What role does artificial intelligence play in your marketing?
Many businesses are implementing AI solutions to improve efficiency and effectiveness of their campaigns, as well as deliver the best possible experience for their customers. This article to help you better understand the use cases of AI in marketing, we explore 6 practical ways companies use AI to improve their marketing, supported by real data and case studies. We also feature numerous tools to help you integrate AI into your own marketing strategy. We even include our favorite AI success stories from some of the popular brands:
- Learn how HelloFresh holiday campaign achieved a 68% conversion rate
- Read how a leading insurance company reduced their effective cost per acquisition by 82% with deep learning
- See how Nestlé Toll House used AI to gain 84,000 additional page views
What is AI?
New marketing opportunities
6 ways marketers use AI
Identify patterns and predicting trends
Automating workflows and tasks
Optimizing digital ads
Improving customer segmentation and targeting
AI is rapidly changing the world we live in, and the field of marketing is no exception. Businesses implement artificial intelligence in various ways to increase efficiency, maximize their returns, and produce the best possible experience for their customers. Yet some marketers still prefer more traditional methods and are wary of AI practices. However, they likely don’t realize all the ways they’re already using AI. Autocorrect, GPS, voice-controlled home assistants, Netflix suggestions, recommended purchases on ecommerce sites, and search engines are all examples of AI we use everyday without even realizing it. AI software isn’t just for large, established companies anymore. Startups and businesses of any size can greatly benefit from implementing various AI programs too.
Too many marketers and communicators are waiting for that big memo to arrive that says ‘okay, get ready, AI is coming.’ AI is not coming because it’s here, and it’s only going to become a bigger and more pervasive part of our work and our personal lives. – Martin Waxman, Founder of Martin Waxman Communications
In this article, we breakdown the functions of AI and how it benefits marketers today. We also discuss 6 ways marketers can implement AI to maximize returns, supported by data and case studies. Finally, we include products and tools that help businesses integrate various AI functions.
What is AI?
There is still much confusion over exactly what Artificial Intelligence (AI) is. According to IBM, “artificial intelligence leverages computers and machines to mimic the problem-solving and decision-making capabilities of the human mind.” In order to do this successfully, AI requires massive amounts of data. There are three different types of AI: narrow, general, and super. Artificial Narrow Intelligence is AI designed to perform specific tasks better than a human ever could, and it drives most of the AI that exists today. Artificial General Intelligence is a theoretical type of AI that can transfer what it knows between tasks. Machines with General Intelligence would have a self-aware consciousness and intelligence equal to that of humans. AI Super Intelligence is when machines surpass human intelligence, becoming smarter than human beings individually and collectively.
Machine learning is a subfield of artificial intelligence where machines use data and observations to automatically act, learn, and improve without being explicitly programmed by a human. The goal is to allow computers to learn independently, without human intervention or assistance. With machine learning, analysis gets increasingly better as the computer has more experiences and is fed more data. Examples of machine learning include self-driving cars, virtual personal assistants like Siri and Alexa, and product recommendations.
Deep learning is a subfield of machine learning consisting of hierarchical artificial neural networks inspired by the structure of the human brain. Deep learning processes data through a nonlinear approach and eliminates some of the human intervention that traditional machine learning requires. Because of this, deep learning enables scalability and the use of larger data sets. Deep learning models also make decisions based on unstructured data and determine a hierarchy of features to classify data into different categories.
New marketing opportunities
The AI takeover is inevitable, and marketers should embrace AI technologies rather than ignore them. The AI market is expected to grow to at least $37 billion by 2025. “AI is fast becoming as fundamental to software as software has become to business,” reports Forrester. “As a result, AI software will partly be a new category of the overall software market, but it will also be embedded in existing software products.” AI streamlines tedious tasks and gives marketers the power to make decisions based on data and patterns analyzed by computers. According to Lynn Lewis, US CEO of UM, machines “will take the highly monotonous and repetitive tasks, freeing up time for people to focus on higher-value, more impactful, and personally rewarding aspects of their work, resulting in more innovation and enhanced quality throughout the ecosystem.”
