“Technology is a great slave, but a poor master”
The above line is a common phrase in any discussion involving AI. It doesn’t seem that the discussion is one to be resolved anytime soon. With the concept of self learning technologies taking precedence in a digital driven world, AI finds special usage in Marketing Automation.
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing refers to the process of promotion of a particular enterprise’s products through research, analysis and interpretation of consumer data. In short, it is the art of convincing a consumer to buy something they do not need. Historically, marketing has become synonymous with advertising and product endorsements.
(Speaking of Marketing, check out Marketing Analytics)
Automation refers to the process of using machine systems and computer programs to aid when repetitive actions have to take place. Automation was first used in replacing factory workers with more efficient machines. In the modern parlance, automation refers to the same but has also been expanded to include programming driven initiatives and replacement of human labour with code.
Marketing automation refers to the use of software in the marketing industry to better appeal to customers. Marketing automation finds special significance in repetitive tasks such as cold emails, creation of flyers and establishing a personal connection with the buyer. The words marketing and automation should first be understood individually before understanding what marketing automation is.
Requirements for usage of AI
Before understanding how AI is employed in marketing, it is important to figure out how to use AI and what an enterprise would require before it can implement such features in a profitable manner. The defining requirements are as follows:
Data: The first and foremost requirement of any technology driven enterprise is data. One of the most significant aspects of leveraging AI in Marketing is the analysis of petabytes of data to make inferences on consumer behavior and gauge demographic reactions to products and their presentation.
Companies use various methods to collect consumer data and in the modern, social media-savvy world, it is available in troves. A common example would be Subway’s survey offer. Subway offers patrons a free cookie with their next purchase if they fill out a form. Only with the collection of Data can the art of AI work its magic.
(Read more on Data Analysis)
Auxiliary supporting systems: An enterprise driven by AI requires various supporting systems in place for best possible utilization of technology. Proper technological teams along with qualified AI analysts must be employed to ensure that the system works properly.
Additionally, AI systems can only provide suggestions and take action in repetitive areas. The primary controlling forces still must come from capable human leadership. Without a human to understand and utilize AI systems, they are but a car without a steering wheel.
Methods of Marketing Automation using AI
As part of marketing campaigns, companies find various uses for AI in every stage of marketing. From brand proportions through offline methods to social media marketing, AI can help in every step of the way. Here are some types of marketing and how AI can apply to them:
Historically, outbound marketing refers to the process of simply exposing the larger demographic to a company’s products. Companies employ outbound marketing when they want to expand their consumer base and it typically involves the use of cold Calling, email blasts and print ads.
(Speaking of Outbound Marketing, check out Inbound vs Outbound Marketing)
AI can help provide personalised messages through consumer analysis which aid in consumer base expansion. Moreover, print ads posted that take into cognizance information on the target audience using AI technologies stand a much better chance of acquiring new consumers.
For example, if a company wishes to post a print ad in Bangalore, they stand a better chance of acquiring new consumers if their ad targets the citizens of Bangalore through something they relate to such as traffic. AIis vital in this step as it aids in consumer analysis and market research.
The modern consumer lives not at a physical address but on the internet. With E-commerce paving the way forward for a tectonic shift in business, digital marketing becomes all the more vital.
Digital marketing includes concepts such as Search Engine Marketing and Social media marketing which see the consumer as an online entity and focus on consumer attention.
Catching the eye of a consumer has never been more important, and AI can help with that. AI systems can predict the keywords consumers most likely associated with an enterprise or commodity and usage of said results can empower businesses using Search Engine Marketing.
Similarly, through identification of social media trends and prediction on how to grow an online presence, AI can bolster a company’s social media presence thus increasing their reach across the spectrum.
A term born out of the modern world’s obsession with the latest fad, Buzz marketing refers to the usage of the latest “buzz”, the trend that’s got the world’s attention, to market your product.
Cases where companies have tweeted popular memes or referenced pop culture in their ads all count as cases of buzz marketing. AI can help predict Buzz trends and figure out how best to appeal to an audience while providing a personal touch.
The defining factor of AI is the use of empirical data to make predictions on the future and in cases of fads, this holds a lot more importance.
The ability of an AI system to predict future trends allows companies more time and better information such that their campaigns can be targeted at particular consumer groups to maximise reach.
Acquisition and Retention Marketing
Acquisition and Retention marketing are the two edges of any marketing department’s sword. Acquisition Marketing refers to marketing directed at attracting new customers while Retention Marketing refers to Marketing directed at retaining current consumers. Both are essential to any company looking to remain competitive.
It is through Acquisitions that businesses expand their target audience as well as protect against their susceptibility to consumer demand changes. Retention on the other hand, strengthens the bulk of a company’s consumers and aims to ensure their continued loyalty. An example of Retention Marketing would be Relationship Marketing. AI is vital to both streams as it has the ability to predict consumer preferences.
An Acquisitions campaign would look at using AI to appeal to strangers and use empirically tested phrasing derived through AI analysis of consumer demographics to attract new consumers On the other hand, retention has a lot more wide ranging AI applications. Companies can use AI to check consumer purchase frequency, online history (in the case of social media platforms) and consumer preferences.
The best example of this would be Netflix. For existing patrons, to retain their business, the company employs AI algorithms that suggest shows and display titles with the requisite information that they know will attract the attention of the consumer and keep them hooked. 2
(Learn how through our blog on AI and Digital Marketing in Netflix)
The whole concept of suggested viewing is a form of automated retention marketing using AI.
Ultimately, Artificial Intelligence is a powerful tool for any business especially in the marketing sector. With modern concepts of behavioral economics and economics in psychology taking precedent and businesses increasingly adopting principles of personalised marketing,
AI presents the ideal balance between using data to make predictions and incorporating factors that were previously considered unquantifiable. AI predictions have evolved from comedic Google Doc word suggestions to advanced mathematical equations that compute frequency and add the requisite information to give a practical and realistic situation.
This remains particularly important as conventional economics and marketing simply focuses on certain concepts and makes grand assumptions that are most probably broken in the real world.
The phrase “it’s not rocket science” came about due to the fact that Rocket science cannot neglect a single factor at play. When planning the trajectory of the rocket, the engineers have to account for every force possible.
Similarly, AI marketing algorithms remove the assumption factor in conventional systems thus giving an effective, efficient and technically accurate prediction of the market.
(Check out our blog on AI in Marketing Analytics)
The use of AI is a powerful one in this world. With many analysts predicting large scale rollbacks in human employment for marketing. More efficient the use, the more profitable the company.