What is AI-powered marketing? Here are 7 “marketer’s own” definitions of the term that help explain how and where AI will make its mark

In 2011, a report from Accenture reported that “48 percent of marketers say [AI] technologies will completely transform how they do business, and 36 percent expect to see dramatic changes to how they do business within three years.”

But the report also cautioned that “the complexity of operations, the need to prove results and their lack of human involvement raises concerns.”

To address this, Accenture offered its own recommendations, which included developing “operations change programs,” integrating AI “into marketing decision-making,” and adopting “continuous experimentation and change.”

There’s little doubt that there’s still a lot of hype around AI — it’s almost impossible to search for something that is “AI-powered” and not get at least a dozen hits. And I’m not even sure that an AI-powered vacuum cleaner is “ready for prime time.” But there’s also little doubt that AI-powered marketing is coming or already here, and it will be far more pervasive than its public reputation might suggest.

But what is AI-powered marketing? Here are 7 “marketer’s own” definitions of the term that help explain how and where AI will make its mark:

 

Intelligent Marketing Automation

Digital marketing is all about automated processes that reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of the marketing cycle, freeing up marketers to do what they do best: produce content, capture and engage with new audiences, and manage their campaigns. Automation reduces the cost of marketing and improves responsiveness. In order to take advantage of AI, brands need to automate and optimize their marketing cycle and adopt technologies like A/B testing and predictive analytics.

AI will drive better, smarter, more relevant marketing

AI is a new set of technologies that help marketers be more creative and more responsive to consumers’ needs. A/B testing, predictive analytics, and real-time messaging enable marketers to execute more intuitive, personalised marketing campaigns and more relevant campaigns in real time. This enables marketers to reach consumers at exactly the right moment with a message that resonates, builds brand awareness, increases brand loyalty, and increases sales.

AI will help marketers focus on the customer experience

AI makes it possible for marketers to gather large amounts of information about their consumers and provide them with better engagement. The more data you collect and the more time you invest in creating high-quality content, the better the likelihood that your customers will be as engaged as possible.

 

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AI will help marketers collect and use data in ways that minimise human bias

The truth is that even with large amounts of data, we have yet to completely parse the implications of unbridled marketing. Most marketers use AI as a catalyst to tap data that has traditionally been difficult to collect and evaluate. But while AI technology provides marketers with vast amounts of information, the rapid increase of data with ever-increasing complexity may also lead to more challenges and pitfalls, including widespread human bias, fear, and a lack of trust. As with any new technology, marketers must take steps to mitigate the risks of unbridled usage of AI technologies, if not eliminate them entirely.

AI will enable marketers to overcome challenges in measurement

Consider the rise of ad blocking. Audiences are increasingly engaging with ads that are dull, lacking creativity, and causing them to disengage with advertising. Many companies have recognised the impact of ad blocking and have adapted their ad experience to better meet the needs of consumers, which is why measuring performance is a crucial step toward improving marketing ROI. But consumers have more ways than ever before to measure their ad experiences — often without ad blockers. As a result, measurement is one of the key challenges facing marketers. Fortunately, the solutions to some of the most common measurement challenges can be found in AI.

 

AI will boost the ROI of content marketing

This is one of the hottest buzzwords in marketing right now, but it’s also a trend that may not be widely appreciated for years to come. Content is a powerful way for brands to create meaningful engagement and relationship with consumers and other stakeholders. By using AI and predictive modeling to monitor the performance of content in real time, brands can increase the probability of content producing quantifiable ROI. And by using real-time analytics, marketers can identify opportunities to adjust their content strategy on the go, based on their real-time performance.

 

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AI will improve company-to-company marketing

People are spending a lot more time than ever on social networks, but they’re still spending time and attention on the brands they are connected to. It’s great for consumers to be able to connect with people they know and like, but it also opens opportunities for companies to connect with others, with the companies’ data at the centre of the campaign. AI can help marketers implement sophisticated, cross-channel content strategies that serve up relevant messages at the right time and in the right way.

As the name implies, “Artificial Intelligence” suggests that we’ll be able to create intelligent, self-learning machines, and that’s no doubt true. But we’ll need to do a lot more than that to master the nuances of AI in order to make effective use of it in marketing. Consumers, for one, will need to have faith in the applications of AI. In the same way that marketers must have faith in a well-calibrated CRM, they must also have faith in the insights provided by AI technology. As a result, there may be an opportunity for marketers to move beyond a simple endorsement of “artificial intelligence” to a commitment to the future of marketing.

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