Implementing innovative AI and marketing technologies is also a strategy used by successful, high-growth companies. According to the spring 2019 Forrester Analytics Global Business Technographic Marketing Survey of almost 2,000 B2B firms, “highgrowth firms [characterized as firms that increase revenue by 15% or more year over year] are more likely to be at the intermediate or advanced stage of marketing innovation maturity than lower-growth firms.” So how can you actually implement AI in your business to improve your returns and increase efficiency? Here are six ways marketers are currently using AI to increase returns on investment:
6 ways marketers use AI
Identify patterns and predicting trends
Artificial intelligence is great at making sense of massive amounts of data. AI can gather, process, and store data faster than any human, or group of humans, ever could. Marketers use AI to discover trends in consumer preferences and behaviors. They also use predictive analytics, a form of advanced analytics that combines statistical modeling, data mining, and machine learning to predict future outcomes from historical data, to identify opportunities and optimize marketing campaigns.
For example, Crayon is a competitive intelligence company that analyzes over 100 data types across the web and uses AI to determine key updates and trends, helping companies capture a complete picture of their market and track competitors’ actions.
In less than 6 months of using Crayon, the sales win rate in our most competitive segment has doubled, and the win rate against a top competitor has tripled to 95%,” says Alex MacKenzie, Director of Sales at Allego, a virtual learning platform. A Global HCM Software Company also had Crayon carry out the market research and competitive intelligence process for them, and the VP of Market Research & Industry Relations reported that the company was saving 32 hours a month.
Heuritech uses AI to analyze 3 million social media images a day, identifying trending products, patterns, colors, and textures in the fashion industry. It then uses this data to forecast how a trend will evolve over time, so clients know what to promote and include in their next collections. After Heuritech forecasted major growth in the visibility of the tie dye print, their client showcased the trend and decided to increase the number of tie dye items in the next collection. The client saw a 65% increase in sales in the month after implementing the campaign and a 95% sell-through on tie dye items, with many references selling out completely.
Arimo Behavioral AI uses deep learning to predict demand for various SKUs across different locations so retailers can better manage staffing and inventory. It also monitors an online shopper’s web activity to predict their next actions and probability of purchase. According to Arimo, retailers see up to a 3-8% improvement in gross margins when applying machine learning to their analytics. Arimo also helps manufacturers predict when machines will break down and determine the drivers of downtime and poor quality.
Growth Channel uses AI to automate market research and generate marketing plans based on the strategy with the highest chance of success. Growth Channel uses predictive analytics to map customer decision journeys and identify the best channels, content opportunities, and ad targeting criteria to help businesses improve their marketing campaigns. Since launching in 2020, over 20 agencies and thousands of startups and small businesses deployed Growth Channel’s solution as a part of their market research, marketing strategy and planning operations.
Oribi makes it easy for customers to track their analytics and understand what their key metrics actually mean. Oribi highlights the most important data points, spots channels that acquire and convert the most prospects, and finds correlations and patterns in customer behaviors. Upscope, an interactive screen-sharing platform built for onboarding and support, used Oribi to determine what types of blog content were driving the most conversions. After promoting their most successful posts, Upscope saw a 20% traffic increase within 16 hours. Unclockable, an ecommerce platform known for its ‘feel good’ gender affirmative products, used Oribi to drastically increase sales. According to Founder and CEO Maddie Bleistern: “With Oribi’s correlations, we realized our visitors need more product information before they’re ready to buy. With some changes on our website… we’ve literally tripled our conversion rate.”
Artificial intelligence plays a major role in optimizing content creation. AI can also be used to determine how a certain piece of content is performing for search engines visibility. In addition to that, it suggests content ideas by analyzing competitors’ topics and keyword rankings. With GPT-3, AI can even write high-converting text, including ad copy, landing pages, email subject lines, and full blog posts. GPT-3, or Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3, is a form of AI that creates natural, human-like text from a short text prompt.
