It’s getting harder and harder to escape conversations about artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR). For some, the concept of AI marketing might still feel too far off to implement in your day-to-day business practices. However, chances are you’re already using it regularly!
AI marketing is the use of artificial intelligence to make automated decisions based on audience data. AI in marketing means leveraging customer data and machine learning to anticipate your customer’s next move and improve their path to purchase. If your marketing strategy includes email automation, paid ads, social media targeting, or chatbots, then you’re already part of the club!
With the growing presence of virtual worlds, this marketing strategy is only going to continue expanding and quickly. Customers will soon start expecting more augmented reality experiences from brands that go beyond a helpful chatbot. In fact, 84% of business executives believe they need to use AI to achieve their growth objectives.
When looking at global trends, revenues for the artificial intelligence (AI) market was estimated to grow 15.2% to $341.8 billion. Needless to say, this is not a trend to ignore. It’s time to understand how to better use this evolving tech in your marketing strategy.
Next up is an overview of how to use AI in marketing. We’ll look at what trends you can expect in the future to work into marketing plans and stay ahead of the curve.
How to Use AI Marketing Today
You’re most likely already familiar with the ways that this strategy is used in marketing today. Most agencies use AI algorithms to work more efficiently. This includes digital ad placements or helping with repetitive tasks such as email reminders to customers. It also includes offloading simple jobs from the team such as basic customer service interactions.
We regularly see AI at work when businesses target customers throughout their buyer’s journey. For example, online retailers often use customer website behavior. They’ll place targeted ads and send timely emails that help nudge customers towards purchase. AI can even streamline the sales process by using highly detailed data! This includes using location and website behavior to create dynamic landing pages with personalized offers.
One of the most common current uses of AI is in marketing automation. Consider a simple welcome drip series to your email list or an automation that segments your customers based on their place in the buyer’s journey. Marketing automation relies on AI technology to help gather, sort, and make use of that data.
However, the use of AI has expanded and is continuing to do so drastically. Now marketers have access to human-like chatbots that can helpfully handle many basic customer inquiries. Virtual reality is being used to create shoppable experiences in people’s living rooms. Algorithms are acting as personal shoppers and helping customers pick the perfect car, service, or living room.
Think Before You Jump
Of course, just because there are tons of opportunities does not mean your business needs to jump on every single one. The most important question to ask before creating a new marketing strategy is — where are you trying to add value? The time and investment it would take to create a digital shopping experience may not be where the budget is best spent.
To start, look for ways to improve and expand AI in your current marketing. Can chatbots be improved to create a better customer experience? Is adding new email drip campaigns an option to nurture past customers? Or, can new audiences be created from top performing ads?
Examples of AI Marketing
You might start noticing examples of AI everywhere you look. The future of digital marketing is embracing artificial intelligence as a core of the strategy. So it makes sense that examples are easy to find. There are new uses popping up all the time! Some of the most common examples we’re seeing over and over include:
- Chatbots – Although these are not new, the capabilities are growing. The goal of artificial intelligence is to not feel artificial and the future of chatbots is moving closer and closer in that direction.
- Social media filters – It’s hard not to be fooled these days by a perfectly placed beauty filter but brands are also using these filters as an opportunity to market to and interact with their customer base.
- Virtual reality (VR) – It’s become more and more normal to be able to virtually try on glasses, clothes, and even see how furniture looks in your home. We’re now seeing personal shoppers and entire stores being brought right into people’s living rooms.
- Personalized recommendations – From the shows and music you consume to the places you shop, you are being offered the option to watch/listen/shop more all with recommendations that fit your tastes thanks to AI.
- Marketing automation – Having a sales team that is responsive 24/7 and never drops the ball? This used to sound like a pipe dream! Until marketing automation showed up to help streamline replies and personalize even automated messages.
- Trend predictions – Algorithms can search for and find connections among different pieces of data quickly. So it’s become easier to find patterns and make forecasts on trends that are about to take off.
How is AI Changing the Future of Digital Marketing?
The pace of technology and marketing are not slowing down any time soon. AI is giving marketers an opportunity to meet the demands of customers and business goals without having to grow the team. Artificial intelligence allows the 24-hr pace of marketing to continue even when the office is closed.
This is a massive business advantage that is not being overlooked by higher ups. Marketers are becoming more capable of using data to show increasing ROI and lower overall costs. This means more marketing budgets will be dedicated to expanding these strategies.
As our reliance on virtual reality evolves, we can expect to see more human-like chatbots (with the potential of video chatbots one day). More realistic virtual shopping experiences, more real-time personalized recommendations, and much more is also on the horizon.
We can expect some traditional marketing jobs to change. Although the expansion of AI caused some fears that it would eliminate jobs, the future depends on humans working with these systems in new ways. As digital marketing changes, we will see new roles develop and old roles morph into something new.
If you’re ready to start including more AI in marketing, talk to us about how SharpSpring can add or improve marketing automation in your strategies!