Implementing AI in a marketing strategy is becoming the new standard. In fact, 70 percent of business leaders expect marketing AI to be critical for the future success of their businesses. In addition,69 percent of early adopters have seen moderate-to-significant value as a direct result of AI’s implementation.
However, the greatest struggle with implementing AI is how. It is critical for marketers to educate themselves on properly merging this technology into their marketing strategy. Here are steps to take when integrating AI into the marketing mix for optimal results.
1- Understand AI marketing.
Before businesses can implement AI as a marketing solution, they need to understand how it makes work faster, easier and smarter. Simply, AI is a collection of machines that respond to stimulation in ways similar to how a human would, making decisions that normally require a human level of expertise. Specifically for marketers, AI gives them the ability to understand vast amounts of data to inform their creative and strategic decision making.
2- Determine expectations.
Once you understand how it works, it’s time to determine your expectations for AI. At this step, it’s important to think beyond the buzzword and hone in on where your marketing strategy may be struggling. This will help you identify what areas will most benefit from AI while visualizing its performance.
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For example, if you want to improve creative performance for digital ads, research AI solutions that will help your team identify top-performing creative to maximize results. Alternatively, if you want to learn more about customers, look for a solution that will analyze customer data while also providing behavioral insights.
3- Weigh the risks…
When determining whether or not to implement AI in a marketing strategy, it’s also important to understand the risks, such as added costs and the learning curve that comes with understanding how the data works. Another big risk is potentially spreading fear amongst employees. For instance, with the wide-spread misconception that AI and machines replace human jobs, some may feel threatened by AI and oppose its implementation.
Contrary to this popular belief, 77 percent of companies expect no change in their workforce when AI is implemented, and 17 percent expect the workforce to grow as a direct result of AI. Educating employees on the positive impact of AI ahead of implementation will mitigate any unwanted apprehension.
4- … And the opportunities.
Along with these risks come many lucrative opportunities. With AI, businesses will have a better understanding of customers and reach them at a higher magnitude while generating a larger ROI.
Take Bump Boxes, for instance. By leveraging AI for their digital advertising, the subscription-based online retailer increased purchases by 50 percent over a two-month period. And, the increased automation gave the company more time to focus on creative and strategy work that would further benefit the business.
5- Research solution providers.
What should you consider when looking at vendors?
Platform descriptions: AI solutions that provide true, efficient AI will describe how it works, so you know it’s not just a bunch of people in an office pretending to be AI.
The fine print: Learn the details of where its data is coming from, how much data is available and how frequently the AI is able to analyze it. True AI should be able to do this daily so it can give you the most relevant marketing recommendations based on what data is indicating at a given point in time.
Case studies: Look at their customer verticals, the goals, metrics and customer testimonials, and see how they might apply to your own business.
Do a pilot test: AI doesn’t fit everyone, so before you commit to a solution do a test drive first.
6- Update and evaluate.
Since AI is becoming the new norm for marketers, accounting for its benefits should become a standard in your marketing strategy. After implementing your AI solution, do an in-depth analysis of its usage and success metrics every quarter. Then, re-evaluate whether or not goals were met and how to adjust your strategy for the upcoming quarter. This is also a great time to review any new features your solution provider has released and determine how they can be leveraged in your upcoming strategy.
AI is critical for marketers. But creating a solid strategy for selecting, implementing and maintaining the AI solution is critical, too, which is why 43 percent of AI adopters say their largest hurdle in implementation is a lack of clear strategy. Following these steps will help you think strategically about how to best leverage AI in your marketing mix.
R.J. Talyor is the CEO and founder at Pattern89.