First thing first: AI in marketing is definitely here to stay. Artificial intelligence has been rising in prominence in many sectors and industries, and that’s a trend that’ll extend to the world of marketing.
But of course, AI is a pretty broad term that can apply to many elements of marketing, and it would be wrong to think that AI is going to take over marketing. Plus, it’s also not true to think that companies can put all of their marketing eggs in a computer basket and think they’ll get exceptional results.
The matter is more complicated than that. However, done correctly, AI can certainly provide powerful support to the majority of companies’ marketing campaigns. On this page, we’ll take a closer look at AI marketing, including how it’s used, the benefits it can bring, and some potential downsides to be aware of.
AI Marketing Uses
AI marketing is still in its infancy, and as such, all the potential uses for AI in a marketing campaign have yet to be fully realised. They’ll come in time. With that being said, there are already plenty of AI uses. In fact, you have already seen AI marketing in action during your own internet use without fully realising it.
Some of the most common AI marketing uses include:
The potential for AI-supported data insights is huge. Why? Because unlike other marketing tasks that could be done by a human (chatbots, etc.), making sense of the large swaths of data that companies have at their disposal is not only too time-consuming to be done correctly, but the human-level skill sets are hard to come by.
Currently, a primary marketing complaint is that there’s simply too much data around, with the majority of it being useless from a marketing perspective (and perhaps all perspectives). Finding valuable data takes a significant amount of time away from more value-adding marketing tasks.
AI data-scouring helps to collect and arrange valuable data, which in turn helps marketers to produce more accurate, insight-driven campaigns, resulting in improved conversion rates.
If you’ve spent any time online in the past year, then you’ll surely have had at least one interaction with a chatbot. While chatbots aren’t advanced enough (yet) to provide full customer service support, they can handle a significant percentage of customer queries. They’re best at handling customers’ most frequently asked questions, and they’re able to do so in a matter of seconds.
There’s an upper limit to how much a chatbot can help a customer. But what they can do is help a customer to help themselves, without having to speak to a member of staff.
It takes time to create valuable content for your website, brochures, and email marketing campaigns. Artificial intelligence can help to generate this content quickly and within the guidelines set by your marketing team.
This technology is still in its infancy, and it’s highly unlikely that it’ll ever fully replace content creators, but it does offer companies, especially small businesses with basic content needs, the chance to create specific content that may otherwise take a day or longer to produce.
It’s not just your marketing words that AI can come up with, either. There’s plenty of AI image software that companies can utilise for their brand photographs and videos.
Smart PPC Advertising
A marketing team can come up with a broad strategy for where and when a company should place its advertisements. But it probably lacks the time (and knowledge) to really hit the nail on the head.
A successful marketing campaign is all about getting the right message seen by the right people at the right time. And that’s a complicated task that would require near-constant monitoring by your marketing employees. AI gives companies the ability to strike their customers with the right ad at the right moment, within a budget that you have set.
For example, some of the more advanced AI tools provide the following PPC tasks:
- Smart use of responsive ads
- Smart bidding
- Micro-moment targeting
The Many Benefits of AI In Marketing
OK, so now we’ve seen the specific ways that artificial intelligence can give a company’s marketing campaigns a boost. But what about the broader general benefits that it can offer a business? Not all companies require super-advanced marketing tactics. But even companies that can typically handle their marketing requirements in-house without too many headaches will find AI marketing provides advantages. For example:
Automation can have a profound impact on productivity. Rather than having to manually perform each task, which can take a lot of time and draw employees away from more value-adding tasks, AI marketing tools help to produce the same results (if not better) in a fraction of the time.
This can be beneficial during both the marketing planning and marketing management stages, but particularly the latter, since AI can quickly make data-driven decisions that would otherwise require some careful consideration from the in-house team.
Reduces the Chance of Errors
Humans are inherently flawed. It’s perhaps the only common trait that we can all agree on. In marketing, a single error can be the difference between a successful campaign and a failed campaign.
But even on a smaller scale, errors are common. Sending the right email to the wrong person may not be the end of the world, but it could cost you a customer. Bots can also significantly reduce the chance of a customer receiving the wrong information since the answers to your customers’ most frequently asked questions are all automated.
And AI can also help protect your brand (and your customers) by taking a smart approach to your company’s cybersecurity marketing risks. Unsolicited access to your company’s CRM marketing software could have a catastrophic impact on your business if it wasn’t caught early — and it’s AI’s job, not a human’s job, to make sure it’s caught as soon as non-humanly possible.
