Getting Started with AI in Marketing

AI Marketing in Action: Best Practices for Getting Started with AI

After being heralded as “the next big thing” for years, AI has arrived, bringing with it the power to add game-changing leverage, focus and control to your marketing efforts. Of course, as with any new technology, the move to AI entails a learning curve, and its perception as a “black box” has left many unsure how to begin applying AI to their marketing strategies.

For those ready to embrace this truly transformational approach, AI puts the tools in marketers’ hands to harness a complete and constantly updating customer profile to engage with customers with incredible precision, relevance, effectiveness and speed. At the same time, it helps marketers be more efficient, productive and effective by simplifying, automating, and accelerating marketing workflows. In previous posts we explored how AI helps determine the right marketing actions for each individual customer at every step by continuously optimizing:

  • WHO are the right customers to target at any moment by using Predictive Audiences to determine customers who are ready to purchase, at risk of churning, ripe for upsell and more.
  • WHAT content will most likely influence each customer by using Predictive Recommendations to surface the most relevant offers, products or articles for each individual customer based on what they seek at that moment.
  • WHEN each customer will be most responsive by using Predictive Engage Time to optimize send times for when each customer is most likely to actually engage with your brand, not simply open a message.
  • WHERE is the channel they’ll be most receptive by using Predictive Channel-of-Choice  to adapt which channel to deliver the message based on their preferred channel in the current context.

And the numbers don’t lie; as our recent benchmark study found, compared with traditional marketing efforts AI-powered campaigns:

  • Drive up to 7X greater customer engagement and 3X revenue
  • Deliver 2X greater impact on engagement for mobile push compared to email
  • Achieve 50% lift as AI continues to accelerate engagement and impact and learning from customer interactions

 

PUTTING AI INTO ACTION: CONSIDERATIONS FOR SUCCESS

So how do we put AI into action? Like any successful initiative, getting results with AI begins with being clear about what you aim to accomplish and making sure you have the right people, processes, platform and implementation plan in place. Accept that there will be a learning curve, and begin by laying the foundation before you begin to scale.

 

  1. Be Clear About Your Desired Outcomes

It seems obvious in hindsight, but to succeed you need to be clear about what “success” actually means. AI doesn’t determine your strategy for you, but it can applied to any variety of marketing strategies. The end goal will determine how to incorporate AI across marketing activities, and which of the many metrics it delivers you’ll optimize to meet your desired outcome.

 

  1. Assess How AI Will Integrate With Existing Technologies and Workflows

AI can only accelerate your marketing efforts when it fits seamlessly into your existing technologies and processes. Look for AI partners that tightly integrate into your tech stack and ecosystem. Then, ensure AI is core of your efforts, not simply added at the margins. Many marketers treat AI as an “add-on” to their existing workflow, but that’s a recipe for mediocre ROI.

AI also needs to integrate into existing workflows. Begin by determining how AI will fit into your business processes, and identify the organizational gaps that must be addressed.

 

  1. Approach AI as a Cross-Channel Strategy

AI isn’t limited to a single channel or platform. Because AI connects data across channels, it allows you to turn your focus to delivering a holistic and highly focused cross-channel customer experience. Use AI as an opportunity to unify your cross-channel strategies and multiply their impact.

 

  1. Ensure AI and People Are a Partnership

AI’s purpose is to accelerate and amplify marketing activities. To do that, AI requires human guidance to make the right decisions; people bring context and that essential human touch. Outline the interplay required between your team members and AI, detailing the direction and input they’ll need to provide, and you’ll be on a much stronger footing to make the most of this transformational tool.

 

  1. Understand AI Is a Process

Every new tool and approach has a learning curve, and AI is a long-term play in which you must first crawl, then walk, before you are ready to run. If you begin with initially applying AI to a single, more basic marketing program and then ramp up gradually, you’ll have a solid groundwork to build upon. Because of AI’s self-learning, continuously improving capabilities, the sooner you start, the quicker you’ll reap the benefits of AI.   

 

  1. Think Big: AI Can Help Achieve Transformational Impact

AI enables you to orchestrate customer experiences with nuance and scale not possible with existing tools. While AI has the potential to truly revolutionize your marketing, it demands that you scale your imagination and your ambition accordingly. It’s an invitation to think outside of the bounds of your comfort zone, and to search out partners that can scale with your needs and help guide your own AI evolution.

 

THE TAKEAWAY

AI-powered marketing is the only way today’s marketers can effectively engage their large, diverse, and rapidly evolving customer bases. And now is the time to embrace it, as AI will quickly move from being a competitive advantage to being an essential, table-stakes tool. While the process of fully integrating AI into your strategy and workflow can seem daunting, the longer you put off AI, the longer it will take you to catch up with your competitors adopting AI today.

And know that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for AI. Start small with a single-use case, and then scale up. You’ll quickly see that AI will not only cut down your manual tasks, infuse customer insights across your marketing activities and help you launch faster, but it will free you up to get back to the heart of marketing: Employing your creativity and your strategic intuition to craft next-level customer experiences.

