Last Updated on March 31, 2021 by Henry John
Marketing they say is the process of getting people interested in what you have to offer (product or service). It’s that simple (a no-brainer).
Across history, marketing has been revolutionized over and over, and it’s really no surprise (people change).
With more advanced technology coming into play decade after decade, determining how people relate with the world around them (their behaviours, what they like and dislike), the process of marketing keeps getting complicated (or rather advanced).
Fortunately, for smart marketers, the same technological advancements that changes people’s behavior can also be leveraged for better marketing.
When radios came into play, people’s behavior changed. There was that instant shift, but smart marketers adapted and leverage radios to strengthen their marketing.
The same with the television and the internet.
Today, there is a new king in town, artificial intelligence, and it’s already having the same impact as TVs, radios and the internet.
But, there is something different this time, it’s no longer business as usual with artificial intelligence.
What we saw with the radio, television and internet was what I would call ‘a platform change’.
It was more about ‘the where’ with radios, TVs and the internet; where people spend their time.
Radio marketing, TV marketing, and internet marketing are all digital marketing that are differentiated by their respectful platform.
You do radio marketing on radio, TV on TV, internet on the internet, even print on print; but that’s not the case with Artificial Intelligence.
AI marketing is more about the ‘how’. How marketing is done giving little to the ‘where’ (the platform).
AI = Game Changer.
What is Artificial Intelligence (AI) Marketing?
Artificial intelligence marketing is the process of getting people interested in your product or service using/leveraging artificial intelligence technologies/tools.
It is the automation of modern marketing processes in one sense.
Modern marketing has been characterized by social media marketing, internet ads, SEOs and their likes.
Artificial intelligence marketing is really all about making all these existing marketing practices more effective, efficient and faster.
In today’s world, there are so many consumer data flying around and what AI does chiefly, is to make sense of these consumer data and make smart marketing decisions autonomously.
AI is no new to consumers.
According to Pega, 77% of consumers are already using AI platforms in 2019. Not only are there a lot of consumer data around for marketers to leverage, most consumers are already using AI platforms (having AI in their lives).
Oracle found out that 78% of brands have already or are planning to implement AI in 2020.
It’s coming together, isn’t it?
The point is, AI marketing is not a new thing waiting to penetrate the market. It is already in the market, businesses are already implementing it, while other business are still sleeping.
AI marketing is the future of marketing. And it’s not just the future of marketing, it’s marketing today.
Maybe to some, it have not gained mainstream attention but the reality is, it’s here.
Artificial intelligence marketing is AI running online ad campaigns, communicating with customer as bots, and generating leads for businesses.
Why AI matters? Importance of AI Marketing
Technologically, the direction AIs domination of going into the future is upward and forward.
Personally, I spend more time on my phone than I spend on any other device everyday. 70 – 90% of the time is spend on my phone all I do is consume contents (videos, audio or written content).
Most of the contents I consume (if not all) are directly or indirectly recommend to me by an AI system. Google Search, Google Discover and YouTube are all powered by AI.
And as such, there is no hiding that AI has a great influence on my everyday life. I’m used to AI recommending things for me, I trust its recommendations to a great extent.
But am not alone. Most people with smart phones are seeing AI in their everyday use of their phones. Whether they are gaming, Facebooking, Googling, TikToking, Twitting, Instagraming, Snapchating, YouTubing, Gmailling, or any thing ‘ing’ with their phones.
We have arrived in an age where AI systems are influencing people everyday, and the number is growing.
AI has and is proving to be a force of influence in today’s world. It has been deployed heavily to influence political elections as exposed by the Cambridge Analytical Scandal.
Marketing on one hand is all about influence; influencing people to pay for products and services.
And AI on the another hand is one of the most (if not the most) effective tool of influence in today’s world.
As such, AI marketing is a no brainer.
For the bookman, here are some importance of AI marketing:
Importance of Artificial Intelligence
- It is very effective: This is probably down to the fact that AI marketing is build on the back of real consumer data. One of the things that makes AI standout in marketing, is, it leveraging and making sense of the vast amount of important consumer data available in this era of big data. No more random ads, ads are shown to people who are most likely to buy your product or pay for your service. They are shown to people who have demonstrated interest in the product or other closely related products.
- It makes marketing super-easy: Plug and play marketing, that’s the promise of AI marketing. Everybody can be an expert marketer because AI in marketing works because most AI marketing efforts work autonomously. All you need is to click the install button and bingo! You have an AI chatbot running on your website, generating leads over and over.
