AI marketing is undoubtedly the trend going into 2023, but what does that mean for the average small to medium business? For many, it will mean improved digital marketing strategies with more specific targeting and better customer engagement.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is taking the world by storm, but it can be a little overwhelming. For decades, movies have portrayed computers that think for themselves, taking over the world, and not in a good way.
The reality is that AI isn’t a sentient being like you see on Star Trek. Instead, it is a tool that can help businesses in many areas, including marketing.
It doesn’t sound so scary when you think of it that way, right? Consider how AI can streamline your marketing process and improve it.
What Is AI?
Let’s break it down for those still a little unsure what AI even means. First, one of the reasons our culture has come to fear AI is because the idea of it has been around for a long time. The concept of formal reasoning by a machine is at the very heart of Alan Turning’s theory of computation and the Turning Test.
AI has come a long way since Turning envisioned a machine that could shuffle “0” and “1” around to create mathematical computations. Today’s AI is about using computer science to solve problems and automate repetitive functions. AI, by design, can make decisions and, more importantly, learn from them.
AI uses intelligent algorithms and datasets to form patterns in a way that is not that different from human neural networks. Then, using the tools at its disposal, AI can find hidden insights that you would miss.
AI marketing uses this technology to make decisions using data. It can also make choices based on how the audience reacts to campaigns and other marketing efforts.
It does what any good business person would like to do if they had the time – personalize marketing. AI can look at each customer and tailor a message to reach them, and it does it fast with maximum efficiency.
How Does AI Perform This Marketing Miracle?
It does feel a little miraculous, but AI uses critical tools to make the magic happen.
Data-driven marketing is not new, but the amount of information available these days is too much for a marketing team to shift through and analyze. However, AI can collect large amounts of data and put it to use.
Natural Language Processing (NLP)
NLP creates a natural-sounding language for customer interaction. That gives communication with customers a natural, not digital, feel. As a result, customers often won’t know that they are engaging with AI.
One of the most challenging parts of digital marketing is knowing what ads to buy and where to put them. AI can predict what will be most effective in reaching the target audience.
AI can also help businesses choose a growth strategy based on their goals and the current market and design marketing around it.
The ultimate goal of using AI is personalization. It can change the user experience based on the customer. That is true for most marketing assets like social media posts, emails, and web pages. AI will set them up based on the customer’s past preferences to help influence their buying journey.
Businesses can employ AI at every stage of the customer journey, from consideration to purchase. For example, AI will target ads and help guide their research. It will use data to determine what the customer is more likely to buy based on browsing history, then choose products to show them. Once a purchase is complete, AI can engage with a customer and try to get them to post a review or testimonial.
The Framework For AI
There is a mystery behind how AI works, and that is part of what makes it scary. So, let’s break it down. Marketing AI exists in different dimensions that make its purpose more apparent.
Task automation is one of the places you see AI a lot in all industries. It can replace a person doing repetitive and structured tasks that are time-consuming but don’t take much thought. The programmer creates a set of rules for the machine to follow based on input. For example, when someone signs up for a newsletter, the program sends a welcome email.
Machine learning is where things get a little more complicated. Machine learning involves algorithms that process large amounts of data and make complex predictions.
These programs might recognize an image or anticipate a response to customer behaviors or initiatives. Machine learning is already more common than many realize. It is used in customer relationship management platforms, online advertising, and e-commerce recommendation engines.
AI stand-alone applications are programs that work outside of a primary channel like a CRM. They are something people choose to use as opposed to running behind the scenes.
A practical example of a stand-alone application is a color sector you might see on a paint store website. The app might analyze input from the customer and then deliver personalized color recommendations. The app gives the customer some ideas on what they might like for a room, and then they leave the AI program to make their purchase.
Integrated AI apps are the opposite of their stand-alone counterparts. They work behind the scenes where the customer doesn’t know they exist.
Netflix has been using integrated AI applications for many years to help customers decide what shows they might enjoy. The AI looks at their viewing history and makes suggestions based on it and other data, such as location. When you sign up for an account, you create personalized profiles for each viewer so that the AI can target your recommendations.
