Digital Marketing

What is AI Marketing?

by
Craig Wisneski
,
November 19, 2021

Have you ever wondered how Spotify and Amazon make personal recommendations that seem like magic? Or how big brands seem to send offers at just the right time?  

These companies are employing AI marketing technology. AI marketing is the practice of leveraging the power of artificial intelligence to grow revenue and market share.

Companies across a broad range of industries are using AI marketing to grow their businesses. Here are a few key points:

  • 80% of firms using AI for sales and marketing saw an increase in revenue in 2018
  • Companies say they cut an average of 20% of costs using automation
  • 61% of business executives with an innovation strategy say AI helps them identify otherwise missed opportunities in data

In short, AI is reaching ubiquity for businesses large and small. In this article, we'll explore what AI marketing is, its benefits, and how to get started with AI marketing.

What is AI Marketing?

AI can be used in a number of ways to market a company's products or services – to automate marketing activities, improve marketing insights, facilitate lead generation, and so on. AI is a type of technology that helps automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks, enabling companies to focus on more strategic and creative endeavors.

AI marketing automates the work that would otherwise need to be done by humans: it can perform tasks such as optimizing email campaigns, sending personalized sales materials, and even scoring leads to hone marketing efforts. By doing so, AI marketing enables companies to spend more time on strategic activities, such as product development or sales execution.

You can also predict customer behavior to create highly targeted marketing campaigns. This is known as behavior-based marketing, and it's an area that AI can excel at. By using historical purchase data, AI can send highly personalized email messages based on what customers have previously bought. In short, implementing AI tools lets you use customer data to improve the customer experience.

Big tech companies, like the FAANGs, have long employed AI to assist with digital marketing. Now, small businesses are jumping on the bandwagon, too. For example, Facebook uses recommendation engines to suggest new content users might like based on their previous activity; Amazon uses machine learning to understand what items customers are interested in purchasing; and Google uses AI to predict which search results users will click on most.

There are countless other use-cases for AI, from chatbots to intelligent mobile apps to e-commerce optimization. For each, the goal is the same: using new technology to enable modern marketing that addresses customer needs.

What are the benefits of using AI in marketing?

There are countless benefits of AI in marketing, but let's focus on five major ones:

  • Automation
  • Customization
  • Increased accuracy
  • Better decision-making
  • Higher ROI

Let's explore each of these in detail, starting with automation.

Automation

AI can help marketers save time and money by automating repetitive, time-consuming tasks. In many cases, AI is replacing humans as the go-to resource for a particular job or set of tasks: for example, customer support agents or sales personnel. AI can also be used to increase efficiency when a company has a lot of data to analyze: it can sift through this data at lightning speeds without any human intervention needed. 

AI also helps sales teams by intelligently filtering leads, prioritizing them based on their likelihood of closing, and then sending the most promising ones to the appropriate sales team members. AI can also use data from other sources, such as social media posts or NPS survey responses, to inform its lead scoring.

As a result, your marketing teams can focus on building meaningful customer relationships.

Automation also lowers barriers to entry for companies with limited marketing resources: if a company's business depends on word-of-mouth referrals from customers and distributors, AI can help amplify its brand by identifying influencers in social media or other online communities.

Customization

AI can also be used to customize marketing campaigns based on customer behavior and preferences, helping companies improve their customers' experience and build a strong brand identity. For instance, online retailers can use AI marketing tools to personalize email campaigns based on what customers have previously purchased from them. This improves engagement and leads to higher conversion rates.

AI can also be used to tailor a company's offerings to specific customer segments, such as new mothers or young professionals. This helps companies increase their market share by appealing to new groups of customers with specific needs. 

For instance, online retailers can use AI technology to predict which products emerging customer segments, like Gen Z, are more likely to buy. This helps a company build a stronger relationship with these customers and increase its market share.

Increased accuracy

Another advantage of AI in marketing is that it can reduce human error in decision-making. AI systems are usually much better at analyzing vast amounts of data than humans, and can make highly sensitive or complex decisions based on this analysis.

For example, an online retailer may use AI to build a lead scoring model that predicts which customers are most likely to convert into buyers. This model can be used to empower sales funnels with the best-scoring leads.

Better decision-making

AI can also make better decisions when it comes to choosing an appropriate marketing strategy or creating a campaign. For instance, AI can determine which social media platform to use based on the target audience: a retail company may choose LinkedIn for millennial men, Tik Tok for Gen Z, and Facebook for Gen X.

This helps the company reach its target audiences with optimized campaigns that resonate more with consumers, improving the customer journey.

Higher ROI

AI can also deliver higher ROI when it comes to marketing campaigns. For instance, if a company is trying to drive sales leads, an AI system can perform this task at a far lower cost than a human could: sophisticated algorithms can sift through large volumes of data to identify patterns and trends, which is much more efficient than hiring sales reps to cold-call potential customers.

This reduces costs while increasing effectiveness: AI can score leads at a cost that's far less than what it would cost a company to hire a team of sales reps. And if the company decides to employ an email marketing campaign based on these leads, another AI system can optimize the campaign for maximum lead conversion. In other words, AI can help a company optimize its marketing efforts, leading to higher sales conversion rates and increased revenue.

