The transformations in the ﬁeld of Artiﬁcial Intelligence since its inception in the 1950s have been sporadic, but over the past decade, the developments have been signiﬁcant. As it stands now, AI has already begun transforming industries such as healthcare, ﬁntech, agriculture and marketing.
In marketing particularly, AI has proven to be indispensable. To understand its contribution to marketing fully, it is essential to know what AI means.
What is AI?
Artiﬁcial Intelligence is a system that can simulate human intelligence by continuously receiving and processing data inputs from the environment and can perform necessary actions to achieve a speciﬁc goal or mission over a period.
AI is classiﬁed into two systems – General AI and Narrow AI.
General AI refers to the development of machine intelligence to perform a wide range of activities that involves logical reasoning and analytical thinking. The General AI system needs to learn inﬁnite possibilities of actions and unpredictable scenarios and thus takes a substantial amount of time to achieve enterprise-level maturity.
Narrow AI refers to imparting knowledge into a system to perform speciﬁc functions. Narrow AI system is easier to develop since the number of possibilities is limited. Programmers and developers use Narrow AI to build enterprise-level applications.
All machine intelligence that surrounds us today is Narrow AI. These include applications such as Google Assistant, Google Translate & Siri among many others. Analytics software providers offer products that assist in analytics and can be tailored to speciﬁc industries or functions.
With the ability to gather, analyse, apply data and then react to it, AI is continuing to revolutionise digital marketing. The amount of information on potential consumers
keeps growing. This increases the importance of AI, as its ability to make data-based decisions quickly and accurately makes it indispensable.
Brands such as Amazon, Spotify & nFlipkart have successfully implemented narrow AI to market their products and services.
Here are some ways in which AI is changing digital marketing:
1. AI in CRM
CRM and artiﬁcial intelligence are a potent combination. The internet has now become the most powerful form of sales and marketing activities. As a result, CRM has evolved to be able to analyse the vast ocean of data that is fed into it.
CRM users have access to so much more than just contact information. They include social media proﬁles, job history, and detailed statistics about every interaction that particular lead has had with his or her company. All this presents an arsenal of data that is impossible for a person to analyse in a short time (which is honestly all we have).
This is where artiﬁcial intelligence does its job. CRM with embedded AI gives users things like:
- Predictive lead scoring
- Natural language search
These allow sales and marketing oﬃcials to make informed and intelligent decisions. Communication henceforth becomes eﬃcient, effective & less time-consuming.
Here are a few examples of AIs in CRM:
Salesforce: Salesforce’s Einstein is an AI tool that delivers predictions & recommendations based on processes and customer data.
Zoho: Zoho’s Zia is much like the voice assistants that are there in smartphones, but focused on CRM. The software does pretty much the same things as Einstein, but the best thing about it is that it is easy to talk to, that is easily accessible.
2. AI chatbots in digital marketing
Among numerous applications of AI in digital marketing, a chatbot is one of the most important ones. AI chatbots can be programmed to give speciﬁc answers based on keywords used by users who ask questions. For example, if you visit a website that has a chat option at the bottom; chances are that it is automated to give you instant responses. If you ask ‘What are your pricing plans?’, the bot can be programmed to show the subscription plans etc.
Some chatbots also leverage machine-learning. So the more time it is active for, the better it becomes.
This essentially means that chatbots can streamline the initial marketing process that includes things like lead generation, answering general queries, scheduling and even providing minor tech-support.
To add to all these, chatbots can work 24×7.
Once these basic functions are streamlined, the volume of data generated increases exponentially, and everything after that is about qualifying the leads and selling.
Many brands have started to communicate with their customers through messenger applications like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Slack, all of which can beneﬁt from AI chatbots to streamline the process.
Some of the best AI chatbots out there are:
1. 1. Watson Assistant 2. 2. Bold360
- 3. Inbenta
- 4. Ada
- 5. Vergic
3. AI in email marketing
Email marketing may not sound as exciting as some other digital marketing tools, but it is still one of the most used ones. Email marketing still offers impressive ROIs across industries.
Artiﬁcial intelligence has greatly expanded the scope of achievement in this ﬁeld. Some of the direct beneﬁts of using AI in email marketing include:
- Optimised subject lines/smart personalisation: It is a well-known fact that a good subject like stands out in your box. However, what makes a subject line “good”. Creative copy? Informative? Or is it newsworthiness? The point is that different lines will appeal to different people.
Traditionally, a good copywriter along with experiments and data would help come up with a few options in a few days, perhaps.
AI-based email marketing tools use data to generate subject lines that have higher open rates, click-through rates etc. And it improves with time.
People are more likely to skip reading emails if it does not tickle their fancy or does not appear to be personalised for them. The most successful emails campaigns are ones that are focussed on generating content that appear to be created by humans rather than by software.
- Automation: An AI can automate systems that are driven by data to run drip campaigns. This technology takes into account factors such as past purchases, browsing behaviour etc. to curate seemingly personalised campaigns at speciﬁc hours. Some of the most commonly used tools include MailChimp & Automizy.
4. AI in Digital Advertising
Among this list, digital advertising perhaps has been the most successful for AI. Digital advertising has evolved dramatically since its introduction to AI. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Google and others that have their own search engine use an AI to provide the best possible experience.
The AI on those platforms analyses user data under different parameters and present relevant ads.
According to eMarketer, digital ad spend worldwide was estimated to be $273.29 billion in 2018 and this is expected to increase further. With AI technology, marketers can spot micro-trends and even predict trends.
5. Content Marketing
Content marketing functions are heavily reliant on AI these days. These include content analysis, keyword selection, data-driven content creation, optimization, creating personalized content, and A/B testing to improve content.
An AI-powered technology called Natural Language Processing (NLP) is able to read human language and identify markers. Even the most basic of NLP and NLG systems can analyse and produce human language to some degree.
Applications such as Gmail and WhatsApp use similar technology in the form of predictive text and more to suggest content. On a larger scale for content marketing, there is software that gives content type suggestions.
For example, 40% of millennials consume more video content, making it the second most effective form of content marketing next to blogs. This means that a brand targeting this audience will be better able to create relevant content using insights gathered from AI.
As far as creating original content through AI is concerned, there has been no signiﬁcant development so far. However, as has been seen from the recent progress in AI, it will not be absurd to expect a drastic change in the ﬁeld.
AI has undeniably changed digital marketing/marketing for the better. It is now more accessible for businesses, making it an indispensable tool for digital marketers. Looking at data, choices of individuals and so many more factors have been completely transformed. It has not nearly reached its potential, but AI in its current form is certainly
a boon for marketing.