In order to realize AI’s giant potential, CMOs need to have a good grasp of the various kinds of applications available and how they may evolve.
This article guides marketing executives through the current state of AI and presents a framework that will help them classify their existing projects and plan the effective rollout of future ones.
It categorizes AI along two dimensions: intelligence level and whether it stands alone or is part of a broader platform. Simple stand-alone task-automation apps are a good place to start.
But advanced, integrated apps that incorporate machine learning have the greatest potential to create value, so as firms build their capabilities, they should move toward those technologies.
Marketing may benefit from artificial intelligence the most out of all business departments.
Understanding consumer needs, matching them to products and services, and convincing them to buy are the three main functions of marketing, all of which AI may significantly improve. That is why a 2018 McKinsey review of more than 400 advanced use cases revealed that marketing will benefit from AI the most.
Chief marketing officers are using technology more and more: According to a poll conducted by the American Marketing Association in August 2019, the use of AI had increased by 27% over the previous 18 months.
Also, three of the top five AI goals were marketing-related, according to a 2020 Deloitte global poll of early adopters of AI: improving relationships with customers, developing new products and services, and improving already-existing ones.
Notwithstanding the progress AI has achieved in marketing, in the future years we anticipate it to play an increasingly significant role throughout the entire function.
Given the technology's immense potential, it's critical for CMOs to comprehend the different marketing AI applications that are currently accessible and how they might change in the future.
We've created a methodology that can assist CMOs in classifying current AI initiatives and scheduling the deployment of future ones, drawing on more than a decade of research into data analytics, artificial intelligence, and marketing as well as expertise advising businesses across industries on them. Let's first examine the situation, though, before we outline the structure.
Nowadays, many businesses employ AI to perform specific activities like placing digital ads (also known as "programmatic buying"), helping with more general duties like improving the accuracy of predictions (think sales projections), and assisting with structured jobs like customer care.
(For a summary of some typical tasks AI can serve, see the sidebar "Well-Established AI Applications in Marketing").
Additionally, businesses use AI throughout the entire client lifecycle. AI will target advertisements at potential buyers and can help direct their search when they are in the "consideration" phase and investigating a product.
We saw this at the online furniture shop Wayfair, which use AI to identify which clients are most likely to be persuadable and, based on their browsing patterns, select things to present them.
Additionally, AI-enabled bots from businesses like Vee24 can assist marketers in understanding customers' needs, boost their search engagement, guide them in the right direction (for example, to a particular web page), and, if necessary, connect them to a human sales agent via chat, phone, video, or even "cobrowsing"— letting a customer use a shared screen with a representative guiding them.
AI can speed up the sales process by creating highly tailored product or service offers utilizing incredibly specific data on individuals, including real-time geolocation information.
AI helps in cross-selling and upselling later in the customer journey and can lessen the risk that customers would leave their online shopping carts empty.
For instance, AI bots can offer a persuasive endorsement to assist complete the transaction after a consumer adds items to their cart, such as "Excellent purchase!
The same mattress was bought by James from Vermont. Such programs can boost conversion rates by a factor of five or more. AI-enabled service representatives from companies like Amelia (previously IPsoft) and Interactions are available round-the-clock to prioritize clients' needs after the sale—they are better equipped than human employees to handle varying amounts of service requests.
They can handle straightforward questions concerning, say, delivery times or appointment scheduling and can forward more complicated problems to a human agent.
AI can sometimes support human customer service representatives by evaluating the tone of consumers and recommending alternate responses, coaching agents on how to best meet customers' requirements, or suggesting supervisor involvement.
Although marketing AI has a lot of potential, we advise CMOs to be honest about its limitations. Despite the hoopla, artificial intelligence can still only do specific jobs and cannot manage an entire marketing function or process.
But, technology is already providing significant advantages to marketers—and is actually necessary for some marketing activities—and its capabilities are expanding quickly.
Though the trip will take decades, we think AI will ultimately change marketing. Building AI capabilities and managing any possible hazards will require long-term focus from the marketing department and the entities that support it, IT in particular.
We exhort marketers to begin creating a strategy right away to benefit from AI's functioning right now and its anticipated future.
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