If you’ve seen Mad Men, the show about marketing executives in the 1960s, you know how marketing campaigns used to work:
A handful of people sit in front of a whiteboard throwing ideas at the wall to see what sticks. Finally, after hours or days, one brilliant contributor comes up with an off-the-wall idea no one saw coming.
The perfect marketing campaign.
But in the age of AI, that’s not how it works anymore.
You’re probably already using AI in some ways—for example, if you run online ads or use an analytics platform. AI now runs in the background of many key marketing functions.
But the latest applications of AI expand into territory that was once wholly owned by humans.
Now, you can partner with AI to fast-track the ideation process, generating raw material that, when paired with human creativity, can be shaped into entirely original ideas.
AI-assisted marketing speeds up everything from campaign brainstorming to content creation to email marketing.
Why You Should Use AI In Marketing
The AI revolution isn’t just coming—it’s already here. And its impact will be felt the most in marketing, according to a 2018 McKinsey study. But with all the buzz about AI, it can be hard to pin down the practical ways it can support your marketing campaigns.
Here are a few of the benefits:
- Enhanced creativity: AI is the perfect creative sparring partner. When you’ve got writer’s block, AI can nudge you along to the next thought. When you’re not sure what direction to take a marketing campaign, AI can give you 10 ideas—and suggest a marketing plan for each. Starting creative marketing projects with a blank canvas is no longer necessary. Instead, brainstorming and ideation is supported by AI and happens fast, allowing marketers to focus their attention on making each campaign as creative as possible.
- Fast distribution: AI helps you create content faster. Apps like Supercreator.ai allow influencers to churn out video content to social media in minutes. AI writing apps make writing faster than ever before. And once you’ve created content, AI tools can chop it up for distribution to social media, determining the right format for each platform and customizing content accordingly.
- More engagement: AI allows personalization at scale across email, landing pages, and advertising campaigns. Just like the Netflix recommendation engine, which keeps you hooked to their platform, the latest AI personalization models make you “stickier” with customers by delivering content that’s most likely to appeal to them.
- Efficiency: AI for marketing automates mundane tasks like segmentation, personalization, and reporting. This frees up time for marketers to focus on creating content that’s perfectly tailored to their target audience.
- Better decisions: AI-driven marketing teams can access vast amounts of data in a fraction of the time it used to take. This helps marketers understand the needs of their target audience and create content that resonates with them. AI-driven predictive analytics also allow you to use data to make better decisions about the future.
- Improved ROI: AI speeds up the mundane parts of your marketing workflow while freeing up your time to add value where it matters most. AI systems can also alert you to act on changing data, allowing you to improve performance of an ad campaign faster—or even automatically.
How to Apply AI to Your Marketing Campaigns
I’ve got good news for you:
You’re likely already using AI in your marketing campaigns. Most firms have incorporated AI for specific marketing functions like:
- Ads: If you run online ads, AI optimizes placements and allows personalized marketing.
- Analytics: If you use modern analytics platforms, AI reviews data and shares insights.
- Conversational AI: Most customer-facing companies use conversational AI to reduce their support burden.
You can take advantage of these features without even intending to “use AI.” And in reality, most AI adoption will happen this way—it’ll win by being a seamless experience. As writer Arthur C. Clarke said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
The AI marketing tools of the 2010s focused on data analysis and personalization. In the 2020s, the focus is on human/AI collaboration—but to take full advantage of it, you need to be proactive and experiment. The latest generation of AI marketing tools can speed up the content creation process, supercharge your creativity, and make the blank page a thing of the past.
If you’re looking for the next steps on AI and marketing, start here:
The brainstorming phase of marketing campaigns used to be where the human touch was most essential. But the truth is, most ideas aren’t new—which means AI models now have access to them. AI can do the heavy lifting of generating ideas, allowing you to spend time refining them into original concepts that work for your campaign.
There’s no more need to build marketing campaigns themselves from scratch, either. Now, you can use tools like ChatGPT to get the process started for you. For example, you can ask AI, “Give me five ideas for organic marketing campaigns for launching a new SaaS product.”
Here’s what ChatGPT comes up with:
You can partner with AI to continue digging deeper on each of these, asking for elaboration and next steps on the paths you might want to pursue, until you have a fully-fleshed out marketing plan.
Once you’re ready to ideate the more granular steps of your marketing plan—a series of social media posts, for example, or Facebook Ads—AI enables you to come up with dozens of options fast. Then, you can test them all to see what performs best.
With 41+ AI writing tools and counting, content creation is the new frontier of AI. The challenge as a marketer is to figure out the right way to use it.
While we’d all love a magic AI button that spits out a publish-worthy article, that’s not the best way to use AI for content marketing.
100% reliance on AI usually results in something that, on the surface, looks decent enough. AI produces confident answers and doesn’t hesitate to write on any topic. But in reality, when AI runs unchecked it produces repetitive writing with factual errors. It’s also incapable of contributing original ideas.