AI marketing makes every marketer look good and that reminds me of a story. In my teen, I was trying to ‘win over’ a lady on Facebook, she was a chemistry nerd and wanting to make her feel like we have a lot in common, I claimed to be a chemistry nerd (I was actually the opposite then) too.
At one point she began asking chemistry related questions and all I did was ask ‘Google’ and Google gave the answers very fast and in turn, I gave whatever I find on google to the lady (cabbage in cabbage out).
And she was amazed by how deeply rooted I was in Chemistry as a subject, and she began to trip.
The rest as they say is history.
The story still makes me laugh, I was much a chemistry nerd for a moment, thanks to Google.
AI marketing is really no different from ‘asking Google’.
There is no need to go through consumers’ data and have sleepless nights, when AI systems can do the hard work better and hand you over the result.
- It is cost effective: Looking from the ouside, one would have thought that AI marketing is expensive. But, that is really not the case. AI marketing saves businesses money, by cutting down their marketing budget significantly.
AI marketing is so cheap, like crazy cheap. And it’s one of the reason why smart marketers should immediately jump into ‘AI for Marketing’ bandwagon.
Compare the cost of AI marketing tools to hiring full-time marketers and you will understand why AI marketing is so cheap.
The reality is that AI marketing is going to reduce the need for much manpower in the marketing department.
A marketing team of 10 can be slashed down to 2 or with AI augmenting them.
2 – 3 marketers plus AI will deliver better marketing results as a team than 10 – 20 marketers without AI; in today’s world, no doubt.
- It is easily scalable: You don’t have to worry about growth and the need to scale up marketing efforts with AI marketing.
Everything just works automatically and autonomously, maintaining the same degree of effectiveness at scale.
Much of this is really because AI systems can cover more marketing grounds faster. Scaling from 100 to 1,000,000 with AI happens in a flash.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) Advertising
Artificial intelligence (AI) advertising is the use or deployment of AI tools/technologies in the process of creating and delivering persuasive messages that cause someone to take a desired action.
One important thing to note, is that, in the same way we have different levels of self-driving cars, there are different levels of AI advertising.
The levels of AI advertising is really dependent on the degree of AI’s involvement in the advertising process.
Traditionally, running ad campaigns involve audience research and analysis, ads creation, and deploying ads based on budgets to an audience.
This process of online advertisement is painstaking and requires a lot of experience and expertise to get campaigns right (to create successful campaigns consistently).
AI advertising today (maybe revolutionized in the future) is not about replacing humans completely in the advertising process, it’s about augmenting humans, aiding them to be better.
Break advertising into different stages (Audience research/analysis, ad creation or ads buying) and you will find an AI tool that could be used to make smarter decisions or choices in each stage.
- Audience Research/Analysis: With so many data on consumers available in today’s world, audience research and analysis becomes majorly a thing of mining (collecting) and making sense of these data in order to establish target audiences.
The process of ‘making sense of these data’ traditionally, is a pain in the a**, even for experienced data scientists.
These are the stages where AI (machine learning algorithms) come into play. Machine learning algorithms are currently being deployed by top ad platforms (Facebook, Google and their likes) in order to collect (mine), and analyse these data for advertisement purposes.
This is one of the reasons why Facebook ads are incredibly attractive (beyond the fact that they are cheap, for now).
- Ads Creation: This is all about creating a compelling message that can be presented in plain text, graphically or as a video content.
And ad creation in a sense is really no big deal.
Everybody can create an ad, but, not everybody can create an ‘effective ad’.
Creating an effective ad consistently is no beginners’ feat. It requires a great deal of experience (trials and errors) and insight in order to create a compelling message that will resonate with a targeted audience.
Gaining such valuable experience from a human perspective takes months (sometimes years) of trials and errors but not for AI systems.
AI systems can learn very fast, and gain sufficient experience to create compelling ads.
A popular case study is the use of IBM’s Watson (an AI system) to script an ad for the Lexus ES.
Watson ‘identified elements common to award worthy commercials that were both emotionally intelligent and entertaining, according to IBM.
There are so many other AI tools that follows similar principles and are used to create compelling ads, some are video editors such as Magisto and smart cameras such as Adobe Photoshop.
