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Is A.I. Marketing the Next Step for Your Business?

October 11, 2021

AI Marketing

Is A.I. marketing the next step for your business? A.I. is most likely not a term you are unfamiliar with. It has been one of the most talked-about innovations of this century. Many jobs are already being replaced by A.I. robots. Most of these jobs are in manufacturing or logistics, but what about marketing? Is the time here that marketing can be done by an A.I. rather than a marketer? And is this a bad thing or just the evolution towards a new kind of marketing?

In this article we’ll talk about:

  • What is A.I. marketing?
  • The pros and cons of A.I. marketing
  • Examples of marketing software that use A.I.
  • Should you invest in A.I. marketing for your business?

This and more will be discussed in today’s article about A.I. marketing! Let’s dive into the world of artificial intelligence. 

What is A.I. marketing?

So, what is A.I. marketing exactly? There are many misunderstandings of A.I. marketing. Many marketers don’t even know the difference between A.I. marketing and marketing automation. And yes, there is a significant difference between the two of them. Therefore, it’s important that we first zoom in on A.I.. What does A.I. stand for? Afterward, we can make the transition to A.I. marketing.

AI marketing for businesses

A.I. stands for Artificial Intelligence…

A.I. stands for artificial intelligence or intelligence showcased by machines. Artificial intelligence is the opposite of natural intelligence as displayed by humans and animals. In essence, artificial intelligence is systems that analyze environments and act to achieve maximum results. Artificial intelligence is a technology that has been looked at for a very long time. The first tests with A.I. started in 1956 by optimistic scientists, however, it was followed with disappointment as it didn’t get any results. Additionally, because of the lack of results, the funding for the projects dried up.

In the early 21st century, A.I. made a return to the stage by successfully solving highly mathematical issues for industries like manufacturing and logistics. An important factor for these results was the developments around supercomputers. These powerhouses enabled the A.I. system to solve difficult issues at a fast pace. Nowadays, the impact of A.I. in our daily life has become normal. We might not always be aware of the fact, but just look around you. Google is using A.I. to optimize their advertisements, Netflix uses A.I. to find you your next TV series, Tesla’s autonomous driving, or even the translation tools are using A.I..

The biggest misunderstanding about A.I. lays with the idea that there is only one form of A.I.. But as a matter of fact, there are countless forms of A.I. e.g. problem solving, learning, planning, representation, ethical (yes, ethical A.I. is a thing), or language interpretation. This also impacts the transition to marketing because you could use A.I. for different goals. To give a little bit of structure, I will display the 4 types of A.I. to give you a final guideline before we dive into the world of A.I. marketing.  

The 4 types of artificial intelligence [model]

There are so many forms of A.I. to consider. It became unclear what A.I. can and cannot do for humankind. Especially among politicians and concerned citizens, there was a need to understand what A.I. is capable of. What are the differences, limitations, and potential threats of artificial intelligence are? That's why A.I. experts have come up with the 4 types of artificial intelligence. It's a model that orders A.I. systems and create a clear overview.

Reactive machines

Reactive machines are the most common type of A.I.. These systems are very basic and do not possess the ability to remember their results or use past experiences to find the best possible solution. They work solely on a reactive basis, meaning that it adapts rather than learns. For instance, IBM's Deep Blue was an A.I. that could predict the best chess moves for both itself as well as for the opponent. These moves were purely calculated on the possibilities it saw at the chest board. It couldn’t make use of previous experiences or create a memory around the playstyle of the opponent.

Limited memory

These A.I. systems poses the ability to learn from previous experiences, but only from experience that happened a brief moment ago. A good example of this is the speed limitations of autonomous cars. The autonomous car can look at that moment at the speed of other cars, learn from this, and adapt the speed. However, these memory learning activities are limited. It doesn't save these experiences for the long term. It only looks at what's happening at that moment and adapts to it. It's not saved permanently at large memory storage or library.

Theory of mind

Now, this is probably the part that you might get scared a bit. The theory of mind is the psychological theory that humans and animals can form and have thoughts and emotions that alter their behavior. So, the Theory of mind A.I. can form thoughts and emotions on which it will act. As of right now, these kinds of A.I.'s are scarce and not very far in development. I'm not sure what to think about these kinds of A.I.'s. I mean, it can be beneficial if an A.I. can relate to human behavior, but at the same time, it could also relate to feelings of anger, fear, etc. Is it wise to give these kinds of feelings to powerful supercomputers? Luckily, it's missing one final stage to recognize its situation.

Self-awareness

And that final stage is self-awareness. With self-awareness, machines can learn to identify their situation and act on it. It's the follow-up transformation after the theory of mind. With the theory of mind, A.I.'s can recognize feelings and thoughts and have them for themselves. However, they are not yet capable of being aware of their situation. A.I. researchers are very interested in these last 2 types of A.I.. They find it fascinating to learn and understand how the machine develops feelings and how it responds. Personally, I am less enthusiastic about it. Why would we give powerful supercomputers feelings? Look at your own life. How many times have you been angry? What if that happened with a supercomputer? What could it do? As a marketer, I think the first 2 A.I. types are interesting and could help us create a better tomorrow. The last 2 types are scary and I don't think we should follow that path.  