How Small and Medium Sized Businesses Can Use AI for Marketing
AI may seem like something best saved for large corporations, but it can also play a role in the marketing efforts of small and medium-sized businesses. Consider some ways AI could make your marketing more effective.
Chatbots are very effective marketing tools for businesses with a digital platform or social media page. They can deliver a personalized customer experience that allows them to ask questions and get recommendations.
Chatbots provide the immediate attention customers crave but can’t always get from a human customer service agent. They are also available 24/7, so customers can visit a website anytime and get answers. AI-enabled chatbots enhance the customer experience by being there when you can’t.
Chatbots are also excellent tools for follow-ups. For instance, customers leave the website when they have something in their cart. The chatbots can remind them that it is there waiting for them to complete their purchase.
A 2017 report published by Global Consumer Pulse Research found that 40 percent of consumers change their brands due to a lack of personalization. They want a personal touch that helps build trust and lasting relationships.
AI helps you tailor your messages based on past behaviors, demographics, interests, and locations. In addition, intelligent personalization collects and analyzes data every time someone visits the website. This give AI the information it needs to create a personalized web experience for the visitor.
It also gathers information about that current visit. That provides data the program can use for targeted ads, email marketing, and social media messaging.
Enhancing the Shopping Experience
Today’s consumer is looking for easier transitions and transparency from brands. They want their every need met before they even know they need it.
AI gathers data and users’ past customer experiences to predict the visitor’s requirements down to the last detail. This allows the program to optimize the website based on the needs of each customer and enhance their experience. It uses that data to personalize ads once they leave the site.
That data also goes into forecasting future trends, so you can make tweaks as needed and stay competitive in marketing. AI collects historical data and relevant information and then generates insights on what you can expect.
It helps you better understand the customer’s needs so they stick with your brand. It will also identify leads that are most likely to convert. This allows you to figure out the best way to reach out to them.
AI Marketing in a Nutshell
We’ve covered the basics, but what is the bottom line? Every new trend brings with it some good and some bad. Therefore, it is essential to understand the pros and cons of AI marketing.
There is plenty of good to say about AI and its ability to make marketing more efficient and effective. Consumers want personalization from the brands they support. That is what keeps them coming back. Without it, they may go elsewhere to find what they think is missing. Marketing is about building relationships. You can’t do that if you don’t know your ideal customer. AI takes the guesswork out of it.
AI also helps you streamline your marketing efforts. That means you save time and money. The deep learning that comes with AI allows the program to identify behaviors and predict outcomes. For example, it can look at potential leads and tell you which is worth the investment and which will likely move on even if you put some time into it.
Personalization means not only better marketing, but enhanced product design. With AI, you can create products you know will sell. You don’t have to try to predict the market’s direction because AI runs the numbers and tells you.
Of course, nothing new comes without some cons. Here are a few to think about with AI.
Personalization Doesn’t Mean Human Contact
Not everyone appreciates what a chatbot has to offer. They want to talk to a living, breathing human being. The idea that machines may be answering their questions or targeting ads as they move around the internet makes some people uncomfortable. Ideally, you should offer them a way out. Give them the option to deal with someone in person if they want.
Humans Are Still the Backbone of Marketing
So, if you work in marketing, take a deep breath. You are still relevant. There is no gray area with AI. It only sees things in black and white. Computers can’t make innovative decisions, change their minds, go outside the box, or be imaginative. That still requires the human touch.
AI Isn’t Always Right
Even with all the data in the world, a guess is still a guess. AI uses the data to guess a likely choice, but it could be wrong.
AI Marketing Done Right
AI marketing is here and has proven to be a benefit. Google is a perfect example of why it is working for many brands. Google uses responsive ads that allow even small companies to tailor their message based on location, budget, and target audience.
The question isn’t should AI be a part of your marketing strategy but how you can put it to use. Sometimes getting started is the hardest part. So let the marketing experts at Vinci help you develop your strategy and fills some holes in your current plan with AI. You can book a free marketing strategy session with us today.
It’s a win-win because even if you don’t use our services, you walk away with a free marketing strategy we create for you using our proven blueprint. So check out our website today and learn more about our free 30-minute marketing strategy session.