If you keep your ears to the ground when it comes to marketing, it’s impossible not to have come across news and articles about artificial intelligence and its growing role in this field.
One survey commissioned by MemSQL found that around 61% of marketers say AI is the most important aspect especially regarding their data strategy, but the applications of AI and marketing are diverse enough to empower virtually any sort of digital goal.
In this article, you’ll get a closer look at artificial intelligence’s role in marketing, and how you may implement it to your own business digital strategy.
What’s AI marketing?
AI marketing or AI-based marketing involved using artificial intelligence-empowered systems and machine learning to support, optimize, or even scale various marketing endeavors. Since AI can empower businesses to gather more valuable data, such systems are most valuable when it comes to making certain decisions regarding your strategy.
AI systems gather data and learn from it, and marketers can use that to get a better understanding of what to do with a marketing campaign, or where it should be headed.
But AI and machine learning are rather complex technologies that a lot of people have a difficult time wrapping their heads around – so what exactly can these technologies do?
Major Benefits of AI in Marketing
Before you can adopt AI into your marketing operations, it’s worth contextualizing the role of this technology in marketing, and what exactly it brings to the table.
Because it brings quite a lot:
With AI, a lot of tedious operations can be all but completely automated, which can help the marketing team focus more on more pressing parts of the campaign. The technology can help scale processes, support the communication needs of larger teams, and even improve the organization within the department.
2. Data Interpretation
The data gathered by your business also must be interpreted to know what your next steps should be. This role can potentially be given to an AI system, which analyzes the data, intensifies patterns, and provides recommendations to the marketing team for immediate implementation.
How consumers are interacting with brands and companies is changing and it’s changing fast. People are no longer so open to traditional means of promotion. Instead, they look for personalization, for the ads, offers, and even copy to seem tailored just for them.
And with AI, companies can achieve this, as the system can be used to segment audiences and allow for better targeting.
What Goes into AI Marketing?
Artificial intelligence has some big benefits it could bring to a company’s marketing operations, but there still may be some confusion regarding how it can achieve all its promises. Through other terms like ‘machine learning’, and the confusion grows.
Let’s quickly clarify the component of AI in marketing operations:
Machine learning – this is a process driven by AI, which involves algorithms that analyze data marketers can use for decision-making. Software that leverage machine learning can essentially look at the data and tell you what might work, and what might not;
Analytics and big data – to optimize campaigns and marketing operations, brands now have to gather and manage larger amounts of data than ever before, and sometimes it can be difficult to know what data is worth the effort, and what’s not. But with AI, big data is easily managed and the program can empower marketers to quickly identify valuable data;
Platform solutions – the website is now one of the most important digital assets a business has, and it’s not just a place to store information about a brand. Consumers want better, smoother experiences on the websites they visit, which can be difficult for websites to constantly address. But with AI-powered platform solutions, websites are better equipped at adapting to consumer expectations.
AI Marketing Applications: How To Leverage The Technology
Now that you have a better understanding of AI’s role in marketing, you’re likely wondering where it may fit in, say, your own marketing strategy.
There are a lot of potential applications for AI marketing, and what you can do ultimately depends on your resources and how comfortable you and your marketing department are with such technologies. There may be a learning curve to consider.
But for the next part, let’s look over some of the most exciting ways almost all businesses can leverage AI in their marketing strategy:
1. The Chatbot
This is the most common use of AI in marketing, and chances are you’ve already interacted with an AI chatbot until now.
The way brands and companies interact with consumers has changed drastically over the years, particularly in the expectations people have in terms of customer service. In a nutshell, people expect to be able to get answers to their questions and assistance at virtually anytime.
On the business end, it can be difficult to guarantee that level of presence. Even during office hours, the customer service department can take some time to get through all the incoming requests, which is not ideal considering that the more they wait to get an answer, the more likely you are to lose a potential customer.
But through an AI-powered chatbot, companies get an affordable solution to both of these issues. Chatbots can be integrated into a website and offer potential customers quick access to the information they need to make a purchase. Chatbots will rely on data to match the answer to the question the user places, and thanks to machine learning features the chatbot will also learn how to make interactions better.
In fact, some interactions go so well that around 27% of consumers said they were unsure if they were talking to a real person or a chatbot.
2. Improving Voice Search
Voice search is growing – Google reports that 27% of the global online population is using it on mobile, and with the increasing popularity of smart speakers like Google Home or Alexa, that number will likely grow even more.
