Looking to the Future: Can Bots Take over a Marketer’s Job?
Are AI bots capable of human work? For instance, how about the use of artificial intelligence in marketing and other similar activities? Is it possible in the 21st century?
These are the questions AI experts have been asking themselves for over half a century, since 1950, when Alan Turing first pondered the ability of machines to think. That's how it all started, and today bots are well-trained to do human work. It's safe to say that artificial intelligence has had a huge impact on many industries in the last few years.
Nowaday's marketers know that innovative technology can help them discharge their duties much more efficiently, just by solving tasks faster and processing larger amounts of data. However, even the best AI marketing solutions aren’t enough yet, and a lot still has to be done manually.
Okay, let's do our utmost to honestly answer the question: can bots replace marketers?
What are AI bots and machine learning technology?
There are currently three main types of AI:
Artificial Narrow Knowledge (ANI), which is used to perform clearly defined tasks.
Artificial General Knowledge (AGI), it is used to work "on a human level."
Human-made superintelligence (ASI, superintelligence). By definition, ASI is smarter than a person and able to solve complex problems faster. Perhaps, marketing automation platforms created with the ASI help are likely to replace humans soon, what do you think?
AI is a system designed to collect and analyze large amounts of information, acquire new knowledge, and apply it in practice. In fact, these digital solutions are capable of fulfilling human intellectual and creative functions.
Before we discuss the AI b2b marketing (and not only b2b, all types of businesses can resort to the automation of marketing platforms), we suggest digging the issue even deeper.
Difference between AI and machine learning
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are often considered as interchangeable terms, but there are actually differences between the concepts.
Machine learning is a technology built like a neural network of a living organism. The unique advantage of such a neural network is its ability to learn from experience.
So we're talking about a special form of artificial intelligence allowing a machine to learn without the need for direct programming. It enables better AI development, including natural language processing and image recognition.
AI in our lives
AI bots and robotic technologies are no longer science fiction, these systems are already being taken advantage of in a wide variety of areas (and digital marketing automation is just one of them).
Here are the most well-known instances of applying AI:
AI-based voice assistants (Siri, Google Assistant, and others);
Detection of suspicious money transactions (PayPal is actively resorting to machine learning to reduce the number of fraud cases);
Google Translate, which is now capable of making more accurate and contextualized translations;
SoundSee sensor systems with the AI algorithm needed to predict machine faults and reduce maintenance costs.
These are all good examples of how AI is helping us in practice... but what about using artificial intelligence in content marketing? How can machine learning strategies be applied for the automation of marketing platforms? Let's consider the matter at length.
The Best Way to use AI in Digital Marketing
Recently, companies in various industries are increasingly recoursing to digital tools for AI-aided content creation, search engine optimization, email marketing, and so on. That is, AI-based bots can significantly facilitate and simplify the conduction of the content marketers’ basic functions.
As you can see, all of the activities listed above are somehow related to building a marketing automation strategy. Let's prove the point with statistics.
AI marketing statistics
The most common example of marketing automation solutions is virtual assistants (38% of executives use them in their work). Machine learning and predictive analytics technologies are being resorted to by 35% of respondents. 32% of experts take advantage of AI to ensure the best customer service.
These are interesting observations, right? Well, we've prepared another batch of the latest AI marketing statistics, take a look at the list below:
According to a report from Hubspot, which surveyed over 1,000 people, 63% of consumers are resorting to AI without realizing it;
As Deloitte claims, about 50% of companies are already using AI in digital marketing. And the percentage of these businesses is growing every year;
In marketers' thinking, the main criteria to evaluate AI performance are customer satisfaction (34%) and return on investment (33%);
In accordance with the McKinsey forecasts, the potential of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies in marketing and sales is about $1.4-2.6 trillion;
80% of surveyed experts believe that artificial intelligence will benefit the marketing industry.
We think that's enough for now, and it's time to move from statistical data to practical tips and discuss the possibilities of AI for digital marketing.
You cannot create a winning marketing strategy if the design of your web resource is poor. Fortunately, AI helps in building effective websites able to attract and retain the maximum number of customers. Another advantage of using AI technologies is the chance to speed up the development process.
