E.T. Phone Home! The Effects of Artificial Intelligence on Marketing

in Fern Lee by on March 14th, 2017No Comments

DRMA – Response Magazine REPRINT
‘E.T. Phone Home!’ The Effects of Artificial Intelligence on Marketing
14 Mar, 2017
By: Lori H. Zeller

To prevent serious error and catastrophic leadership missteps, the chief marketing officer (CMO) of the future needs to carefully examine and understand how artificial intelligence (AI) affects the brand arc. The Internet of Things (IoT) isn’t just about advanced connectivity and cloud-based monitoring of devices. The dichotomy of static vs. dynamic delivery of marketing as we embrace AI and technology will have to include choice and control with what will be “consumer tailoring” for choices that will affect how transactions are made for:

Where, historically, the vision was to identify ROI based on dollars spent against revenue gained, a new model is necessary to transcend collaboration and growth serving consistent messaging in an omnichannel ecosystem that provides collective purchasing decisions.

As a marketer, an important goal is to successfully connect a consumer to a brand – engage them to purchase but also create trust and loyalty. Brand and product awareness is also known as the “a-ha” moment for marketers. While the intersection between technology, impact, and time is known as “change,” the disruptive pitfalls for an engaging consumer journey is challenging.

To provide context, I offer a quote from the movie “E.T.,” where there is a clear “a-ha” moment. The script below gives us that moment where the communication between ET and Elliot is sublime – and Gertie even chimes in. taking credit for teaching the creature to say, “Be good.”

Elliott: E.T., can you say that? Can you say E.T.? E.T.

E.T.: Eeee Teee.

Elliott: [laughs in amazement]

E.T.: [waddling away] E.T.! E.T.! E.T.! Beee good.

Gertie: “Be good!” I taught him that, too!

Elliott: You should give him his dignity. This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen.

E.T.: [gives Elliot a newspaper and points at a comic picture] Phone.

Elliott: “Phone”? He said, “phone”? He said, “phone”?

Gertie: Can’t you understand English? He said, “phone.”

E.T.: [points to closet] Home?

Elliott: You’re right. That’s E.T.’s home.

E.T.: [scurries over to the window and points his long finger towards it] E.T. home phone.

Gertie: [clarifying] E.T. phone home.

Elliott: E.T. phone home.

[understanding what he means]

Elliott: E.T. phone home!

Gertie: He wants to call somebody.

The idea of teaching an alien to talk, let alone understand words, in 1982 was astounding. Now, in 2017, that concept is clearly not surprising. In fact, the advent of technology during the past 35 years has brought about a mix of integrated options that have changed not only the culture but the pattern of perception and purchasing power in what we now know as the “consumer journey.” Today, in 2017, marketing decision makers must take the following into account:

DVR vs. connected TV/over-the-top (OTT) space
SmartHome devices
Wearable devices
Virtual reality (VR)

There were a reported 8.2 million Amazon Echos sold in 2016, with 24.5 million in predicted sales for Echo and Google Home in 2017. This trend brings to light the fact that television, as we know it, is losing ground to the integrated technological inclusion in activities of daily living. The ability of Alexa to order products is AI at its best. I’m amazed that Accenture is predicting that there will be a 40-percent increase in labor productivity by 2035 as a result of AI. This brings to light the enormity of what will occur in the next 20 years.

From a sales perspective, the advent of AI will require that internal business decisions and algorithms are refined. Serving content based on browser history has become business as usual, digitally speaking. That business is about programmatic delivery. The attribution, however, is providing information that is data rich yet information poor. What needs preparation is how marketing will change with the technology.

By co-joining decisions with operational efficiencies, the new marketing model will be developed by the CMO, chief information officer (CIO), chief technology officer (CTO), and chief operations officer (COO) for revenue increases to occur via micro-moments that will require careful analysis of data. These decisions also will require that the user experience (UX) be altered by logistics, which will include e-commerce initiatives.

The key takeaway from this information is that there is a strong intersection between AI, technology, data proficiency, and the ability to create marketing strategy that provides revenue based on marketing integration. Privacy issues aside, and cross-device delivery assured, the defining decisions made by marketers will be how to make informed business choices based on benchmarks created by algorithms. At the end of the day, data that creates sales based on “served” consumer needs will require decisions in real time – with stellar results that allow for real-time alignment and quick pivots for consumer transactions either online or by a phone.

After all, if “E.T.” was produced today, he would be asking to “SKYPE Home” from his mobile device, while trying to text selfies back to his planet.

Lori H. Zeller is managing partner of New York-based THOR Associates and is a member of the DRMA Education Committee. She can be reached via e-mail at lori@thorassociates.com.