Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a growing field for decades, but the uprise in virtual assistants in the home has opened a new channel of advertising. With it comes new challenges. Virtual assistants, like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa, give consumers a hands-free, hassle-free way of looking up information, keeping track of their plans for the day, or even trying new recipes. But the marketing industry has been hit hard by consumers’ new ability to make purchases or browse the internet without being exposed to a traditional advertisement.
AI brings both benefits and pitfalls to the marketplace. Marketers have new tools at their disposal, but they’ve also been given quite a few hurdles to jump through.
Pros of AI:
- Virtual assistant devices offer better, more precise data that’s willingly volunteered by consumers. For example, Amazon gets detailed, individualized data with every task Alexa takes on.
- AI creates a discrete form of advertising that doesn’t feel like a marching band of business owners trying to sell you their products. For example, ask Alexa to buy you a soda, and she immediately suggests the top two products, one of them being a 24-pack of Izze Sparkling Juice drinks. Izze drinks are getting quick advertising to interested customers disguised as a casual conversation. Consumers don’t recognize advertising as easily in this new and unmarked territory.
- Now that consumers are able to order a new product or search something on the internet without even pushing a button, the emphasis on digital marketing is threatened. Desktop and mobile devices have been the biggest platforms for reaching consumers. Only time will tell how AI will modify the relationship between customers and new businesses.
- AI devices are always listening to all sound sources in the home, waiting to be activated. AI marketing is supposed to be the next big leap in marketing, but what information is gathered, how, and what happens to that data? What price are customers willing to pay for those advancements. Privacy in our homes is guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Will consumers give up that right by agreeing to a software licensing agreement? Sometimes, with no marked path to follow, a fresh line will need to be drawn when it comes to what is ethical and what is business-savvy.
AI emphasizes the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) more than anything. Recommendations by virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri are based on the top results in search engines. Making sure that your service or product is at the top of the list will allow your business to wedge its way into those recommendations. AI management of various details in our lives can be a great asset. The question becomes, “what will be the cost of that growth?”