AI (artificial intelligence) is infiltrating businesses at a fundamental level to promote growth, cut time-consuming tasks down and automate processes to boost productivity and revenue.
For the businesses of today, we know that success is largely dependent on how well they can reach and engage their audience, understand the nuances of their behaviours and motivations, and offer targeted solutions to their biggest challenges.
AI lends an assist here, with sophisticated learning that turns customer data into actionable insights for marketers to derive campaign strategies. So we know AI is here to stay simply because it has so many practical uses and benefits but, what exactly is AI marketing and how can you use it? Read on to find out!
What is AI Marketing?
AI marketing is the method of leveraging artificial intelligence technologies to automate data collection and analysis, understand the behavioural patterns of customers and automate marketing processes, all of which combine to increase the effectiveness of marketing efforts.
In short, AI uses sophisticated tech to achieve business goals. AI is designed to act on behalf of a human. Where normally, a decision would be made by an actual person, AI jumps in and makes an informed decision based on compiled raw data.
In theory, the AI would gather granular data that tells them several key indicators, like demographic, shopping habits, the specific products a customer has searched for and so on. The AI then takes this information and uses it to target the customer with an advert, an email or another form of marketing. The major difference in all of this is speed.
What might take us as humans a few minutes or hours can be reduced to seconds with AI. It doesn’t need to wait for authorisation from personnel, it can make split-second decisions with customised messaging to target customers. When you consider these types of capabilities it’s easy to see why more businesses are open to the adoption of AI in their operations.
Some common uses for AI in marketing are:
- Data analysis
- Natural language processing
- Content generation
- Real-time personalisation
- Media buying
- Automated decision-making
Core components of AI
Meeting the expectations and demands of customers is becoming more complicated. The last few years have revealed a shift in the power struggle between brand and buyer. Customers are voting with their wallets and their attention, choosing to invest time and money in the businesses they feel personally connected to on an emotional level, it’s not just about how financially viable a purchase is anymore.
AI helps businesses uncover these behavioural indicators and better informs marketing solutions. There are three core aspects to AI:
Much like how a human learns from experience, machine learning uses AI and algorithms to correlate historical data with new information and make decisions based on what is most likely to succeed.
As the computer analyses more customer data and learns, it can automatically increase its artificial intelligence offering more accurate and tailored solutions. Will Smith would be terrified.
The sheer amount of data circulating on the planet is almost unquantifiable (although it’s estimated there are 64 zettabytes as of 2020). As a marketer, you’re tasked with making sense of these large data sets to extract useful indicators that will lead to better customer experiences and more acquisitions.
AI takes the legwork out of this laborious process to organise and analyse the data. Marketers take these insights to produce more accurate campaigns that increase customer engagement and conversion.
AI-powered solutions provide a central platform for companies to consolidate and manage data, streamline processes and automate tasks. AI platforms utilise marketing intelligence to make data-driven decisions about how best to reach your customers.
How you can use AI in marketing
AI is being used across multiple industries including healthcare, retail, government, finance and entertainment but let’s look specifically at how AI is being used in marketing:
Referred to as programmatic media buying, AI can be used to bid on available online ad space using algorithms and data insights to determine the best possible ROI (return on investment).
This allows companies to be agile by bidding in real-time using AI to keep up with an evolving marketplace. It also provides flexibility as it can change aspects such as content in real-time to suit customer preferences, something that would take a person much longer to analyse and adapt.
AI allows businesses to personalise customer experiences which can lead to more leads and conversions. If you take the example of an online clothing store. You might spend 20 minutes perusing the site, clicking in and out of different products, checking if they have your size or choice of colour etc. If you do buy, great news for the retailer they made a sale but if you don’t purchase there and then, AI-powered businesses needn’t lose their heads.
The AI has been tracking how and what you've been interacting with the whole time and when you come back to the site at a later date, it will suggest items it thinks are suitable based on your shopping experience. Or, you might get an email with a collection of items tailored to your taste and style. All of this works to increase the chances of conversions and improve data for future marketing strategies.
Another time-saving and customer-centric application for AI’s natural language processing is chatbots. These clever digital agents respond to customer queries using historical data that answers the most commonly asked questions, saving customer service agents time but also allowing them more time to answer complex queries too.
Predictive analytics combines machine learning, algorithms, models and datasets to determine what products or services are most likely to win customers over based on historical data. This marketing intelligence is great for marketers when they need to understand their target audience and buying behaviours in creating effective campaigns.
AI is a powerful tool for content creators too. Using it to automate email messages, social media captions and other tasks frees up time for creators to do what they do best, create.
Although AI is becomingly increasingly advanced, it’s unlikely to replace the human element of creativity and originality generated by creators, so don’t panic just yet writers and designers! Think of it as more of a curation tool to save time exploring ideas or scouring the web for popular topics and keywords.
AI can be used to make real-time adjustments to pricing based on the demand or supply of a product. Predictive analytics tell us how popular a product or service has been and the data is used to predict the optimum price to sell for at any given time, continually adapting to demand.
It’s a bit of a double-edged sword, however, as incredibly popular items or services might see a rise in price for customers but it can work the other way too, with slow-moving products seeing discounts that might show up in your inbox!
Siri and Google Assistant are great examples of conversational AI. real timeUsing a combination of machine learning and natural language processing, these AIs can transform spoken words into text commands and give responses in real-time.
There will be an estimated 200 million smart speakers in 2022, that’s a lot of households using speech recognition technology and a lot of opportunities for marketers to leverage the technology.
Benefits of AI in marketing
AI has its benefits for all-size businesses, from the solopreneur looking to save time on menial tasks to the large corporation looking to increase productivity and reduce time spent on processes.
Here are a few of the key benefits of implementing AI in your marketing strategy:
There is some argument over the direct correlation between the use of AI and ROI but what can be said for sure is that by leveraging AI for automation and data insights, marketers are in the best stead to make more accurate strategic decisions that yield a higher return on investment.
Marketers are able to create more fruitful strategic decisions based on the real-time data collection and decision-making of their AI counterparts. This saves time and cuts costs for repetitive and mundane tasks.
Through machine learning, AI can understand the needs and wants of your customers and tailor marketing messages to suit them. Personalisation is hugely important in how companies relate to their audience and AI offers a deeper understanding of customer drivers. This helps engage, convert and promote loyalty from customers.
Marketing with AI is catching on. Many businesses, especially the world’s leading ones, are utilising the extensive capabilities and benefits of AI, so it makes sense to get on board sooner than later.
As competitors and the industry as a whole move towards more automation and other AI solutions, implementing it now and learning the nuances only serves to put you ahead of the game further down the line.
The future is inevitable!
We don't mean to sound so finite but AI is here to stay! For companies thinking about how they’ll navigate the next five, ten or even fifty years, AI will undoubtedly be an invaluable tool in how they understand the shifts in consumer buying habits and shape marketing strategies.
Want to learn more about Business Analytics and AI?
Learn how data and AI are used to manage projects and drive business goals with our Business Analytics Certificate.