Paul Roetzer couldn’t stop watching. It was 2011 and Watson, a then-new IBM supercomputer, faced off against 74-time “Jeopardy!” champion Ken Jennings and the show’s all-time money leader, Brad Rutter. Watson, a question-answering artificial intelligence system, would buzz in within a second of host Alex Trebek asking a question, giving what the AI determined to be the most probable answer. By the end of the game, Watson had dominated the show’s all-time greats by more than $50,000.
By late 2016, Roetzer had become so obsessed by AI’s potential in marketing that he founded the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute, a group with the mission of making AI approachable and actionable for modern marketers. Roetzer still runs his company, PR 20/20, but he says that his AI group now takes nearly all his time. He badly wants to figure out how organizations can pilot and scale AI tools to increase efficiency and reduce costs.
So far, he has nearly the entire marketing industry to work with.