Outranking.io, an advanced AI-powered writing and researching platform, helps businesses create high quality, SEO-optimized content. It identifies related keywords and questions, creates recommendations from competitors’ content, and uses GPT-3 to write outlines, meta descriptions, and featured sections recognized by search engines. According to Outranking, using GPT-3 helps writers generate outlines 10x faster and produce content 5x faster.
MarketMuse offers AI-powered content research, intelligence, and writing. After a website migration, Lewis, a global agency, used MarketMuse to carefully map their keywords and optimize their new and existing content. As a result, Lewis increased their top three rankings by 30% and grew their overall page rankings by 55%. MarketMuse also helped Tomorrow Sleep grow its organic search traffic from 4K to 400K visitors and gain page rankings for many important keywords in less than a year. By using MarketMuse to move away from a manual content strategy, Cortex scaled its content creation, resulting in 3x more blog traffic and higher quality leads, all within six months.
Missinglettr uses AI to recommend highly relevant pieces of curated content that businesses can share or repost on their own social sites and blogs. ContentBot.ai uses AI to generate unique and original topic ideas, ad copy, intros, and more in under 30 seconds, preventing writer’s block and saving marketers a significant amount of time.
Nowadays, almost any website you visit has a chatbot. Chatbots are a great way to rapidly answer questions without overwhelming customer support teams. Some chatbots are simple, where a customer selects a pre-written question and the bot responds with a programmed answer. Other chatbots are more intelligent using machine learning to provide a relevant answer to a multitude of human inputs (think of devices like Siri or Alexa). Chatbots can also be integrated into other platforms, like Facebook or Instagram.
For example, a bot can be set up to automatically reply to every user that comments on a social media post. In 2017 and 2018, HelloFresh used their chatbot to automatically send Black Friday promo codes to users who commented the right answer to a raffle posted on Facebook. The campaign had a 68% conversion rate in 2018, with over half the recipients using their promo code to place an order.
Chatfuel lets businesses easily build no-code chatbots for a variety of circumstances. According to their website, chatbots can “resolve up to 80% of customer inquiries, so you can save time and resources and win more business.” LEGO built a chatbot to provide recommendations to customers looking to purchase a gift. Their ROAS was 3.4x greater for ads that led to the chatbot compared to their website, and they even saw a 71% decrease in the cost per conversion. HelloFresh used Chatfuel to answer customer questions. While it originally took 5 hours to answer a customer inquiry, their response time fell 76% within a year of implementing a chatbot, even though they were also getting 47% more messages.
Like Chatfuel, Exceed also offers a website chatbot designed to convert visitors into leads and schedule meetings with sales reps. Comeet, a task-oriented recruiting platform, integrated Exceed’s chatbot into their Hubspot CRM. As a result, they were able to approach 175,000 website visitors through chat, schedule 200 additional meetings, and engage with over 3,000 contacts that would’ve otherwise been lost.
MobileMonkey lets users create chatbots and integrate them across multiple platforms, like web, Facebook, Instagram, and SMS. Plus, all messages can be managed in one central inbox. According to MobileMonkey, 75% of customers rather message a business than email or call, and their users typically see a 20% click-through rate with Facebook Messenger chatbots.
Automating workflows and tasks
There are many tedious tasks marketers have to complete every day. However, in most cases, artificial intelligence can perform repetitive tasks automatically, saving marketers time to work on more complex and creative problems. For example, Howler uses AI to run automated PR campaigns and match companies with the most relevant journalists and news outlets for only $150. Howler reports their conversion rate for journalist interest is about 1%-2%. Many other tasks can be automated with AI, like email workflows, social media management, content writing, brand management, and customer service.
Besides chatbots, Exceed also offers Intelligent Virtual Assistants that help marketers boost their SQL conversion rates. ClearShift, a highly rated virtual automotive dealership platform, increased conversion rates by 25% after implementing Exceed, according to Chief Strategist Aaron Wood. ClearShift used Exceed’s AI-Powered Intelligent Assistant to automatically follow up, qualify, and reengage leads. “By using Exceed we’ve been able to scale our marketing effort and customer communication while retaining the human interaction,” says Wood. Comeet also used Exceed’s Virtual Assistant, along with their chatbot, to double revenue, reduce the time to close a deal, and save approximately 500 hours a month. Comeet uses their Assistant to reach out to thousands of leads, respond in real time, and complete repetitive tasks.
