The term ‘Artificial Intelligence’ or AI seems to drive the fear of God into people. Some think AI is going to steal their jobs, whilst the more dramatic amongst us think that robots are going to outsmart humans, take over the world and end all mankind…
The Uses of Artificial Intelligence to Marketers
You’ll be happy to know that both are unlikely. What is actually happening, is that the more mundane marketing tasks are being offloaded to the AI powered machines. As a result, marketers have the ability to refocus their efforts and spend more time on the creative aspects of marketing.
However, whilst it is still early days and AI is yet to reach its full potential, there are already many different uses of artificial intelligence in both our everyday and work-life. Here are a few examples:
- Google uses AI to predict what you are searching for with great accuracy with its autocomplete search queries.
- Facebook and Instagram newsfeeds are tailored to you via machine-learning algorithms.
- Amazon product recommendations work thanks to machine learning.
- Self-driving cars use various AI techniques to avoid collisions and traffic congestion.
What Is Artificial Intelligence?
It’s a term I’m sure we have all come across by now, but it can be tricky to define given that there are so many different and rather confusing definitions out there. So I’ll try my best to give it to you in a way that is perhaps easier to digest…
AI is the concept of non-human entities (for example, computers) possessing human-level intelligence and performing intelligent tasks. So basically, a smart computer that can do smart things, that a smart person can do also. Artificial Intelligence makes it possible for machines to learn from experience, adjust to new inputs and perform human-like tasks.
At this moment in time, the only forms of AI available to us require some level of human intelligence in order to work efficiently. This is what is known to us as ‘Narrow AI’. Think search engines, spam filters, Siri and Netflix recommendations.
In order to perform to their best ability, these AI-powered tools require the right programming to start off with, and then need to be continuously fed with large amounts of high-quality data in order to remain accurate, intelligent and up-to-date.
Of course this means that any inaccuracies in the data being fed to these machines will, in turn, be reflected in the results. So whilst we can appreciate that Artificial Intelligence is definitely revolutionising how marketers, and many other industries, carry out their jobs, we also need to be very much aware of its current limitations.
‘General AI’ is another term floating about the internet and is based on the idea that one day machines will operate independently of human beings. Right now though, this is just the stuff you hear about in sci-fi movies.
The Uses of Artificial Intelligence to Marketers
AI is a major talking point in the marketing industry. According to Henry Schuck, CEO of DiscoverOrg:
“Any part of the marketing world where a marketer has to read data and make decisions based on that data will be affected by AI in one way or another in the near future.”
Up until now, we have been making use of adaptive platforms that use static rules written in advance by the marketer. These platforms can make in-the-moment content decisions, but it is not continuous machine learning.
With AI we have machines that learn in real-time by observing subtle trends in engagement, removing the need for A/B testing, and have the capability to re-learn each time the consumer engages. Therefore, providing the most precise, personal and relevant messaging possible. Ultimately, AI will and already is reshaping how marketers engage with their customers.
Better Customer Segmentation
Customer segmentation is key for marketers to deliver the right content, to the right customer, at the right time and via the right channel.
The ability to segment successfully comes down to the data available on each consumer. But capturing and analysing each consumer interaction is no easy task, and is very time-consuming for a small team of marketers.
With an AI solution that processes this data in real-time, and can even move customers from one segment or persona to another as their behaviours change over time, marketers can be confident that their customers are receiving the most relevant and personalised messaging possible.
Increased Return on Investment (ROI)
As AI marketing helps to ensure that your consumers are only receiving the most relevant, valuable and personalised content, then you can guarantee that this will be reflected in your campaign ROI.
74% of consumers feel frustrated when the content they receive isn’t personalised. As well as this, Internet Retailer found that 80% of consumers like it when emails they receive from retailers recommend products to them based on previous purchases.
As AI is making personalisation easier for marketers then it will help make your marketing budget convert into more sales and an overall better customer experience.
More In-Depth Insights
Previously, the insights available to marketers into consumers would have been largely made up of demographics such as age, location, gender etc. While these are helpful, they are still fairly generic.
Now, with AI, we are entering an era of robust data analytics that are enabling marketers to understand their target audience on a much deeper level. We have moved away from the simple demographical data and can now turn our attention to analysing past and present customer behaviours, as AI can easily gather this, quickly identify the patterns, and accurately predict future outcomes.
A report by Salesforce State of Marketing states that more than half (51%) of marketing leaders in the UK say they are already using AI, with 28% either testing or planning to use AI within the next 2 years. Among those marketers using AI, 64% say it has greatly or substantially increased their overall marketing efficiency and 57% have said it is essential for creating 1-to-1 marketing across every touchpoint.
As with all forms of new technology, marketers may face some obstacles when it comes to adopting AI into their strategy. The State of Marketing report also highlighted that some of the main concerns surrounding AI across all levels of marketing are to do with budget and privacy. Meanwhile, moderate and under performers are struggling with the lack of internal skill sets.
However, as AI becomes more readily available to companies of all shapes and sizes we will certainly see these constraints becoming less of an issue.
Sameer Patel, CEO of Kahuna, believes that AI will allow marketers free time to focus on the creative, strategic side of marketing;
“Ninety-five percent of the people who came to marketing did not come to this data-driven world. They came for the soft side of marketing… Because of AI, you can be that creative person you always wanted to be.”
Did you want to become a marketer to spend time analysing data?
Nope, me either. I hate numbers. I had a breakdown trying to figure out how to work SPSS when analysing data during my university final year dissertation.
However, instead of crying at our desks over large amounts of data with which we have no idea where to start… We can simply hand it all over to the bots and let them do all the tedious work while we focus on strategising and being creative. Unlike us, machines don’t get bored or lose focus when carrying out predictive, repetitive tasks and are way less prone to error!
What I’m trying to say is don’t be afraid of AI, but embrace it. As marketers, there is potentially so much to gain from an AI-driven marketing strategy and turning a blind eye to it won’t make it go away. In fact, it will only result in you falling behind your competitors. An AI-enabled marketer can reach every customer at the right time, knows the best audience for every campaign, and delivers the perfect content for every customer.