Human nature may never change, but marketers can’t rely on old techniques to appeal to evolving audiences. Companies must blend new technologies with marketing savvy to keep up with the times — and no technology will play a greater role in marketing’s future than artificial intelligence.
As businesses scramble to source better data and extract more meaningful insights, marketers must translate those findings into campaigns and conversions. To do so effectively, marketers need advanced tools of their own. No one can effectively segment data or personalize communications in 2019 without a little help.
Smarter tools make life easier for marketers while delivering better results, but companies can’t buy martech solutions off the shelf and expect to see gains right away. To make the most of AI tools, businesses should make a few practical preparations:
Marketers shouldn’t make technical decisions alone. IT departments must implement marketing tools correctly to provide the greatest benefits, which means marketers and IT leaders need to learn how to communicate with each other.
Involve IT staff in conversations about potential adoptions to avoid major headaches caused by marketing-only decisions. Two tools that look similar from a marketer’s perspective may look like polar opposites to someone with more technical responsibilities. When IT teams get a seat at the table, they can shed light on potential advantages and problems marketers may not see on their own.
Most AI tools bring new speed to existing processes that have lots of data and repetitive work. Data segmentation, image classification, and resource optimization all fall under this banner. Marketing departments with humans performing intense manual tasks — like those involving long lists of prospects in Excel spreadsheets — should prepare employees to spend less time in the weeds and more time using the data they previously had to babysit.
Other tools, such as chatbots, can manage top-of-funnel conversations without human intervention. These bots depend on data pulled and interpreted by other AI tools, which means marketers must know how to navigate the seams between different tools to make the most of smarter technologies.
When chatbots and data tools take over the most time-consuming tasks, marketers will find themselves with more free time than ever before. To make better use of that time, marketers should not only think about the tasks they no longer own, but also the work they never had time to pursue in the past.
A new gated Gartner report, covered by Susie Blaszkiewicz of GetApp, signals that marketers should foster creativity, customer insight, and collaboration in the post-AI world. “There needs to be an especially strong relationship between sales and marketing managers to ensure that marketing materials, especially those created for sales enablement, are useful for sales teams,” she says.
Machines will not learn to mimic real humanity for several decades to come. Marketers must manage their own relationships, both internally and with customers. Using AI tools will supplement — not replace — their own skills and experiences.
Just because tools have become smarter doesn’t mean they’ve become infallible. Even artificial intelligence can make mistakes. Marketers who rely on new technologies in unfamiliar uses can pay heavy costs when those tools don’t work as expected. To avoid the worst pitfalls, review good examples at other businesses.
“Always look for companies actually using AI,” says Mike Kaput, senior consultant at PR 20/20 and contributor at Marketing AI Institute. “There’s a lot of talk about what’s possible — and it’s not always backed up by fact.”
Before you trust smart tools with vital business processes, test their efficacy in controlled environments. After initial testing and implementation, continue to spot-check the results of AI-powered marketing wisdom to confirm the legitimacy of the insights you use. New integrations and expectations could throw older AI tools for a loop, even with regular updates.
Martech’s future is connected irrevocably to the future of AI. Buyer expectations have grown too high for companies to go back to tools that can’t adapt on the fly. To make the most of these technologies, marketers should consider how their roles will evolve — and regularly test their robotic partners for accuracy and relevance.
The modern marketer needs all the right tools to succeed but also has to know how to use them to their full potential. Take marketing automation for example. Are you doing all you can with it? Find out by reading “Go Further with Marketing Automation.”