Can Marketers Count On AI?

Yes, it has superpower; Yet, it’s not god.

Marketing in the Age of Digital
4 min readApr 11, 2021


In 2014, the world’s first AI computer passed Turing Test, meaning 30% of the time, a human test taker cannot recognize that they were talking to a computer. Such a groundbreaking improvement indicated that there would be more and more artificial intelligence appearing in our lives, and we wouldn’t even notice.

It is good news to marketers as we are having an assistant with superpower. But, our job is not a hundred percent taken, which is actually also good news. We need to know where is our relief zone and find the more furious arena.

✓: Transfer Data To Information

AI and big data are complementary to each other. AI is supported by big data; big data is useless numbers without AI’s efficient analysis. Together, these two brothers have provided marketers so much convenience in targeting customers, predicting behavior patterns, adjusting prices, measuring KPIs, etc.

✕: Transfer Information To Ideas

Now we have the information, the result of the analysis. What do we do with that? We use the information to build a target customer persona, build our strategic plan, and set the KPIs of our marketing campaign. AI cannot help us with that as it doesn’t set a mission based on a firm’s vision.

✓: Write Message

AI-generated text is widely used on so many platforms. It is capable of understanding the meaning of a message and generating accurate responsive messages. Many websites have built-in chatbots that can talk to a customer, answer questions, introduce products.

✕: Create Meaningful Content

AI, yet, cannot think outside the box. All the “thinking” is based on the code written by the creator of the AI. Even though we see a lot of science-fiction picturing an AI obtaining a spirit, it has not yet happened in the real world. It is still human’s talent to arouse sympathy in humans.

If an AI was told to be friendly to customers, instead of “Just Do It,” it will say: “Please feel free to do it ^_^.”

✓: Interact With Customers/Answer Questions

As I mentioned in the beginning, the AI that can pass Turing Test was already born in 2014. Sometimes when we call a customer service center with simple questions (order status, return status, etc.), our questions can be addressed by the AI system. That has eliminated the wait time for a human customer representative.

It is agreed that AI is improving customer’s experience on post-buying services. Many customers claim that they don’t really want to make a phone call to address their problems, firstly because they don’t want to waste time. Secondly, they averse to interacting with strangers.

✕: Read Emotion/Solve Tricky Problems

More developed AI may have a facial scan function to read people’s emotions, but as for now, they cannot do it precisely. When a customer steps into a store with an angry face, a salesperson would be alarmed that there may be a complaint. When a couple happily walked into a wedding dress store, they want to receive service as well as congrats.

A few days ago, I made a phone call to Amazon customer service to report a missing package. The service was very much considerate, and the customer representative immediately placed another order for me. I even feel obligated to do an after survey (and give a 5-star rating).

Employee training is still of great importance as they talk to customers most often. Their conversation does not only help a company better understand customers’ concerns but also build a stronger bond with them.

So, can we count on AI?

My answer is: (as long as we are not hacked,) we can trust AI’s loyalty and accuracy, but we can never entirely depend on a machine with no true empathy and creative thinking. We are still in charge of producing ideas from the information, conducting strategic plans, and designing inspiring messages. But, because of AI’s valuable assistant, we are allowed to do these things more effectively. I hope that AI will be more developed in the future and be capable of doing more, but we are still the ones who create.