From the Influencers

PR Teams Must Consider AI, Influencers, Millennials

May 19, 2017

Artificial intelligence and machine learning, influencer marketing, and a focus on millennials are three prevalent trends we’re seeing today. And they are three areas to which public relations teams should be paying attention this year.

That’s the perspective and prescription outlined in a new report from Sarab Kochhar, director of applied research for the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida.

“Researchers and practitioners in the field of public relations should explore how AI and ML are helping organizations automate campaigns and create new and stronger connections with customers leading to hyper- personalized experiences,” Kochhar writes in the report “Top Three Trends That Will Drive Public Relations Research in 2017.”

Indeed. Artificial intelligence, which uses algorithms and rules-based logic to automate a wide variety of tasks within many verticals, is hot. It occupies the top spot in 2017 tech trend lists from such notable companies as Ericsson and Gartner.

Cognitive systems and AI adoption across a broad range of industries are likely to drive worldwide revenues from nearly $8 billion in 2016 to more than $46 billion in 2020, according to IDC.

“Intelligent applications based on cognitive computing, artificial intelligence, and deep learning are the next wave of technology transforming how consumers and enterprises work, learn, and play,” said David Schubmehl, research director of Cognitive Systems and Content Analytics at IDC. “These applications are being developed and implemented on cognitive/AI software platforms that offer the tools and capabilities to provide predictions, recommendations, and intelligent assistance through the use of cognitive systems, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. Cognitive/AI systems are quickly becoming a key part of IT infrastructure and all enterprises need to understand and plan for the adoption and use of these technologies in their organizations.”

 Scott Horn, CMO at customer engagement solution provider [24]7, said that AI promises to fundamentally transform entire businesses and industries by enabling businesses to deliver better purchase recommendations and smarter customer service that predicts what a consumer is actually trying to do.

As Kochhar mentions, influencer marketing is another trend impacting businesses, consumers, marketing, and public relations. Influencer marketing is important because influential individuals can help or harm a company’s brand, can greatly increase brand awareness, and can even drive conversions.

“Wharton Marketing Professor David Bell says that brands looking to create a presence in the digital space quickly realize that the way?to get to their audience is through people who are already established in that space,” Kochhar writes. “YouTube stars’ videos are viewed millions of times, connecting with their audience in a very authentic, relevant way.”

And we’re all very aware of the impact millennials are making on the world. This generation has a lot of clout, considering it represents the largest segment of the nation’s population, Kochhar notes. And members of this group are beginning to move into leadership positions within the work world.

This group of young, digital natives is changing the way we work, live, consume media, and make buying decisions. And research suggests millennials trust strangers with relevant information and experience the most when making their buying decisions, says Kochhar, who adds that that dovetails with the trend of influencer marketing.

If you’d like to learn more about AI, be sure to check out TMC and Crossfire Media’s newest conference and expo, Communications 20/20, happening July 18-20 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The event will focus on the next wave of technology and innovations that will transcend the importance of person to person contact, disrupting the future of the entire communications industry. Find out more HERE.

Edited by Alicia Young

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