Member Perspective: A Better Approach to AI

Advice for brand marketers on incorporating artificial intelligence with omnichannel marketing.

Right now, there’s a great deal of hype around generative AI within the advertising and marketing technology industries. Imagining new possibilities with near-limitless potential, while predicting just when and how much things will change, is the feat. But it’s clear that advancements in AI will be an enormous boon in the effort to take marketing omnichannel.

While going omni might be necessary for marketers, this evolution needs some technological tailwinds. The dynamics of commerce have changed dramatically. Control of the digital ecosystem by marketers, media giants and retailers has reversed. Consumers hold most of the power today and their needs have evolved.

Today’s consumers are:

• Entirely omnichannel in their behaviors, migrating seamlessly between media and distribution channels. Marketers typically expected specific behavioral outcomes from specific channels, but consumers don’t care. They expect to be able to do it all, anywhere they are.

• Protective of their privacy. New boundaries for data collection and usage have been established. It’s not the consumers’ problem when marketers lose. They will easily disengage from brands that don’t protect their data.

Hanging out in walled gardens. Open web advertising can be a poor experience in the consumer purchase journey. Consumers seek curated experiences in social media, search engines and retailer websites. Recent Skai research shows 77% start research within a walled garden and 65% find advertising more useful in walled gardens than the open web due to data protection.

For marketers, communication with consumers must be omnichannel and concentrated within walled garden media, while taking full advantage of intelligence and the safe handling of consumer data. Going omnichannel is less a technology constraint and more an issue of time — freeing up resources for cross-channel analytics, establishing new KPIs outside of channels, and creating new ways that teams work together will map to winning customers over channels. With AI giving gains to marketers, brands can save time and overhead. This leverage helps brands to better prioritize, recognize the pockets of opportunity in audience segments and keyword terms, and make use of competitive intelligence to eliminate wasted cycles.

AI can’t simply be unleashed without checks and balances in its early days. To become an omnichannel marketer, first consider whether you have the tools to thrive within each of the walled gardens, as well as privacy-safe data connectivity between them. Most ad platforms focus on the open web, so this is a short list. Next ask yourself: Are you set up to leverage the latest in AI capability in order to reduce overhead and drive efficiencies that help you prioritize? In order to move fast, you will need to be able to rely on your platform’s expertise in data handling, governance and quality control against AI-generated output and insight. Independent platforms give you an early adopter advantage in leveraging AI without the risk.

Omnichannel marketing is the only way to keep pace with customers who are increasingly omnichannel. The tenets are clear: Go where consumers are, and respect their privacy at every touchpoint.

About the Author: Margo Kahnrose has more than 15 years of experience in marketing, branding, communications and lead generation across various enterprise and consumer goods industries with an emphasis on technology. With roots in consumer brand e-commerce, she previously led the development and management of Skai’s brand marketing for more than four years before doing the same for marketplace app SpotHero. Kahnrose rejoined Skai in 2018, where she leads marketing for the company globally.