Is Artificial Intelligence in Marketing Overhyped?
Artificial intelligence is a buzzword being used everywhere these days. With AI’s popularity comes a ton of hype. Companies say it’s going to transform their work. People say it’s going to transform lives. Plenty of folks actively worry that AI will automate away good jobs, create massive inequality and/or become too powerful for its own good.
How much of this is legit and how much is hype? That’s a big, complex question. To start answering it, we thought we’d look at AI in our industry—marketing.
Here are three tough questions we can ask to determine if AI in marketing is the real deal or just another buzzword.
Are There Real Use Cases for AI in Marketing?
Vision is important, but at some point that vision has to become reality. We can speculate all we want about AI in marketing, but it’s overhyped if there aren’t any real use cases.
To answer the question, here are a few use cases from a recent Forbes article:
- Stonewall Kitchen used the Salesforce Commerce Cloud and AI to completely revamp their website. It understands your behavior, and acts accordingly. For example, If you leave an item in your cart, you’ll get related emails and retargeting.
- StoryStream is a company that creates user generated content at scale with AI. Co-op, a food retailer, ran their entire #nowcookit campaign using the solution.
We’ve also profiled tons of real world AI use cases in marketing:
- Writing email subject lines automatically with AI-powered tool Phrasee.
- Improve content quality with Acrolinx’s AI platform.
- Boost content marketing and search performance with AI from BrightEdge.
See The 5Ps of Marketing AI for dozens of other uses cases.
Are Marketers Capable of Implementing AI Technology?
Right now, AI in marketing is in its infancy. For the hype to translate into full blown industry transformation, marketers will need to implement the technology at scale and across industries.
However, there are a few challenges here.
First, AI is built to solve narrow uses cases, like the ones we’ve outlined above. Thus, to truly integrate AI, organizations may be looking at adding a dozen or more new marketing tools. For many companies already struggling to manage their martech stack this can create unwanted complexity.
Second, many of the most innovative AI-powered marketing technologies are being built by startups. And, while they may have significant funding, many of these companies are relatively unproven with minimal case studies to show success. They also struggle at times to explain how they’re actually using AI to make their products more efficient and effective.
Third, since there is a scarcity of AI talent in the marketplace, many of the most promising startups will get acquired by larger marketing platform companies, leaving brands to try and replace valuable tools.
All that being said, AI-powered marketing technology holds the power to transform the industry. Brands are just going to need to be very strategic in how they research, select and integrate the right solutions.
Need help integrating AI? Learn more about our Marketing AI Consulting services.
Stonewall Kitchen reported a 10% increase in revenue as a direct result of revamping their site with AI. Co-op saw an 11% increase in conversion rate, 8x improvement in content curation time, and a 5x increase in time spent on website from implementing StoryStream AI solutions. Other marketing teams have seen 35% increases in email open rates, while others have cut their lead cost in half using AI.
Clearly, some brands are getting value out of artificial intelligence. That’s because marketers are dealing with more data than ever, while consumers demand more personalization across more channels than ever. Artificial intelligence is the only way to effectively scale data-driven marketing, given the complexities of today’s marketplace.
If organizations can’t identify their specific AI use cases and then get the right talent and technology onboard they won’t see positive returns. It’ll take a new breed of leader who’s innovative and proactive about learning and seeking out solutions in order for marketing to see positive ROI from artificial intelligence.
The Bottom Line
It’s complicated. AI is already proving that it has great applications to marketing, but leaders will need to overcome specific challenges. As marketers, we can rest assured that if we do our homework, keep up to date on AI news, and proactively look for AI use cases, we’ll be on the leading edge of the movement.
About Paul Roetzer
Paul Roetzer (@paulroetzer) is founder and CEO of PR 20/20, author of The Marketing Performance Blueprint and The Marketing Agency Blueprint, and creator of The Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute and Marketing Score. Full bio.