OneSpot uses AI to micro-target every single visitor on a company’s website and then automatically deliver personalized, relevant content, greatly improving site engagement and the visitor’s overall experience. Delta Faucet, known for its highquality kitchen and bathroom accessories, used OneSpot to automatically send individualized content to every user who visited their website. They saw a 45% boost in page views and a 300% increase in the number of users that read three or more pieces of their content. Nestlé Toll House used OneSpot’s hyper-targeted recommendations to gain 84,000 additional page views per month and an 88% increase in visitor engagement.
Optimizing digital ads
A human can’t wrap their whole brain around the Internet. But AI can with ease. In order to create high converting ad campaigns, marketers use AI to scan the internet for the best and most relevant sites to place their ads. AI can also be used to generate alternative copy scenarios for A/B tests, predict which creative layouts will resonate the most with different target audiences, and monitor campaign performance.
Pattern89 uses creative intelligence to help marketers pick the colors, copy, and ad designs with the highest chance of success. Pattern89 analyzes five hundred billion data points, helping companies predict what creative will be the most successful, before campaigns even launch. Ad-Flex Communications, a marketing agency, used an A/B test to compare the success rate of campaigns run with and without Pattern89. At the end of the two week study, the ad-flex team found that the campaign assisted by Pattern89 had a 439% higher conversion volume and 11% more impressions.
IBM Watson Advertising Accelerator helps companies make their digital creative as effective as possible. It uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze real-time data signals and automatically predict the best combination of creative elements for each user. The Ad Council used Accelerator in their “Love Has No Labels” campaign and saw a 113% lift in CTR from the start to the end of the campaign and a 69% increase in conversions. They also learned what types of creative resonated most with different audiences.
Improving customer segmentation and targeting
As a marketer, your goal is to know as much about your website visitors, audience, and customers as possible, so you can better satisfy their needs and connect with them on personal level. AI can be used to track consumer data and build highly specific user personas for a business, product, or service.
Dstillery’s Custom AI models use over 10 million attributes to build audiences that best match a company’s physical and digital footprint. Comporium, a telecommunications provider, used Dstillery to understand their customers. Dstillery gathered data about visitors and subscribers from Comporium’s website and put the top attributes in a custom AI model, which prospected new users who matched Comporium’s target customers but hadn’t interacted with them yet. Comporium used this data to pinpoint prospects in their next ad campaign, and they saw 20% higher conversion rates.
IBM Watson Advertising Predictive Audiences uses deep learning to analyze relevant data and determine the probability that a certain user will take a particular action, like viewing a video or making a purchase. A leading insurance company used Predictive Audiences to reduce their effective cost per acquisition by 82%.
Besides just building customer profiles, marketers also use AI to identify and automatically engage with potential leads. For example, Seamless uses AI to find and recommend ideal contacts and leads to B2B companies. Their 10-step AI engine researches and verifies emails and telephone numbers in real time, so sales reps don’t waste time engaging with old or outdated contacts. Objection.co, an online reputation tech platform, used to schedule 1-3 appointments each week, but after implementing Seamless, they were booking 50 appointments per week. They also saw a huge increase in engagement. “We have a 25% engagement rate, meaning that 25% of the leads we reached out to actually communicated back,” says Founder Curtis Boyd, and these higher-quality leads have led to huge revenue boosts.
Artificial intelligence is the future of marketing, and it offers numerous ways for businesses to improve efficiency and effectiveness. As consumer expectations continue to rise, it is imperative that marketers keep up with new technologies and trends so they can stay one step ahead of the competition. AI analyzes massive amounts of data and predicts trends accurately, helping marketers make better decisions and optimizations that lead to more conversions and ultimately increase the bottom line. By letting AI write content, communicate with customers, and automate repetitive workflows, marketers can better satisfy customer needs and save time for more important tasks.