At its core, marketing requires a deep understanding of people’s needs, the foresight to pair these needs with products or services, and the ability to persuade people that your product or service is the best fit for their needs. These activities are also popular to-dos among top AI tools. Today, there are countless applications that use natural language processing and machine learning to help marketers build campaigns faster and connect with customers in more meaningful ways.
The payoff for early adopters: a boost in business. While the adoption of AI has more than doubled since 2017, marketing and sales—along with product and service development—are areas enjoying the biggest revenue increases from AI, according to a recent McKinsey report.
If you’re intrigued by this new wave of technology but not sure where to start, we’ve identified eight ways AI can make life easier for busy marketers. Ensure that these technologies are top of mind as you discuss your marketing strategy for the months and years ahead.
1) Create an AI buyer persona that adjusts to consumer data in real-time
Having a clear vision of who your customers are is the first step in effective marketing. While creating traditional marketing personas requires significant resources and some degree of generalization, AI has the power to make sense of massive amounts of real consumer data almost instantly. Tools like Delve.AI pair data from traditional sources (think: surveys, focus groups, and interviews) with data that speaks to how consumers behave online (think: social media, reviews, and forums) to create snapshots of your audience segments. The persona tools of the future will likely be able to process millions of transactional and behavioral data points to create refined personas in real time. When consumer preferences change, the AI-built personas will optimize accordingly.
2) Work with AI design tools to make web pages unique for your users
While there’s a growing number of AI design tools that generate photos and graphics from a few text commands, the best way for designers to use AI is not to replace their skills but to take a design and test it against a specific audience. For example, a web designer could design a homepage, set parameters like brand colors and fonts, and run it through an AI design tool that presents a variety of alternatives for a designer to choose from. This is not a replacement for creativity but rather a way for designers to improve the speed at which they bring a vision to life. AI-driven design tools make suggestions based on millions of other successful designs, so the result is a higher-converting homepage.
In the future, we can expect designs as unique as we are. Through computer vision and facial recognition, websites will likely be able to determine details like the age, gender, location, and mood of a user. The site will pull from millions of unique versions of its design to offer up the right experience based on user preferences and tracking data.
3) Beat writer’s block and publish more polished work with help from a conversational AI
Ever sat down to write a blog post, article, social media post, or email with so much to say but no idea how to start organizing your thoughts? Conversational AIs, like Google’s Bard and OpenAI’s ChatGPT can help you get the creative juices flowing. Simply provide a few lines about what you’re trying to accomplish, and the AI will spit out what we’ll call an outline. When we recently tried Bard, we found its output to be basic—a good starting point but not a replacement for copywriters who understand brand voice and nuance.
Before you hit publish, use an AI-based editing tool Grammarly to ensure your writing is error-free and an appropriate match for your target audience. If you’re creating social content, tools like Copy.AI can help you generate the best hashtags for your post.
4) Enlist the help of an AI chatbot to offer an always-on customer service experience
If you’ve talked to Siri or Alexa lately, you’ve used a chatbot, or virtual assistant. Chatbots use AI and natural language processing to understand customers’ problems and provide automated responses to them, just like a conversation with a human. Adding a chatbot plug-in to your website can help users resolve customer service issues, navigate your site, schedule appointments, receive product recommendations, and more. Bots can help you improve customer satisfaction and loyalty when there’s an empathic customer service representative available as a backup. Keep in mind that chatbots need to be trained on your organization and its data. Think of them as students who need to be schooled in your business’s operations on a regular basis.
5) Use programmatic advertising to automate digital ad placement
AI and machine learning are the foundation of programmatic advertising, which analyzes vast amounts of data—demographics, interests, past behavior—to deliver personalized and relevant ads. AI also helps optimize bidding strategies, taking into account a user’s location, time of day, and device type. Finally, AI is used to test different creative elements, such as headlines, images, and videos, to see which ones perform best. Programmatic advertising can help you achieve more efficient, effective, innovative, and scalable ad campaigns and foster a spirit of innovation and experimentation among your marketing team members.
6) Improve your email marketing strategy with natural language processing
As much as crafting the perfect marketing email feels like an art, it can take a good deal of science to get your audience to open your message and take action. Luckily there are dozens of apps and plug-ins to help you with that part. Tools like Phrasee use AI and natural language processing to generate subject lines that can improve open rates by 5-10%. Similarly, IBM Watson Tone Analyzer evaluates the sentiment and tone of your email. AI features within your email service provider can also assist with list maintenance and segmentation.
7) Tap into ChatGPT to take the tediousness out of SEO
From keyword research to content creation to auditing and addressing technical errors, search engine optimization is a process of many steps. The good news is that AI tools can automate a lot of them. For example, ChatGPT can assist with keyword research around a given topic, generate keyword lists based on target keywords, craft page titles and meta descriptions, and draft blog posts that are optimized for search. Other AI tools can help with technical SEO to-dos, such as automating structured data or suggesting internal linking opportunities.
If this all sounds too good to be true, a word of caution: Google’s spam guidelines prohibit auto-generated content, or content that’s entirely generated by AI. To make the most of AI-driven SEO tools, use them as a resource but not a replacement for SEO-minded team members who create value-added content from the perspective of those searching for it—real people.
8) Pass off busy work to a bot like Google Bard
Whether you’re making travel arrangements for an upcoming marketing conference or comparing email survey tools, it’s inevitable that your marketing role requires you to spend some quality time with Google each day. Many busy professionals are saving time by auditioning Bard and ChatGPT as their virtual assistants. If you want to speed up your searches, try running them through a conversational AI instead of a search engine. If you tell Google’s Bard about the flight you’re looking for—your departure time, city, and budget—the AI will do the searching for you; you can skip the form fills and ads and get to your flight details faster.
AI is driving a technological revolution, just like the internet did in the early 90s and mobile did in the early 2000s. While this list only scratches the surface when it comes to the myriad of ways AI can make life easier for busy marketers, the technology can also be used to spread misinformation. For example, NPR recently highlighted the challenges that policymakers face as they rush to keep up with fake, AI-generated political advertisements.
Finding a happy medium—a world in which AI helps us do more in less time—without being bogged down with the time-consuming task of asking yourself “Is this for real?” requires a healthy dose of cynicism, the same breed of cynicism we used to navigate the early days of the internet and mobile communications. As you introduce AI to your marketing strategy, don’t turn off your human logic. Use it as a filter to guide and teach the fledgling AIs popping up everywhere.