A striking example is an artificial intelligence named Molly, which is being used by The Grid platform and can replace a whole team of UI/UX specialists. In other words, Molly significantly saves the company's finances since its cost is only $100 per year (for one site).
Working with The Grid is simple: upload your content (text, images, calls to action) and get a finished website.
AI content creation
AI is really good for creating content. Today marketers no longer need to surf the Internet for hours to find the information they need. They can delegate this work to an AI bot. All they have to do is describe their target audience in as much detail as possible. Then the AI program selects the most burning topics to interest these users and helps to compose a readable text. Also, the bot is able to analyze several content instances and choose the best one.
Examples of AI content creation
The Associated Press and even famous Forbes often create in-demand news content with AI tools like Quill and Wordsmith. These companies take advantage of ready-made templates and just add relevant data and main keywords. The resulting text is usually written competently and in almost "human" language.
If marketers and copywrites want to edit AI-generated content, they’re welcome to turn to the Hemingway App, which makes it clearer and easier to understand.
Baseball News, written by Artificial Intelligence (The Associated Press)
Of course, AI-created text won't win you the Pulitzer Prize, but that's not your goal, is it? Your goal is to engage your target audience and get it to take a key action (say, make a purchase from an online store).
Other examples of bots helping with AI-aided content creation include Frase.io, Cortex, Grammarly, Automated, and Insights Scoop.it.
Let’s say the content has been created; now it's time to optimize it. An AI bot is quite capable of helping a marketer to cope with this task in a better way: it’ll pick suitable keywords, calculate the most popular website pages, draw up an effective content marketing strategy, etc.
Example of AI content optimization
Legendary canned soup brand Campbell's made resort to AI-powered content optimization to speed up the loading process on its website. To be precise, the company managed to compress over 75 thousand images in a single day, thanks to which the resource got to the top of search results.
What tools should you use to improve your content? We offer several options including BrightEdge, MarketMuse, HubSpot, Crayon, Cobomba, Acrolinx.
Targeting the audience is crucial to the success of any online service. And proper targeting is impossible without user personalization.
How does personalization work?
It all starts with collecting data on website visitor behavior: the system analyzes what the user likes, what he bought earlier, which web pages he visited (and how often), etc. After that, the deep learning stage begins, and the AI marketing bot builds various sorts of data relationships and determines the patterns of possible customer actions in offline and online modes. As a result, the marketer gets an answer to the question: how to provide a certain client with the most personalized offer (which he won't be able to resist)?
Examples of personalization through AI marketing solutions
The famous US supermarket chain Kroger tracks customers' purchases and sends them personalized discount coupons by email. Thanks to this, the coupon profitability reaches 70%, although the market average index is only 3.7%.
Another example is the streaming service Spotify, whose users are often surprised that the platform manages to correctly guess their music preferences and selects the perfect recommendations. The secret lies in the multi-level metric Spotify takes advantage of to analyze the listener’s tastes.
Examples of bots to help you personalize your web content include PathFactory and Conversica. Although, in fact, there are many other similar marketing automation services, and new ones appear every year.
Marketer's activities also imply online communication with users, preferably in a non-stop mode. And chatbots are an ideal AI digital marketing solution for such cases.
Chatbots increase customer engagement by answering their questions 24/7 and communicating with several people at the same time. And on top of that, these programs are able to determine behavioral patterns and predict the difficulties certain clients may face when interacting with the resource.
By the by, chatbots aren’t limited to simple conversations with consumers. A good example is the Kik chatbot of the perfume and cosmetics company Sephora, which invites the site visitor to answer mini-quiz questions (regarding makeup preferences):
And Sephora is just one of many similar instances; various AI marketing companies are actively using chatbots to provide clients with 24/7 support; actually, these programs have become a must-have condition needed to ensure a flourishing online business today.
Advertising is inevitable, and businesses cannot do without it. Ads are still one of the most popular tools for promoting a company and its products or services. And AI-powered systems would help advertisers try out a greater number of ad platforms and optimize targeting.
Examples of creating AI-based ads
Albert, a famous AI marketing platform, provides a special media shopping service with minimal human involvement. AI bot independently analyzes paid advertising campaigns, manages them, and supervises the entire process from start to finish.