- Audience Targeting: This is closely tied to audience research/analysis. Where audience research/analysis is on the planning stage of advertising, audience targeting is at the execution stage.
Audience targeting is a way marketers get their ads to reach their desired consumers with a great deal of accuracy, based on the consumers online and offline activities.
Think of audience targeting as a system for getting your ads to reach the kind of people you want your ads to reach.
Usually, after researching and analyzing an audience, an advertiser says ‘this is the kind of people I want to reach out to’.
Audience targeting is ensuring that the advertiser’s ads gets to his desired (targeted) audience.
This is a feat that for long could not be achieved with a high degree of accuracy, until AI roll in.
AI systems are able to ensure that only your targeted audience gets your ads.
If I run an ad on Facebook targeting only India males aged 21 – 30, that live in Delhi and are interested in Machine Learning. My ads will certainly (99.9%) get to only India males aged 21 – 30, that live in Delhi and are interested in Machine Learning.
That’s the power of AI in audience targeting and thus increases to a great extent, the likelihood that my ads will perform better than usual.
- Ads Performance and Spend Optimization: On the 8th November, Facebook introduced campaign budget optimization (CBO). This is a feature that helps to automatically redistribute ad budget to the best performing audience.
That’s a practical example of Ad spend optimization; an effort to ensure you get the best results for your cents.
AI systems are capable of carrying out such feat as they have shown in their use for Facebook CBO.
The other part of the equation, ad performance, is in a reasonable way tied to spend optimization.
Ad performance is really about how well your ads achieved its desired result based on your budget.
AI systems are begin deployed to ensure that ads get to their targeted audience, and increase ad performance by experimenting on audience segments, identifying the best performing audience and hola! It automatically redistribute the ads to that audience.
AIs are really game changers in ensuring that ads perform at the utmost best and that ad budgets are well spent.
A study conducted by Xueming et al, suggest that “undisclosed chatbots are as effective as proficient workers and four times more effective than inexperienced workers in engendering customer purchases”.
Now, that’s a game changer happening in the world of direct online marketing.
Direct marketing is a business effort to get a potential customer interested in their product or service through direct means without using any form of middleman (such as advertising media).
An example of direct marketing can be mail, email, phone call, or in person pitch. Direct marketing is a highly effective form of marketing when executed properly, but the problem traditionally seems to reside in its scalability.
You’d need 10 persons or 10 different communications in order to market to 10 customers.
Imagine a business whose potential customer runs in the 10s of thousands, or 100s of thousands or even millions: You will be needing a lot of direct marketers.
Online direct marketing happen in the form of direct communication with potential customers through private online messaging platform (Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp), emails, and the revolutionary chatbots among others.
Chatbots are where AI is influencing direct marketing the most. Think of Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant and you have a example of what an AI chatbot can be.
AI chatbots can carry out communications via auditory or textual means, they are being deployed in marketing/sales by smart business on their websites and off their site, like being used by business in Facebook Messenger.
AI-based chatbots can generate leads and make sales by communicating with a customer directly, they are becoming more effective at that come each morning.
Most businesses deploys AI chatbots for customer service purpose, and interestingly, great customer service is a great marketing strategy.
Examples of Business that uses/used AI Chatbots:
Yes, that Starbucks, the multibillion dollar coffee company. Starbucks up-ed their marketing efforts to another level in 2017, when they unveiled a chatbot that takes orders via messaging or voice.
The chatbot was introduced as feature in its mobile app (My Starbuck Barista). And they didn’t stop there, they went on to integrate the feature with Google Assistant and Alexa, two of the most popular Virtual Assistants developed by Google and Amazon respectively.
Facebook unveiled ‘chatbot extensions’ in its developers’ conference, F8, in 2017. And smart business like Spotify took advantage of it.
Facebook’s ‘chatbot extensions let bots provide interactions, social features that users can invoke into their conversations’.
Spotify launched a Facebook Messenger chatbot that allows customers discover and share music recommendations based on mood, activity or genres. Spotify are not the only ‘smart’ business taking advantage of the Facebook chatbot extensions anyways.
Fandango’s messenger bots allows its customers to watch movie trailers, find local theatres, and see what’s trending. And Lyft also enables users to request for rides via Facebook messenger chat. MasterCard, Staples, Pizza Hut and the Wall Street Journal are also deploying Facebook chatbot as part of their marketing strategy.
They are also leveraging the Facebook chatbot extension, albeit, in a way worthy of elaboration.
