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The promise and potential of artificial intelligence is transforming nearly every aspect of business, from product development to logistics to analytics and beyond. Marketing hasn’t escaped the influence of this new technology, and stands to gain much from what A.I. brings to the table.

As a digital marketing headhunter, we’ve seen that businesses that adapt A.I. into their marketing early and wisely have the opportunity to serve their customers with a better experience and get an edge over their competition. Organizations that ignore it don’t risk falling behind–the A.I. wave is coming whether you’re ready or not.

Artificial Intelligence is a broad quickly-evolving and field; how can you get ahead of the curve?

First, you need to get an idea of what it’s capable of and consider what that means for your marketing. Second, you need to have the right talent in place—human intelligence–to effectively integrate A.I. at the right place at the right time.

Marketing Applications of A.I. Today

A.I. isn’t just a tool of the future; it’s already here, making an impact in the departments of innovative brands and pioneering agencies.

That means that if you’re not thinking about incorporating it yourself, you’re probably already falling behind. The good news is that you can learn from the example of others and use their success as inspiration for your own growth. Here are just a few of the ways A.I. is impacting the realm of marketing:

Taking Over Search Engines

Last year, Google confirmed that its search A.I. RankBrain was taking the helm in determining relevance in search queries on its popular engine. Since then it has expanded A.I. to influence image searches and even job searches. This has had an enormous impact on SEO best practices, as businesses now must please a constantly-learning A.I. rather than game the search algorithms, and requires cutting-edge SEO staffing in order to stay ahead.

Content Generation and Curation

Content marketing has become a core pillar of most successful marketing strategies. But many organizations are limited by the amount of content they can make, or are unable to customize and personalize it properly for their various audience demands.

A.I. Is already helping supplement content production. It might not be ready to come up with brilliant ideas or craft irresistible masterpieces (yet), but it can write convincing articles. For instance, the Associated Press and Forbes have both experimented with publishing AI-generated content.

Once consumers have shown a preference for certain kinds of content, it becomes possible to curate additional sources for them to enjoy. Amazon and Netflix use A.I.-driven engines to recommend related books and TV shows, for instance. As A.I. finds its way into advertising, expect your advertising staffing to be working on programmatic strategies that curate ads and messaging to users.

The Rise of the Chat Bot

The web and the Internet of Things are welcoming a new wave of chat bots–programs and artificial intelligences designed to communicate with users in a variety of different ways. Forward-looking brands and digital marketing specialists are already seeing potential in these chat bots to quickly, accurately and positively engage consumers on-demand.

Mainstream marketing philosophy is shifting to focus on customer experience, responsiveness, data-driven decisions and context. In all these things, chat bots have the potential to shine.

Not all chat bots are powered by artificial intelligence, though even “dumb” ones can be pretty sophisticated and helpful. Those that are A.I.-powered can be especially engaging and, well, downright human at times.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. To get a broader view of how A.I. is transforming marketing, start here:

Combining Human and Artificial Intelligence in Your Marketing Department

The potential of A.I. is immense, but this evolving technology isn’t a magic wand you can buy and expect to fix your marketing overnight.

Before all else, you need effective marketing leadership and strategy to create a strong foundation for all other operations to work upon. Artificial intelligence can complement and empower your strategy–but it can’t make it all from scratch (at least, not yet).

That means having a complete set of marketing executives (including the CMO) that are digitally-savvy and understand what A.I. can and can’t do. An experienced digital marketing headhunter can help with that if your current team is out-of-date. If you try integrating this technology haphazardly without a long-term plan, you’re just throwing money away.

Second, you’ll need cutting-edge expertise throughout the ranks of your marketing team that can identify opportunities to adopt A.I. and implement its capabilities. A marketing technologist recruiter can help you find a professional who is capable of weighing third party developer options and choosing the right A.I. provider. Meanwhile, digital marketing staffing can give you easy access to the talent you need to set up, maintain, and optimize A.I. systems.