AI Isn’t Taking Your Marketing Job…It’s Making You A More Powerful Marketer

Published: December 19, 2017

Doug Randall Headshot 2017It’s a bold statement, but it’s true. Today’s AI applications are going to need marketers more than ever. The most powerful AI solutions will enhance marketing, enable uber-personalization and provide the deepest level of understanding of our buyers, giving marketers more power than ever before, not less.

The hype about AI is justified. It’s transformative; marketers can put these technologies to use today for higher conversions, and deliver more revenue.

Here are three ways AI will help modern marketers drive better results: 

Deep Buyer Insight

Marketers have relied on traditional market research, polls, surveys and first-hand interviews to gain a better understanding of what drives our buyers. Building out buyer personas is essential for today’s marketing. However, with the introduction of AI —  narrative analytics, in particular — marketers can uncover the deeply held beliefs that drive human behavior. This means personas can be based on computing processing, not human synthesis.

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Narratives are how people identify with a topic; it is how they express the beliefs that matter deeply to them. Our world has always been full of narratives, but until AI, we could not mine, analyze and action the billions of pieces of data, conversations and sentiments that tell us what people believe in.

What is shared publicly is only a piece of the puzzle and this is where traditional market research methods like polls fall short and AI excels. Understanding how people really feel, what drives their behavior matters a lot. Stakes are high. Just ask Hillary Clinton.


Every marketer today uses personalization. It’s inexcusable not to. However, AI offers us the ability to personalize and segment based on traditional elements like explicit and implicit behavior, and then goes even deeper.

With the power of AI, we can segment by beliefs as well. Think about how you would message differently if you knew exactly what your buyer believed in, not just what they downloaded or where they shopped? The more we can deliver specific, relevant messages to our buyer, the better the engagement and ultimately, higher conversions. It’s not enough to have surface-level personalization, today’s buyer wants to be understood and engaged accordingly.

Change Or Own The Conversation

At Protagonist, we like to say you are facing a narrative battle every day. Organizations compete for audiences and buyer attention all the time, but so much of the “conversation” happens without our engagement or even awareness.

It’s imperative to be part of these conversations, engage where your buyers are and influence the conversation at large. AI helps us solve this challenge.

By understanding the beliefs that matter most to your buyers, you can use those insights to help steer the conversation to introduce your message and influence local and global behavior via empathy-based communications. Brands like Microsoft, LinkedIn, Starbucks and nonprofits utilize AI technology today to better communicate and connect with their audiences.

When communicating with empathy, we become part of the conversation, not just more noise.

Recently at Dreamforce, Marc Benioff talked about AI and the power of the fourth industrial revolution. AI is here to stay, but marketers don’t need to worry about losing jobs to robots. AI is more than chatbots and automation. It’s about mining and actioning the data, the underlying narratives that will help us understand our buyers better. AI will augment marketers and provide data and quantitative rigor to a discipline previously overly reliant on gut, instinct and human judgment.

The more we are able to help our buyers solve their challenges, the better we are as marketers. Adding the power of artificial intelligence to our own skills to better connect with our buyers is the future for marketers. No robots required.


Doug Randall is Founder & CEO of Protagonist, a high-growth Narrative Analytics company. Protagonist uncovers the deeply held beliefs that drive human behavior to help organizations connect better with their audiences to drive higher conversions and ultimately, more revenue.

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