Marketing AI: Panel at LTU says computer intelligence to transform the ad world

SOUTHFIELD — Artificial intelligence will make marketing more effective and efficient, but comes with significant risks, according to a panel discussion at Lawrence Technological University Wednesday.

Around 50 people attended “Is Artificial Intelligence Redefining Marketing and Market Research?” The American Marketing Association Detroit’s market research special interest group hosted the event, and LTU’s College of Management provided the venue in the Buell Management Building.

AI in market research can take a variety of forms, from faster pattern recognition of raw data to more personalized product suggestions for consumers.

However, AI can also be polarizing, both to marketers, because it can replace human jobs in the marketing industry, and among consumers, who fear an invasion of privacy.

Moderator Jan Leon Woznick, a longtime marketing consultant, noted that such brilliant minds as Steven Hawking and Elon Musk are deeply suspicious of AI.

AI can also make it easier to “fail faster” – but in a bad way. Said Rex Briggs, founder and CEO of Marketing Evolution, who joined the panel discussion by phone: “AI is also very single minded. It will optimize exactly what you tell it to – and if you make a bad choice about what to optimize, AI will get you there really really quickly.”

The meeting also featured a presentation by “Monica,” an AI avatar who described how the technology is changing marketers’ thinking. Panelist Karen Ebben, a longtime marketing executive, noted that “AI has changed expectations. This is the second panel in three months where I’ve shared the stage with a bot.”

AMA-2.jpgLTU President Virinder Moudgil welcomes the AMA Detroit group

AI also has non-marketing executives changing their business strategies. Rainer Kunau, a trade officer with the Canadian Consulate in Detroit, said he’s familiar with an aerospace firm that’s using the terabytes of data it gets from sensors on its aircraft components to create Internet of Things AI software that it sees as a major business growth opportunity.

Woznick had several predictions at the end of the presentation, including AI bringing an increased emphasis on accountability in marketing and products, along with more pushback from consumers worried about privacy, and possibly enhanced privacy legislation. He also said AI means continued employment growth in data analytics for marketers – and that universities must produce better training in data analytics.

He also said abuses such as click fraud, where competitors create bots to click on an adversary’s ad, running up large search advertising bills with no sales, will continue.

Marketers still must do better to make their advertising messages relevant, he said. The average American is exposed to about 5,000 ads a week, Woznick said – unfortunately, most of them still irrelevant to their wants and needs.

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