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The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Marketing

10 Apr
Marketer uses artificial intelligence to help create targeted ads and chat with customers

The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) has revolutionized the marketing industry. Marketers can leverage AI-powered tools to automate tasks, personalize their messages for higher engagement, and generate content at remarkable speed. According to a 2023 Mailchimp report, nearly 90% of marketers believe their organizations must increase AI use to stay competitive and meet customer expectations.1

Where exactly should marketing teams implement AI? This article explores AI applications and ways in which they're reshaping the industry.

Understanding AI in Marketing

AI marketing tools simulate human intelligence and problem-solving capabilities.2 Experts who combine artificial intelligence and marketing can generate promotional content faster, get more accurate results in customer data analysis, and improve prospect experience.3

Two key components of AI are:

  • Machine learning (ML): ML algorithms enable computers to learn from data and make predictions without being explicitly programmed; machine learning in marketing can be used for customer segmentation and predictive analytics tasks4
  • Natural language processing (NLP): NLP algorithms enable computers to understand, interpret, and generate human language; in marketing, NLP is mainly used in content generation, including images, videos, and text5

The Purpose of AI in Marketing

Consider four ways marketers can implement AI in their work.

Minimizing Manual Tasks for Marketing Automation

AI enables marketers to automate tedious, repetitive tasks, such as manually sending promotional emails to hundreds or thousands of prospects multiple times a week. By scheduling and sending emails in bulk at once with AI-driven email automation tools, they can reach a broad audience efficiently.6

Additionally, conducting customer research through traditional methods, such as manual consumer data analysis, can be labor-intensive and slow. AI for marketing automation offers a solution to these challenges. Sophisticated NLP algorithms quickly process large amounts of data from customer survey responses, focus group transcripts and customers’ social media posts. As a result, marketers can identify patterns and trends in consumer behavior faster than relying on human analysis.7 For example, an AI-driven social listening tool such as Sprout Social allows marketing teams to analyze about 50,000 customer messages per second and up to 600 million daily. They can automatically sift through multiple data points and get key customer insights quickly.8

Brainstorming and Writing

Before generative AI models like ChatGPT emerged, brainstorming topics, creating outlines, writing content and editing could take hours, if not days. Today, the process is as quick as asking AI tools to write marketing copy, such as promotional emails, ads, and articles. Users get output in seconds or a few minutes. This saves time for marketing experts who create content in bulk and regularly. Marketers can also use AI to create images, videos, and audio.9

Some AI writing tools show users what input to provide to get a more personalized output. For instance, HubSpot’s Campaign Assistant allows marketers to specify the campaign’s goals, writing style, target audience, and calls to action (CTAs).10

Content generated by an AI marketing tool provides a starting point for most marketers—a source of inspiration. Like any other technology, however, AI writing solutions are not perfect. Their output may be inaccurate and requires a human touch. To ensure the quality, accuracy, and veracity of their content, and to see to it that it aligns with the intended marketing strategy, brand voice and style, marketers must thoroughly fact-check, proofread, and edit AI-generated content.

Analyzing Big Data and Making Reliable Predictions

Predictive analytics leverages ML algorithms to analyze consumer data and identify patterns that may not be readily visible to the human eye. The insights it yields help marketers anticipate future trends and customer preferences. They also enable marketing experts to predict the most suitable time to send offers, the messages likely to resonate with the target audience, and the best platform to use to reach customers.11

While marketers have used predictive analytics for as long as businesses have gathered information, the rise of digital media has generated “big data.”12 Sifting through this vast amount of information quickly to extract timely insights can be overwhelming without the right technology. That’s where AI in predictive analytics becomes useful. With traditional techniques, marketing teams may require hours or days to obtain valuable information from small datasets. With AI predictive analytics, it takes just several minutes to analyze millions of data points and reveal information businesses can use to improve marketing campaigns.13

Personalizing Marketing to Boost Engagement

According to the management consulting company McKinsey, over 70% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions.14 AI marketing tools help businesses improve customer engagement through personalization. AI-powered segmentation tools can gather information about prospective customers autonomously from different sources, including website analytics and customer relationship management (CRM) systems.15 The tools then use the collected marketing data to segment an organization’s audience based on:

  • Demographics such as age, gender, location, income level, education, and occupation
  • Behavior including purchase history, interactions with emails or ads, and actions on a company’s website
  • Preferences such as interests, values, lifestyle, and personality

With this information, marketers can create campaigns that connect strongly with each individual, as they address specific needs, desires and pain points. This customized attention can motivate customer engagement and increase brand loyalty.

The Future of AI in Marketing

Gartner, an American tech research and consulting firm, predicts that by 2025, marketing teams using AI will spend 75% of their efforts on strategic activities rather than content production.16 That’s because AI will handle content creation processes and other manual marketing tasks, allowing marketers to focus more on strategic marketing operations, such as interpreting analytics and implementing insights.

Gartner also predicts that AI-powered marketing processes will become more data-driven, highly responsive to change, and capable of overcoming setbacks or disruptions. Moreover, since AI and ML algorithms can analyze large amounts of customer data to reveal hidden insights, they’ll be fundamental in audience segmentation and marketing personalization.16

According to Forbes, artificial intelligence today helps marketers make smarter, data-driven decisions. Beyond 2024, however, AI will be key not only to decision-making but also to staying competitive in an ever-changing business environment.17

Become a Leader in Marketing AI

Transformative innovations, such as AI-powered automation tools and AI content writers, are reshaping the marketing industry. Mastering these can help you stay on top of AI trends and lead the field.

Gain expertise in AI and other marketing technologies through the cutting-edge curriculum of the Online MS in Marketing from the Leavey School of Business. Led by industry authorities and world-class educators, the flexible online program accommodates your personal and professional commitments. Further, SCU’s powerful alumni network connects you with Silicon Valley insiders and career opportunities.

To learn how SCU can prepare you for success at the executive level, speak with an admissions outreach advisor today.

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