration, and an 8.5% incremental lift in foot traffic to retailer locations.”
Are you kidding me? What then would be the point of graphic designers studying and knowing the color wheel? Its processes such as these that would make life simpler for most, but in turn could incidentally turn into making human positions obsolete!
But what I did not see in this study was the final sales conversion rate.
However, here is a problem that to this point has eluded all the tech gurus, the human emotion factor. AI and robots can do much of the physical and mental work, often faster and better than humans can but they are highly intelligent machines, with no more emotion than your garbage disposal. They can rationalize equations, outcomes and logical deductions, but people run on more than just logic and facts. They also run on emotions, such as love, hate, revenge, gratitude and especially spontaneity.
In my profession, already this is the part missing and underestimated by many. Far too many believe that advertising, marketing and media have become a data driven alphabet soup. Simply drop the data in and the software will spit out the correct strategy and message every time.
That just is not the case anymore, then the concept of five years ago, that all a company needed to be successful was to go 100% digital media.
While digital media is key to a company’s success, it turns out there is more. That is the same reason why companies like Google, Verizon, Apple and Facebook, to name a few, went back on TV, out of home and other mediums. They realized nothing is 100% and everything cannot boil down to a simple equation.
While the future looks bright for our industry, and the fact that first party data and AI will continue to shape the media landscape, we should all take a page from this book and realize people still bleed when cut and can personally feel the pain. Until our automated machinery can do the same, there will be a need for human interpretation.