National Geographic as of the time of writing this article has over 46 million likes on Facebook (46,110,933 likes to be precise) and over 45 million followers; that’s a lot of likes and followers.
And National Geographic are not shy of using chatbots as a marketing strategy to leverage their huge Facebook audience.
In 2017, National Geographic leveraged ‘Einstein Messenger Chatbot’ in order to promote the launch of its original series ‘Genius’.
Facebook messenger users were given the chance to chat with ‘Einstein’, while the boot attempts to educate users about physics, it also ‘educate’ them on the release of the original series ‘Genius’.
That’s what I would love to call ‘Genius Marketing’. In 2018, they also tried similar marketing strategy when they wanted to promote their 2019 Almanac.
They created a daily trivia chatbot that’s powered by contents from the Almanac, with the obvious (not so obvious) goal of promoting and selling the book to their fanbase on Facebook.
An AI recommendation system is a system that predicts users’ preference of a given item(s) over others, using diverse machine learning algorithms.
AI-powered recommendation systems is at the heart of major tech companies that operate online businesses and offer online products.
Netflix, Google, Amazon, Apple, Tesla and Alibaba all rely on recommender systems for building a major product or service.
This system is at the core of their marketing strategy.
Take Amazon for instance, they use recommendation systems to recommend products to their users in a personalized manner.
YouTube itself is a video recommendation system powered by AI and Facebook uses recommendation systems to get users engaged as long as possible.
I go to YouTube almost every day, love the platform generally, and this is really not because I saw a great ad urging me to return every day. I think personally, it’s down to their amazing recommendation system.
Anytime I go to YouTube, I know there is some personalized video waiting for me to consume. I am compelled to watch some ads at times; some I skip after a few seconds and others are short and am compelled to watch it to the end.
By going to YouTube and watching videos there everyday, YouTube are making money off my activities on daily basis. And the only visible marketing they did that’s making me come back was just their recommendation system.
That’s how powerful recommendation systems can be.
Here are two major ways recommendations systems are used in marketing:
This are mostly adopted by ecommerce sites, where physical products are recommended to users based on different metrics that suggests user will be interested in the product.
Product recommendation is really not new in marketing, it has existed long before the internet. Years back when I was a salesperson for a local boutique.
I remember that when a customer buys some clothes, I do tell the customer something like ‘these shoes will match those clothes, you know’ and that’s product recommendation 101.
In most cases, after further persuasive talks, the customer ends up buying the clothes and the recommended shoes. You can call that ‘sales’, but ‘sales’ and ‘marketing’ are intertwined, though, there is a distinct difference between the two.
AI product recommendation can be seen applied on Amazon.com and BestBuy.
Instead of recommending products, contents are being recommended; that’s content recommendation. They involve the algorithmic recommendation of video, textual, or graphical contents.
Examples of online content recommendation systems are YouTube, Google Discover and even Spotify. Content recommendation systems can be applied to up content marketing strategies and efforts.
Advantages of Recommendation Systems in Marketing
Improved customer engagement and satisfaction: Recommendation Systems gets customers engaged with a business’s product or service, by offering a personalized experience to users. In turn, well engaged users ends up satisfied.
This is true either for product or content recommendation systems.
- Leads to More Conversions: More engaged and satisfied users (customers) leads to more conversion for businesses. And that’s a no brainer.
- Increases the rate of Returning Customers: These things works hand in hand. When customers make purchases as a result of high engagement and satisfaction, they are most likely to return to make other purchases in the future. And that’s one of the reason why people keep coming back to buy from Amazon and renew their subscription on Netflix and Spotify.
- Increases Cart Value: Maybe the customer came around to buy clothes, but as a result of an AI-powered recommendation system, they end up buying the clothes + shoes. Boom! Increase in cart value ($$$).
- The System gets better: As old wines get better with age, so does AI recommendation systems. The more user activity goes on, the more recommendation systems get better. And the ‘circle of better’ continues; better recommendation systems, better engaged and satisfied customers, better conversions for businesses, better (increased) cart value and better (more) returning customers/users.
Artificial intelligence marketing is just getting started and so is this article. Expect more updates to the article as there will be more advancement in Artificial intelligence marketing.
I’d be looking forward to touching on AI email marketing, how AI is affecting SEO and VSO, and Social media marketing.
For now, browse around, subscribe to stay tuned and leave a comment down below if you have any question, contribution or observation.