AI in marketing is a fancy term these days especially when we are reading a lot about Artificial Intelligence (AI) in various areas of industry. In order to increase efficiency and also to cut costs, many companies around the world are adopting AI in marketing. Overall, AI has been successful in increasing customer satisfaction which is a win-win situation for companies and this makes AI an impressive way to adapt for them.
In this article, we’ll take a look at:
- What is Artificial Intelligence?
- What is AI in Marketing?
- Importance of AI in Marketing
- Benefits of Artificial Intelligence in Marketing
- Components of AI in Marketing
- Challenges with AI in Marketing
- Automation vs. Artificial Intelligence
- How to Use Artificial Intelligence in Marketing?
- Statistics, Predictions, and Trends about AI in Marketing
- Examples of AI in Marketing
Now is the time to dive into AI and see how it can benefit your business. Adapting to AI will be easier for those who are already in power with AI, but even if you are not among those businesses, you shouldn’t wait for more to get into it.
What is Artificial Intelligence?
It all started with a simple question “can machines think?”. Mathematician Alan Turing came up with this simple question in 1950 that changed the history since then. His paper “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” in 1950 gave a vision to the extremely powerful and potential Artificial Intelligence.
Talking about what AI is, AI is a branch of computer science that aims to replicate human intelligence in machines. A definition from the book “Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach” says that Artificial Intelligence is “the study of agents that receive percepts from the environment and perform actions.” (Russel and Norvig viii).
I am not diving deep into the exact question that is “what is AI”. We are here to study more about AI in Marketing and not what AI is. So, in simple words, AI is about building machines that can think like humans, like putting artificially created intelligence in machines that can work on their own quite similar to human intelligence. But, AI is more efficient and accurate than humans as it is a machine and it can follow the instructions (like a computer does) faster than the human brain.
What is Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Marketing?
AI in Marketing is about using AI technologies to make decisions automatedly based on collected data, analysis of data, and additional observations which can impact in better marketing efforts. Not only it gives you freedom from implementing the strategy or plan but it also speeds up tasks drastically. I don’t know if you are aware of this but Artificial Intelligence Systems constantly work in the background of popular services like Google, Netflix, Amazon, etc. In the last few years, AI has drastically made its place in marketing and has helped brands achieve higher user satisfaction and returns for the business. Talking about the costing of AI tools, they have become affordable and accessible for all kinds of businesses and budgets.
In specific terms, AI Marketing is a method of leveraging AI technology to collect data, do analysis, anticipate what customer is expecting, and make the decision on its own to bring the best results in terms of business and match customer expectations. In simpler words, AI in marketing is about automating marketing efforts through AI.
What is the Importance of AI in Marketing?
The impact of the usage of Artificial Intelligence in Marketing is extremely big. As you already know as a customer and marketer too that almost every customer wants to be understood better. Most of the customers counting about 76% (based on a study by Salesforce) wants companies to understand their needs and what customers are expecting from them. AI allows marketers to collect data from various sources like social media, web, emails, data reporting tools, etc. in very little time as compared to human or traditional software efforts. This is why AI is important in marketing, and not only collecting data, AI can make decisions on its own and deliver a better customer journey.
So, let’s understand the Importance of AI in Marketing by looking at the benefits AI offers to us:
Benefits of Artificial Intelligence in Marketing:
There are numerous ways of getting benefit from using AI in Marketing, any effort made can bring plenty of results and benefits to the implementor. Benefits can be both quantifiable (ex. Number of Leads) or non-quantifiable (ex. Customer Satisfaction). Here are some benefits that I think one can easily get by adapting AI to their marketing efforts:
- Better Return on Investment (ROI): If used accurately, marketers can bring out the best ROI from their marketing campaigns. AI can collect and extract valuable data from specified sources and that data can be used to take action in real-time. It is not like traditional software and other methods cannot collect data, they can but the way AI does, that speed and accuracy are unmatchable. Not only collecting data but AI can take decisions by own based on observations, it can allocate funds to various platforms and improve campaigns based on performance.
- Better Customer Satisfaction: AI can anticipate customer’s next move and send them personalized messages and CTAs at appropriate time points in the customer’s journey. Similarly, Artificial Intelligence can help marketers in finding different types of customers like the good and bad ones, and based on that, it can make further communication with the customer.
- Enhanced Marketing Campaigns: As you read in the first pointer, AI can effectively increase the ROI of any business. Many individuals and organizations face issues in managing marketing campaigns across channels and keeping every platform optimized. So, AI platforms that allow AI to read through all the marketing channels can help you in optimizing all campaigns at every place and keeping them optimized at one time, no need of doing efforts again and again on different channels. Ai will keep the budget allocated optimistically and campaigns up to date based on performance to deliver better results.
