Leslie Stefanik, Vice President, Marketing, PublicRelay
As a new member of AMEC and with the organization’s Global Summit on Measurement fast approaching, the team here at PublicRelay was inspired to look back at last year’s program and see what we could learn. One workshop stuck out to me in particular titled, “Where We Are and Where We’re Going: Preparing for the Next Wave in Communications and Analytics Innovation from AI to …?” The workshop featured:
- Allyson Hugley, Vice President, Analytics and Market Research, Global Communications, Prudential
- Omar Mahmoud, Chief Market Knowledge, UNICEF
- Jacob Rockland, Co-Founder and CPO, Somatic Labs
- Moderator: Mary Elizabeth Germaine, EVP, Global Managing Director, Ketchum Global Research & Analytics
The main takeaway from the session was just how powerful artificial and human intelligence can be when combined. We often think of AI as an engine that can be left alone to create insights for us by itself, but this is not true. AI requires a great deal of human time and effort to train it and most importantly – ask the right questions of it. As presenter Allyson Hugley said, “AI is not equal to set it and forget it.”
AI is Only as Accurate as the Data that Teaches It
If your calculator thought 2+2 = 5, would you trust it to do your taxes? Artificial intelligence whose intelligence is based off incorrect information is useless. That’s why human intelligence is required to clean the data and tell the machine what’s right and what’s wrong. A constant feedback loop is especially important to communications measurement as processing language is particularly nuanced.
Furthermore, if the data isn’t actually relevant to your business, then you can’t leverage the technology to make your job easier. That’s why you must establish a PR measurement and analysis framework that ties back to business goals before employing technology. The first step to harnessing the power of artificial intelligence is to use your human intelligence to determine what’s important to the business and how you can contribute to it. AI can’t give you answers unless you ask the right questions of it first.
AI Must Be Focused to Deliver Accurate Results
One AI system can’t do everything – at least yet. Algorithms must be trained for a specific purpose or the data will get muddied. Artificial Intelligences are currently fairly narrow, meaning that they’re exceptionally good at one thing and one thing only. In the field of PR measurement and analytics, this means AI must be targeted specifically to your business. It’s difficult to take the same algorithm and apply it to another brand’s media coverage because every organization has different priorities, challenges, opinions, and in some cases, a completely different world view. Unless analysis is trained specifically to your business, the results won’t be accurate or actionable.
Garner Insights with Human Intelligence
Human capacity for creativity and strategic thinking, combined with the computational power of AI, allows us to ask more interesting questions than ever before, the answer to which, can have real consequences for change. Improving organizational processes, optimizing strategies, more efficient resource allocation are just a few outcomes that create business impact when humans ask the right questions and extract insights from accurate, timely data.
About the Author: Having worked on both the agency and industry sides of marketing and communications, Leslie brings extensive corporate communications, branding and demand generation practice and understanding to the team at PublicRelay. Formerly the VP of Digital Marketing for Optymyze, Leslie holds a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Marketing from Youngstown State University.