Should You Be Marketing to Robots?
Jason Alan Snyder in AdWeek has an intriguingly titled new post up, "4 Ways to Catch Robots' Attention With Your Marketing" which addresses, well, just that: robots, artificial intelligence, and marketing. And he has some very important points to make about who marketers should be targeting in the future. Hint: It isn't people.
Mind you, Snyder doesn't mean we should literally be marketing to robots. Marketers need to realize that they shouldn't think of "robots" or "artificial intelligence" as an actual target demographic, but as the gatekeepers to the customers marketers are trying to reach.
As Snyder puts it, "AI robots suggest a scarf that similar users bought to go with those winter gloves you just ordered. AI robots know it's dinner time and show you nearby restaurants in your Waze map on your way home."
This is true, and grows more applicable to our daily lives. Basically, almost anything digitally displayed has probably been selected by a machine that has been programmed to think about and then choose what to display. And the machine often bases its choice on whatever demographic information it may have about you, from your general location based on your IP address all the way down to the long list of things you like and/or have "liked" on whatever social media platform you use.
No, Not Those Kind of Robots
What Snyder is really talking about here are the algorithms that sort, collate, and pick through the massive amounts of data and information being generated by our modern digital economy. These tools are becoming more and more sophisticated, and marketers need to begin adjusting their practices to address the new gatekeepers of the economy if they want to reach whatever precious demographic they are targeting.
How exactly they supposed to do that remains a bit of a mystery, however, Snyder does have a few general suggestions. Some of them are just good ideas no matter who your trying to reach, robot or human, such as crafting your message so it will be noticed by people and machines, or increasing your brand's sophistication such that algorithms can pick up on it.
But the most useful and specific piece of advice is this: Control the ecosystem. Basically, your brand isn't going to be able to create its own system for reaching consumers. You're not going to build the next Amazon, so just go ahead and use Amazon instead, or whatever ecommerce giant suits your brand best. Control and craft your marketing efforts so that your brand will appear high on "customers also bought" and suggested item lists. It's much easier to try to get Apple, Facebook, Pinterest, Google, etc. to notice you than to try and compete with them.
Robots, A.I., algorithms. Whatever you call them, they are increasingly what are calling the shots in the world of digital marketing and economics, and appealing to these tools can make the difference between your brand actually being seen by consumers or getting lost among the thousands of other companies clamoring for attention. So it makes a whole lot of sense that your marketing should make an effort to garner their attention.