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Sanjay Castelino is a featured contributor to The Impact of AI on Modern Marketing: 50 Categories Ranked, 70 Experts Sound Off report.

Here's the complete contribution:

Decades of science fiction have trained us to believe machines will eventually replace humans in everything — even when it comes to marketing.

There is some basis for this belief. Machines have already replaced some learnings to make marketing more efficient. For example, online algorithms like the ones used in Google ads have made it easier to determine purchase intent and predict when prospects are ready to buy.

Machines are brilliant at processing data that represents purchase signals. But what they miss is context about buyers’ existing brand perceptions and the motivations behind their purchase decisions.

Machines that process data and interpret buying signals are important, and give a lot of insight into who a company should be targeting.

But they still lack context about buyers’ existing brand perceptions and whether or not those perceptions can be influenced. They also lack the ability to define what experiences should be created to reach buyers that are receptive to your message.

Sure, machines can provide data to help marketers find prospects that might be in the market for their product. They can also help inform micro-decisions to more efficiently run and promote campaigns. But they’re not equipped to create personalized brand experiences that can grab your attention.

To effectively reach and engage buyers, an understanding of their current perceptions and past experiences with your brand is required.

That’s why the creative exercise of developing impactful experiences that take prospects further down the funnel, from awareness to consideration, is still better informed by marketers than machines.

It all comes back to the human experience. Machines are capable of ingesting and processing and making some limited meaning out of more data today than ever before. That’s good, but it may not get us as any closer to our customers.

Why? Because data and signals are nothing without context, and context is informed by our existing perceptions and motivations that can be easily hidden.

Until AI can perfectly replicate the artful act of human engagement and then make educated decisions about tapping into those motivations, marketers will not be replaced. Today’s machines can’t do all that, and it’ll likely to be years, or even decades, before they can.

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