When you hear the phrase “artificial intelligence,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Maybe it’s the Terminator for the older crowd or WALL-E for the younger generation. Depending on how you’ve seen AI, you might see it as a beautiful or scary thing. As the CEO of a startup that’s built an AI-based marketing software tool, I believe it’s the former. In fact, according to a 2019 study, “40% of marketing and sales teams say data science encompassing AI and machine learning is critical to their success as a department.” It’s easy to see why. Marketing takes a ton of effort: planning campaigns, launching them, measuring them and making small tweaks. AI can automate many of these tasks, improve performance and let you get back to work on other important things, like satisfying clients. Want to know how? Here are four ways you can begin using AI-based marketing software for your organization’s marketing today.
1. Customer Targeting And Developing Buyer Personas
Every customer segment is different — wildly different, in fact. They have distinct values, beliefs, feelings and experiences. Sending all of your customers the same messages is a definite way to pour your budget down the drain. Marketo found that 78.6% of the more than 2,200 consumers it surveyed “said they are only likely to engage with a brand using coupons or other offers if those promotions are directly tied to how they have interacted with the brand previously.” In other words, consumers want personalization.
AI is capable of discovering which customer profiles generate the highest engagement and conversions. It can tell you customers’ location, age, device, behavior, etc. The first step to adopting AI software for this purpose is ensuring that your current and past campaigns are integrated. Include customer data from tools like Google Analytics as well. This gives the software as much data as possible to find the highest converting audiences. Second, be patient. Once new customer profiles are discovered, test them. Target these segments in new campaigns, and conduct an audit to determine whether they have higher conversions and key performance indicators (KPIs). You can use this data to retarget audiences that your brand’s product and messages resonate with.
2. Campaign Monitoring
Do you ever hover over marketing campaigns like a worried parent? It’s good to keep tabs on things, but it could be taking time away from important things like nurturing relationships and managing your team. According to a HubSpot study, marketers spend around 16 hours per week on routine tasks. That’s nearly half of a full workweek. What’s a marketer to do? Take advantage of AI. First, integrate the AI software of your choice into your marketing and advertising campaigns so it learns average behavior. This is as easy as connecting Google Ads, Facebook Ads Manager and other channels. You then operate as usual until you see a spike in data or unusual activity. These can be both positive or negative: ads driving more revenue than forecasted or declining click-through rates, for instance. Investigate each case from the top down, meaning that you prioritize the biggest spikes in data first. Then, notify the appropriate team, such as analytics, sales, etc. Your organization can use these findings to allocate more time and budget to campaigns that move the needle. Perhaps more importantly, you don’t have to play whack-a-mole with bad campaigns.
3. Sales Forecasting
While looking into the future to see how campaigns perform seems like something out of a sci-fi movie, it’s available right now. AI marketing software has the ability to use predictive analytics to forecast sales. This allows teams to work as usual while getting a glimpse of what their activities will return to them. This also prevents spending weeks to months on something before you determine that it is (or isn’t) worth scaling. If you’re interested in leveraging predictive analytics for sales, I suggest starting sooner rather than later. The technology uses machine learning to train models with historic and real-time data. Thus, it becomes more accurate and beneficial the longer you use it.
Once you get started, the key is to forecast sales KPIs that matter to your business. These may include:
Cost per acquisition
Customer lifetime value
Customer churn/retention rate
Average sales cycle length
Use the AI predictions to determine whether specific channels or strategies are contributing to reaching KPIs or missing them.
Have you ever landed on a website and a chat immediately opened up? They probably asked if you needed help with anything, right?
I’m sure you had a great conversation, but I’m sorry to tell you that probably wasn’t a real person. It was a chatbot developed with AI. These chatbots are designed with human-like scripts and are able to answer questions before handing interactions off to actual sales representatives. Many times you honestly can’t tell the difference or when the swap happens. This allows you to use chatbots to automate lead generation and sales funnels.
To begin, choose AI marketing software that has a customizable chatbot feature. Then, create prompts based on behavior like reading-specific content or interacting with page elements. Tailor the conversation and questions to your buyer personas to maximize engagement. For instance, if customers use certain keywords, automate the chatbot to send links to relevant product pages, demos or forms. You can then have live sales representatives take over the chat to offer a discovery call or consultation to close the deal.
If you’re a marketer, you know the amount of effort put into creating, measuring and growing campaigns can seem as if it’s the size of Mount Everest. It doesn’t have to be that way. AI can take away a lot of the daily pains that we face as marketers. And following best practices, such as feeding your software as much data as possible and integrating it into all of your advertising campaigns, can help you get the most out of your AI tools. As you search for an AI tool to help with your daily marketing needs, ask yourself these questions: What tasks would I like to automate? What areas could use a performance increase?