Automated tools can make some aspects of a marketer’s job easier, but a truly autonomous tool like Albert offers far greater value.
The use of “smart,” predictive technologies has become a part of nearly every consumer’s day-to-day routine. From customized transit notifications, to “You might also like…” recommendations, to personal assistants like Siri and Alexa, consumers have already accepted that machines are capable of managing many ostensibly “human” tasks.
For the most part, the same cannot be said of marketers. Despite the availability of truly intelligent AI tools like Albert™, most marketers remain hesitant to hand over any sort of important task to a machine.
And while many marketers have started to gravitate toward automated marketing tools over the course of the last decade, they have yet to meaningfully embrace autonomous, AI-driven marketing platforms like Albert. While the two terms may sound similar, the practical difference between these kinds of tools is enormous.
Automated marketing tools have brought higher efficiency and increased personalization to digital marketing — the number of companies using marketing automation increased elevenfold between 2011 and 2014. As of earlier this year, more than 83,000 companies were using at least one of the ten most popular marketing automation platforms.
Their popularity notwithstanding, the truth of the matter is that the vast majority of automated marketing tools still require a great deal of human intervention to effectively launch and execute campaigns. The standard automated tool empowers marketers to centralize their workflows and achieve an operational scale far beyond what would be possible with only manual tools, but it still takes plenty of human supervision.
This is because automated marketing tools function according to specific rules — rules that marketers must write, assess, and rewrite on a consistent basis to account for undiscovered exceptions to these rules and changes to the marketing landscape or target audience demographics and preferences. When they launch a marketing campaign with an automated tool, a marketer must define the business rules the tool will follow: “If X happens, then take action Y” or “If a target has characteristic Q, assign them to segment P.” These rules will typically prove adequate at the beginning of the campaign, but as the market shifts, new trends emerge, and business goals are reconsidered, they will quickly become irrelevant.
In short, most automated tools are incapable of “understanding” KPIs; they simply accept the rules their supervising marketer writes and act on them. When something changes, the only way an automated tool will change its behavior is if a marketer rewrites or expands their original rules. Not only does this take an immense amount of time and effort, but it can cost a large enterprise hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, effectively undercutting the time and cost savings that make automated marketing platforms so attractive in the first place.
What marketers need to generate really meaningful results is a truly intelligent tool that understands their business goals, one that understands how “change X” bears upon “outcome Y” in the broader context of their marketing strategy. This is where an autonomous AI platform like Albert comes into play.
Albert surveys a company’s entire history of campaigns in order to determine what has worked in the past, working to gather, aggregate, and analyze an abundance of cross-channel, cross-device data. He then uses this information to craft thousands of different strategies for execution. These strategies allow Albert to explore many distinct combinations of messaging, creative, frequency, channels, devices, and so on which are all combined for an effective holistic campaign.
By executing this kind of high-volume, multivariate testing, Albert is able to pilot thousands of micro-campaigns at once, scaling up iterations that work and abandoning those that don’t — all without human intervention or the need to create new rules. Through this cycle of autonomous decision-making and evaluation, Albert can assign budget to various channels in real time, maximizing the efficiency and ROI of a company’s marketing spend and freeing human marketers to focus on big-picture strategy and creative production.
While automated tools are helpful insofar as they automatically take the actions a marketer has defined for them, autonomous tools offer the additional value of actually formulating their own nuanced insights and taking substantive action on them. When marketers no longer have to worry about constantly updating their formal business rules, they can dedicate more time to what really matters: providing compelling, highly personalized experiences to each and every one of their customers.