Marketing is one of the areas of business operations where artificial intelligence (AI) is widely predicted to drive huge changes. In fact, a McKinsey study found that, along with sales, it’s the single business function where it will have the greatest financial impact. This means that if you’re a marketer and you’re not using AI, you’re missing out on the benefits of what is perhaps the most transformational technology.
In fact, however, it’s unlikely that there are people out there doing marketing today who aren’t using AI in any form. It’s simply because there are so many tools with AI features that we are used to using without even thinking about it. The most frequently used social media and search engine advertising solutions, email marketing platforms, e-commerce solutions, and tools designed to help with content creation all provide features that harness what we call “AI” in business today. To be clear, this is not what we think of as “general purpose” AI – machines that have the ability to think and communicate like us and perform just about any task. In business today (and in marketing in particular), AI refers to software that helps us do a particular job – like identifying where to place advertising in order to maximize efficiency or how to personalize an e -mail to increase the likelihood of receiving a reply – and improve as it is exposed to more data.
However, in my experience, while there can be many tools out there and most marketers are becoming more comfortable with using them on a day-to-day basis, it’s often done in an ad hoc way. . Many marketing departments still lack a coordinated, strategy-driven approach to implementing larger projects. Equally important, many are lagging behind when it comes to fostering a data-driven and AI-friendly culture, as well as skill building and upskilling to meet the demand for skills.
Paul Roetzer, Founder and CEO of Marketing AI Institute and author of the new book “Marketing Artificial Intelligence,” told me this was also true in his experience. In fact, when he recently set out to check his own hunch by researching mentions of AI terminology in relation to 50 of the world’s top CMOs, he found that only four of them had spoken publicly. or were related to their use of AI.
“My question was, who is running this? Who does this in marketing?
So what we’ve found are industries that have a lot of data and a need for heavy customization, and intelligent automation of their operations have been doing AI for probably the last decade – healthcare, financial services – but do so in the operations of their business, not in marketing and sales.
“But those same industries have a strong need for personalization, better customer experiences, better predictability of outcomes, why you would use AI. adoption of AI… is my perception.
So what are the most exciting opportunities for using AI in marketing, and where are they already being exploited?
Advertisers face the perennial problem of finding the best way to place ads in order to get the best value for money.
Facebook and Google are the biggest online advertising platforms, and they both offer tools that work by combining audience segmentation with predictive analytics. Segmentation divides customers into groups based on characteristics – gender, age, income level, interests, for example, and potentially an infinite number of others. Predictive analytics determines which of these groups a particular product or service is most likely to appeal to. Facebook, Google and all other platforms that offer advertising functions then allow companies to target thousands of potential customers with several different versions of advertising media in order to measure and evaluate their effectiveness. With traditional advertising methods such as television, newspapers and magazines, it is very difficult to attribute sales growth to advertising content, placement or external factors. AI-powered advertising tools and platforms make this a breeze – but are most effective when used as part of a coordinated AI marketing strategy, taking into account other areas of the marketing covered here!
Public relations focused on the challenge of getting coverage for products and services in mainstream and trade media publications. In today’s online world, the media landscape has exploded, providing opportunities to promote brands directly through social media as well as through third-party, sponsored and non-sponsored influencers and content creators. But how do you know where to find the best influencers to connect with and cultivate relationships with?
Again, AI can help by matching products to people who have cultivated audiences that are likely to be in sync with a brand’s appeal and values. Some uses of AI in this area of marketing, however, involve taking it a step further, such as AI-powered influencer Lil Miquela, who used chatbot technology to create an all-digital persona. Despite the fact that she doesn’t exist, millions of followers consider her a style arbiter and are happy to follow her recommendations, which means she can earn high fees from brands like Calvin Klein and Prada.
Writing press releases, shaping external messaging outlets, and finding the best outlets (online or digital) to get coverage are other public relations tasks that can all be augmented by the AI.
“Content is king” has been accepted wisdom in marketing departments since the dawn of Web2.0 and the rise of user-generated content platforms (including social media). But what content is king? And where should we put it? How often, how in-depth or simplified…simply, how do we ensure that our content achieves our goals of establishing our brand, positioning ourselves as experts or authorities in our field and, of course, eventually generate sales and leads?
Well, one option is to use AI. Buzzfeed is one of the largest content-focused sites in the world, and Roetzer looked at how it uses AI to drive all aspects of its operations, such as determining the odds of particular content going viral, suggesting content that visitors would like to see and automate common aspects of posting such as keyword selection, categorization, and personalization. What sets Buzzfeed apart as a truly AI-driven content outlet is its strategy-driven approach where every piece of content as well as every user interaction is measured and optimized for insights that can then be leveraged anywhere in marketing operations.
Advertising by e-mail
Email marketing is often about tweaking headers, scheduling, and copy to impact those all-important open and click-through rates. Small differences in the language used can mean the difference between an email identified as one of the 148 billion spam emails sent each day and being trapped by a filter or delivered to the intended recipient at a time when it is open to suggestions on what they should buy.
A slew of AI-powered tools exist to help with these tasks, like Phrasee, which automates the creation of subject lines; Seventh Sense which optimizes the timing of mailings; and rasa.io, which makes it easy to create personalized newsletters.
What is the next step ?
Whether AI realizes the potential that clearly exists depends on whether companies understand the need for a coordinated and strategic approach to marketing AI implementation. It should be clear enough how the different use cases I mentioned above can be useful in isolation. But real value is unlocked when we start using them together, to answer our most pressing questions, influence our most important metrics, and achieve key business goals.
Roetzer tells me “It’s a tricky place because a lot of professionals still see AI as some kind of abstract science fiction – I don’t think they understand that it’s extremely accessible, you can test AI today – find a tool for $19 a month and try it out…it’s not something you have to spend six months preparing a pilot project for”.
However, what you need are people, and more specifically people with the necessary skills. Most marketing departments outside of large corporations won’t appoint specialized, dedicated data scientists – nor should they need them.
As a company goes through the continuous process of developing a culture of data and AI, it is more important that it enables people who are already experts in their particular field to develop and understand the importance of technology.
When it comes to who is absolutely right… “Honestly, it’s hard to find,” Roetzer says.
“Either brands do it, and they don’t want to talk about it because they think it’s a competitive advantage – or they don’t actually do anything…maybe they just start piloting or find someone on their team who can lead this… it’s very hard to find the crossroads of professionals who understand what AI is capable of and can apply it to real business problems and test cases. ‘use.
You can Click here to check out my webinar with Paul Roetzer, CEO and Founder of Marketing AI Institute, where we cover many other aspects of AI in marketing, including issues of machine creativity and AI ethics, as well as take a look at his most recent book, Commercializing Artificial Intelligence.