May 30, 2019

How AI Can Help You Achieve Your Marketing Goals

by Erin Johnson

Whether we realize it or not, artificial intelligence is everywhere we turn. Our smart speakers give us a morning rundown of information, learning what news is important to us for tomorrow based on how we respond today. Our navigation apps analyze the traffic ahead and take us on the fastest route. And throughout the day, even our emails are taking note of how we respond to the content we receive, actively sorting unwanted emails into our spam folders.

But what exactly is artificial intelligence? According to HubSpot, artificial intelligence, or AI, “refers to an area of computer science that makes machines do things that would require intelligence if done by a human.” This means AI is much more than smart home technology. It can be applied to any industry, including marketing. As AI becomes smarter, faster and cheaper, it’s up to marketing to stay ahead of the curve, using new tools to gain leads and ultimately make sales. Here are two ways I found helpful to consider when deciding if AI can support you and your business.
1. AI Is Not Your Ace in the Hole
AI has a vague definition, giving it endless possibilities and applications. The first step in exploring how AI can work for you is to understand it. HubSpot explains AI as an umbrella. Under that umbrella are features like machine learning and language processing, both of which allow AI to process human information into computer understanding.

But at the end of the day, AI is just smarter technology. It’s not something we as marketers can just purchase to solve all our marketing challenges in one sweep. Instead, AI is a tool meant to complement what you’re already doing. As with all other marketing tools and technologies, you’ll need to ask questions about how AI can ultimately help you achieve your bottom line:

“How can AI save us time, and money, as we work to achieve our goals?”

“Will using AI help bring leads out of the awareness stages and into the decision stages sooner?”

“Will AI make my product better for the end user? Or more cumbersome?”
2. It Takes Large Amounts of Consumer Data to Work Well
You shouldn’t fear AI, though, because in many cases you may be using a similar function in your own marketing programs without realizing it. Any automation feature, whether it be Pardot or Marketo, is very similar to how AI works. Users are getting predetermined materials/emails based on the action the user takes. It’s in the rudimentary form, but this isn’t a far cry from how AI works. The real draw of AI is its personalization and customization capabilities. AI learns as we interact with it, storing information as we direct it to what we decide is a right or a wrong answer. Learning from computers means they need to store up large amounts of information from us, which leads us to ask: What is more valuable: privacy or convenience?

My colleague Marcus Barnhardt explained the rising concerns of consumer privacy in a previous In Focus post, and new regulations are already affecting European businesses and how they collect consumer data, making protection of that data top priority. While strict laws have yet to fully take root in the United States, they are coming sooner rather than later. So as you collect consumer data with AI, it will be of utmost importance to keep that information secure.

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Posted: May 30, 2019 by Erin Johnson Filed under: marketing, technology, trends