AI – The Holy Grail of Marketing

Marketing is one of the traditional functions of a business just like sales or finance and it is being shaken up by technology. From print magazines to telemarketing, print advertising, pay per click ads, marketing has come a long way. Marketing has become more digital than ever. Today, the key to success in marketing is personalization and being multi-channel.

Advancements in technology have dramatically changed the way marketers interact with customers. It wasn’t until the 1900s, that marketers began to see shifts in the marketing channels. If you have watched the popular TV series Mad Men, that depicts what marketing was like in the 1960s, you’d understand how radically things have changed for this important function over the years. Numerous technologies surfaced that began to shape how brands interacted with customers. The newest entrant to the world of technology is artificial intelligence (AI). A study by PwC study revealed that 72% of marketers consider AI an advantage for businesses.

Gunter Fischer, CEO of Brainalyzed, has talked in length about this fascinating technology in the previous articles. In this article, I’ll be tackling some of the key aspects of AI in marketing.

AI in Marketing

A study by Smart Insights shows that of 100 senior marketers across industries, 55% of companies have already implemented AI in their marketing strategies. AI has sparked this huge interest in marketers because of its capability to crunch massive amounts of customer data from various sources in short spans of time. This enables marketers to personalize customer interactions across multiple channels. On the other hand, customers expect businesses to understand their expectations and be present with the right solutions to their problems. With AI, marketers can their audience better and deliver a personalized experience to customers and prospects.

There are various ways in which AI is used in marketing campaigns. Some of the popular use cases are –

  • Sales forecasting
  • Understanding customers
  • Buyer journey optimization
  • Finding trends
  • Programmatic Ad targeting
  • Chatbots for marketing
  • Speech recognition
  • Generating targeted content
  • Dynamic pricing
  • CRM enhancement
  • Search engine optimization

Role of AI in personalization

Personalized experiences are what customers are looking for from brands. Personalizing ads or campaigns for a handful of customers is easy. But scaling it for a large audience is next to impossible. However, AI is capable of not just curating customer needs but also enabling personalization at scale. This way, marketers can now show ads or run campaigns that match individual customer needs. The more data you feed into the AI system, the more t learns, and the better it can customize experiences for customers.

Accessing big data for personalization

AI learning improves as the quality and quantity of data increases. It examines events to understand the cause and effect of the outcome. With help from historical data, it picks up signals to predict future events. These systems are usually designed to process and leverage huge amounts of data to provide deep insights by identifying causality between complex touchpoints across different types of data. This enables marketers to create highly targeted marketing strategies.

Aligning sales and marketing to avoid overlaps

As a marketer, I know for a fact that working in silos is not beneficial for the company and your customers. Marketing and sales teams should work closely – all processes and systems used by both the teams should be tightly integrated. This is more crucial to successfully run account-based marketing campaigns and increasing profits. AI can clean data so that marketing and sales teams can now get real-time insights on customer behavior and improve alignment. This way, both the teams can engage with prospects in a relevant and personalized manner.

Determining buying coalitions

Buying coalition is the “temporary alliance of distinct personas that are assembled to make a purchasing decision”. By applying AI to data in the CRM, marketers can now build full contacts for all buyers who are engaged in decision making. This is done by capturing relevant buyer activity and then tying it to the appropriate opportunity. AI can track all the touchpoints, analyze their engagement patterns, and come up with the optimal number of buyer personas required to seal the deal. It also shows how to sequence communication with the buyers so as to create a strategic alliance. This is possible only if the AI system has mapped the data in the CRM to the right opportunity.

Tracking sentiment

Sentiment analysis is a great way to monitor what customers are saying about your brand. Based on this information, you can deliver precisely what the customers are looking for. Traditional metrics that help define user sentiment include the number of views, the number of clicks, the volume of engagement in the form of clicks and social shares, etc. But sentiment analysis is more than just quantity. It is the quality of interactions between your users and your brand. With the help of AI, marketing teams can now analyze customer engagement specific to an event or campaign. It helps identify promoters and detractors and help further segment your target audience and deliver customized campaigns. Based on the analysis, you can enhance your existing marketing strategy or rethink it.

Closing thoughts

There are various factors that influence the growth of a business. These factors are complex and correlated but most often, they are difficult for marketers to measure or make sense of. AI, today, enables marketers to achieve what was consider an impossible feat a few years ago – engage with every customer in a personalized way and to be present where the customer is. Many AI systems are available to learn from customer behavior patterns and assisting marketers in building the perfect marketing strategy. To get started with AI, you need to consider three important things –

  • Always remember that choosing the appropriate problem to solve is the key to the success of your AI efforts. Look for opportunities where AI can help you automate personalization and deliver the biggest impact.
  • Make sure you have enough and more quality data to feed your AI system. Keep adding data to the AI system so that it can learn faster and efficiently.
  • Remember not to be aggressive when it comes to personalization. Your messages and campaigns should sit naturally within the customer journey.

Have you used AI in your marketing strategy? Do you have tips or best practices that you’d like to share with us? Let us know in the comments.

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