What marketers must know about artificial intelligence

Estimated read time: 6 minutes



By Mike Kaput, Director of the Marketing AI Institute

Artificial intelligence is expected to unlock $2.6 trillion in business value in marketing and sales alone, according to McKinsey.

A lot of people assume that’s because AI will provide significantly automatic processes, tasks, and even jobs—making the future more machine than human.

However, the reality is more complicated (and encouraging).

Artificial intelligence will have an impact on certain processes, tasks, and jobs. But, in the majority of cases, it will actually augment human beings—making work more productive, more effective, and even more human.

In 2016, we launched Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute to understand better the impact of AI on marketing and sales. Since that time, we’ve interviewed and written spotlights on more than 45 AI-powered vendors with more than $1 billion in total funding. We’re also tracking more than 1,100 sales and marketing AI companies with combined funding north of $5 billion.

In the process, we’ve learned that intelligent machines actually present a huge opportunity to make your customer experience far more human.

Here’s how. 

1. Free up humans to do what they do best

Artificial intelligence tools largely augment human knowledge and capabilities. They make marketers more productive and effective, intelligently enhancing everything from media buying to data analysis to content strategy.

Read next: How to create a minimal viable workflow in content marketing

Most successful AI implementations won’t replace your team, but rather free them up to focus more time and energy on listening, relationship building, creativity, culture, and community.



The result? Marketing that is more intelligent thanks to AI and more human thanks to more time spent improving the customer experience.

That’s exactly what happened in the case of online classifieds website Gumtree, which used an AI tool called Phrasee to automatically write high-performing email subject lines. This freed up the company’s marketing agency to focus on creating the content and telling the stories that built deeper relationships with consumers.

2. Hyper-personalize your customer experience

Artificial intelligence excels at analyzing data at scale, then making predictions based on that data. Brands are actively leveraging this power to hyper-personalize their content, messages, and offerings.

You see this daily from companies like Amazon and Netflix, which use machine learning to better predict what you’ll want to buy or watch next. Whether a custom model or off-the-shelf solution, AI has the ability to personalize customer experiences on your website based on the data you have available about consumers.

Done right, this type of AI-driven hyper-personalization creates seamless experiences for consumers, and creates enormous value by suggesting even more products and services to improve their lives.

Hyper-personalization with AI has been demonstrated by restaurant chain TGI Friday’s, which uses the technology to send personalized offers to regular diners and concoct drinks tailored to a specific customer’s taste and mood.

The result? Happier customers, to the tune of a $150 million increase in revenue for the chain.

3. Create more value for more customers—more often

Remember how we said AI excels at crunching large datasets? That sounds pretty machine-like, but it leads to even more human-centered results.

Brands aren’t just using AI to personalize. They’re also using it to learn even more about their customers and prospects, so they can create even more value for them. From chatbots to virtual assistants to AI-driven customer insights, AI and intelligent automation are delivering more value to more consumers in more places.

Along the way, AI can even find people your brand didn’t even know it should be serving, like it did in the case of travel company RedBalloon, which used AI to find markets it didn’t even know were craving its products.

How to Make AI Your Competitive Advantage

This is just the beginning. We’re still in the very early days of AI adoption in marketing and sales.

 

What marketing tasks are you looking forward to the most to be automated through artificial intelligence?

That was one of the questions asked at the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Conference in Cleveland in 2019 – the inaugural event I attended there.

Question for attendees at Maicon

What marketing tasks are you most excited to intelligently automated?

Some of the answers:

Automate budgets and spending to prevent scope creep

I like this idea and this can have a business impact. AI can tell us when we are out of scope and that can potentially take the need for project managers to remember out of the equation. One downside could be when it’s too rigid. Content marketing deliverables can be fluid so it’s not always like you bought 4 full apples, but maybe they are delivered in 2 full ones and 2 in halves. For example. Of course artificial intelligence could learn those intricacies over time.


Next listed was SEO. (Search Engine Optimization)

Today, some content creators just use their gut to try to pick the right keywords. Others have brainstorming sessions. Others yet use tools like Uber Suggest. Some do a mix.

The Yoast WordPress plugin is also a great tool that I use on here. It’s pretty automatic, but still requires some manual input. For example, I’m picking the keyword.

I would assume that AI will at some point tell us what it thinks the keyword would be recommended based on what I just wrote and then gives me options to optimize the content further.


Another one listed was resource allocation.

This is another good one but also assumes that certain tasks take certain amount of times. In the world of the billable hour – unfortunately – we try to say how long certain things tasks.

In a creative world, you can write a blog post in 30 minutes on a tight deadline or take 3 hours when you have the time. Nonetheless, it’s a good idea to have a rough idea on average how long something takes. Automating that process within human reason sounds like a good idea.


Another idea: First drafts of content!

 

Personally, my first draft is easy and I would prefer AI to take it home, but getting content started is a good idea. Of course, AI already writes some routine sports stories.

If that’s true, it’s more and more important for content creators to add personality. If people read your content because of your personality and topic expertise that’s a niche that is not as easily taken over by AI.


Making videos out of articles!

This is a great idea and certainly part of Create Once, Publish Everywhere. We’ve seen podcasts being turned into books, articles into whitepapers and conference talks into webinars.

Read next: Should we put our webinars on YouTube and social media?

This is another spoke in the COPE model and the more we can automate COPE, the better.