No matter where on the planet they may be, passengers of the driverless cars of the future are going to have plenty of free time to read your brand’s content. Are you ready to embrace new tools and redeploy resources to reach them?
On a deeper level, the self-driving car is more than a mere strategic play for your multicultural marketing bandwidth in the new global context; its projected arrival is a prism through which to view your overall marketing operations.
In the constant din of self-driving car conversations and their broad social ramifications, prognostications of the many potential unintended or remotely foreseen consequences abound. These outcomes include less organ donor availability from fewer accidental deaths, a rethinking of the assumed great reduction in total number of cars on the road, the end of parking as we know it, and the Schumpeterian issues of some jobs coming to exist (imagine AAA dispatching an Emergency Roadside IT Pro to get your car rebooted) with other positions surely vanishing (say au revoir to on-demand drivers, valets, and more).
It’s that last outcome—one of machines stealing workers’ jobs, dating back to at least the legend of John Henry and the steam drill—that seemed to be the exclusive worry of manual laborers, even the highly skilled ones. Robots don’t complain about their working conditions—at least not yet. Yet the terrain has quickly shifted. Adding more fuel to the job-stealing fire is the latest wave of artificial intelligence involved in everything from scheduling appointments to choosing insurance. And for an especially striking instance, a university colleague of mine has been working on algorithm applications for changing text to influence opinion, something wordsmiths used to think was exclusively their domain. Though computers may soon be a persuasive force to be reckoned with. there’s no arguing that we’ll still need plenty of people to supervise and debug the process.
Recently the fear of being replaced by A.I. finally crept into the minds of marketers. Hopefully, you have already read solid analysis of key issues previously on the Content Standard (if not, you can get yourself caught up by reading about automated content, emergent robot trends, and A.I.’s shortcomings in properly handling personal stories).
Yet while marketers, and content marketers especially, may fear their days are shortly numbered, there is reason for optimism if we examine possible global ramifications. When it comes to multicultural marketing opportunities, the flaws of A.I. applications in that context suggest the forecasted diminishment of the human role still will be many years in the making. Additionally, the spread of SaaS / IaaS / PaaS A.I. technologies, and the accompanying cost reductions associated with both quicker production and the rebalancing of human involvement in the content creation process, means new opportunities for brands to attempt expansion into other markets.
It will likely take longer to iron out the kinks in worldwide content marketing execution via new AI technology, leaving the door open for supervisory roles to oversee and refine multicultural marketing content. One such problem that would necessitate a human override is understanding international market conditions. Let’s take a hypothetical example of working on a content series for a global CPG manufacturer’s laundry detergent. If software creates a heartwarming story of friends sharing life lessons while doing their laundry at a laundromat, you may be tempted to simply run it through an automated translator (there are ones that even understand Australian dialect) and start sharing the content everywhere. Yet a human with on-ground experience in different markets would understand how that story won’t play well in many international markets, where doing laundry by hand and hanging items out to dry is still the norm.
Moreover, some seemingly straightforward translations might not be the best phrasing possible, requiring the oversight of a person with native fluency who can understand when a more creative or colloquial phrasing would work better than the software’s suggestion. As new words are minted on a seemingly daily basis, and as slang expressions and phrasings have no need to respect borders in an era of global media consumption, it’s hard to imagine a robot grasping how to properly apply them without a tremendous amount of awkwardness that would scream for human intervention. Simply put, language and culture are ever-evolving—as your global content strategy should be. A.I. will likely never be able to craft culturally-sensitive content in the way humans can.
If you don’t want clumsily phrased content that sounds like it came from a robot, then you’ll want it created by boots-on-the-ground experts. With so many markets to understand, and the subtleties associated with each, the need for humans in the process remains.
Additionally, technology and its accompanying cost reductions give new opportunities for brands to attempt expansion into other markets should they choose to redeploy capital smartly toward that end. Gartner’s survey across 10 countries points out that participants consistently cited cost reductions provided by SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS deployments as a key contributor to successful adoption across all departments. Spending less overall on creative employees liberates dollars to be spent on other key marketing functions, such as: on the aforementioned supervisory roles in overseeing and refining multicultural marketing content; on truly niche-market content specialists with great social presence; and on needed advertising to further boost content views.
While every great technology-driven shift will yield winners and losers, the driverless car as both opportunity and prism gives marketers much to consider in the new global context. Marketers who fully consider the ramifications of embracing new A.I. tools and who deploy newly liberated capital smartly toward international market expansion will be better positioned to manage that transition.
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