As our world becomes increasingly reliant on evolving technology, the realm of marketing remains committed to maintaining a human touch. In the current issue of iGB Affiliate Magazine we examined the relationship between tech and human connections as well as takeaways for iGaming affiliates.

You can read the article in iGB Affiliate’s online edition of the print issue, which can also be found at this week’s Berlin Affiliate Conference (BAC). You can also read the piece here, where you can find part one published below, with the second and final part set to go live tomorrow.

Enhancing brand experience is increasingly reliant on identifying emerging trends, technologies and needs that can unlock previously untapped potential. There’s also the matter of acting on the potential once it has been recognised.

Affiliate marketers can help businesses navigate this terrain and define campaign strategies. But with so much excitement around tech – both emerging and evolving – there is also the challenge of forming a genuine connection that encourages sustained activity.

Below are four prominent technologies that influence marketing strategies where a human touch is both encouraged and achievable.

Machine Learning

In a world of trendy tech terminology, machine learning (ML) has a marketing challenge: it sounds less accessible than “big data”, lacks the excitement of virtual reality and, while technically a branch of artificial intelligence, doesn’t occupy the public interest in quite the same way. ML is even more challenging when assessing how it can strengthen brand marketing and customer relations.

An accurate appraisal likely rests somewhere between those who specialise in ML-based solutions and others who have long-standing careers devising smaller scale marketing campaigns and strategies.

DataScience, a tech firm based in Culver City, CA, supplies its clients with an enterprise data science platform. In one company blog post, 6 Common Machine Learning Applications for Business, the practice of customer segmentation is highlighted:

“Rather than relying on a marketer’s intuition to separate customers into groups for campaigns, data scientists can use clustering and classification algorithms to group customers into personas based on specific variations among them,” it reads. “These personas account for customer differences across multiple dimensions such as demographics, browsing behaviour, and affinity.”

In affiliate marketing, we’re continually looking to improve efficiencies without sacrificing customer care. The competitive nature of the industry also means that we require more thoughtful ways of segmenting and clustering those customers to achieve results. However, impressive as the intelligence may be, without a customer-centric mindset, these insights risk being wasted along with the resources devoted to acquiring them in the first place.

“Humans understand context in ways that machines can’t. AI technology has capabilities that are data-focused, but humans have a depth of context that you can’t necessarily program,” said Chaitanya Chandrasekar, CEO and Co-Founder of Quantic Mind, in an article for eMarketer.com. “Sometimes there are reasons that a marketer just knows something will or won’t work, but machines don’t have gut feelings.”

Artificial Intelligence

Forecasting future job losses due to artificial intelligence (AI) can be a distressing pastime. It may also prove unnecessary, given that our status within the global workforce doesn’t preclude us from reaping the benefits of AI.

Despite their sophisticated learning capabilities, AI platforms are not able to pull from emotional experiences or familiarity with the human condition – essential traits to being a strong marketing professional.  For marketers, the true value of AI is how, when leveraged accordingly, it can facilitate an array of content marketing activities (e.g. social media, chatbots, content curation, etc.).

As a recent contributor to Curata’s company blog, Paul Roetzer, founder and CEO of B2B content marketing agency, PR 20/20, wrote: “Human beings…have a finite ability to process information, build strategies based on that information, and create content at scale. Artificial intelligence systems, in contrast, have an almost infinite ability to process data, and deliver predictions, recommendations, and content—better, faster, and cheaper.”

Roetzer is right, and affiliate marketers can’t spend hours sifting through data, identifying actionable insights to optimise acquisition strategies. As a profession that requires a fondness for data points, affiliate marketers can absorb the statistical findings of AI platforms and use them to more effectively deliver on their role as communicators.

Demand Metric’s 2016 study on hyper-personalisation and automation showed that 80% of respondents believe that personalised content is more effective than “unpersonalised” content. And while affiliates can allocate resources for retaining top tier acquisitions, it’s unreasonable to expect that same philosophy be applied across an entire database without detracting from other marketing efforts.

If AI can help minimise the time dedicated to tasks of this nature, which are still central to a robust affiliate operation, it will help liberate resources for activities where AI is less proficient.

 

Watch out for the second and final part of our two-part article for iGB Affiliate Magazine, which will be published on the Content Hub tomorrow. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section further down.