Artificial intelligence (AI) has changed the marketing industry in numerous ways. Even if you’re a marketing professional who uses it now, there’s a good chance how you apply the technology now may barely resemble how people use it in several years.
That’s because innovations are happening so fast. And furious!
Here are some specific ways the technology has impacted marketing so far.
Causing Decision-Makers to Adjust Their Marketing Budgets
Whenever marketers prioritize using AI or any other technology, they typically must get budgetary approval from those in authority. Once marketing professionals know how much they can spend on artificial intelligence, selecting appropriate tools and platforms is easier.
Worldwide data from Statista indicates 84% of marketers used artificial intelligence in their digital marketing strategies in 2020. However, the percentage slipped to 62% in 2022. The same source also indicated only 29% had the technology in their 2018 strategies.
The fact that most marketers are using it now means many people who set budgets within marketing departments or companies must determine what percent of the overall financial resources can go toward such expenditures.
However, it’s not as simple as saying marketers can spend a maximum amount on artificial intelligence per year. The better approach is for financial decision-makers to get details about how and why marketing professionals will use the technology.
What will it allow them to do that they can’t now? How would the technology enable them to overcome challenges and meet goals?
Getting clarification should help those in charge of budgets feel more confident about allocating funds toward artificial intelligence.
Improving Data Capture and Usage
We live in a world where many of your customers probably want content at least partially personalized to reflect their interests or past interactions with your company. AI can help you deliver that expectation with ease.
Music streaming company Spotify regularly uses artificial intelligence to provide personalized playlists for listeners. It has recently expanded on that capability by offering a DJ feature, complete with artificial intelligence-generated voice models.
Artificial intelligence and data science innovations have also increased the data-capture pace and allowed marketers to utilize more-diverse information sources. It then becomes more likely marketers will create content and campaigns that position companies as able to solve pain points and offer superior products or services compared to competitors.
Although artificial intelligence helps marketers gather more information and use it effectively, they must be careful not to cross the line into territory that could make customers feel uneasy. That’s one of the reasons why it’s often best to rely primarily on data that people freely provide. That way, customers don’t start wondering how companies learned specific details about them and begin worrying about those organizations’ seemingly intrusive practices.
Increasing Automation Opportunities
People within and outside of marketing have realized how AI can help them automate more of their repetitive tasks. Then, individuals can spend a larger overall segment of their workday on rewarding and creative duties that are less suited to artificial intelligence but excellent for skilled humans to do.
Applying the technology in these ways can reduce the chances of marketers missing out on opportunities to gain new customers or keep existing ones. The reality is that even the most conscientious marketers need help to engage with people and increase their interest in the respective companies or products.
For example, AI can help you segment customers and send them push notifications at the right times. Doing that could keep customers informed without making them feel bombarded with unwanted or irrelevant information.
Artificial intelligence can also increase customers’ spending, such as when they shop on e-commerce websites. Many companies have algorithms that work in the background and provide suggested products based on what customers have bought before or what people with similar interests and characteristics have purchased.
Such product-based tips can reinforce a site user’s perception that a particular company understands their needs and offers appropriate products.
Supporting Innovation With AI
A substantial part of successful marketing involves company professionals knowing what customers will want at the right times. That’s challenging at the best of times, but artificial intelligence can make it easier.
Most advanced algorithms analyze data much faster than humans can. They can find patterns and trends in minutes or hours that would take people days or weeks to pinpoint without technological help. Such advanced data-mining practices are fantastic for highlighting the most buzzworthy topics or interests.
Then, marketers can get the early word on which products, colors, flavors and priorities customers are most likely to have in the coming months and years. Using that information is an excellent way for marketers to become more proactive rather than reactive.
For example, the global research and development arm at Nestlé uses AI to highlight and capitalize on trends, accelerating the launches of products ranging from coffee mixes to probiotic supplements. People at the company have even developed an electronic tongue-like product that relies on artificial intelligence to predict the sensory characteristics of new coffee blends. Innovation is critical for global brands like Nestlé, but it also matters for smaller companies that need to carve out niches.
How Will AI Change Your Marketing Methods?
One of the tricky things about many artificial intelligence tools for marketers is it’s not always easy to separate hype from genuine usability and feasibility for your organization.
If you’re considering using AI for the first time or ramping up your initial investment, start by determining what challenges the technology could help you overcome. How could it streamline workloads and give marketing professionals more time to focus on their core capabilities?
Finally, getting feedback from the people who will use the technology most often is also important. Ask for specifics about which parts of their work are most burdensome and may be easiest to automate. Receiving requests for input will help people feel more comfortable and excited about using the technology rather than worrying it will take their jobs or make their tasks more complicated.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.