How PR and Marketing Can Ensure AI is Useful and Avoid Data Overload 

When used effectively, AI can transform how PR and marketing target, engage, activate and measure campaigns.

The evolution of AI platforms comes as executives increasingly ask that PR and marketing help solve business problems. AI can help whether a business seeks a more informed way of penetrating markets, addressing customer satisfaction issues or anything in between.

However, in spite of AI’s improvements, issues remain.

For example, without human intervention in the form of editing and interpretation, AI outputs can overwhelm business leaders.

As such, absent clear linkage with a company’s goals, AI’s voluminous outputs are fun and interesting perhaps, but they are not helpful answering C-suite business problems. What company leaders want are easily processed insights that can help their business.

For example, say a national healthcare provider is seeking a larger footprint. It wants an assessment of media coverage so it can better understand potential new markets.

Each day its CEO receives a large dossier of AI-generated media data. It's overwhelming.

Instead, the company’s PR team should have:

  • Ascertained the company’s business objectives
  • Aligned them with search and
  • Embedded these criteria into natural language and trend analysis AI, adding social conversation as part of the search criteria

The result: easily digestible data sorted into tabs: business objectives, attitudes and geography.

Bearing this example in mind, below is a prescription for leveraging AI’s power and potential in service of business outcomes:

Identify Business Goals

Before setting output parameters, interview the C-suite. Identify business problem(s) it wants to solve through marketing and communication. Identify 1-3 key business issues.

Align Content with Goals

Determine source material that will inform engagement around the above issues. Set not just search and output, but also an action plan for engagement. This lets you link engagement and outcomes directly to business goals as informed by these outputs. In addition, it enables constant evaluation and adjustment, if necessary. Limiting output to business goals will help you manage the flow of useful data.

Narrow the Universe

Tech-first solutions providers enjoy showing off the muscularity of their technology. They’ll say their technology’s output volume will amaze you. Probably will. Yet, as we saw above, disciplined communication and marketing relies on useful insights not volume. Again, thinking through linkage to business goals, you can make specific choices about the universe of outputs, resulting in better outcomes.

 Apply Human Intelligence

This is critical. While output is impressive, the ability to interpret it is the real area of separation. An algorithm will surface precision content, but it can’t interpret its application. This requires human intelligence, blended with the power of AI.

As an industry, communication and marketing belong in the C-suite. Unlike business strategy consultants, our work is tied to engagement every…single…day.  AI has the potential to make our already strategic position even more so.

But to reach that potential we must harness AI and use it in smart, programmatic ways. Otherwise, it’s just another tool of confusion for executives seeking clarity.

Peter Prodromou is president of Boathouse