4 types of Artificial intelligence

So, what is A.I. marketing?

Now that you know what artificial intelligence is plus its different forms, it's time to apply this knowledge to marketing. What is A.I. marketing? A.I. marketing is all the marketing activities that are being done or supported by an A.I. system. For instance, different advertisement platforms like Google and Bing use A.I. to identify the best possible moves to make regarding advertising. It combines reactive with short memory A.I. in its most advanced form. Right now, Google doesn't openly use the theory of mind or self-awareness A.I. systems for advertising. However, I am pretty sure that they are testing these stages indoors. Especially now they are building their quantum computer. Besides the highly advanced A.I. applications, there are also marketing software providers that make use of Reactive A.I.. One example is Sendinblue, they use Reactive A.I. to find the best possible time to e-mail your customer based on the data it collected.

Can A.I. replace marketing?

I’ve received this question a lot. However, this question is not entirely right because A.I. can't replace a process. Marketing means all the activities that are being done to promote or educate a product or brand to sell more. So, the right question would be: could A.I. take over the marketing from professionals? And the answer is, yes.

In theory, A.I. can take over marketing as it learns what the best way is to promote a product through different channels. In time, it could learn from all previous encounters and optimize its strategy. However, all of this is still theory. In practice, A.I. is merely a secondary tool that takes away some of the workloads of marketers. In itself, the A.I. is not capable to deliver high-performance marketing campaigns. Mainly because marketing involves a lot of psychological factors, cultural factors, and these factors can't be measured by reason or logic. Therefore, the A.I. struggles to understand its meaning.

That means for the foreseeable future we don't have to worry about our jobs. However, things might change in the future as they did in the manufacturing sector. Back in the day, people made cars by hand but got replaced by machines. The workers transitioned from workers to overseers, and I expect the same to happen to marketers. It will be taking a long time before A.I. can truly replace a marketer in every aspect.

The pros and cons of A.I. marketing

There are many benefits of A.I. marketing, as it empowers our marketing activities based on data and previous experiences. However, there are just as many question marks about A.I. marketing. For instance, is it ethical to use A.I. for marketing purposes? What does it do to the marketing sector? In this chapter, I’ll walk you through the pros of cons of A.I. marketing and why this matters to your business.

The danger of Artificial Intelligence for marketing

There are a couple of issues that need further discussion by the marketing industry and society. The first one is ethical. Is it ethical to use A.I. for marketing purposes? As the A.I. will know exactly how to influence people based on what it has learned. Is this still fair marketing? Or does it become market tempering?

Secondly, at this moment, A.I. messaging feels unnatural. I have tested with chatbots and other forms of A.I. communication software. It was horrific at creating natural conversations and truly connect with the customer. I advise my clients to use chatbots for referring people to the right person within the organization. The actual customer service should be done by a human and can't be replaced by the A.I., yet.

The lack of a natural conversion leads directly to the third problem. Because of these unnatural conversations, customers don't feel like you are taking their problems seriously. It doesn't build trust. It might even destroy the trust you have previously build with them. People want acknowledgment from you, and they want to recognize a bit of themselves in you.

Lastly, marketers will become highly dependable on software providers because they won't be able to beat the competition if they ignore A.I. marketing. To be honest, it's already happening quite a bit. There are many marketing automation (automation not A.I.) tools that automate marketing tasks. This software gives you an enormous competitive edge because of the extra time you now have to pursue more clients. However, these software providers are asking ridiculous prices. Prices that are not affordable for freelancers or small agencies. It's my fear this will get worse when proper A.I. marketing software will take over the sector.

To summarize:

  • Is it ethical to use A.I. for marketing purposes?
  • At this moment, A.I. messaging is too unnatural
  • Lack of trust because of A.I. and automation
  • Dependable on A.I. providers

These questions will need to be answered by both the marketing software providers and also our society. What do we find to be acceptable? Technology will only advance further and therefore it’s likely to be more and more efficient in tempering customer behavior.

The opportunity for efficiency

We have discussed the disadvantages of A.I.. Now we will focus on the biggest strength of A.I. at this moment, and that is the opportunity for efficiency. By using A.I. marketing, you can work more efficiently which allows you to spend more time to do other tasks. Your results will be better because, within marketing software, the largest scale on which A.I. is being applied is to learn from its data what the best time is to post online.

The goal is to get a bigger reach and efficient conversion, so the profitability will be maximized.

Furthermore, with the help of chatbots you can make sure your business is running 24/7. For instance, let the bot answer most asked questions. The same goes for selling products and shipping products worldwide. This can all be done automatically and at the best time and place per target group by A.I. marketing.

