Want to start a juicy debate?
Drop the word ‘Artificial Intelligence’ in a room filled with marketers and watch the stage come alive!
Things can get very heated…
But, all jokes aside, love it or hate it, there’s no denying that Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been game-changing for many marketers worldwide.
Its flamboyant burst into the marketing world is hard to ignore, with varying forms of AI cropping up all around like chatbots, automatically generated content and much more.
These advancements have served to boost our marketing efforts, making them more value-adding to both our customers and businesses.
However, despite the optimism shared by many, admittedly there are some drawbacks to using AI in marketing which can’t be ignored.
So, to give you the entire scoop, in this post we’ll cover the good, the bad, and the painfully ugly side to using AI in marketing. Let’s go!
All Hail Content at Scale
A great thing about using AI in marketing is that you can harness the power of algorithms and data to help you create engaging content at scale.
More specifically, using AI in your marketing plans can help you:
– Gain insights into the content preferences of an audience
– Predict with more accuracy which topics will resonate with readers
– Generate content automatically
This puts an end to the guesswork often associated with creating marketing content and puts you in a stronger position to consistently produce content that resonates with your audience.
This ingenious technology also has the added benefit of releasing you and your team from needing to constantly churn out content to satiate the needs of your audience.
Being able to rely on AI to assist you in making memorable and helpful materials can make content creation overwhelm a thing of the past.
In short, using AI in marketing places you firmly in the driver’s seat of your marketing strategy’s execution so you can confidently your CRUSH marketing objectives.
Sounds good, right?
But you’re probably wondering what your customers aka ‘bearers of the purse strings’ will get out of it.
Great question! Which leads me on to my next point…
Supercharge the Customer Experience
Want to know another awesome thing about using AI in marketing?
Ok, I’ll oblige.
Meeting customers at their point of need becomes effortless when you use AI to optimise your customer experience.
What’s more, AI technology such as chatbots can handle an array of marketing tasks that’ll help to guide your prospect through the buyers’ journey. And, they can even personalise their interactions to encourage more engagement.
So, whether it’s answering a question about your product, sending over additional resources, scheduling a consultation, or even completing a purchase – AI has got it covered.
And, its all done automatically!
In other words, utilising AI in your marketing activities can help your business stand out as a customer service champion.
Which as you know folks, is a great badge of honour to have. It could have the knock-on effect of enabling you to forge deeper connections, build a stronger brand presence, get more sales, and secure referrals from satisfied customers.
(Want to see a great example of chatbots in action? Check out Hubspot’s homepage.)
These are phenomenal benefits as they’ll allow you to scale your marketing efforts without needing to expand your team or exert additional effort. Which brings me onto my next idea…
(Hyper)Personalise for the Prize
The thing about us humans is that we like to be appreciated and remembered.
It doesn’t matter whether we’ve just completed a grueling marathon, crushed a sales pitch, or purchased a piece of software – we want some acknowledgment.
These desires present a difficult situation for businesses, who in order to provide a memorable and personalised service to their clients and prospects must battle to quickly recall information like:
– Personal details
– Stage in the buyer’s journey
– Preferences in product
– Previous orders
– Desired method(s) of communication
Basically, personalisation matters.
But, given the competitive environment, simple personalisation like remembering the prospect’s first name won’t cut it either. In fact, a study conducted by Pure 360 Research found that only 8% of people surveyed would be willing to interact with a brand on the basis that they used their first name.
Ok, so it’s clear brands must do better. But how?
Hyper-personalisation may not be a problem when you only have a handful of prospects and customers at any given time. However, when you must execute this at scale, things can get a little…tricky.
But there is a hero to in this story.
Step in AI.
AI can save the day by allowing you to deliver super personalised marketing communications.
The data of your customers to predict what they need to know now and what information they will require in the future.
This is then provided through channels such as emails, web pages, and texts.
So, if you run a SaaS business, this could look like an AI engine sending a customer a renewal email with suggestions of an upgrade in line with their past actions and purchases.
(Keen to know more? Click here to find out more about AI-backed Hyper-personalisation).
It’s a ground-breaking way to serve customers and in turn, grow your business.
Which leads me on to my next thought…
ATTENTION: An AI Fuelled Sales Explosion Has Been Reported!
As you’ve probably experienced for yourself, making sense of data and spotting trends in things like customer activity and engagement is no easy feat.
It leaves quite a lot of room for error and can take a long time to complete. However, using AI in marketing makes these once laborious tasks a breeze!
This is because once AI systems have been given access to your customer and website data, they can use predictive analytics to uncover opportunities to cross-sell and upsell your products.
