For years, marketing was considered more art than science. But more recently, as marketing automation software has proliferated, marketers have had to blend the art of storytelling with the science of data. Lots and lots of data.
Then along comes artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, which promise to help marketers make sense of all that data. Some experts believe AI's impact on marketing will be hugely significant, that it could even change the nature of marketing entirely - enabling brands to break through the noise and deliver a more personalized experience to customers.
Not surprisingly, though, there are challenges ahead for organizations seeking to add AI to their marketing technology stack. Here are 10 things CMOs, CIOs and others should know about AI and marketing in 2017, and the years ahead.
1. AI in marketing must deliver highly personalized and relevant messages
Today's consumers want highly personalized content. Case in point: A late 2015 VentureBeat study found that 77.5 percent of digital natives - Gen Y and Gen Z consumers - want marketers to give them "a truly personalized experience, both on your website and within messages."
"Customers are demanding personalized experiences from brands, but the number of channels through which these interactions take place and the sheer volume of touchpoints are growing," says Chandar Pattabhiram, CMO at Marketo, a marketing automation software provider. "In order to continue to engage customers effectively as the volume of touchpoints grow, marketers will lean more heavily on AI and machine learning to help make sense of all this data at their disposal. The ultimate result, if this is done effectively, will lead to a new level of personalized marketing with interactions tailored to the exact wants and needs of the individuals that brands are trying to reach."
2. AI will help eliminate 'marketing waste'
There's a lot of noise out there. From websites, blogs and videos to text messages, social media and TV ads -- you name it. Alas, the days of big marketing campaigns for the masses are over.
Broad marketing campaigns are expensive, ineffective and create a lot of 'waste,' notes John Marshall, chief strategy and innovation officer for Lippincott, a global creative consultancy.
Digital marketing technologies over the past few years have reduced some - but not nearly all - of those wasted marketing efforts, Marshall explains.
"What takes waste out of the system is a deeper understanding of who the human is on the other end of the marketing pitch, and what that person wants," he says." AI will accelerate that level of insight, so that waste is dramatically reduced from the marketing mix."
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