- Faster and Effective Decision Making: Artificial Intelligence is capable of doing data analysis faster than the human brain and comes up with effective conclusions using machine learning based on the user expectations and campaign goals. You no longer need to wait for the campaign to end and then you analyze it, AI will analyze the campaigns in real-time and do needful actions simultaneously.
- Automate Marketing Efforts: As you’ve read so far, AI can do a variety of tasks automatedly. It can gather data, turn it into insights, and make decisions on its own. This is why AI is so helpful to businesses, you don’t actually need to do much, the system will use its own brain and do things for you.
- Minimal Errors: Being a human, we always hold the scope of making errors and mistakes. While talking about computers and AI, they cannot commit errors until there is a problem in programming or the data being collected by them. As the cyber world is growing, attacks and leaks are also increasing. AI is capable of learning, adapting, and reacting to cyberattacks and provide better data security.
- Saving Cost of Operations: From the business perspective, AI can save the cost of employing resources and people to do a specified task. This is not an advantage factor from the employment point of view as humans will be losing employment for that particular task of job which AI is capable of doing at low cost and higher efficiency. AI can work significantly faster than humans and provide a better level of accuracy and results. Doing repetitive tasks can be a fatigue or boring thing for a human but AI won’t be having any difficulty with it and will be delivering the same level of satisfaction even after doing that task 1000 times.
Components of AI in Marketing
So far after reading about Artificial Intelligence in Marketing, it is quite clear that how vital a role it plays in marketing and how this role will be bigger in the coming time. There are a few major components that make AI possible for us to use. Let’s have a look at them:
Machine learning is a part of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that makes it possible to build applications and software that can learn from data, do require working, and improve accuracy without any further need of being programmed. Algorithms are taught to look for patterns and features in the massive size of data in order to make decisions and predict user actions.
Examples are all around us like Digital Assistants, Search Engines, OTA Platforms like Netflix, eCommerce portals, and more. We get content as a result of our voice commands, movie suggestions based on our history, song suggestions based on our history, predictive search queries based on google’s keywords database, and much more.
Big Data Analytics
If I try to tell you about Big Data Analytics in simple words, it’ll be like “Big Data Analytics is a complex process of examining the big size of data to bring out information like patterns, correlations, customer preferences, expectations, market trends, etc.”. This uncovered data can help organizations to win the market. Organizations can analyze big data sets and gather new information using Big Data Analytics.
These platforms are basically the tools that bring users and technology together. You might not be knowing how to work with machine learning, but an AI Platform can make the task easy for you. For example, an AI Platform like Acquisio can help you in PPC bid and budget management with ease. What if you need to do this task by own? Probably you won’t dive into it but as we have a tool available that eliminates the gap between you and technology, AI is now easily accessible and usable for you. So, this is what AI Platforms does for you.
Challenges with AI in Marketing
Every business should adopt AI to enjoy the opportunities and perks it brings to marketing. AI has become quite popular and we can see its implications around us quite commonly. Usage of AI has also become easier as compared to the initial times, but that doesn’t mean there are no challenges with it. So, here in this section of the article, we are going to talk about the challenges with AI in marketing.
Lack of Adequate IT Infrastructure
The user of Artificial Intelligence must be having a robust IT infrastructure because AI reads and work on the big size of data that needs strong hardware to support its operations. By hardware, I mean high-performance and specification machines.
Such computer systems can be extremely expensive to set up as compared to our normal operating computers. Not just the set-up cost, these types of computers required regular maintenance and upgrades as released and required with time. Irregular maintenance or avoidance of maintenance can cause disruption in the operations of the machine. This might not be a major concern for big companies but mid-size and small businesses, this is surely a matter of concern and unaffordability.
Well in today’s time, there are solutions available for small and mid-size companies. Where big firms can get their own AI solutions created, small companies can use cloud-based AI solutions that are widely available in the market.
Training Period (AI needs to be trained first)
Though the comparison of humans with AI is not fair, I would just like to compare the learning pattern. Even a human needs to be trained to do a task. There is a difference that a human might learn himself by seeing others or by instincts but AI cannot learn by itself on the initial stage. So, AI needs to be trained first so that it can develop its intelligence and understanding about how to react and what actions to take on a particular task or thing. So, AI needs time to learn things like the goals of an organization, customers ‘ buying patterns, historic trends, and anything else is expected from it.
Unavailability of Reliable Data
To work with utmost accuracy, AI needs to be provided the highest quality of data. Insufficient size or poor quality of data will lead to poor results. For example, if you are expecting to be Amazon.com, you’ll end up being some Amezon.com with poor quality of data. Big data is not actually the kind of data needed for AI to be successful.