From there, you could even program your AI machine to promote their findings to your customers via your marketing channels without any further interference from you.
In other words, using AI in marketing will allow you to accurately offer solutions in line with your clients’ individual current needs which in turn could supercharge your sales.
When implemented correctly, this approach can be game-changing for your business.
Bots are great, but they still aren’t us
Although AI has come a long way since its inception, even its biggest advocates must admit that it isn’t without its drawbacks.
It’s no news that bots are incredibly intelligent. But when it comes down to it, they still aren’t human.
As a result, they can struggle to understand things like situational context, colloquialisms, and complex questions which form a critical component of the interactions had with prospects and customers.
This can be frustrating for users and could even cause them to form a negative opinion about your business. Which is understandable when you consider the customer’s perspective.
After all, when you have a jam-packed schedule and need some help, the last thing you want is to have to spend 20 minutes battling with a bot to try to get them to understand what you need – to no avail.
So, it remains, that human intervention is still needed in some instances such as:
– Escalating serious customer support issues
– Creating complex content with in-depth explanations
And, until a real-life iRobot is created, it looks this issue is here to stay.
Sorry, AI who?
Oftentimes, perception can be more powerful than reality.
So, it should come as no surprise that people opinions of AI can be a significant drawback in being used in any marketing activities.
Staff may be reluctant to adopt such technology for reasons like a fear of being replaced, lack of understanding as what AI technology can do, and even resistance to change can cause issues.
This problem xacerbated by the recent reports of AI slowly taking over an array of marketing roles. Such as an AI bot made dubbed ‘Pesado’ can write better ads than humans.
Whilst the tester JP Morgan Chase has stated that they have no plans to change their current structure, the fact that they have signed a five year deal with the bot’s owners is bound to make some people in the marketing industry nervous.
Then there is the issue of management buy-in or I should say a lack of. When the resistance against the use of AI in marketing comes from the decision-maker level can be especially troublesome.
This is because management buy-in is essential to complete acceptance and adoption in marketing efforts throughout the company.
So, to overcome this hurdle you’ll have to invest a significant amount of effort into showing management how using AI in marketing will help to move the metrics they are interested in. More on that here.
Whilst this drawback may have a solution. Others will be more hardpressed to find one like the next issue…
Hey human! Wanna chat? No.
Consider this. You’re a people person and value conversation. It could be a quick exchange of pleasantries at the grocery store kiosk or planning your next project with your colleagues.
Even the quick chat with the customer service agent, Sam working in the marketing automation company you just called has a positive impact on your day.
In short, you value the human connection.
So, quite naturally you see talking with bots as being quite impersonal.
This an unavoidable drawback to using AI in marketing.
No matter how much bots are made to talk and act like humans, when it comes down to it – they aren’t us! And never will be.
Consequently, some people may not be receptive to talking to or reading what a piece of tech has to say. Even if it is trying to help.
Sadly, there is little that can be done to change this.
So, if you face this deadlock in your company when you trial AI in your marketing it can be incredibly frustrating and disheartening.
But perhaps not quite as disappointing as the next point….
ALERT! SYSTEM FAILURE
As the popular saying goes ‘Nobody’s perfect’.
Well, the same can be said about AI. Unfortunately, the reality is that bots can mess up too.
Whilst some errors can be minor and even comedic, there have been instances where bots stepped out of line.
And, it’s these types of situations to hold the potential to make your business look disorganised and unprofessional which in turn could cost your valuable time and sales.
Worse, they may even result in you to having to have very awkward conversations with your disgruntled customers which could negatively impact your brand’s reputation.
This in action could look like a bot:
– Misreading a customer’s address and ordering an incorrect product
– Scheduling the wrong consultation time slot
– Repeatedly failing to understand a busy customer’s query
The hardest part to swallow concerning this disadvantage is that there is little that can be done about this.
Whilst technology will undoubtedly continue to improve there is always the risk that things could go wrong when you use Ai in marketing.
Glitches, system failures, and complete shutdowns are part and parcel of using any technology – not just AI. And these aren’t going away any time soon.
And so, you’ve heard both sides to the story.
The good news is that AI in your arsenal of marketing tools can be very profitable as the leverage created is unrivaled.
And the bad news? Well, it can be tricky to implement and keep on track due to factors ranging from internal politics, resistance to change, and technological errors.
So, it can be concluded that using AI in marketing can be a blessing and a curse.
The great thing is you get to decide.
Despite AI’s flaws, I’m still a fan. Are you?
Let’s talk about it in the comments!