Additionally, you can do online advertising better, the A.I. can detect when there are fluctuations in price. And as a result, you can spend your advertising budget better, which means you have a greater reach and possibly bring in more customers. In addition, the retargeting system is getting smarter, so you can retarget high-quality leads and get more sales. Instead of the retargeting taking place on a low-quality lead who actually has little to no interest in your product.

This complete package ensures that your company becomes an efficient marketing machine that attracts and sells to customers worldwide and makes a profit 24/7.

What present A.I. marketing looks like – Examples

What A.I. marketing examples can you already notice in our industry? We are going through 5 different marketing software providers that make use of A.I. marketing. Some use simple reactive A.I. and others have high-advanced memory A.I. systems. Let’s have a look!

Sendinblue

Sendinblue is an e-mail A.l. marketing software solution for businesses. It helps you to automate and deliver e-mails to (hundreds) thousands with one click. Sendinblue is also making use of an A.I. marketing system to find the most optimal time to send your email to your audience. This time is calculated on basis of the data from opening and responding to your previous emails. Therefore, Sendinblue’s A.I. system is a perfect example of a reactive A.I. system.

sendinblue ai marketing

YouTube

YouTube makes use of a highly advanced A.I. system. YouTube is part of Google, the king of A.I. systems. Just like Netflix, YouTube wants to analyze what kind of videos you like and suggest the right type of video to you. This asks a bit more than a simple reactive A.I. system. It needs to understand what you feel when you watch the videos, and how it can reproduce that feeling. Therefore, the YouTube A.I. is a theory of mind type of A.I. It can understand feelings and thoughts which enables it to find similar videos.

Markd agency youtube

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a social media marketing software provider. It allows you to automate and distribute posts on multiple platforms. It makes use of reactive A.I. to find the best times to post for the different platforms. Additionally, it can help you get ideas but this is merely based on popularity and therefore it's a reactive A.I. system. Not as fancy as YouTube, but still highly effective and a definite winner for your social media strategy.

hootsuite ai marketing

SalesForce

SalesForce named its A.I. after Albert Einstein, it's called the Einstein Vision. It’s an A.I. system designed to be used by the masses and it extracts its data from the large SalesForce database. What can Einstein Vision do?

  • Machine learning
  • Language processing
  • Speech recognition
  • Object detection and representation

With Salesforce Einstein Vision, A.I. became accessible to many developers to make better apps and software. SalesForce was an early adopter of A.I. technologies and A.I. marketing, therefore it's one of the leading companies. I'm curious where SalesForce is going with A.I. marketing and if they keep it accessible.

Salesforce AI Einstein vision

SalesManago

SalesManago is an A.I. customer database platform. It offers different marketing automation solutions which are tracked by its A.I. system to help you gain valuable data like best times to post, increase lead generation, or optimizing online advertising. The A.I. system of SalesManago is developed better than Sendinblue and Hootsuite but not as advanced as SalesForce. I think we will see more platforms move in the direction of SalesManago. It’s a smart omnichannel approach optimized by data and A.I. learning to create efficient marketing campaigns.

salesmanago AI customer platform

Should you invest in A.I. marketing right now? 

Yes, you should invest in A.I. marketing right now! Whether we like it or not, A.I. is the future of marketing and business. We can benefit from the efficiency of A.I. by optimizing our marketing activities and distributing our message to our ideal customers. It's not unlikely that in the far future, we won't need marketers to come up with strategies and do the actual work. They are more than likely to act as a watchman over the A.I. software and benchmark different A.I. software against each other.

However, those are developments that await us in the future. Nowadays, depending on A.I. marketing can be very dangerous. In my experience, A.I. isn't even close to understanding the complexness of psychological and cultural factors that marketers have to deal with every single day. Why? Because marketing isn't always rational but rather impulsive and therefore it's difficult to calculate patterns. At this moment, you can tell if an A.I. system is targeting you or an actual marketer. It feels impersonal and it doesn't give you a lot of trust towards the brand.

So, what's the wise course of action? To proceed with A.I. marketing but only use it as a secondary tool to strengthen your business. Chatbots, A.I.-driven advertisements, or optimal times to post are wonderful tools from which you should benefit. Implement these into your business! But, be aware that you are not building your customer experience on them. Have good customer support with real persons, high-quality service, and create a personal approach. For now, the customer should never feel like they are talking to an A.I.. Trust is the most sought factor in brands. Therefore it's crucial to remain human. Have a face to the name and build relationships with your customer.

More future-related articles for you!

Now that you know what A.I. marketing can and can’t do for your business, let’s expand your knowledge even further. Take a look at the following topics to make your business future-proof.

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate and leave a comment down below!

About the author 

Mark Verwoert

When I'm not making killer branding strategies, you will find me traveling through Scotland

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