Harley-Davidson NYC recently started using Albert in its advertising campaigns, and the results surprised the owners of the company: Albert helped the brand increase motorcycle sales by 40% and attracted 566% more visitors to the site.
Another popular AI-powered PPC tool is Frank. It is based on machine learning and aims at finding the best-priced channels to serve ads to target your specific audience.
AI curation of email content
Email newsletters belong to essential key content marketing activities either. The work is quite laborious and time-consuming... Luckily, Artificial Intelligence allows you to simplify the whole process. It itself sends out emails to clients, and these emails are characterized by deep personal content.
In-depth personalization of emails is achieved due to the fact that AI bots are able to analyze in detail the topics of interest to each user.
30% of businesses want to implement AI to optimize email marketing. The goal is to determine the best time to send messages based on the history of consumer behavior.
Tracking user mood
Even the largest teams are unable to sift through everything customers say on blogs and social networks, it's not humanly possible. However, AI marketing solutions aren’t humans, are they? So they can be used to quickly analyze the mood of the target audience and get customers' opinions on the brand.
It remains to talk about marketing automation for lead generation. In other words, artificial intelligence helps marketers improve their sales.
AI-aided CRM systems automatically determine the likelihood of a conversion and suggest which type of service or product the customer is more likely to buy. Therefore, the actions of sales managers become really effective.
Conversica has created an AI bot called Angie to work with CenturyLink, a major telecommunications provider. The brand needed some help in identifying the targeted leads generated every day across multiple platforms.
Angie sends messages to new leads to determine if they are ready to speak with a sales representative. Moreover, AI understands 99% of user responses, which allows customers to communicate with the brand in the most convenient way.
Now you understand the interconnection between AI and content marketing, but another question arises: are there any challenges in implementing your very first marketing automation program? The answer is yes…
Challenges of AI content marketing implementation
The introduction of artificial intelligence technologies is a serious step that requires companies to rethink their marketing strategy. That’s why many businesses resist change to the last.
Businessmen and marketers consider the following as the main problems of AI implementation:
65% of business representatives admit that they don't know where to start implementing AI marketing solutions;
at least 65% of respondents consider artificial intelligence systems and machine learning technologies not flexible enough to be integrated into business processes (at least, smoothly);
about 63% of respondents are afraid to fail to find a suitable service to implement AI in digital marketing;
64% of businessmen don’t believe AI bots can really help marketers in their work;
66% of business owners cite a lack of technical skills among employees as the main barrier to AI adoption.
And yet, all the concerns described above shouldn't stop you from using AI for marketing and product innovation purposes. Artificial intelligence systems will help marketers optimize workflow and increase company revenues. Therefore, it's necessary to adapt to modern technologies and learn to introduce new developments.
Let's talk in detail?
AI marketing as a business improvement tool
According to a recent study, business representatives believe that the main benefits of using AI are optimizing business processes (58%), increasing productivity (41%), bettering the quality of services (33%), and improving customer interaction (32%).
Let's list the main benefits of applying web marketing automation services and AI bots:
Profit growth. According to a Forrester study of more than 700 American CEOs, driving earnings growth has been the main reason why executives decide to invest in AI technology.
The reason for the growth in profits is better customer retention, which is due to the ability to provide a highly personalized service to each client. In addition, AI bots allow experts to more accurately target the audience of their marketing messages.
Maximum customer retention. We've already mentioned customer retention, but it would be right to highlight this advantage as a separate item on our list. The fact is that it costs a business 5 times more to attract new customers than to retain old ones. Still further, the probability of selling a product to an existing client reaches 60-70% (compare it with 5-20% if we’re dealing with new customers).
Business process automation. Now bots are able to perform routine work, whether it is developing marketing automation strategy, manually entering data into complex tables, creating detailed analytical charts, and so on. As a result, the company's marketers can focus on more creative tasks.
A striking example is the Dian Xiaomi bot, which successfully processes 90% of user requests and serves up to 3.5 million people a day. The service is able to read the emotions of customers and determine which request should be considered first. Such an approach helps marketers save time and effort.
Communication with clients. This is quite an obvious advantage, but we'll repeat it anyway: thanks to artificial intelligence technologies, marketers find it easier to communicate with their target audience and sell the company’s products to consumers.
