Marketers are always looking for smart, actionable strategies to generate more leads, boost conversions and ramp up sales opportunities — key inflection points that are game changers for their businesses, in other words. Blending inbound marketing tactics like analytics, PPC, content, social media and email marketing with traditional marketing channels was one. Automating key marketing tasks was another.
And now marketers are beginning to understand the ways in which artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to enhance their marketing campaigns, personalize messaging and improve customer service. But with AI marketing applications still in their infancy, marketers are smart to want a deeper dive into what precisely AI is, how well it works, and (assuming it does work) what steps they should take to make it a pivotal component of their marketing strategy.
What Exactly Is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
In the simplest sense, AI enables marketing processes to "think". Those quotes are important, because AI is not strictly speaking a replacement for human thought and creativity. Rather, it's a tool which marketers can use to do what they already do more effectively — like using chatbots as an addendum to their customer service capabilities.
As Social Media Impact explains, AI makes marketers more productive and effective:
"Colloquially speaking, Artificial Intelligence are machines that begin to think for themselves, that can reason, learn or even empathize. Their purpose is to make human life easier, simplifying our daily tasks and helping us to be more productive. In an even simpler way, it can be said that AI is the reasoning process established by computer programs based on specific systems. These systems allow devices such as computers, smartphones or tablets to operate in a very similar way to human beings."
Why Is AI Important for Your Business?
Here's the thing — your marketing team might not be leveraging AI to achieve your principal marketing goals, but you can bet some of your competitors are. Gartner for example reported one year ago that almost 40% of enterprises had already harnessed AI to power systems, a 270% increase over four years ago — and that 80% of all new technologies will be grounded in AI by the end of next year.
And where do you think businesses are prioritizing their AI initiatives? Spoiler alert— it's in marketing and sales processes (especially customer service agents and sales process recommendations).
Of course, the fact that some of your competitors are using AI for marketing doesn't necessarily mean you should, too. On the contrary, you should consider using AI to boost your marketing efforts because it works. According to Forbes recent Insights and Quantcast research (Lessons of 21st-Century Brands Modern Brands & AI Report), for example, businesses that incorporate AI into their marketing strategy boost sales on average by 52% and increase customer retention by 51%. Further, half of the marketers surveyed reported that AI was a decisive factor in the success of new product launches.
How Can AI Take Your Marketing to the Next Level?
Your business is unique — your customers are different from those of your competitors, and you have different goals and marketing challenges than they do. But AI is a tool that can help any business irrespective of the specifics of its branding, target market and messaging. In other words, there are important ways in which AI can ramp up the marketing of any enterprise organization, including the following 4:
1. Personalizing User Experience (UX)
The website experiences that yield optimal results are the ones that deliver content customized to every site visitor. For example, a user whose previous behavior on your site indicates a strong interest in CRM software might want to see more content on that topic the next time he visits.
AI can analyze multiple data points (things like demographics, location and prior interactions) to deliver highly personalized content and push notifications that increase conversions. This is the reason more than 60% of marketers in Evergage's 2017 Real-Time Personalization Survey said AI increases both customer user experience and CRO on their websites.
2. Authoring Content
That's right—the future of content creation includes machines working with humans to write content based on established rules and formats. In fact, more than 20% of marketing content is already being authored by machines (Gartner). Currently, those rules are relatively simple and applications limited to things like quarterly business reports and hotel descriptions. However, look in the near future for a substantial uptick in AI content creation capabilities, with machines flawlessly mimicking brand writing styles and tone of voice across a wide swath of content topics and industries.
3. Optimizing Customer Service
The two great things about chatbots are that they don't draw a salary and they don't go home for the night. This 24/7 cost-effective availability is in fact one of the things both businesses and consumers love about chatbot technology.
Currently, chatbot technology is most effective when paired with live chat agents, but that's likely to change as bots will be able to access and process increasingly more customer-centric data points to identify and act on patterns and repetitive problems. In addition, bots are now aiding with data collection, with companies like Sephora giving users the option to take mini quizzes and using the data gathered from those surveys to further personalize customer experience.
4. Making Media Buying More Effective
Whether they've managed Google and Facebook pay-per-click (PPC) in house or partnered with a digital marketing agency, businesses have relied on humans to leverage the data and advertising analytics necessary for PPC campaign success. Here, too, artificial intelligence is making substantial inroads, with machines now able to help advertisers test a larger number of ad platforms, manage analytics, fine tune targeting and make omnichannel PPC campaigns more effective. In addition to improving your targeting, AI will help you optimize ad content, design and bidding, all of which needless to say will move the needle on CTRs, conversions and sales.
The bottom line is this: to succeed, marketers need to effectively leverage every effective tool available to them, whether that's traditional media, analytics, paid social, automation or artificial intelligence. Incorporating those tools into a smart, integrated marketing strategy can be a game changer for your business — putting your message in front of the right prospects at the right time to generate more leads and increase conversions — but it can also be both complex and at times confusing.
That's where we can help. To learn more about the ways we can ensure you push the right marketing message to your target audience when and where they're most likely to embrace it — and leverage the right tools to promote continual campaign improvement — contact us today.