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Is AI Marketing Worth the Hype?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has penetrated nearly every industry, and marketing is no exception. But is AI in marketing worth the hype, or is it just another overblown buzzword?
AI technology is in high demand within the world of marketing because it can help streamline processes, personalize content for customers, and extract pertinent information from customer data sources.

It’s apparent that incorporating AI in marketing may offer a lot of perks, but understanding these tools’ abilities and boundaries should always remain top priority. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the pros and cons of AI in marketing and provide tips for effectively implementing AI into your marketing strategy.

The Benefits of AI in Marketing

The advantages of AI in marketing are noteworthy and include improved efficiency, greater personalization capabilities, and enhanced decision making.

Increased Efficiency

According to Forbes, “AI and Machine Learning are on track to generate between $1.4 Trillion to $2.6 Trillion in value by solving Marketing and Sales problems over the next three years, according to the McKinsey Global Institute.” Through automating processes such as data analysis, campaign development, and certain content creation tasks, marketers get back more time to focus on things requiring human discernment—like strategy implementation—which leads to increased performance of the business’s marketing activities overall.

The time saved with AI content creation tools like Iterable’s AI-powered Copy Assist, gives you alternative copy suggestions for everything from subject lines to SMS copy based on your initial prompt, allowing you to innovate quickly and focus on strategizing the lifecycle journey instead of spending excess time on smaller tasks.

Enhanced Personalization

Customer data is extremely valuable for brands because it can be used to create personalized content and offer recommendations that meet individual requirements. This, in turn, leads to higher engagement levels which help improve marketing performance over time. As McKinsey points out, “Over three-quarters of consumers (76 percent) said that receiving personalized communications was a key factor in prompting their consideration of a brand, and 78 percent said such content made them more likely to repurchase.”

Personalization comes from insights, but data analysis can be time consuming. Products like Iterable’s Brand Affinity use AI to enhance personalization and expedite customer data analysis. Brand Affinity tells you where your brand currently stands with each customer and helps identify the most appropriate journey for a customer based on their sentiment towards your brand..

Improved Decision Making

AI marketing tools provide accurate data analysis and aid marketers in making sound decisions regarding their strategies. Using historical customer data, AI takes the “guess” out of guesswork and makes it easy for your team to make decisions that have impact.

There are AI marketing tools that help with even the seemingly mundane decisions, like when to send a message. With Iterable’s Send Time Optimization (STO), for example, marketers can send messages to their customers at the time of day that is most likely to garner engagement from each of them—individually. Without such a tool, marketers could be sending messages at times that receive no engagement. AI allows every decision in the marketing workflow to be optimized for best results.

The Challenges of AI in Marketing

When considering AI for marketing, it is important to also recognize any associated issues and potential risks that come with its implementation. Marketers should aim to maintain data protection and safety, avoid algorithmic favoritism, and find a balance between automation and human creativity.

Data Privacy and Security

When utilizing AI in marketing, companies must ensure the protection of customer data and compliance with relevant regulations to uphold consumer trust. To safeguard information, organizations should implement measures such as encryption technology, access controls, and regular audits.

Regulations—like GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act), for example—need to be observed when using AI in marketing too.

Algorithmic Biases

Navigating the intricacies of algorithmic biases in AI is crucial for both ethical and business reasons. These biases, often reflecting existing societal prejudices, manifest in various forms—be it racial and gender biases in facial recognition, or discriminatory practices in healthcare resource allocation.

CEOs and upper management need to adopt a multi-disciplinary approach, focusing not just on the technical aspects but also on organizational responsibility, to effectively mitigate these biases. After all, a biased AI system could lead to poor business decisions and reputation damage, aside from perpetuating societal inequities.

Balancing Automation and Human Creativity

While AI excels in data analysis, pattern recognition, and even automating rote tasks, it falls short in understanding nuanced human emotions, crafting compelling narratives, and making ethical judgments. These are realms where human creativity is irreplaceable.

Striking a harmonious balance between the computational power of AI and the creative insights of human marketers ensures not only optimal returns on investment but also a marketing strategy that resonates on a deeply human level with your target audience.

Tips for Successfully Implementing AI in Marketing

For a successful implementation of AI in marketing, brands need to start small and slowly scale up while balancing technology with human input for best results. Investing in training and education can guarantee that your organization achieves their desired objectives when incorporating AI into their strategies.

Start Small and Scale Up

Businesses can benefit from starting with small AI projects to gain an understanding of the potential and pitfalls associated with its applications. Assess different solutions that align best with your needs and identify reputable vendors who specialize in AI marketing efforts.

For example, start by integrating AI into one facet of your operations—say, channel optimization. To begin, use AI to understand through which channel your messaging will resonate most effectively. Starting small enables you to tailor your efforts, learn how adding AI can change your strategy, and help determine where human involvement is essential.

Balance AI With Human Input

Brands that seamlessly weave AI automation and human creativity together can craft strategies tailor-made for their specific objectives. The automation provided by AI serves as a powerful accelerator, allowing for quick data analysis, customer segmentation, and even content creation. However, it’s human expertise that adds the essential layers of nuance, emotional intelligence, creativity, and ethical considerations. These human elements ensure that marketing campaigns are not only ethical and efficient but also deeply resonate with consumers on an emotional level.

As I shared in my Activate Summit presentation, “AI technology can complement and enhance the work of marketers, but it cannot replace them entirely.” In essence, the ultimate goal should be to create a symbiotic relationship between AI and human input.

Invest in Training and Education

Training and education related to AI in marketing is important for harnessing the technology’s capabilities. The Marketing AI Institute, for example, provides employees with resources so that their teams can use AI technology correctly, allowing them to stay competitive. By investing in training opportunities, brands will experience improved output from their marketers as well as enhanced customer satisfaction levels. Leveraging advanced AI within marketing environments helps ensure continual success overall.

It is Worth the Hype

AI in marketing is clearly worth the attention it receives as it can be used to streamline operations and boost personalization and decisions. According to I Mean Marketing, “Marketing teams with high performance are averaging seven different uses of AI and machine learning today and 52% are planning to increase their adoption this year.”

It’s important for brands to consider all potential facets of deploying this technology—like data security measures, protecting against algorithmic prejudices, and balancing automation with human creativity. There’s a learning curve as we all become more familiar with the available technologies, but there’s no better time to start learning than right now.

To learn more about Iterable’s AI capabilities, check out our AI Hub and schedule a demo today.

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