One 2018 study found that 46% of people who use voice search look for a local business almost on a daily basis, while 27% of them will even visit the business’s website after making a voice search. With all the talk of search engine optimization to ensure a brand’s site makes it to the result pages, it’s clear that now brands also have to focus on voice search optimization as well.
This means that apart from the mighty keyword, it could also pay to analyze the spoken language people use to look up information through an AI-powered voice assistant, to ensure your business has more chances of being chosen.
For a business, it can be useful to rely on an AI that can identify voice search patterns in a large amount of data, and show marketers exactly what changes to make to the content to improve their visibility on these types of searches.
3. Optimizing Advertising
Search engine optimization in particular has already added many AI functionalities to help marketers run better campaigns. From automated bidding that can optimize how much you spend on a campaign to identifying keywords and even targeting-related features, AI has a big role to play in paid ads.
Thankfully, most of the major advertising platforms have integrated AI-functionalities to assist marketers with their goals, such as automatically serving the best-performing ad from a campaign to optimize budget spending or automatically adjusting the bid on a keyword.
But one thing these platforms cannot do is tell you what kind of message works best. In the end, even if you target the campaigns to perfection, it’s the ad message that has the most to say in whether that user will or won’t act.
However, AI systems can help you in this department as well. These systems can track which messages consumers have worked best, and give you more insights regarding which type of consumer prefers which type of message.
This way, ads can serve the right emotion to the right audience, which increases the likelihood of the ad reaching its goal.
4. Content Marketing
Content marketing is a huge priority for most marketers, with around 72% of them saying it’s one of the best ways to increase engagement.
But, creating content involves a lot of time and effort, especially in a wider marketing strategy that would need a bigger and constant supply of content. And it’s not just writing the content itself that’s problematic – even finding new ideas or angles for topics can sometimes prove overwhelming.
Enter the possibilities of AI-created content, something that’s already being used as we speak. There are existing tools such as Articoolo which can edit or even write a text from scratch, which can be handy for businesses who need to generate a lot of content fast.
AI can help integrate essential phrases and keywords in a text that are a priority for SEO purposes and find the topics that are worth exploring in a wider strategy.
Does this mean jobs like content writers are out the window? Not exactly, but it can mean businesses are able to produce more high-quality content, and just have the content writer refine it later before publishing. In any case, content creation is done much faster, and at a higher level.
5. Predictive Analytics
Tracking the performance of your website and other marketing endeavors is an essential component of marketing, but there is one issue that’s unavoidable here.
With tools such as Google Analytics, you’re only interpreting data from past actions, which then must lead you to the right conclusions for future improvements. This is a valuable feat, but it doesn’t change the fact that some of your efforts (and money) may have gone to waste if the results you see are less than stellar. And, it does greatly depend on how well you can truly identify that ‘right conclusion’.
For instance, if one page has a huge bounce rate, that obviously means there’s something on that page that is making users leave the site. But, what is it? More data analysis is needed to figure that out, otherwise, it’s just guessing.
With AI, there is less room for interpretation. Systems can take previous data to empower marketers to make informed decisions regarding a product, consumer, or even identify website improvement areas.
The Challenges of AI Marketing
AI marketing has great potential, but marketing teams should consider when and what to integrate into their operations carefully, especially with some AI-tools that are in the early stages of development.
Some of the biggest challenges to consider:
The learning curve – both the AI-system and marketing teams will need time to adjust. The system needs time to gather data and learn for it to make proper predictions and recommendations, while marketers will need to analyze where the system would fit into their operations, as well as its limitations;
Privacy concerns – AI gathers data, that’s what it does. So it’s the jobs of marketers to make sure these systems do it in a way that complies with privacy laws and regulations;
Finding the right tools – AI presents a lot of excitement, and it’s quite easy to become overly enthusiastic about the new tools that are coming out. However, successful AI marketing adoption requires identifying the tool that fits the business’s operations, and that can genuinely optimize them;
Finding inspiration – apart from a few exceptions such as chatbots, AI marketing is still not as widespread to give businesses enough role models and best practices that can help them tailor the AI implementation strategy to their business. It’s why internally analyzing your own operations is key to ensure you’re making the right decisions.
AI marketing is a concept you’ll likely hear more often in the near future, especially as the technology is evolving and becoming more accessible to businesses of any size.
It’s worth investing in such efforts especially if you can identify certain tools like a chatbot that can genuinely help you streamline certain operations. Regardless, it’s rather clear AI marketing is here to stay.