How can you apply AI marketing to your business?

With Akkio, you can gain these benefits without having to worry about the technical aspects of AI initiatives. Our platform automates AI marketing, allowing you to focus on running your business.

You can get started with a free trial today. Then, you'll want to connect your marketing data, whatever the source may be: Hubspot, Salesforce, or just a simple Excel sheet. Our AutoML will use neural architecture search (NAS) in the background to find the best possible AI model for your data.

Once you have an AI model, you can then start automating your sales funnel optimization, churn prediction, and even lead scoring. Let's look at the example of building a model for churn prediction. To do so, you'll need to connect your marketing data with your sales data. This can be done manually or through a third-party integration like Hubspot or Salesforce.

Akkio Flow Editor showing a connected churn dataset.

Next, you'll simply want to select the relevant column in the dataset, whether it’s attrition, churn, conversion, clicks, or some other KPI. In this case, we select the column named “Churn” and hit “Create Predictive Model.”

Akkio Flow Editor showing a churn prediction model that achieved 80% accuracy, with top fields such as tenure and monthly charges.

These models can then be used to make predictions for any given customer or segment of customers. This way, you'll be able to prioritize your efforts and allocate more resources where they're most effective. 

Additionally, since these models are based on historical data, they'll continue to improve over time as more data is incorporated into their learning algorithms. This means that your predictive models will get better over time, as long as you provide more data. This results in a positive feedback loop for your business, where you can continuously work to minimize churn, ever more effectively.

What are the challenges with using AI for marketing?

While AI marketing enables great benefits, it also has some challenges to overcome, including:

  • Bias
  • Maintaining privacy and ensuring informed consent
  • Ensuring quality training data
  • Set up costs

Let's get started with a look at unintended bias in machine learning.

Bias

When discussing bias in AI, it's important to distinguish between intended and unintended biases. Intended biases are a characteristic of a particular AI training data set: if a data scientist were to design an AI model with the intention of showing a certain result, such as financial patterns associated with fraud, that would be considered an intended bias.

On the other hand, unintended biases are when the model finds discriminatory or other unwanted patterns in the dataset and then reinforces those with its predictions.

While algorithms can be designed with the intention of eliminating bias, they're inherently flawed because humans are flawed. Therefore, even when an AI algorithm is designed with the best intentions, there's still a chance that it will exhibit bias. For this reason, many people have proposed solutions to avoid or eliminate unintended biases in artificial intelligence.

Using an easy-to-use and collaborative machine learning platform can help businesses avoid unintended biases in their AI algorithms.

Privacy and informed consent

Another challenge with AI in marketing is ensuring that data collected and used by an AI system is kept private and secure. There are a number of ways this can be achieved: using encryption, limiting access to the data, or hiring security specialists to oversee the handling of any data that's collected.

Companies also need to ensure that users understand how their data is being used and can provide informed consent before it's processed. This is known as “data-driven consent,” because users are involved in the process of using their data for AI, rather than being given an option to opt-out after their data has been processed.

Set up costs

Setting up an AI marketing system can be costly, especially if a business doesn't have the necessary expertise in developing such systems. 

Traditionally, CMOs would need to onboard technical data science teams or upskill their marketing analytics teams to learn big data and marketing AI skills, from natural language processing to predictive analytics and deep learning. This would be a time-consuming, expensive process

For this reason, many companies choose to work with a no-code machine learning platform like Akkio. This enables businesses to quickly and easily set up their AI campaigns without having to worry about the complicated backend of setting up an AI system.

Why should you use Akkio?

Akkio is an easy-to-use and collaborative platform that enables businesses to deploy AI models without writing any code. Akkio's cloud-based technology means there's no need for complex installation or maintenance, and users can focus on what they do best: running their business.

Akkio can be used for a number of powerful AI marketing features, such as:

  • Lead scoring
  • Churn prediction
  • Sales funnel optimization

Akkio provides affordable pricing so that teams of any size can join the future of marketing automation and optimize their metrics in real-time.

By using Akkio, businesses can quickly and easily integrate AI into their marketing processes. This enables them to focus on what they do best: generating revenue, creating customer value, or solving complicated business problems.

Just listen to some of our customers' stories. For instance, Aaron Doherty at MarketOne noted that “Akkio makes leveraging machine learning for marketing incredibly easy, and they go above and beyond to help you if you get stuck.”

Conclusion

In conclusion, AI marketing automates the work that would otherwise need to be done by humans. It can perform tasks such as optimizing email campaigns, sending personalized sales materials, and scoring leads to hone marketing efforts. In doing so, AI marketing enables companies to focus on more strategic and creative tasks, like product innovation and sales execution.

While AI marketing has some challenges to overcome, including unintended biases, maintaining privacy, and ensuring informed consent, it also provides several major advantages for businesses. In order to stay competitive, businesses need to innovate and embrace change. AI marketing is just one of the many innovations that are enabling companies to stay ahead in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Interested in learning more about using Akkio for your business? Sign up for a free trial today.

SIGN up

Grow Faster with No-Code ML

Now everyone can leverage the power of AI to grow their business.