Marketers are always on the lookout for the latest tips and tricks to leverage tools for the best responses. While the instinct is to be aware of changing tides in business, there is one specific technology capability that is going to be impossible for marketers to ignore in 2019: artificial intelligence. Granted, artificial intelligence is not new technology — the foundations for AI were laid in the 1950s. But in the coming months and years, artificial intelligence will be marketer’s best friend.
Marketing in the past
So much of marketing in the past was about inspired guesswork: “spray and pray,” as the saying went. Marketers would spend inordinate amounts of time devising campaigns and sending them out to prospects that they hoped were interested in the product they were trying to promote. Data was often missing or incomplete, which made analyzing campaign results messy and cumbersome. The result of this is sending out bland, generic marketing materials to a large segment that isn’t interested — which risks these potential customers disengaging from your brand for good. But fortunately, AI’s capabilities — particularly in its capacity to generate on going streams of information–
AI’s role for the engaged marketer
At first glance, AI might seem like a fancy new tool, only used by top brands, with little use for ambitious marketers who are hemmed in by a budget. But the truth is, more and more marketers are using AI for brands that wish to grow rapidly — and with good results. Before long, we anticipate that AI will pass from a nice-to-have to a must-have, much the same way social media did in the last decade.
When we say intelligence, we don’t mean the same intuition and inspiration that are part of being human. Humans will always be needed, especially in terms of creating original content and design.
But much of the heavy lifting of marketing — collating contacts, tracking the success and failure of campaigns, and A/B testing — can be performed with the help of AI. Instead of fiddling with pieces of data that make no sense, AI can present a recent picture and allow the marketer to make the best decision for their customers. AI can provide real-time insights that can allow marketers to be nimble and react quickly. Instead of waiting for campaigns to end while wringing hands, marketers can take a more proactive approach. This enables the marketer to engage from a position of knowledge, removing the guesswork and guiding potential customers confidently through the marketing funnel. This enhances customer experience, and makes your brand stand out in a sea of impersonal ads.
AI in 2019 and beyond
This new marriage of data and technology raises a new set of decisions for the next generation of marketing. Data ethics, mastering the new technology, and integrating AI with pre-existing managed data platforms will no doubt present their own challenges. Then there is, of course, what kind of AI marketers can use. Voice recognition, chatbots, sophisticated algorithms for email marketing…the possibilities seem endless. As the year progresses, marketers have the opportunity to be pioneers in their field by taking the plunge as early adopters of new technology that can enhance their businesses.
Change is inevitable, but how that change is planned for and managed can mean the difference between success and failure.