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5 Top Takeaways from MAICON 2019 Workshop Sessions

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2019’s Marketing Artificial Intelligence Conference (MAICON) opened with a day of workshop sessions focused on planning, piloting, and scaling marketing AI technologies within five disciplines:

  • Marketing agencies
  • Machine learning
  • Advertising
  • Content marketing and email
  • Sales

The marketing and sales experts running the workshops offered actionable tips throughout the sessions, but the top takeaways are below. 

1. Ask yourself 3 simple questions when you’re considering whether a task can be automated with AI. 

Session: The Intelligently Automated Agency (Keith Moehring, VP of Strategic Growth, PR 20/20 and Jessica Miller, VP and Managing Director, PR 20/20)

Agency leaders stand to benefit greatly from augmenting their workforce with AI: Employees gain the freedom to be more creative while making smarter predictions and decisions with data. Broadly, agency leaders can apply AI when they have a known pain point—a challenge that may be solved more efficiently, and at scale, with AI.

When digging deeper to determine if a particular task is a candidate for AI automation, there are three questions to ask: 

  1. Does it use data? 
  2. Is it repetitive? 
  3. Is it making predictions about a behavior?

If the answers are yes, you’re on your way to an automated agency. (Bonus tip: As a next step, seek out use cases by following the 5Ps framework.)

2. Machine learning can boost your marketing efforts immensely—if you have good data. 

Session: Machine Learning 101 for Marketers (Jim Sterne, Co-Founder and Director Emeritus, Digital Analytics Association)

Machine learning falls under the larger umbrella of artificial intelligence. Just like it sounds, it’s unique in that it can learn on the fly by drawing inferences from patterns in its data with minimal human interaction. 

Machine learning excels at solving narrowly-defined problems with massive amounts of good, clean data. When implementing machine learning in your marketing efforts, you’ll want to start by clearly identifying your goals and organizing your data. Whether you decide to build or buy your program, your implementation will be impossible without these two things. 

3. The presence of AI in advertising is not a fad; embrace it. 

Session: Artificial Intelligence in Advertising 101 (William Ammerman, EVP of Digital Media, Engaged Media)

Consumer consumption shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, we're progressing it by creating national holidays based on it such as Amazon Prime Day. How can marketers keep up? With artificial intelligence.

AI is transforming how brands buy and place digital ads. There are AI systems that exist today that can automatically buy and test ads, write copy, and allocate budgets by channel.

The time is now to prepare your organization for AI's advertising takeover and begin uncovering tools and vendors to supercharge your efforts.


4. Always ask AI marketing vendors how their machines are getting smarter. 

Session: Artificial Intelligence for Content Marketing + Email 101 (Mike Kaput, Director of the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute and Jared Loftus, Chief Revenue Officer, rasa.io)

There are a ton of AI use cases for content marketing and email marketing. The good news is marketers have their choice of vendors. The bad news? Not everything that’s advertised as “AI” actually uses AI. 

Here’s how to separate the top marketing AI solutions from the rest: Ask vendors how the machine is getting smarter on its own. If it’s not actually improving performance with data and learning over time, it’s probably not using AI. 

5. Use AI to make sales more personalized than ever. 

Session: How to Leverage AI for Sales Enablement (Pam Didner, B2B and Tech Consultant and Author, “Global Content Marketing” and “Effective Sales Enablement”)

Perhaps AI’s most impressive application for sales and marketing is how it can enable personalization. Maintaining extremely personalized messages, recommendations and preferences simply isn’t scalable for humans—but with AI, your sales efforts can become more personalized at scale.

For example, Alyce is a tool that uses AI to choose super-personalized gifts for prospects based on their likes and dislikes (pulled from social media and other data-rich sources). With something like this, sales efforts maintain the intimacy of account-based marketing, but at scale.

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