Tech Talk: AI Assistants Could Change Marketing Forever

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The age of AI assistants is already upon us, and the effect they could have on marketing in general is insane. People with backgrounds in traditional advertising, SEO, and affiliate marketing are all in serious danger of having their skill sets depreciated or even rendered completely obsolete. That sounds like a huge logical leap, and it is, to be sure, but in the very near future, it could hold true. While this logic is similar to the line of thinking that says that AI may put almost everybody except programmers and creatives out of a job soon, the possibility is certainly there in this case.

You've probably heard the term SEO in passing before. It stands for search engine optimization, and it's an extremely complex, and extremely lucrative, form of modern-day marketing. To put it very, very basically, SEO specialists do all that they can to ensure that their clients' content shows up on search engines like Google and Bing. Given the vast amount of people searching for products and services on the web, good SEO could be the difference between a hit product and an obscure and underrated footnote in the market. Naturally, companies are willing to pay a ton for good SEO. Affiliate marketing is somewhat similar, but rather than users searching, you target users who are browsing. Affiliate marketers paste links where they think they'll get the most bites, and are paid for their trouble depending on how well their predictions went over; links usually pay a small bit per click, and a bit more per full engagement, such as buying a product. Traditional marketing, of course, includes things like commercials and billboards.

The way that AI assistants could shake up these fields is through automation of our spending. These assistants are already plenty smart, and for the most part, if you tell them to buy you a good or service with a linked payment method, most of them can do it in the snap of a finger. They all have their preferences, of course, and that is the key. You can always search manually despite the existence of AI assistants, or specify what brand or company you want to buy from, but some users are content to simply say, "Get me a ride to tonight's event", or "Buy me the cheapest pair of men's size 10 work boots you can find that will be here within a week". It's this group of users, content to leave the shopping to the AI, who will become the cash cows. With time, and the spread of the technology, that could become a majority of the market.

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When a user makes a super-simple shopping request of an AI assistant, one of two things will happen; it will present the user choices, or a product will arrive at the user's location within the next few hours, days, weeks, etc. In the case of the latter, the maker or seller of that product could very well have paid the AI company for the privilege, and this money would probably be a good bit more per interaction than current advertising. After all, if you have $1,500 in your pocket and want a new gaming laptop, a Newegg or GearBest banner could pop up on a site you browse, but it won't buy the gadget for you. With a smart enough AI and a willing user, a command like "Find me a good bar nearby on the cheap." could result in your being directed to a nearby dive that the AI thinks you'll like based on your tastes.

The AI essentially hands the sale over, or in some cases, even does the work for the user; "I want a bag of apples, two onions, and a pound of high-quality steak.", for example, is just the kind of command that today's AI may have a hard time with, but future AI will capitalize on; if a Target in your area is willing to deliver and the AI judges that their prices are within your budget, that simple command could bring a Target delivery vehicle to your drive, and the AI maker would receive a decent sum from Target. With marketing growing in this direction and a growing trend toward centralization taking over the web, it's no stretch to say that AI is probably the future, current marketing methods could be in serious trouble, and the company that can deliver the best and most strategically placed AI assistant to consumers will likely end up becoming profitable on levels that CEOs can only dream of in the current year.