If you search “artificial intelligence” (AI) with “construction marketing” you won’t find much on a Google search. (You will likely soon find this posting, however.) This observation effectively answers the question in this blog posting negatively — AI isn’t quite there yet for most AEC marketers.
Yet the topic remains worthy of consideration/discussion, because stuff that had only been seen as science fiction just a few years ago has become reality (or near-reality). If you are of a certain age, you may recall the old television cartoon, The Jetsons, where people travelled in autonomous mini airplanes. Today, we think of drones and the driverless car has become more than a mind-concept as the first test prototypes roll on public highways.
In marketing, especially in the business-to-business space, the goal is to crunch massive amounts of data to create predictive algorithms — you can take the information and effectively predict which of the people/organizations in your market space will purchase your offerings; feeding these leads to your sales team as the highest priorities.
Clearly, these concepts may have relevance for AEC marketers tackling the “go/no go” decisions on bidding and RFP responses. As it is, many practices have spreadsheet/check box tools where they plug-in the variables and score the potential, before kissing proposals goodbye, or committing massive energies to them. A sophisticated AI engine would modify and enhance this process, speeding up your decision-making.
Similar initiatives in fact have already affected other industries including the recruitment/personnel business. Organizations no longer screen resumes individually; instead they are added to the electronic hopper and screened for variables — sometimes cross-checked with social media and other feeds — to generate a true “short list”, which is the only time humans get involved in the process.
I also anticipate AI tools will become valuable in business-to-consumer markets, as marketers gather increasingly comprehensive profiles of their current and potential clients, their hot buttons and purchasing triggers, and with that data, can automate the advertising and initial interaction with potential clients.
Right now, however, I believe this stuff is a bit over the horizon. If you are daring, and work for one of the larger AEC organizations, you may wish to check out some of the relatively new B2B organizations operating in the AI space such as Cortex and 6Sense. (A sign these organizations aren’t quite ready for smaller businesses: You won’t find any indication of their pricing on their websites — just a track to connect with a sales rep for a demo. That to me signals “expensive” — but if you are big enough to have a marketing department with several employees, you may find some real competitive advantage by assessing these AI tools in your forward-thinking initiatives.)