CANNES/NEW YORK: Marketers need to stop talking about AI and get on board with it – and quickly – according to a leading industry figure.

"If you're not using AI inside your marketing, you're actually behind the boat," Carrie Seifer, chief revenue officer at The Weather Company, told

"We have seen several different marketers, just with our tools alone, use it and get higher engagement, better CRM, increase their Net Promoter Score," she said.

Machine learning can augment what humans need to do, she explained. In the case of The Weather Company, that means helping the advertising community with everything from planning and strategy to optimising.

And, thanks to its acquisition by IBM, it also brings the Watson ad unit, developed by IBM's Watson AI division. "It's an incredible, creative dynamic unit that lets a user have a conversation with your brand in the ad unit itself."

Her advice to those yet to embrace AI was to "think like a developer" and just start exploring and testing all the APIs that are available on Watson.

At the very least, she suggested, a business should be able to come up with a chatbot that enables it to be more efficient with its customer service and CRM.

Natural language APIs, for example, allow brands to have a conversation with customer with only limited or no human interaction – with relevant data coming from a call centre, for example.

"It creates efficiencies in your business and all you have to do is feed it data to get there."

But there is a risk, she warned, of becoming "robotic". It's not just about collecting and organising data, it's about humanising the technology.

Work continues on that aspect of AI, but in the meantime she argued that marketers have no excuse not to be exploiting current opportunities.

"It's not cute anymore to not understand what your customer wants. They've given you all this data – if you've done nothing with it, then shame on you."

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff