Cognitive Marketing, AI & the Future of Advertising

The idea of the big ad campaign and its hold on the consciousness of the consumer has given way to more nuanced approaches. These have more to do with understanding cognitive intelligence and delivering solutions using artificial intelligence than broad brand concepts.

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THINGS HAVE changed for marketing over the last 20 years. The idea of the big ad campaign and its hold on the consciousness of the consumer has given way to more nuanced approaches. These have more to do with understanding cognitive intelligence and delivering solutions using artificial intelligence than broad brand concepts. 


A better customer experience matters, particularly in the online, digital world. Big visions don’t. 

The change has partly happened because of developments in technology. It also has to do with how new demographics such as Gen Z have grown up in a world where smart devices are common, turning them into consumer with a desire for a more tailored experiences. Another change is the huge amount of ‘big data’ we now have access to. 

What is Cognitive Marketing?
We are already starting to see a situation where artificial intelligence is defining and controlling how we market to individuals. It’s helped by the massive number of connected devices we all own, the collection of huge swathes of data and the increase in computing power that seems to have exploded over the last decade. 
What we have now is something akin to a worldwide brain system, different parts of which can be accessed and used to tailor services to individual behavior; everything from product selection to the sales funnel can be better matched and managed for the consumer. Marketers and businesses can test and then tweak their sales and marketing processes to a much higher degree than they could with traditional ad campaigns. And these AI systems aren’t just predictors – they’re capable of independent decision making that goes way beyond the old ways of customer engagement. 

According to Ad Age, at its heart:
“Cognitive Intelligence is about the uniqueness of the customer -- i.e. who they are as individuals. Examples can be things like their personality, character, media consumption habits, desires and passions.”

The Benefits of Cognitive Marketing
• When we look at traditional CRM processes, there is a certain level of customer understanding but none of it can be considered a pure insight into the mind of an individual. Cognitive marketing goes a big step further, creating value for the consumer by understanding their wants and needs more completely than ever before. • We’re not dealing with marketing to groups of individuals and demographics. We’re talking about marketing to the individual based on their online behavior, habits and performance. In essence, it’s marketing to a demographic that consists of just one person. 

• There is a lot of data out there now and, while it is certainly still early days, this information delivers a huge amount of power to brands to drill down to their individual customer’s core needs, desires and wants. 

• As it progresses, cognitive intelligence combined with AI will be able to anticipate customer needs rather than simply reacting to them. And it will be able to do this to a high degree.

From the customer point of view, it’s perfectly simple. The key here is that cognitive marketing can make the customer feel that they are communicating with a real person – whether that’s Alexa, Watson or Siri. When these platforms engage with an individual they don’t just throw out standard responses. They start to learn, they grow with the person and they become better at communicating the more they are used. They can deliver unique, targeted marketing that is designed to work on a one to one basis. 

The Power and the Problem of AI
Artificial intelligence is developing increasingly rapidly and is now beginning to impact practically every part of our lives. It can be used to develop world champion chess players, produce more accurate diagnoses than some of the most capable health professionals in their specialist fields and manage your home to reduce energy consumption. 

What it has failed to do to date is handle the emotional intelligence of simple human beings and understand individual behaviors. That’s beginning to change.
Of course, with that comes certain problems, not only for the marketing industry but for mankind as a whole. According to the Guardian recently, for instance, AI has the potential to put half of us out of work in the next three decades. That’s an incredibly worrying proposition. 

For the moment, the power and potential of cognitive marketing continues to advance. In truth, it’s something that can’t be stopped. The new breed of consumer growing up in a digital, connected space actively wants more of it for a start. 

Our digital, connected world has created a crowded market place for businesses and it’s becoming more and more difficult for brands to set themselves apart for their peers. AI and cognitive marketing allows them to engage with potential customers in a much deeper way than ever before. Traditional advertising and eye catching banners are quickly being usurped by something more intricate and powerful. 

Those brands that take up the mantel will be the ones who succeed in the future. If you’re not yet investing in cognitive marketing, perhaps it’s time to take a closer look. 


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