Instead, the best way to use AI for content creation is to start incrementally. Use it to generate headlines and outlines, and to finish sentences here and there when you get writer’s block.
As you become more experienced, you’ll learn how to use AI tools to produce a higher percentage of your content—without losing your unique voice or contributing only recycled ideas.
Visual and Audio Content
Stock photos and video may soon be a thing of the past. Generative AI models like DALL-E can create anything you can describe, and even stock photo site Shutterstock has launched its own platform for AI-generated images. By using prompts, artificial intelligence can generate never-before-seen images in seconds.
Meanwhile, video is easier than ever to edit. AI tools remove backgrounds on the fly and allow editing in minutes rather than hours. Techniques like inpainting can restore missing parts of an image. Upscaling can transform low-resolution images to high-resolution.
Generative AI is a gift to marketers because of its potential to unleash your creativity. Rather than waiting days for designers to generate artwork, marketers can test new designs instantly. For uses like ad creative, this is a huge productivity unlock.
Meanwhile, the latest text-to-speech audio models like VALL-E can generate a simulation of any voice after hearing a three-second audio clip. As this technology improves, applying audio to marketing content will be seamless.
In 2020, eBay used AI technology to improve email open rates by 15.8% and improve click-through rates by 31.2%. If you’re looking for similar results, the easiest place to start is to use AI to generate copy for subject lines and headers. By pairing AI with split testing, you can refine your messaging based on how your audience responds.
Most email marketing providers now boast AI-driven capabilities to boost email campaigns. MailChimp’s platform dynamically personalizes your emails and includes a content optimizer tool. Mailchimp’s AI recommendations can target individual subscribers based on their estimated likelihood to purchase again.
AI can also support email marketing behind the scenes by ensuring better delivery. AI email deliverability tools identify risky sending patterns to make sure your emails don’t damage your sender reputation.
A/B testing for landing pages used to mean that half of your traffic went to the original version of a landing page, and half went to a new version. After a couple of weeks of testing, you could see which version of the page converted better.
AI-powered landing pages speed up this process by:
- Using AI to make suggestions for title, copy, and call to action variations
- Automatically showing successful variants more often
- Optimizing a page with as few as 50 visits
AI-driven landing pages can dynamically display the landing page variant that’s most likely to appeal to each user based on data like device type, location, and demographics.
Most of us have interacted with conversational AI-powered customer support bots or sales bots. These bots reduce the need for humans when answering simple sales and support queries.
But while conversational AI focuses on reducing support costs, AI can also take a more proactive role in lead generation. Consider Cars.com, which released an AI-powered tool helping consumers find the perfect cars for them. This tool led to a 752% increase in profile creation and a 225% increase in email leads.
If you can figure out how AI might help your customers, your brand will attract attention and more leads will naturally flow your way.
When you think of personalization, the first thing that comes to mind might be those emails that say, “Hi [first name],” instead of “Dear valued customer.” But that technology has been around for years.
AI-powered personalization is already widely available in contexts like programmatic advertising, where it’s used to match the right message to the right audience. It’s also common in consumer applications like Netflix, which uses AI to deliver movie and show recommendations, and Amazon, which has a machine learning system that recommends products.
AI tools are increasingly making enterprise-level personalization available to the mass market. AdaptML is an AI-powered personalization tool that figures out what products your customers are most interested in, allowing you to build your own Amazon-style product recommendation engine. Tools like Howler AI make it easier to get publicity by analyzing what 600k journalists have written about—and then sending personalized outreach to the ones who are most likely to be receptive to your pitch.
Increasingly, analytics isn’t just about understanding your existing data. It’s now about using that data to make predictions about the future.
Predictive analytics is especially useful for marketing. Predictive models can:
- Make educated guesses on which customers are likely to buy again in the future.
- Analyze which customers are most likely to churn—or be open to upgrades.
- Predict future revenue, or the impact of price changes on sales.
For example, you can create an AI model that predicts the impact of a new product based on historical sales and demographic data. This saves you time and money by making an educated guess on which products will be most successful. The more historical data you have, the better these predictions are—and the more effective your marketing can be.
Transform Your Marketing Campaigns Piece By Piece
Overhauling your marketing campaigns with AI happens piece by piece. The AI marketing landscape is a patchwork of different tools, each of which makes different aspects of your marketing easier and more efficient.
The easiest place to start is with “behind-the-scenes AI” like programmatic advertising, analytics, and conversational AI. These technologies can fold seamlessly into your existing marketing stack.
From there, start incorporating AI into the creative and planning portions of your marketing campaigns, from brainstorming to ad creative to landing pages.
Looking for more tips on transforming your marketing with AI? Upgrade your marketing with Bionic Marketing and discover how to use AI for more clicks, conversions, and cash.