Artificial Intelligence is not a new concept, yet it is now widely available as a means of streamlining many marketing activities. In this article, we outline some of the ways that AI is transforming marketing, along with a few considerations before you put your brand in the hands of AI…
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is now widely available; Siri or Alexa are examples that you may have in your home. In addition, Chatbots, ChatGTP and MidJourney are tools that some businesses have adopted to aid their marketing activities. You might already be using AI to create content for your business whether for blogs and articles, or social media, or perhaps you’re considering it as an option. Our latest article explores how AI can help with your marketing activities.
What is Artificial Intelligence?
First of all – what exactly is it? Artificial Intelligence (AI) is gained when multiple components, such as computer technology, machine learning, mathematics and natural language processing are combined to simulate human intelligence. It can draw on data and identify patterns, structures and regularities to learn how to execute a task and develop skills, in a way that mimics human actions.
Interestingly there’s an extremely long history behind AI, it’s not just a modern phenomenon. But these more modern means date back to 1956, when Logic Theorist, the first AI programme, was developed during a summer school at Dartmouth college. One of the team, John McCarthy, went on to develop Advice Taker, a programme that could learn from experience. If you’re interested, a comprehensive history of AI can be found in this IT Chronicles article.
Whilst in its infancy, AI certainly offers a good starting point, but not the finished ‘article’. Marketing is all about setting your business apart from your competitors, but what AI is initially offering is quite generic.
Like an apprentice in your business, it requires input from human beings to build its capabilities. You need to provide it with information to enable it to learn about your products, services and customers. It has to draw on data to understand your preferences, specific interests and values. Over time, undoubtedly it will become a great resource.
As a result though, this means we’re currently looking at a form of hybrid AI – a means to speed up your marketing activity and results, rather than creating something new or tailored to your business.
So, investing in AI isn’t a route to instant marketing success. However, if you are willing to train AI, feeding it relevant information and highlighting errors, it will learn. In time, it will even be equipped to produce a fantastic, data-informed marketing plan, at speed.
Ways AI Can Help Your Marketing Now
AI might not be a magic wand, but there are plenty of ways in which it can help boost your marketing activity. Here are some examples:
1. Greater Insight
AI might not be ready to write your marketing plan just yet, but it can help to shape it. When integrated into your CRM and website, AI gathers consumer engagement metrics, such as data on email opens and actions. It recognises patterns and with the right tools, can apply data to predict the outcomes of marketing campaigns. This type of insight is invaluable from a planning perspective.
2. Prompt Responses to Customer Enquiries
Chatbots are great examples of where AI is being used to provide prompt responses to customer enquiries. This type of AI, Large Language Model (LLM), draws on the entire contents of the internet to learn words, phrases and sentence structure. The sheer volume of available information provides a means of following patterns, including the rules of grammar. It can then generate human-like responses to customer questions.
However, at present they can only provide a direct response to a direct question and quite often will prove infuriating. Don’t confuse automation with cost cutting your customer service team, as your brand will likely suffer.
3. Conversational Marketing
In terms of what is possible, voice-activated searches, such as Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant are also still in their infancy. Despite being around for a few years now, at present, they can only draw on existing online content to respond to requests; it’s a one-way conversation. However, developments are underway that could result in greater verbal interaction between humans and AI. We’ll have to wait and see how that evolves!
For now though, marketing teams should start taking into account voice-activated searches. This can include using FAQs as blog titles or marking up key points of information on your website. Web developers can also add voice search functionality to your existing website using HTML or CSS code.
4. Generating Content
Some companies are starting to use AI, such as ChatGPT, as a means of producing marketing copy. There is no doubt that it can help prepare content both comprehensively and at speed – we have already shared posts about marketing agencies firing copywriters and other creative talent in favour of AI. However, the results don’t appear particularly engaging, simply because the copy doesn’t contain the nuances of something written by a human being.
If you are considering using AI for content creation, use it as a first draft. Then spend time editing, personalising, checking sources and fine-tuning. This will ensure it carries your intended message in a way that your customers will find relatable, and in your brand’s tone of voice.
5. Creating a Marketing Plan
AI can also offer a quick way to generate a marketing plan, by supplying a very comprehensive list of points, which cover every aspect of marketing. However, the information isn’t tailored to your business, your customers, resources or your budget.
It’s a good basic template but at present lacks the insight needed for an impactful, goal-based marketing plan.
There are a few additional points that need to be considered when adopting AI solutions. Firstly, it is currently unregulated and, to be frank, this frightens us. There is scope for this technology to be used to damage brands and cause harm to customers. It may not be able to fabricate DNA (yet!) but has been used to create fake news and could certainly create evidence to be used in crime. We are not the only ones with serious concerns and to address this, the AI Act is in development. This EU law aims to ensure AI is used as a force for good. When implemented, the Act will assess risk and ensure AI is used safely, ethically and responsibly. Although the UK will not be governed by this European Act, it is informing our Government’s regulatory response. Find out more at: www.gov.uk/business-and-industry/artificial-intelligence.
Our advice, if you plan on using AI for content creation, is to keep track of the regulatory developments to ensure you remain compliant. And, for transparency, consider adding to your blogs and presentions, the words ‘Developed with ChatGPT’ for example.
AI will open up opportunities to broaden and streamline future marketing activity, however, let’s not lose sight of the brand purpose, values and goals. Until AI has learnt about your business, customers and desired outcomes, you’ll want to keep using marketing specialists.
Remember, whilst it’s tempting to adopt new tools, it’s important to ensure that the cost and time efficiencies of AI bring genuine benefits to customers and the business.
Meanwhile, if you are struggling to find the time for writing or executing a marketing plan and would like assistance from real people, book a small business marketing consultation or get in touch. Allow us to apply our expertise and insight to promote your brand, products and services.