It’s no secret that marketing can be an expensive endeavour. Some companies can spend 10% or more of their budget ramping up their marketing campaigns, and that’s no loose change. While there are costs attached to AI marketing tools, once they’re on your side, they will provide a valuable money-saving resource.
Artificial intelligence provides this in two ways. First, it works faster. Much of the money that companies spend on marketing isn’t spent on valuable assets; it’s spent on the time to brainstorm ideas, A/B tests, and ongoing management. AI significantly reduces this time, resulting in savings. Second, it can save money on salaries and outsourcing. AI can’t replace a marketing team, but it can reduce the need to hire an employee for certain tasks, which can be handled by AI and your existing team.
Artificial marketing has the potential to not only reduce the costs associated with marketing. It can also help to create more effective campaigns that help to provide a higher return on investment. In fact, this might be the single most direct benefit of AI marketing tools, one that might prompt companies to dip their toes in the AI marketing waters even if there’s a high upfront cost.
You won’t necessarily get a higher ROI from AI-generated content or chatbots. But you could well get it from the data insights that AI can provide, which helps to a more personalised and smooth customer journey. Ultimately, it’s a better customer experience since you’ll be making the most of the customer insights that your AI tools can provide.
Smarter, Better Decisions
Finally, there are all the benefits of making smarter, better decisions. As we said earlier, AI will not replace your marketing team. But it will help them to work much more effectively. With the right AI tools, your in-house marketing expert could make instant decisions based on reliable, valuable data. This type of data would usually only be available at the end of a marketing campaign, which is useful for crafting the next campaign but useless if you want to make marketing decisions that impact the current campaign.
A lot can happen when an employee knows the precise move they should be making next, and that’s what AI can provide.
The Cons of AI Marketing
There’s a lot of exciting buzz surrounding AI marketing tools, and much of that excitement is justified. However, as with anything, AI marketing isn’t perfect. There are some limitations and some inherent flaws that must be kept in mind by companies thinking about incorporating them into their operations.
It Can’t Do Everything
Anyone who thinks that AI can do any and all marketing tasks will need a reality check. Ultimately, AI isn’t a one-stop shop for companies who want to wash their hands of their marketing responsibilities. It’s a tool that can help companies to work more effectively. There could be a point in the future when AI can handle the majority of tasks, but that’ll be a long way in the future. AI marketing is still in its infancy, and thus there are some major limitations. Indeed, there are industries that have used AI for much longer than the marketing industry that still haven’t figured out how to use it correctly.
AI can do some things more quickly and cheaper than humans. But does it always do them better than humans? For some tasks, this is undeniably true — take sorting through vast amounts of data, for instance. For other tasks, the jury is out. You may turn to AI to generate your next brand image, but there are no guarantees that it’ll be better than the work of a graphic designer.
The same can be true of written content. If you’re looking for all your web copy to be written within a day, then AI will be useful. If you’re looking for excellent web copy that turns prospects into customers, then you’ll have to work with an expert.
This is a big one. While we rightly think of computers as non-human, they’re really just solutions created by humans. You can only get out of machine learning what you put in. In the majority of those cases, it’ll be fine because the beliefs they churn out (indirectly or directly) will be universal and/or benign. However, there’s a high risk that marketing materials may be unethical or outright offensive, which could cause significant damage to your brand image.
It Can Be Expensive
Some of the companies that have implemented AI technology the most successfully are Google, Facebook, and Amazon. Another thing that they all have in common? They all have virtually unlimited resources.
The most effective use of AI in marketing is its ability to make sense of big data. But that’s all the newest and most advanced software, which means it’ll be beyond the financial means of small to medium-sized companies. Indeed, in one study, it was found that the average annual spend on AI for companies that had adopted the technology was £10,000 for small businesses and more than £350,000 for medium-sized businesses. In a time when companies are finding ways to reduce expenses, investing in AI may not be a realistic goal.
Why You Need AI In Your Marketing
With that being said, while AI marketing does have its drawbacks, on balance, it’s clear that it is already a highly valuable tool. And that value will only increase in the coming years when the technology becomes even more efficient.
Incorporating AI marketing into your operations is key because it gives you access to data and resources that would otherwise be beyond your deadlines, money, and capabilities. While the start up costs can be high, and it’ll require a fair amount of time before you’re fully up and running, the benefits of doing so are clear. Plus, it’s worth remembering that, sooner or later, your competitors will be utilising AI marketing technologies in their operations. Take the beginner steps now, and you’ll be putting your brand at the forefront of the next golden age of marketing.