By the way, some world-class banks have begun to use AI-based voice analytics: the system determines which emotions certain words pronounced by the operators evoke in the client, and suggests the correct vocabulary in each particular case.
Improving competitiveness. Many businessmen are using AI technology to become more competitive in the market. At least 40% of business representatives surveyed have already run basic AI marketing platforms, and 37% are considering the idea to do the same. It's high time to join the number of leaders.
Working insights. As human beings, marketers cannot always understand and analyze Big Data. Happily, the AI bot is able to cope with such a task with a bang. The system collects and processes information in real-time, which leads to the best insights.
Meeting growing consumer expectations. By constantly analyzing user behavior, the machine learning tool will tell you what each customer hopes to get when interacting with your business platform. And, of course, marketers will know in time if user expectations change.
Top marketing automation platforms
At the beginning of the article, we’ve described several examples of AI usage in the modern world (PayPal payment solutions, SoundSee sensor systems, etc.), and now it's time to discuss a few cases of digital marketing automation applied by the market leaders.
So, the best marketing automation platforms include…
Google. Of course, Google could not ignore artificial intelligence technology. What's more, Google spends tens of billions of dollars annually on AI development. The company's achievements include voice assistant and computer vision systems, which are recognized as one of the best solutions on the market. Additionally, Google Analytics is AI-powered and divides audiences into areas, demographic and psychographic data, and the like.
Facebook. Owners of a popular social network have a dedicated Facebook AI Research Lab (FAIR) that specializes in AI. And since Facebook's source of revenue is advertising, FAIR's primary focus is improving this important monetization channel. For example, Facebook allows users to easily hide ad content they're not interested in (also, they can specify the reason for their dislike). In addition, Facebook uses AI marketing solutions to identify websites with bad content. Links to such resources aren't displayed in users' news feeds.
Amazon is implementing AI solutions into all of its products. The company has its own Amazon AI Labs, which deals with AI developments, including computer vision technologies, predictive analytics, and personalization. The success in artificial intelligence has allowed Amazon to supplement its marketplace with an effective recommendation system. According to McKinsey, more than 35% of sales on Amazon come from this very source.
Macy’s, one of the largest retail chains in the US, has developed a personalized virtual advisor to help customers. The service tracks the purchase history of each user and makes him personalized offers.
Netflix. The renowned online video service is actively using AI for digital marketing purposes. The goal is to have a tool capable of showing users personalized trailers of movies and TV shows based on their preferences. And viewers are very satisfied as Netflix's recommendations are just perfect.
YouTube acts similarly to Netflix and offers personalized recommendations to users (by resorting to new AI algorithms).
Pandora, the radio app, also resorts to machine learning techniques to suggest new songs to listeners (those they might like).
Millesima, a popular wine trading company, has implemented an effective recommendation service. In addition to the purchase history, the system analyzes the user's location, season, and so on. As a result, Millesima is able to offer the customer a wine of his preference.
The future of Artificial Intelligence
There is one more difficult issue left to discuss, namely: can AI bots and marketing automation services take the job of marketers?
Opinions differ on this point.
As Matthew Sweezy, a marketing insight expert at Salesforce, thinks, by 2025, 95% of all interactions between a consumer and a brand will have become AI-driven. Ineffective ads, irrelevant mailings, and poorly personalized content will be a thing of the past. And some professions may be eliminated due to the introduction of artificial intelligence too: research analysts, market research assistants, statisticians, data scientists, and even market analysts will no longer be needed.
When job cuts start is still in question. Of course, some tasks can be assigned to a robot or an AI digital marketing algorithm even today. However, creative advertising campaigns and the generation of innovative ideas is still the privilege of the human marketer.
How should you resist the ‘attack’ of AI technologies?
The main thing is to understand the basic principles of machine learning algorithms and master digital tools in order to introduce AI into business processes. It's important to become involved in the AI development and data analytics processes. If you act in the described way, you won't be left without work; your responsibilities will include professional control over AI mechanisms.
Of course, AI content marketing automation is our future, but without a human approach, many campaigns will fail anyway. Keep it in mind and try to stick to the golden mean.