So, if you are collecting new data or planning to use existing data, you must ensure that the old data is cleaned up and the new data which you are collecting must be of the highest quality and accuracy. If you miss out on quality data, you’ll end up creating a useless and wrong type of Artificial Intelligence system that can damage your marketing efforts and impactfully hurting your business.
Lack of Trust and Fear of AI
Even in 2021, AI is a new technology and quite complex to understand too. You must have gone through videos and movies lining like “The Rise of Robots”, and there is a hint with it that we as a human should be wary about the capabilities of AI and Machine Learning. Though these movies have also contributed to mistrust over Artificial Intelligence. Let’s look at an example that will surely make you think about “PRIVACY”:
Well, apart from fears, the mistrust among people can be minimized with transparency and how their data is used. Also, if there can be freedom to choose whether they are fine with their data being collected or not. Artificial Intelligence brings a lot of benefits for business but we cannot simply avoid the negatives of AI attached with the good side.
The Money Factor
A significant number of companies around the globe are incapable of affording Artificial Intelligence. AI does offer an impressive return on investment but there is still the need for the initial money to be invested and to be put at risk because the implementation of AI will also be a factor influencing returns. Investing a significant amount in new technology is a challenging task for small companies.
As we discussed earlier, AI needs robust hardware and maintenance to be done on time along with upgrades that require a lot of money. Now the money factor has really put back a lot of small companies around the globe. However, in 2021, there are several AI vendors available in the market that are making AI accessible and affordable especially for these small businesses.
Deficiency of Eligible Workforce
Lack of AI skilled talent is big in the employment market. So, it makes it hard for those companies which are looking to develop AI In-house. The number of existing eligible talent is less and the job openings are more in the market as of now. Job openings will be increasing in the future for sure but the gap doesn’t seem like to be filling well in near future. Basically, the number of required talent is growing faster than the available workforce. Large firms can invest money to train their existing employees but this will be a problem for small businesses due to money constraints.
Automation vs. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI is a collection of different technologies working together to make the machine think like human intelligence whereas automation is designed by humans to work on specified patterns and perform specified tasks and not beyond the programmed instructions. This is the basic difference between AI and Automation. Let’s look at some of the differences between Automation and AI:
- AI work and makes a decision based on past learnings whereas automation works on a set of instructions programmed for a specific task.
- AI helps analysts come to a conclusion based on the provided data whereas automation is just to carry out a specified job.
- AI is used for dynamic and non-repetitive tasks whereas automation is used for repetitive tasks.
- AI learns with time and gets better whereas automation doesn’t learn anything neither improves itself.
How to use Artificial Intelligence in Marketing?
Stop procrastinating usage of AI in your organization otherwise, you’ll end up being on the back foot. There are plenty of ways and marketing tools available in the market that you can use to leverage Artificial Intelligence for your organization and marketing goals. Let’s quickly see what are some ways of using AI in Marketing:
Estimating Future Sales (Sales Forecasting)
Every business wants to know what to do next and how to do it in the right way to meet customer’s expectations accurately. AI makes it easier for marketers to understand customers based on their shopping patterns, communication patterns, and come up with actions based on collected and analyzed data. You can forecast what product will buy next and what quantity which helps in suggesting upsells to the customer. Sales forecasting with the use of AI will help you in avoiding selling wrong upsells and overselling products based on the data.
As we know, AI helps in collecting and analyzing data. Like any marketing program, the organization needs to have accurate and highest quality data collected from outer sources to carry out marketing campaigns in an accurate way. Using AI, main areas of focus can be found out and improved by tasks like segmentation, filtering, etc. It will help in establishing KPIs that’ll tell you how your AI-augmented campaign has been.
Better Customer Insights and Understanding
Collecting and analyzing data is the main reason businesses use artificial intelligence. The information collected by AI is extremely valuable for businesses to understand their customers well and make customer-centric decisions. Marketers can easily create customer profiles based on the huge size of data collected and processed by AI. These created customer profiles will help marketers in categorizing customers, suggesting them the right product, and bringing out better customer satisfaction every time. More targeted efforts bring out more sales volume and that is a win-win situation for the business.
Personalized User Experience
With the data collected from AI, brands and businesses can create personalized user experiences. For example, if your business is using a chatbot, you can use AI to make it learn customer communication and respond based on the customer expectations. This can bring out the best customer support for the customers without involving a human in the process. Let’s take another example, you went to a shopping site and visited some products. Now when you visited that page again you automatically saw products that are matching to what you came to buy and even on the product page you see specifications and features exactly what you were looking for. This is how AI learns to serve the customers.
