Don't overthink it. Surrendering to intelligent automation.
If I had to predict what the 2018 landscape will look like, I would put my money on two groups succeeding this year: small shops willing to allow extreme testing to drive constant change in their marketing programs AND companies of any size that leverage intelligent AI-driven automation and personalization.
As an agile product manager who takes an iterative results-based approach to building products, I see great opportunity for the teams that take a similar approach to their marketing. At this point, anyone with a mobile device can set up a Google Product Feed, advertise on Facebook or create Shoppable Instagram posts. Small nimble teams can compete with much larger entities by gathering rapid feedback through near-constant testing and split-testing. After all, a small team that tries something new with each and every campaign (email, display, social or otherwise) gains access to rapid feedback simply not available to slower-moving mid-to-large companies that often take a rather templated approach to their marketing.
I also see great promise for companies that embrace intelligent AI driven automation and personalization. When I launched a new product this year that combined machine learning, artificial intelligence, natural language processing and marketing automation I saw companies fall into 2 distinct groups: those ready for AI-driven automation and those that simply want faster ways to do what they've always done.
When I launched a new product this year that combined machine learning, artificial intelligence, natural language processing and marketing automation I saw clients fall into 2 distinct groups: those ready for AI-driven automation and those that simply want faster ways to do what they've always done.
In the first camp, the clients ready to let machine learning and AI takeover personalization so they are free to focus on other areas of their marketing efforts, I watched them send a few successful test campaigns, then turn the product on full throttle and never look back. For them, the product runs on autopilot and proves its ongoing effectiveness in campaign metrics.
However, in the second camp, users who simply want to do their current work faster, there is a level of hesitation in moving away from a human-curated campaign experience. I believe given the chance, the hyper-personalization possible only through intelligent automation will speak for itself in the form of higher engagement rates. In the meantime, I'll let the crawl-walk-run approach we baked into the product allow companies in this second camp to adopt AI-driven automation at their own pace.
Is intelligent AI-driven automation and personalization perfect? No. Is it better? Key performance indicators and campaign metrics on engagement seem to indicate it is.
I can only imagine that companies of all sizes will be faced with decisions about how and when to leverage AI, machine learning, and a data-driven approach to their efforts in the coming year. I believe those willing to adopt AI and execute quickly based on their results will move the furthest and fastest in 2018.