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How AI is boosting digital marketing in the Northern powerhouse


Digital marketing companies in the North, such as MediaCom, are embracing the power of AI technology but businesses that fail to embrace AI risk being left behind writes Matt Nash, UK Managing Director at global AI marketing company Scibids.

Remote working has become the norm within many industries and is here to stay for the foreseeable future, long beyond the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, the number of people working from home has more than doubled in the UK since before the pandemic. Looking at the North of England in particular, the number of homeworkers grew from 12.0% to 26.7% in the North West, 14.3% to 26.2% in Yorkshire and The Humber, and 10.3% to 22.4% in the North East.

This shift towards remote working is creating a more level playing field for the towns and cities outside of London, opening up the talent pool to businesses nationwide. For example, Manchester and Leeds are now two of the top three job hotspots outside of the capital.

The growing focus on the North of England is none more evident than in ongoing development of the ‘tech, media, and creative cluster,’ Enterprise City, in Manchester. This hub, aimed at driving the future economy of Manchester and the UK, will soon be home to an 82,000 sq ft campus for all of WPP’s Manchester operations.

Building a workforce powered by intelligence

Alongside the effects of the pandemic, the shift toward remote working – particularly within digital media and marketing – has been thanks in large part to artificial intelligence (AI).

It was once widely feared that AI would be the technology to put people out of work, and industries would be staffed mostly by robots, but the opposite has turned out to be true. Instead, AI is aiding the transition from office working to remote working and increasing the number of opportunities available to current and future employees.

For one, the burgeoning AI sector is creating jobs for those with computer-science expertise. Indeed, AI still requires human talent to make sure it is operating at its most effective. If the AI has not been set up to work in the right way, then it isn’t going to deliver in the way it’s expected to. 

Secondly, AI exists to make the lives of employees easier, optimising their skills toward being more strategic and effective. Furthermore, as the world becomes more digitised there’s going to be even more data and information for everybody to deal with. AI is currently helping here by freeing up resources and empowering individuals to do even more with the data and insights available to them. The technology therefore augments the efforts of human employees, providing efficiencies and helping maintain and grow the size of teams, rather than reduce staff numbers.

Delivering efficiency and relevance

Within digital marketing, AI is helping advertisers to build and deploy bespoke and complex datasets for campaigns, from anywhere within the UK. This is enhancing what national trading teams can do when it comes to ad decisioning, enabling them to complement their existing human skill-set and deliver the best possible business outcomes.

Companies of all sizes can benefit from the use of AI technology and use it to be the bridge between themselves and their consumers. Not only can AI automatically generate content that resonates with consumers in mere moments, based on a variety of data points, but it can provide greater dynamism around this content and tailor the experience at a deeper level. In turn, AI helps marketers to boost sales, increase customer retention, and find better cut-through with new products, wherever they or their customers are based.

This means that digital marketing leaders can use AI to support strategic business applications and to future proof their media strategies, ensuring they remain competitive.

Chris Turner, Head of Programmatic Services UK and Digital Investment MCN at MediaCom, says: “Thanks to the integration of customisable AI, the efficiency and effectiveness of our teams has increased and enables us to consistently produce campaigns which deliver over and above expectations. Their ability to work across all campaign types and objectives from branding to performance on standard and custom KPIs is key.”

As this trend continues, and we see further technological advancements within AI, other digital marketers who leverage this technology will position themselves at the forefront of the constantly changing needs of consumers.

Levelling the playing field

The digital marketing industry in the North of England is primed and ready to embrace the power of AI technology and use it to assist its existing workforce and bring in talent to operate remotely from across the country.

For so long, London has been seen as the centre of all things marketing and advertising, existing in a bubble. But the fallout of the pandemic and the technologies at our disposal mean that businesses and talent outside of that bubble have more opportunity now to thrive and flourish.

Businesses that fail to embrace AI risk being left behind and will be unable to reach their full potential. Those who adopt AI now will position themselves as front-runners of the industry and capitalise on the opportunities that continue to emerge in this ever-developing world, across the whole UK, not just the North alone.

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