Here’s the truth about AI and marketing
What’s the biggest buzzword in your industry in the last few years?
If you work in marketing or are connected to your business’s marketing functions, then you’re probably no stranger to artificial intelligence (AI). And if you’re a business leader or a Finance Manager dealing with requests to allow budget for AI investment, you probably have many questions about this technology.
The bottom line is that the promise and potential of AI is profound and transformative. But a lot of nonsense and conventional wisdom gets accepted as fact when it couldn’t be further from the truth.
Here’s the truth about AI and marketing.
You Cannot Afford to Miss the Boat
If you take one thing away from reading this, make it this: you cannot afford to miss the boat.
AI in marketing is here to stay. It’s the next logical step in the marketing industry’s evolution and will continue to evolve quickly. And while things will change quickly, it isn’t a case of thinking, “Well, AI is so good that I can afford to be a little behind the curve.”
If you take that approach, you’re getting left behind.
AI can analyze colossal data sets, predict customer behavior – and respond to that behavior, as we’ll see shortly – and automate tasks. Bringing AI into your marketing stack means your campaigns will be more efficient, with a better return on investment (ROI).
I’ve seen some people describe not using AI as the equivalent of not having a website and ignoring the potential of the internet in the early 2000s or not embracing social media 10 – 15 years ago.
This is much bigger.
It might be taking things too far to say it’s “AI or nothing.” But things are moving forward so quickly that this statement might be true by early 2024.
AI Isn’t Making Great Marketers Lazy
“Ah, so you use AI? That means you’re not doing the job then, right?”
Well, kind of, anyway. If a marketer was lazy and not very good at their job in the first place, then AI isn’t going to change anything. And they probably won’t get any better at their job because if they were lazy before, they’ll be too lazy to learn how to use AI properly.
AI is a tool that will help great marketers get even better. Think about when you did numeracy at school. A basic calculator can help you do simple multiplication and division. But when you needed to deal with algebraic functions and simplify complex data and calculations, you needed a scientific calculator to do it for you.
And that’s what AI is doing in marketing. It will work out the data for marketers, but it still needs marketers with the skill and the desire to turn it into something useful.
At the moment, AI is incredible for number crunching and pattern recognition. It isn’t so great at intuition, emotional intelligence, or humor. It will probably get there in the future.
But for now, AI is amplifying the ability of great marketers to do even greater things with your budget and their time. They can focus on strategy and creativity while the machines do the heavy lifting.
AI Isn't Taking Away Marketing; It's Making Marketing Evolve
AI won’t make marketing or marketers obsolete. Instead, it’s driving the evolution of marketing. It’s helping us to reimagine and push the boundaries of what we thought was possible. And then, learning something exciting and new opens up new avenues for marketing innovation.
For example, with predictive analytics, marketers can anticipate consumer needs and trends before they even happen. Machine learning models can help optimize ad campaigns in real time. No more waiting until after the weekend or Google’s inevitable insistence that spending more money with Google is the best way to better PPC results.
While marketing has been increasingly moving away from guesswork and intuition and towards being more data-driven and strategic for most of the recent past, AI is that evolution on steroids.
It isn’t taking away marketing but enhancing the role of marketing and marketers.
AI Is More Than ChatGPT and Other Language Models
Large language models like ChatGPT dominate the news agenda. But how you can use AI in marketing is broad and varied beyond chatbots.
For example, AI can:
- Power recommendation engines on your eCommerce site, tailoring what your website shows to people to make them more likely to buy even more.
- Automate email marketing campaigns based on browsing history, cart abandons, or other triggers in your conversion flow.
- Help you make your content more appealing and engaging, and also better plan and distribute your content more effectively.
What are the next steps?
AI-powered augmented reality and virtual reality, combined with image and voice recognition technologies, creating personalized and immersive brand experiences. We’re talking real value adds here, not the dreadful “metaverse” platforms brands rushed to develop as soon as the word left Mark Zuckerberg’s mouth.
AI may make the metaverse worthwhile, too; who knows?!
But ultimately, the potential applications of AI are limited only by the constraints we place on ourselves.
AI Can Transcend Marketing and Make You Even Better at Your Core Business Functions
One of the biggest frustrations for businesses and their customers is how easy it is for marketing messaging to be a million miles away from the sales or customer service experience.
AI can remove those frustrations and bring all your business functions together pretty much overnight. Wave goodbye to marketing messages that aren’t representative or customer service guidance that doesn’t match your brand.
Digging deeper into the sales and customer service functions, there are already some incredible examples of this happening. Look at this video of AI closing a lead. Incredible.
We’re also seeing incredible results for our clients here at Brainycloud with AI chatbots. For example, we’re helping our clients provide better customer service and quicker response times. The importance of this is hugely underestimated, too. Just think about it. We live in an instant gratification society, but we’re still in a world where many businesses use the fallout from the pandemic to justify delivering shoddy service and “longer than usual wait times.” Chatbots don’t just cut the crap but also support businesses where they are genuinely stretched.
And chatbots can even help convert leads, too. We’ve seen numerous examples of our clients’ chatbots delivering product information or links that lead to a sale. Without a chatbot, that customer probably bounces and buys elsewhere.
Finally, one of the most underrated – and often not spoken about – benefits of AI chatbots is to help your business service customers in multiple languages. So all you need to do is find a shipping partner – AI can optimize your supply chains, too, by the way! – and suddenly, thanks to AI chatbots, you can sell and ship worldwide!
The Real Truth is That AI Isn’t Anything New
AI is making a big noise now. But the absolute truth is that AI isn’t anything new. It’s been used by savvy marketers and individuals for many years.
So what’s changed?
One significant change is that AI has become more mainstream and accessible to more of us than ever before. It isn’t just something niche that is useful to a select few.
But another massive difference is the availability of big data today and the potential of apps and tools to process it. This is probably the biggest driver of the acceleration in the use of AI. But it’s the tools, technologies, and scalability that are new. Not the underlying ideas or concepts.
Ultimately, AI will continue to reshape the marketing landscape, providing unprecedented opportunities to grow your brand and deliver exceptional experiences for your customers.
It is up to you to avoid getting caught up in the hype and focus on delivering things that deliver actual value and worth. Do this by doing all you can to leverage AI’s potential while staying true to the core principles of marketing, and you’ll thrive in this new digital age.
Don’t miss the boat!