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How Will AI and Robotics Change Marketing?

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In our first Ask the AMA question, a reader asks how robotics and AI will affect marketing, advertising and public relations

In the inaugural Ask the AMA question, Victor Ikem asks:

Q: What is the future of marketing, especially advertising and public relations, given the expected disruption by robotics and artificial intelligenc? Would the way advertising is created, deployed and received change significantly? How do you think that that expected change will occur or what would be the nature of that change?

In response, Markus Giesler, chair of the marketing department at York University’s Schulich School of Business and director of the Big Design Lab, says:

In marketing, we often distinguish between two types of market orientations. Some firms are market-driven, others are market-driving. Market-driven advertising seeks to respond to an existing consumer need or want in an existing market. Market-driving advertising, on the other hand, seeks to shape needs and wants and forge congruence between a product or service and existing structures of legitimation, thereby reshaping markets into something new and different.

In the current landscape, I think it’s fair to say that most companies aspire to be market-driven. Market-driving companies are probably the exception, not the rule. My prediction for our future is that the influx of AI and robotics will dramatically change this relation, among others. Here’s why.

One thing that these new technologies will do is make knowledge about customers cheaper and more accessible. And when that happens, and being market-driven becomes less challenging for companies, we will see companies become more market-driving to stand out competitively. In this scenario, advertising and PR will be less about communicating how an offering satisfies an existing consumer need or want and more about creating new markets and consumer identities.

Have a question about marketing, advertising, social media, public relations or anything related? Ask the AMA. In this series, we’ll take your questions and pose them to industry experts. 

Ask us questions on social media via the #AskTheAMA hashtag, our social media posts or e-mail Hal Conick at hconick@ama.org.

Markus Giesler

York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Canada

Markus Giesler draws on concepts from economics, technology studies, and sociology to inform his research in marketing. He determines how ideas and things (products, services, experiences, technological innovations, intellectual property, brands, etc.) are made valuable over time, with research focused on improving marketing strategy through an understanding of markets as evolving social systems. Giesler's research has been supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the European Research Council (ERC) and published in top-tier academic journals such as the Journal of Consumer Research and the Journal of Marketing. Giesler has an extensive entertainment industry background. He founded his own record label at age 17 and has worked in various production and marketing responsibilities for over a decade. He lives in Toronto, Canada.