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A Beginner’s Guide to Artificial Intelligence and Digital Marketing

Phillip Reinhardt

For a long time, the concept of artificial intelligence only existed in the periphery of the tech world. Most people looked at it as a construct of science fiction and paid it no attention. As technology continued to evolve, things like automation, big data, and increasingly powerful analytics are influencing the way we look at marketing. These same concepts are also pushing artificial intelligence from marketing fiction into marketing reality.

At its core, artificial intelligence is indeed a confluence of existing concepts and technologies into an even more powerful solution. Here are some of the most critical elements of artificial intelligence as it pertains to marketing:

Big Data – artificial intelligence relies on massive data sets in order to operate effectively. Your ability to segment and leverage data will be enhanced with AI capabilities.

Machine Learning – this is the automated portion of artificial intelligence that really gives you actionable data and insights. Trends and responses will be created automatically based on analysis of previous events (hence why you need massive amounts of data). Best of all, the insights will constantly be iterated and improved upon, automatically learning from its own mistakes and decisions.

Speed – like automation, AI is all about speed. Data is processed and analyzed by a machine much faster than a human ever could. This gives you a significant advantage over the competition who is still doing things the old-fashioned way.

The benefits of implementing artificial intelligence and digital marketing are numerous. First, it gives you the ability to really expand your personalization, which is one of the most effective ways to improve retention, conversion, and more. It also makes your marketing campaigns very easy to scale. AI handles things quickly and accurately, saving you time and money and also reducing the impact of human errors. Finally, the insights you receive from AI allows you to make improvements in other campaigns and strategies, dramatically improving just about every critical KPI you can think of.

Despite these key benefits, the thought of getting started with artificial intelligence and digital marketing can still be quite overwhelming. To help you get your feet wet with your digital marketing AI strategies, here are eight ways companies are already leveraging it successfully:

1. Product Recommendations

One of the easiest ways to visualize artificial intelligence and digital marketing in action is to think of Amazon. When you look for a product or buy something, you’ll see recommendations the next time you log into your account. These will be products that Amazon knows people with your search or purchase history are also likely to make.

If you don’t have an online storefront, you don’t have to leave this idea on the floor. You could use it for content. If somebody reads one blog post, what else are they likely to enjoy reading? Is there a video that they might enjoy watching next? Being able to successfully predict what else your audience is interested in based on their past actions and having the ability to automatically serve it to them is massively beneficial.

2. Data Improvements

Artificial intelligence gives you an endless amount of opportunities to improve upon your existing data models. Your job as a marketer then becomes finding clever ways of interpreting and acting on them. Here’s a good example. You should already know the points at which customers in your funnel are likely to make a purchase or not. What artificial intelligence can do is help you dig even deeper. You can look into the funnel and find out what exactly causes conversions or drop-offs. You can even look at the types of prospects who end up costing more time and resources than they’re worth and pull them out of the process entirely, boosting your ROI and ensuring that you’re only working with the very best types of customers.

Artificial intelligence makes data segmentation easier and more powerful than ever before.

3. Competitive Pricing

Dynamic pricing is already a thing. Consider the travel industry. Prices will vary dramatically based on timing, seasonality, availability, and much more. Machine learning can be leveraged to take this another step further. You can automatically analyze consumer buying behavior and determine what’s most important to them, what their price sensitivity is, how much they are likely to be able to spend and much more. The price will then be automatically optimized for them. If they’re sensitive to price, it might be lower to encourage the sale. If they aren’t price-sensitive, it might be higher to improve your profit margin. In the end, you’ll close more sales more and enjoy a higher overall margin.

4. Enhanced Segmentation

Personalization is an extremely effective digital marketing tool. Artificial intelligence helps take it to the next level. Machine learning will be able to take a look at a prospect or customer’s behavior and analyze it against other similar customers to see what they are most interested in, and what they need to help push them further down the funnel. Complex buying personas can be created and even changed based on the most recent behavior. For example, if somebody appears to be purchasing a gift based on their behavior, you can change the segment based on who they are actually shopping for!

5. Predictive Analytics

Typical data analytics takes a look at past behavior and trends and uses that to inform future strategies. Predictive analytics goes one better and uses real-time information to predict trends before they even occur. These models can then be used to reliably make decisions. You’ll be able to determine when customers might be ready to leave for a competitor, for example, and nip their exile in the bud. You could also use it to predict sudden jumps in activity so that your sales staff is ready to handle more inquiries than usual. Finally, you can simply use it to figure out when somebody might be ready to make their second purchase and provide them a gentle nudge.

6. Social Listening

Using artificial intelligence on your social channels gives you the power to understand exactly who is talking about you and what they’re saying. With the click of a button, you can find out things such as:

-What types of people are influencing the perception of your brand?

-What is the general sentiment towards your brand?

-What trending topics are you identified with?

-What other brands or keywords do people tend to identify you with?

-Do specific types of customers tend to talk about you more than others?

Ideally, this will give you a handle on how your brand is perceived in reality, and allow you to adjust accordingly. You should also walk away with an idea of what type of information your audience is interested in, allowing you to create more engaging and useful content.

You can combine your social listening efforts with a CRM platform to automate customer service and provide a better overall user experience, too. Sending automated intelligent messages will help users get the information they need quicker and prove to them that you care about their experience with your brand.

Artificial intelligence makes it possible to monitor what people are saying about you on social media in real-time.

7. Personalized Web Content

Your website is the heart of your digital marketing strategies. It serves as the central hub of your content and as a place for prospects and customers to further engage with your brand. You may even have e-commerce implemented directly on your site. Therefore, it makes sense to leverage artificial intelligence to ensure that users have the best possible experience when they visit your website.

A.I. won’t be able to build an effective website for you, but it can deliver the right content in the right places at the right time. Dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of individual data points (from demographic and location information to buyer persona data) will be analyzed instantly to deliver the most relevant content and products to somebody. You can even follow-up with personalized messaging if they still navigate away.

8. Chatbots

One final neat little application of artificial intelligence is to provide customer service. While customer service isn’t always wrapped up in digital marketing strategy, it’s still an important piece of your brand extension and can often be the difference between making a sale and losing it.

Chatbots can analyze the data on a customer that they are “speaking” with and use it to provide a personalized experience, mirroring their language and keeping the customer at ease. With access to a mountain of data, they can give the customers the answers that they are looking for quicker than even a living, breathing, customer service agent could.

Developing and implementing a strategy to implement artificial intelligence throughout your digital marketing efforts will take time, but the results are clearly worth the effort. By following some of the most successful companies in the world and getting started with one or more of the ideas discussed above, you’ll be optimizing and iterating your campaigns in ways you never thought possible in no time at all!