One of marketers’ biggest challenges today is how to strategically leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to achieve their goals and maximize performance. The hype is constant, while the speed of AI development is frighteningly quick. Marketers are rapidly trying to identify and invest in AI capabilities that are reliable, scalable, and capable of delivering long-term impact.

It’s a situation that often leaves businesses with just as many questions as answers. To help, we spoke to four of our experts who have helped clients transform their organizations and successfully navigate the maze of AI:

  • Jakob Kofoed (JK), Global CTO
  •  Howard Scott (HS), Principal Consultant, EMEA
  • Scott Molitor (SM), Principal Consultant, NA
  • Natalie Heselton (NH), Global Growth

Here we summarize what we heard and identify five ways marketers can prepare their organization to take full advantage of AI's power and potential.

1. Create a culture of innovation

Being able to successfully marry the disciplines of invention and creativity is key. This must be done in an environment where failure is not discouraged. This way organizations can embark on a cycle of continuous improvement powered by AI.

Jakob Kofoed (JK), Global CTO - “It’s about creating a culture that values curiosity, risk-taking, and innovation in your organization. That's particularly important for AI because of how quickly it is moving and opening up new opportunities across the business. Without a culture of innovation, businesses will be much slower to adopt AI and realize its benefits.”

2.  Make sure you experiment… but in the right way

Experimentation is important when it comes to accelerating AI adoption. By quickly testing and iterating on models and use cases, organizations will learn what works and doesn’t work, and will be better prepared to determine which approaches are most effective and are ready to scale.

Howard Scott (HS), Principal Consultant, EMEA - “Anybody looking to innovate without an experimentation approach will fail. It’s a way to test hypotheses with minimum investment and it is the quickest route to learning. But experimentation isn’t a free pass to trial any idea without basis. Well thought-through and planned experiments, targeted at a specific area of the business, can provide value and context to failure as a springboard to improve.”

3. Collaboration is king

No amount of AI will be truly effective if it is operating in silos. Unlocking the potential of AI requires inclusivity. It needs the entire business to understand what AI is, how it can change their part of the business, and how this affects other areas of the business.

Scott Molitor (SM), Principal Consultant, NA - “AI tightens the integration of human and “machine.” This means creatives, operations, analysts, data scientists, and leadership need to up their collaborative “game” to unlock new applications and approaches that seemed like science fiction yesterday, but today are fast becoming a commodity.”

Natalie Heselton (NH), Global Growth - “Innovation in AI unlocks a whole new world of capabilities; particularly in terms of enabling previously disparate business and marketing functions to bring benefit to one another. In order to reap these benefits, we need to lean in and embrace the new. This takes curiosity, openness, and willingness to change. The teams that embrace change together will win the quickest and be most successful.”

4. Don’t lose sight of the importance of managing data 

Data management is crucial for creating an environment where AI can be useful across the entire marketing organization. Effective data management minimizes the problems that stem from bad data, such as added friction, poor predictions, and even simple inaccessibility, and provides AI with a solid basis from which to work from.

HS - “It all starts with data and the business’ ability to manage it. This means data management skills are foundational for AI. On top of that, businesses need the data science and machine learning expertise to bring ideas to life.”

NH – “True value won’t come from shiny AI objects, but from a strategic approach to AI adoption. Investing in data management provides the bedrock for automation, personalization, machine learning, and truthful insight. ‘Data is king’ – why wouldn’t you prioritize its management?”

5.  People and culture are key to AI adoption at scale

AI is unquestionably the most disruptive technology to hit the workplace since the advent of the internet and cloud-based computing. To maximize the value of AI, businesses must have the proper culture and organizational foundations in place. And for all the promise and potential of the technology, the success or failure of your company’s AI strategy ultimately comes down to people, and your culture. 

SM – “Being proactive when it comes to AI education and upskilling is critical. Creating an AI learning agenda is a great first step followed by partnering with an expert who can help sift through the hype and introduce platforms and tools that can allow individuals to gain familiarity, experiment with solutions, and build proficiency.  AI will change the way we work, which will impact the way we relate and, to some degree, change the way we see ourselves.”

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