Once upon a time, if you were hoping to choose a weather-friendly day for an event you would have consulted The Old Farmer’s Almanac, a treasure of weather prognostication (built on a still-secret forecasting formula!). 

Today, you are more likely to pull out your cell phone, punch in a given date and location, and in a few seconds, you will have what you need. 

But don’t forget the umbrella (or your own expertise), regardless of what the prognosticators say. As The Old Farmer’s Almanac said in its own bicentennial edition: “Neither we nor anyone else has as yet gained sufficient insight into the mysteries of the universe to predict weather with anything resembling total accuracy.”

Thoughtful planning is crucial for success in many areas, including our area of specialty, continuity marketing. AI allows continuity marketers to analyze vast amounts of data to identify trends, target audiences effectively, and optimize campaigns for better results just as weather forecasts use historical data and complex algorithms to predict future weather conditions, enabling you to plan activities accordingly.

Keep Your Eye on the Prize 

Similar to how a weather forecast can give you clues about optimal dates for travel or events, AI can provide insights that help continuity marketers make informed decisions about strategies (and let’s be honest, we’re still at the “gee whiz, isn’t this cool” stage of AI exploration).

However, like checking the actual weather before walking out the door, it’s essential to validate AI recommendations and adjust tactics based on real-time feedback, knowledge of the unique quirks of the audience, and changing circumstances. This ensures that marketing efforts remain relevant and effective, and keeps your overall goal in sight.

Today’s AI is a black box of amazing capabilities. But it doesn’t act without a prompt. It doesn’t “learn” without being taught unique aspects of the challenge. It isn’t sentient or (despite the nearly-human sounding commentary that often accompanies an output), empathetic. It can tell you the steps, but not why you’re climbing that hill. And, it’s constantly evolving so what is “known” today may be different tomorrow.

It’s as good as its source data. Think of an AI database as multiple parts mashed into one Frankenstein “body.” Are you confident it’s up to date? Could a bias have been introduced (inadvertently or on purpose) that will skew your results? Is the outcome statistically valid and reliable? 

Balancing Automation with Human Judgment

While AI can streamline marketing processes and enhance efficiency, we still need smart humans. Sound judgment remains indispensable. Just as you wouldn’t solely rely on a weather forecast without considering current conditions, continuity marketers must blend AI-driven insights with human expertise to create compelling marketing campaigns tailored to specific circumstances and audiences. This balance ensures that strategies are not only data-driven but also resonate with customers on a personal level.

The best way to approach an AI opportunity is to use it and keep refining your queries. Change the variables (like adding a location, season, and/or time of day to your weather forecast query). Even better, give the same assignment to multiple apps and validate the results. Does ChatGPT agree with what Gemini produces? There are the core generative AIs, and then there are the specialized apps that have added more data to the core platforms to enhance their knowledge base. It’s a potential rabbit hole, but find the one that delivers the most reliable, consistent outcomes that match your opportunities. Essentially, use the AI that brings out the best in your curiosity and your queries. 

It’s like asking a group of friends a question. You might get multiple responses depending on their experience and knowledge. Only you can decide the right path.

A client recently used AI tools to categorize open-ended comments to a detailed survey. The kind of drudge work that used to take a marketing intern hours. Brilliant. But balanced, because once the categorizing was done, the smart human who wrote the queries did the ultimate thought-analysis to glean true insights from the answers.

Leveraging AI Data for Informed Decision-Making

Both weather forecasting and AI in continuity marketing rely on data analysis to make predictions and recommendations. Weather models process atmospheric data to forecast conditions, while AI algorithms can analyze consumer behavior, market trends, and prior campaign performance metrics to optimize marketing strategies. If you are curious, and you ask the right questions, continuity marketers may even be able to anticipate trends, identify opportunities, and make informed decisions that drive success.

Remember Real-Time Assessment (and a Sniff Test) for Optimal Results

As we all know, weather conditions can change rapidly. In a similar vein, the marketing landscape is constantly evolving. It’s essential for you to monitor campaign performance, consumer feedback, and market dynamics in real-time to adjust your strategies accordingly. 

You also need to apply expertise (your own, or a specialist in your industry like Next Yes Consulting) to a “sniff test” of your AI output. For example, I recently asked AI to give me some educational curriculum on a topic and it returned what sounded like absolutely on-point articles. Only the articles didn’t exist. I knew the sources, I searched their archives exhaustively, but either AI created a plausible-sounding title or the source removed the content. 

AI output sounds good. And it can BE good, if you know how to ask it to perform, and you have a safety net of true expertise and direct knowledge to keep you from blindly following the algorithms. 

Do you still need experts? The answer is yes, if you want to get the most effective answers.

Go ahead, pick your event date using AI algorithms. But make sure you back up the planning with smart options: a tent for rain or shade perhaps? Heat lamps in case of cooler temperatures?

The same is true of your marketing strategy. By all means, look for efficiency everywhere and in every way you can with the tools available. We smart marketers know how to do that. As an industry, we are experts at the discipline of test, validate, rollout. But balance your efficiency with knowledge, human judgment, a deep understanding of what’s worked and what hasn’t. It’s not just numbers we are talking about. In continuity marketing, we’re persuading PEOPLE to say yes. To engage. To stay for the next yes. 

True confessions: I wrote this article with some help from my current favorite AI tool. Want to talk about AI tools and the benefits/pitfalls of relying on various options? Schedule some time on my calendar.