AI-Based Content Generation
AI-based content generation tools can make the work easier for content marketers but undoubtedly it can kill the job market for content writers. Well, we are here talking from a business profit perspective so, you can automate efforts like email content, personalized messages, reports, blog articles, and more using AI. There are already tools that can help you in writing content and bringing you content for social media posts that can surely boost up your fan base.
AI-enhanced Advertisement Campaigns
Artificial Intelligence is being used widely in managing PPC campaigns, instead of hiring people to manage PPC campaigns, companies are moving towards adapting to AI. You can monitor all your advertising in one place and the system will make changes to the campaigns when required so that your campaigns can be optimized on all platforms.
These are just a few uses that you can benefit from AI, there are numerous other ways of using AI in marketing about which you can read on the internet.
Statistics, Predictions, and Trends about AI in Marketing
- Sales leaders predicted that their use of AI will be increasing 155% by 2022 whereas their current consumption of AI-based applications is 21% (Source: Salesforce Research, State of Sales 3rd Edition). AI stands out as the fastest-growing sales technology.
- Content personalization and predictive analytics are the two major insightful areas where CMOs are increasing spending. (Source: Marketingcharts.com)
- Improving customer experience is the most dominating factor to adopt AI. (Source: Statista)
- More than 41% of marketers said that AI is bringing them higher revenues with email marketing. (Source: Statista)
- Marketers and agencies are more comfortable in going with AI technology for big management and media buying. (Source: Statista)
- 61% of marketers say that AI is the most important aspect of their data strategy. (Source: Ventureharbour)
- 97% of mobile users are using voice assistants powered by artificial intelligence. (Source: Creativestrategies)
- Washington Post’s AI writer wrote more than 850 stories during Rio Olympics and the 2016 US presidential elections. (Source: The Washington Post)
- Netflix saved $1 billion in 2017 by using machine learning to make personalized recommendations for users. (Source: Statwolf)
- AI will boost profitability by 38% and bring $14 trillion in revenue by 2035. (Source: Accenture)
Examples of AI in Marketing
Will it be surprising for you if I say you are interacting with AI on a regular basis without realizing it? AI is still out of reach of many companies and agencies but as you use products of big forms on regular basis, you are interacting with AI working for them daily. Well, let’s see through examples how AI is being implemented by companies worldwide and how we are interacting with it.
Dell received 50% CTR with Automated Newsletter
Even after being a traditional marketing method, email marketing still works like a charm. Creating a newsletter especially the content and CTAs is quite a time-taking and mind-consuming task. Dell worked with an AI company named Persado to streamline their email marketing process. Above in the picture are the creatives created by Persado. Persado took dell’s email promotions and altered them as per the segment’s behavior. Both the CTR and conversion rates showed a significant improvement.
Footasylum unlocked 30-times more results, defeating the industry average
Just like anyone using smartphones and social media, we all get many notifications from different media channels that increase the chances that some important notifications might get lost in all the noise. Artificial Intelligence can study social media behavior to precisely know that when customers are ready to engage to the notifications or find out the low engagement period.
Using AI, Footasylum segmented its audience into targeted profiles. Using these profiles, they created look a like audience on social media. AI even recommended the right timing for the advertisement to increase the chances of conversion. Footasylum received incredible ROAS with the usage of AI, Audience Segmentation, and Social Media. Footasylum unlocked 30 times higher returns than the industry average.
Amazon drives more sales with Predictive Search
We’ve seen this kind of predictive search technology at many places like Youtube, Google, Bing, and more. With the help of machine learning, these predictive searches learn to suggest terms that are suggested to a user when he types something. So, whenever you visit amazon and type something in the search box, you’ll be getting relevant queries that you can use to search for the products you are looking for. Also, every time you search a query, the system learns to behave better with that query and get better results for the customers and business.
Sky did segmentation of 22.5 million customers
Having data of 22.5 million customers is precious and sending all of them the same emailer is scary. Each segment of customers responds differently to emails. So, while having to manage this gigantic data of 22.5 million customers, Sky decided to work smarter and chose to work with AI. They segmented the data with the help of AI and used machine learning to understand how customers were interacting with different products and services.
Norwegian Air achieved 170% lower cost-per-booking than expected
Norwegian air is a global airline brand, they decided to leverage the power of AI to evaluate engagement possibilities and automate messaging. The company’s Q4 campaign started with a clear goal to drive new customers through the website and raise brand awareness. To achieve this, a custom machine learning model was developed to target users in a specific group with algorithms that will help in optimizing campaign delivery and advertisement exposure. They managed to exceed their goal and achieved 170% lower cost per booking than expected.