According to an article in Forbes magazine, an emerging category and technology that puts marketers in control of their data is being leveraged by the Fortune 500 and thousands of other early adopters.
It helps marketers “[take] aim at the marketing challenges they confront with measurement and insight across the organisation,” says Forbes.
That technology is marketing intelligence, which Forbes defines as “a category of marketer-friendly, artificial intelligence (AI)-powered, domain-specific technology for marketers to manage data, analytics, visualisation and activation across a single source of truth.”
If that didn’t help clarify the concept, though, Wikipedia has a rather more accessible definition: “The everyday information relevant to a company’s markets, gathered and analysed specifically for the purpose of accurate and confident decision-making in determining market opportunity, market penetration strategy, and market development metrics.”
According to professor Mark Ritson, an internationally-renowned marketing consultant who teaches marketing and brand management in MBA programs at London Business School, MIT Sloan, the University of Minnesota, Singapore Management University and Melbourne Business School, there are six forms of marketing intelligence: market orientation; ethnography focus groups; the big survey; brand tracking; net promoter score.
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However, the key aspect Forbes focuses on — omitted from the other two definitions — is the use of artificial intelligence. To get a better handle on this there is a useful whitepaper How AI is Transforming Marketing from Datorama (recently acquired by Salesforce).
It argues that, in the last few years, on-demand computing power, increasingly connected consumers, and advances in AI have made it possible to do things that marketers have only talked about for decades.
However, these are not independent views corroborating the role of AI in marketing intelligence: the Forbes article was authored by Leah Pope, chief marketing officer at Datorama.
AI – enabling the marketing dream
Nevertheless, there is other evidence that AI is playing a key role in marketing intelligence. In 2017 artificial intelligence was named Marketing Word of the Year by the US Association of National Advertisers, following an online ballot of its members.
The award citation listed half a dozen applications of AI in marketing and advertising, including marketing intelligence. On this, it provided this quote, taken from an October 2017 eMarketer report: Artificial Intelligence for Marketers 2018: Finding Value Beyond the Hype.
“AI systems excel at parsing and crunching massive volumes of data from disparate sources, including data management platforms, data warehouses, data lakes, and other repositories of structured and unstructured data.
“They can take information from a variety of inputs, find relationships, connect the dots, and make predictions in ways that are not humanly possible. Marketers are using these capabilities to enhance business intelligence, marketing research, and forecasting accuracy.”
Looks like the intelligent thing to do is to start looking at how AI can be applied to gaining marketing intelligence.