Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the current “it” terms in marketing.
Every marketer is thinking about how to best use it and every technology provider is trying to push offerings that infuse it. And all for good reason.
While AI might be the hot ticket item everyone is clamoring to understand and use, it is neither a fad nor going away anytime soon.
According to a survey from PwC, business leaders believe AI is going to be fundamental in the future. In fact, 72 percent termed it a business advantage.
What’s more, according to IDC, by 2019, 40 percent of all digital transformation initiatives – and 100 percent of IoT efforts – will be supported by AI capabilities.
Incorporating AI into the content marketing process is essential. Why?
Because AI has the power to transform customer experiences in multiple ways.
- Improve the content and creative process.
- Help personalize experiences at scale.
- Improve customer satisfaction through greater efficiencies.
- And more.
Sephora is a great example of a company leveraging AI in innovative ways. Sephora offers customers a plethora of options, which is both great and overwhelming at times.
To help, Sephora created a chatbot that provides customers with beauty content they can peruse as well as product suggestions. It’s an innovative and simple use of AI.
There’s no question as to if marketers should start experimenting with AI; it’s a matter of how soon you can start.
To help you feel more comfortable getting started with AI, here are answers to a few of the top questions I get asked most frequently about AI in content marketing.
Question 1: Will AI Replace Me?
It’s no surprise that marketers are worried about AI taking over their jobs, especially with the increase in science fiction movies about robots taking over the world.
My take is that AI will act in service of marketers, not replace them.
Specifically, AI can help marketers:
- Discover what’s hidden: There are vast amounts of data available that marketers can leverage to perfect customer experiences. AI helps make sense of this information at a deep level, from understanding the sentiment of documents or the quality of images. Harnessing the power of AI in content marketing can help identify and refine what’s needed in seconds instead of days.
- Accelerate what’s slow: There are many tasks marketers do every day that are tedious and time-consuming. AI uses self-learning algorithms to speed these tasks up – driving greater efficiency and effectiveness. Asset tagging is a great example. This task sucks up a lot of time, but AI has the power to insert content-based metadata for thousands of images in seconds – a process that otherwise would have required hours.
- Decide when something matters: AI can help marketers make quick decisions to ensure the best experiences are always delivered to customers. A prime example is content personalization. Marketers know that consumers want content and experiences tailored directly to their needs and interests, but it’s daunting. AI can help marketers do this at scale by automatically personalizing content at the individual level and determining which experience a customer should receive and when.
It’s important to remember that amazing customer experiences still require the human element that machines lack.
Just look at Pandora. It uses a combination of machine learning and human curators to bubble up the best recommendations possible for users.
Pandora’s head of research, Oscar Celma, said:
“The human curators can discover an artist, but the machine learning can prevent a ‘fake’ artist from being ingested into the music libraries. It can also find duplicates. Mostly, the process of human versus bot is about scale. Without machine learning, curators would not be able to make it all work.”
Moral of the story: AI and humans work better together.
Question 2: How Do I Need to Shift My Marketing Strategy to Incorporate AI?
Usually, after I establish that AI is meant to aid what marketers are doing rather than take over their roles, the next question I get is, “Well, how does this impact my marketing strategy? How should I shift what I’m doing now to see the most benefit?”
The truth is, there’s no set response to this question because it really depends on what your business priorities are.
In order to get the most benefit of AI-driven marketing, marketers need to fully understand what the business priorities are and then modify their roles and responsibilities to complement the work being done by AI.
There’s also potential that AI could uncover new opportunities for marketers to pursue.
In fact, according to Narrative Science, 61 percent of businesses that have an innovation strategy said they are using AI to identify opportunities in data that would otherwise be missed.
Question 3: How Will AI Actually Impact the End Result for the Consumer? Will They Be Able to Tell a Difference?
Customers won’t see an experience and automatically know AI assisted in creating it.
The difference they see will be evident in the rapidly delivered, personalized experiences they receive.
In a recent survey my team conducted at Adobe, 42 percent of consumers said they get annoyed when content isn’t relevant to them and two-thirds said if they encountered a situation like this, they wouldn’t make a purchase.
It’s clear that content speed and personalization can impact a customer’s experience, and ultimately a company’s bottom line.
AI also provides customers with a more seamless experience throughout their interactions with a brand.
It may begin with online content, but AI also helps ensure the personalization is transitioned to in-store experiences, experiences across different devices and more.
AI is critical to creating experiences that consumer love, even if they can’t directly see it.
AI is here to stay. The opportunities to leverage AI in content marketing are becoming more prevalent.
Right now, marketers are focused on using AI to improve efficiency and automating tasks, but it can be used for so much more. Think chatbots, copywriting, and curating only the best assets that drive engagement.
The possibilities are endless, but you need to get started sooner rather than later.
by Heidi Besik
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