Want to start a juicy debate?
Drop the word ‘Artificial Intelligence’ in a room filled with marketers and watch it come alive with heated discussions!
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. So much so, Forbes found that in the business world, AI and Machine Learning have been utilized the most by sales and marketing teams.
AI’s flamboyant burst on to the marketing world is hard to ignore, with varying forms of it cropping up all around like chatbots and automatically generated content. In fact, research conducted by Accenture uncovered that as much as 53% of businesses interviewed believed that AI like chatbots are causing disruption in their industry.
These advancements have boosted the marketing efforts of its users, whilst adding value to customers in the form of faster and more personalized customer service.
However, despite the optimistic outlook on Ai’s place in marketing being shared by many, admittedly there are some drawbacks to it.
So, to give you the entire scoop, in this post we’ll cover the good, the bad, and the painfully ugly sides to using AI in marketing.
I hope you’re ready. Let’s go!
All Hail Content at Scale
A great benefit of AI in Marketing is that it enables businesses like yours to harness the power of their data to create engaging content at scale.
More specifically, using AI in your marketing efforts can help you:
– Gain insights into the content preferences of an audience
– Predict with more accuracy the topics that will resonate with your audience
– Generate content automatically
This helps to put an end to the guesswork often associated with creating marketing content, putting you in a stronger position to consistently produce content your audience wants.
Whatsmore, this ingenious technology has the added benefit of releasing your marketing team from having to constantly churn out content by hand to satiate the needs of your readers.
Looking good already right?
The inquisitive folks amongst us are probably thinking that whilst valuable content is great, what else can customers aka ‘guardians of the purse strings’ look forward to?
Which leads me to my next point…
Supercharge the Customer Experience
Want to know another awesome thing about using AI in marketing?
Your marketing doesn’t always have to be sales-y. In fact, it pays to take a subtler approach to promote your services by offering a helping hand throughout your customer experience.
And, this is were using AI in marketing can help your company really stand out.
AI can enable your brand to be the proverbial knight in shining armor to your prospects and customers by meeting them at their point of need and wow-ing them with an attentive, personalized service that answers their queries and offers solutions to their problems.
This enables customer service and marketing to perfectly intersect to provide a phenomenal customer experience.
When implemented correctly, this could have positive knock-on effects such as enabling you to:-
- Forge deeper connections with your clients
- build a stronger brand presence
- Increase conversions et more sales
- Boost customer loyalty and secure referrals
For example, AI technology such as chatbots can handle an array of marketing tasks that’ll help to guide your prospect through the buyers’ journey such as answering a question about your product and making product recommendations based on the query entered and past conversations. They can even be programmed to personalize their interactions to encourage more engagement.
This benefit hasn’t gone unnoticed in the business world. In fact, Gartner estimated that as much as 85% of all customer service will be handle chatbots by 2020.
So, whether it’s sending over additional resources on a product, scheduling a consultation, or even completing a purchase – AI technology like chatbots have got it covered.
And, it’s all done automatically!
(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)Personalize for the Prize
If there’s one thing we humans like, it’s being appreciated.
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.
So, when you’re marketing your business personalization is critical.
Yet, these desires present a difficult situation for businesses, who in order to provide a memorable and personalized 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
Combine this with the intense battle to be noticed that most businesses face, and it becomes clear that basic personalization like remembering the prospect’s first name won’t cut it.
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.
Brands clearly must do better. But how?
There’s just one problem… Executing hyper-personalization at scale can be tricky.
But AI can step and save the day by allowing you to deliver super personalized marketing communications to large amounts of people simultaneously.
For instance, the data of your customers can be used to predict what they need to know now and what information they will require in the future. This can 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 upgrade suggestions in line with their past actions and purchases. This not only increases the relevancy of the suggestions to your customer but can also skyrocket the chances of conversions which will spell good news for your bottom line!
(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 grow your business.
Which leads me to my next thought…
ATTENTION: An AI Fuelled Sales Explosion Has Been Reported!
As you’ve probably experienced yourself, making sense of data and spotting trends in things like customer engagement is no easy feat.
When done manually, it leaves quite a lot of room for error and can take a long time to complete.
However, using AI in marketing makes this once laborious tasks a breeze!
AI can be set up to analyze your customer and website data, then 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.
The opportunities are endless…
Bots are great, but they still aren’t us
Although AI has come a long way since its inception, even its biggest advocates can admit that it isn’t without its drawbacks.
Whilst bots are incredibly intelligent, 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 all are critical components of the interactions had by humans.
Transplant this issue into the business world and you’ll find that this can be frustrating for users and could even cause them to form a negative opinion about your business.
After all, no one wants to spend 20 minutes of their precious time battling a bot to explain what they need. Combine this with the fact that only 27% of issues are resolved in their entirety using chatbots and its clear there’s still a lot of work to be done.
And so to keep the peace, human intervention is still needed in instances such as:
– Escalating serious customer support issues
– Creating complex content with in-depth explanations
So, using AI in marketing may not be as hands-off as some may expect.
Sorry, AI who?
Oftentimes, perception is more powerful than reality.
So, it should come as no surprise that people’s opinions of AI can be a significant drawback in being used in any marketing activities.
It is very possible that your colleagues or even investors may be reluctant to adopt AI or reasons like a fear of being replaced, lack of understanding as to what AI can do, and even resistance to change can cause issues.
This problem exacerbated by recent reports of AI slowly taking over an array of marketing roles, such as an AI bot dubbed ‘Pesado’ that can apparently write better ads than humans.
Whilst its tester JP Morgan Chase has stated that they have no plans to change their current employment structure, the fact that they have signed a five year deal with the bot’s creators could be a cause for concern and is bound to make some people in the marketing industry nervous.
Then there is the issue of management buy-in or should I say – lack of.
Doubts can be especially troublesome when coming from upper management decision-makers whose buy-in is needed to sign off and adoption of new tech. In fact, 31 % of professionals surveyed by Harvard Business Review cited a lack of understanding of AI by managers as a major roadblock to its implementation.
So, to overcome this hurdle you’ll have to invest a significant amount of effort into putting together cold, hard facts on how using AI in marketing will help to move the metrics your company’s key decision-makers are interested in.
Whilst this drawback may have a solution. You’ll be more hardpressed to find one for 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 had a positive impact on your day.
In short, you value human communication.
So, quite naturally you see talking with bots as being quite impersonal.
And unfortunately, 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. And these people won’t be the first cast a disapproving on a perky bot. Research conducted by PwC found that people are increasingly seeking a more human experience in their interactions with businesses. And to make things worse, customers are willing to walk away from companies if their customer experience leaves much to be desired.
So, this deadlock can be incredibly frustrating and disheartening for both you and your customers.
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. The reality is that bots can mess up too.
Whilst some errors can be minor and even comedic, there have been instances where bots have stepped out of line.
And, it’s these types of situations to hold the potential to make your business look disorganized and unprofessional which in turn could cost you valuable time and sales.
Worse, they may even result in you having to have some very awkward conversations with your disgruntled customers which could negatively impact your brand’s reputation.
For instance, in action, this 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
But perhaps, the hardest part to swallow is that there is little that can be done about this.
Whilst technology will 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 all sides to the AI story.
The good news is that adding AI in your arsenal of marketing tools can create unrivaled leverage which can be very profitable. You can also use it to supercharge your customer experience and drive results for your company by using bots to act as your customer success champions, marketing assistants, and sales advisors.
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.
Putting it simply, AI in marketing can be a blessing and a curse.
The great thing is you get to decide.
So what do you think of AI?
Let’s talk about it in the comments!