Over the last few years, we’ve entered a new wave of AI-enabled marketing
capabilities. What were easy-to-implement point solutions for generating
headlines, prioritizing advertisement keywords, or automating A-Z testing
are now mainstream. With generative AI solutions such as ChatGPT becoming
available, marketers must consider a new era of digital transformation
impacting their branding, lead gen, and other digital marketing efforts.
Instead of marketers asking how to use an AI or ML to do a task, they need
to ask a different question.
Here’s the question I would ask. “Given a set of AI capabilities, what
workstream should marketers create to experiment and develop new competitive
In other words, marketers should look beyond plugging in AI and ML
capabilities to make a campaign more scalable and efficient. Now is the time
to reverse the thinking of how marketers design campaigns, starting with AI
and ML data-driven creative abilities and then building marketing
experiments around them.
AI transforms marketing well beyond automation and ML
I see AI marketing capabilities as building blocks. Today, there’s an
opportunity to string them together into a differentiating capability. Over
the next decade, AI marketing platforms will transform the marketing
department’s role, capabilities, and operations.
Here’s an overly simplified view of how tech, experiences, data, and now AI
are transforming marketing.
- 1990s – Traditional marketing enabled by technology
- 2000s – Digital marketing becomes a new media channel to reach customers
2010s – Omnichannel experiences and marketing automation capabilities
- 2020s – AI and ML transform marketing
The 1990s-2010s saw an expansion of marketing’s charter to digital channels,
and the 2000-2010s is when tech, data, analytics, and operation provided
scalability and efficiencies.
AI is a game changer in marketing.
Marketing’s differentiation beyond the table stakes of technical, analytics,
and operational capabilities comes down to creativity. Now, AI is expanding
and democratizing the creativity skill set, creating an opportunity for a
new way for smaller companies to compete with larger brands or, perhaps,
larger brands decimating smaller competitors. Time will tell.
Three examples of AI’s transformational impacts
I reached out to my network to find easy ways to use AI and ML in content
marketing, lead generation, and data-driven sales for SMBs.
When smaller businesses can leverage a technical capability, it’s often an
indicator of mainstream adoption and an early indicator of transformational
opportunities. I believe the same is true for AI, and here are three
examples of where AI is driving transformation in marketing and sales:
From content production to personalized journeys via AI and ML –
“AI is emerging as a go-to tool for content marketing and helps all types
of content, like copywriting support, video production, and graphic
generation, to become more efficient,” says Carlos Meza, CEO &
president of Crowd Content.
“AI & ML also empower the understanding of customers’ online behavior,
analyzing tons of data points and providing recommendations on improving
the customer journey.”
From SEO keywords to AI writing assistants – “Gradually
introduce AI and ML-driven tools into your content mix, from leading SEO
and content gap analysis tool through OpenAI and GPT-3 generators,” says
Mario Peshev, CEO, DevriX. “Don’t expect
to match human-level content quality yet, but AI content can still
populate metadata, excerpts, or additional paragraphs for ongoing updates
without a hard mental toll on your writing and editorial staff.”
From prioritizing sales leads to AI virtual sales coaches – “The
applications for AI in sales have only begun to scratch the surface. In
the coming years, we’ll see new use cases—starting with virtual training
and coaching,” says Andre Black, CPO at
Allego. “Coaching is in demand, but
few sales managers have time for it with large, dispersed teams. As a
solution, more sales teams will use AI-powered virtual actors to simulate
live conversations for practice and feedback in 2023.”
The speed of how fast AI is going from point solution to value
differentiator in marketing is astounding. It reminds me of Ferris Bueller’s
famous quote, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around
once in a while, you could miss it.”
Marketers, it’s time to do more than look around.