From powering innovative self-driving cars, enabling high-precision surgeries, to bringing about radical changes across business organizations, artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing our world.
Marketing is certainly one area across business functions where AI is making its presence felt. With the growing dominance of digital and data, AI technologies play an instrumental role in helping marketing organizations create new opportunities by making sense of data. Amidst a fast-evolving and increasingly complex customer landscape, the role of marketers has seen a drastic change as they are expected to drive business value. In this regard, AI’s role as a strategic enabler is becoming more prominent.
According to Forbes, the marketers' use of AI soared between 2018 and 2020, jumping from 29% in 2018 to 84% in 2020.
What’s driving AI in marketing?
Over the last decade, we have seen a surge in online platforms for customer interactions, resulting in huge piles of data generated across platforms. AI’s big advantage in marketing lies in its ability to help bridge the gap between data and its execution to create new possibilities.
Data forms the backbone for new-age marketing strategies by offering the path to uncover deep insights about customers. This is where AI acts as a game-changer. It helps organizations harness these marketing insights from a vast pool of raw data in almost seconds compared to traditional analysis that would take hours or days.
Today, be it an online webinar or an offline customer event, it is difficult to draw boundaries, as digital marketing campaigns are integrated across platforms. The explosion of digital devices and the drastic and long-lasting social impact of the pandemic have further blurred the lines between digital and offline marketing campaigns. A better term to use is data-driven marketing, as gauging the impact of different marketing campaigns by monitoring the data patterns is the new paradigm shift most marketers are trying to achieve.
AI technologies help in improving the customer journey. As customer touch points surge, marketers face the challenge of creating and delivering seamless customer experiences at different touch points and have a uniform image of their customers to offer the highest level of personalization.
With data-driven marketing insights, each stage of the marketing process can be made more effective - from optimizing campaigns, media allocation, to predictive modeling for ascertaining the most effective strategies.
Let’s look at a few specific marketing areas where AI technologies are making an impact:
Repetitive, time-consuming marketing tasks can be streamlined with AI tools. With advanced AI tools, even complex tasks that traditionally required human judgment, such as analysis and segmentation, can also be automated to a large extent.
AI helps marketers to identify higher-quality leads. It helps them choose the most valuable accounts that they need to target. It saves a great deal of time and effort, eliminating the need to whittle down a crowd of leads. Instead, it helps identify leads based on scores and differentiate which ones to choose for specific campaign approaches, such as inbound or outbound.
AI helps in customer segmentation that forms the basis for personalization. The ability of AI to pull and analyze data generated from past customer interactions can open up a treasure trove of insights into customer behavior. This can help create behavioral patterns to perform the highly targeted customer segmentation. Hyper-personalized campaigns can be created backed by these insights.
From merely forming decisions on descriptive customer segmentation, AI is enabling organizations to perform behavioral segmentation that is much deeper.
Creating engaging and useful content for their audience at regular intervals is a big challenge for marketers. AI tools can be utilized to create more contextual and relevant content at scale. Some of the common use cases in this area include content curation and repurposing, where the message already exists and needs to be recreated for specific platforms, such as social media. AI also uses data to discover customer search patterns to help marketers know which topics to focus on.
CLV – how much to invest in a customer
CLV, in simple terms, is the total amount of revenue that a company earns from a customer throughout its lifecycle. This can be increased by capturing cross-sell and upsell opportunities. AI-based metrics can enable organizations to create strategies to identify their most profitable customers to be nurtured and retained, make the low- profitable ones more profitable, and decide the time to throw in the towel.
In reality, AI is no magic wand that could make all marketers’ woes disappear. It is not about merely implementing a technology but embracing a fundamental change that demands a cultural and mindset shift driven from the top. The ability to ask the right questions to be solved with AI, blend AI technologies with existing technology framework, and align it to the broader business strategy is the key to delivering marketing success with AI.