For the full set of findings as well as real examples of marketers who have used AI to drive revenue by making better, faster decisions around the “Who, What, When & Where” of cross-channel marketing, download The ROI of AI in Marketing: 4 Levers for Cross-Channel Success.

 


Download ROI of AI Marketing: 4 Levers for Cross-Channel Success


 

ROI of AI Marketing - Artificial Intelligence helps marketers know the right channel and the right time to send messages to each individual

AI Marketing in Action: Delivering Perfectly Timed Content on the Right Channel Improves Engagement 4X

Consumer attention is getting scarcer. We are all increasingly connected across multiple devices on which we are bombarded with near-constant messages, notifications and ads. In this hyper-saturated environment, how do you stand out in customers’ inboxes and across channels?

While you invest significant resources to create rich content and experiences tailored to specific customers, if your message is delivered at the wrong moment or context, it’s a wasted opportunity. And in today’s lightning-fast marketplace, opportunities are the last thing you can afford to waste. Timing and channel can’t be an afterthought.

But as engagement and sales are no longer limited by time of day or to any one device or channel, how can marketers determine the optimal time and channel on which to engage each customer as they switch fluidly between a growing number of devices and channels throughout the day?

Optimizing send times has long been standard practice for marketers. Traditional send time optimization requires manually analyzing historic trends and running A/B test campaigns at various times of day to determine optimal send times. But there are problems with this approach. For one, it treats your customer base as a uniform group and neglects the dynamics of today’s always-on, mobile, multi-device consumer. More importantly, it focuses on optimizing for opens, rather than downstream actions that drive revenue, such as website engagement and conversions.

If you’re not learning from customers’ behavior patterns as they use different devices, apps, and channels for different purposes at different times of the day, you’re taking a guess as to how to best engage with them. Can you afford to do that?

Fortunately, AI is here to help.

AI empowers marketers with incredible leverage, helping them better engage customers across every channel. By generating insights from every aspect of customers’ behavior and previous engagement with the brand, it makes precise recommendations as to how to engage with them depending upon your desired outcome.

It optimizes WHO marketers should be targeting, selects WHAT content they engage with, WHEN to engage with them and WHERE is the best channel. This “AI Marketing in Action” series explores AI’s impact on these 4 Levers of cross-channel marketing and quantifies its impact on each lever. Our findings are based on a recent benchmark study that analyzed 3.8B marketing interactions from campaigns across various channels and verticals.

In our last posts, we explored how AI helps you determine WHO are the right customers to target and WHAT is the best content to bring customers at any moment for each of your customer strategies. Now, we’ll explore how AI helps determine WHEN and WHERE customers see that content.



AI-POWERED PREDICTIVE ENGAGE TIME AND PREDICTIVE CHANNEL-OF-CHOICE

Predictive Engage Time and Predictive Channel-of-Choice work in close partnership to ensure that your messages get noticed and acted upon.

Today’s perpetually connected customers are much more likely to have many frequent bursts of activity around the clock than a recurring habit of opening their emails at certain times of day or clicking onto sites or apps at specific hours. Unlike traditional Send Time Optimization, Predictive Engage Time Optimization uses AI to examines campaign clicks, website browsing behavior, total engagement time, engagement depth and transactions to determine windows of time in which each user is most likely to engage. From analyzing the full downstream activities, AI identifies and optimizes send times to when each customer is most likely to engage with your brand, not simply open a message.

Predictive Channel-of-Choice steps in to determine the best channel to engage your customers. It similarly uses AI to learn on which channel each individual customer is most likely to engage at a given moment by performing an ongoing, deep analysis of customer engagement and transaction behaviors. As campaigns run, it automatically adapts the channel on which each customer receives your message accordingly.

SHOW ME THE FACTS

Of course, these optimizations aren’t of much use if they don’t provide real-world ROI. Our recent benchmark study found that Predictive Engage Time drives 3X engagement over email and nearly 5X over mobile push. Why the significant lift? Because research shows users prefer to engage deeply at certain hours of the day, while casually browsing throughout others. Adapting individual send times to when users are most likely to engage in downstream activity pays off in real-world results.

Beyond that, combining Predictive Audiences with Predictive Engage Time drives up to 3.8X over email and 7.2 over mobile push.

 

THE BOTTOM LINE

With Predictive Engage Time and Predictive Channel-of-Choice, marketers can ensure that their messages capture customers’ attention without their constant monitoring. Their messages are continuously optimized to reach each individual customer at the moment and channel where they are most likely to take action. And that translates directly into engagemnt and revenue.

 

For the full set of findings, as well as real examples of marketers who have used AI to drive revenue by making better, quicker decisions about the “Who, What, When & Where” of cross-channel marketing, download The ROI of AI in Marketing: 4 Levers for Cross-Channel Success.

 


Download ROI of AI Marketing: 4 Levers for Cross-Channel Success