A term that often takes on a negative connotation is quickly becoming marketers’ greatest competitive advantage. We’re talking, of course, about artificial intelligence (AI). Now...before getting carried away with thoughts of world destruction, let’s take a step back to get an understanding of what AI is, how it’s currently impacting marketing communications and processes, and how it will continue to do so into the future.
What is Artificial Intelligence?
Artificial Intelligence is defined as “the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.”
In comparison to the computers we use everyday, which are programmed with algorithms and a set of instructions telling the machine what to do, AI is initially programmed by humans, but sets its own algorithms and creates its own instructions over time based on the intelligence it gathers through various forms of recognition and communication.
But what makes AI so special, differentiating it from human intelligence? The difference is most apparent when dealing with large amounts of data.
Human Brains vs. Artificial Intelligence
Imagine that your industrial company created a white paper intended to reach three different target personas. The piece blows past its conversion goals, collecting more than 1,000 conversions and downloads resulting in hundreds of new contacts in just a few weeks. Some of these contacts originated from your email campaign promoting the piece, others from your social media campaign, etc.
Could you imagine looking at this data and trying to create personalized emails and web experiences for these these individuals?
Simply put, the human brain was not meant to solve these types of complex data-driven challenges. We weren’t meant to sort through large amounts of data to find meaningful insights. That’s exactly where AI becomes our greatest ally.
Artificial Intelligence is Already Around Us, Everyday
Roughly, 63% of people don’t realize they’re already using AI. A few common examples are opening your phone or paying through apps using facial recognition, smart replies on Gmail and LinkedIn, Google Search, recommendations on Netflix and Amazon, recommended articles to read on websites, and many more.
AI is using information about us to make day-to-day activities easier, and since our lives are already so closely tied to AI, it should also be used as an asset to us as marketers.
The 5 Ps of Artificial Intelligence
So, how will AI affect our marketing efforts now and in the future? The 5 Ps of Artificial Intelligence can help us out:
1. Planning: Predicting buyer behaviors, defining strategies, and prioritizing activities
2. Production: Creating, curating and optimizing content (e.g., blog posts, landing pages, emails and ads)
3. Personalization: Personalizing buyer experiences through intelligently automated emails, content and product recommendations and web experiences, as well as sending emails to your contacts when they are most likely to open and engage with them
4. Promotion: Managing cross-channel and cross-device promotions to drive engagement and actions
5. Performance: Turning data into intelligence through automated narratives and insights (e.g., HubSpot sales Pro lead score)
These insights and actions on behalf of AI will create a major competitive advantage for marketers, as you will be able to focus much more time and energy on tasks that require personal connection and human experience rather than crunching data. While AI probably won’t be creating riveting white papers or eBooks any time soon, it will create actionable insights based on the data it analyzes and help marketers understand the prospects they are targeting.
The Future of Artificial Intelligence and Marketing
You’re probably wondering, “How can marketers start implementing AI?” “What are the best AI-assisted marketing platforms/tools?” Going back to HubSpot, the marketing and sales software company is not hiding its intentions to make AI a priority, as they acquired Kemvi and Motion.ai in 2017.
Kemvi is AI that has algorithms to extract important information from text like a human does, and can also shed light on prospect behavior by taking key insights from content all over the internet. Motion.ai, on the other hand, has chatbots that enable businesses to have one-on-one conversations with prospects and customers at scale with HubSpot Conversations. These two assets should make HubSpot a leader in AI for companies across the globe, and more importantly, make marketers’ jobs a heck of a lot easier.
Other HubSpot AI-powered tools include content strategy, which uses machine learning to help you find out which themes search engines associate with your content, and predictive lead scoring to help sales teams prioritize leads.
HubSpot certainly isn’t the only marketing and sales platform diving into AI, it’s branding itself as a leader with tools to make your company more efficient and more profitable.
How to Implement AI
Now that we’ve achieved an understanding of AI and its capabilities, it’s important to look at how it can help your marketing and sales efforts in 2018 and beyond. Whether it’s simply using AI to sort through data or engaging with prospects via chat, defining these areas of need will be key in using this powerful tool to help you reach your business goals.