New Call-to-action
The One Thing Holding Marketers Back from AI Adoption
Blog Feature

By: Paul Roetzer

Print this Page

February 15th, 2021

The One Thing Holding Marketers Back from AI Adoption

Artificial intelligence is forecasted to have trillions of dollars of annual impact on businesses and the economy, yet many marketers struggle to understand what it is and how to apply it to their marketing.

New research from Marketing AI Institute and Drift uncovers why.

We teamed up with Drift to gain unparalleled insights into the awareness, understanding, and adoption of AI throughout the marketing industry in our 2021 State of Marketing AI Report.

Using Marketing AI Institute's AI Score for MarketersTM assessment, marketers had the opportunity to answer 13 survey questions, and rate the value of 49 sample marketing AI use cases. More than 400 marketers answered portions of the survey, and 235 completed all questions and use case ratings.

What we found was that marketers know AI is important, but are being held back from adopting the technology by a lack of education and training

As a result, the majority of marketers are still beginners trying to understand AI.

When asked about how they would classify their understanding of AI terminology and capabilities, a full 50 percent of respondents classified themselves at the beginner level. 

Those with an advanced understanding of AI terminology and capabilities make up just 13 percent of marketers.


Q: How would you classify your understanding of AI terminology and capabilities?

Screen Shot 2021-02-15 at 9.30.00 AM


As a result, marketers lack confidence in their ability to evaluate AI-powered marketing technology. In fact, 69 percent of our respondents rated their confidence level evaluating AI-powered technology as Medium, Low, or None.


Q: How would you rank your confidence evaluating AI-powered marketing technology?

Screen Shot 2021-02-15 at 9.31.25 AM


Why is this the case?

It all comes down to lack of education and training.

When asked about their barriers to AI adoption, marketers gave the most resounding answer of all.

It is a lack of education and training, as reported by 70 percent of respondents. To further this point, when asked if their organization has any AI-focused education and training, only 14 percent said yes. 


Q: Which of the following do you consider barriers to the adoption of AI in your marketing? Choose all that apply.

Screen Shot 2021-02-15 at 9.32.42 AM


This isn’t so surprising when you look at how few organizations offer AI-focused education and training for their marketing teams.

When asked if their organization offered such training, 6 percent of respondents said no. Only 14 percent indicated this education and training existed, with another 16 percent saying it was in development.


Q: Does your organization offer any AI-focused education and training for the marketing team?

Screen Shot 2021-02-15 at 9.33.33 AM


These findings are only the beginning…

Discover more first-of-its-kind research in the 2021 State of Marketing AI Report, presented by Marketing AI Institute and Drift.

Get the Full Report

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.

  • Connect with Paul Roetzer
Disclosure: Marketing AI Institute writes about and recommends AI-powered marketing and sales technology. In all cases, content and recommendations are independent and objective. In some cases, Marketing AI Institute may have business relationships with companies mentioned, which may include financial compensation, affiliate compensation, or payment in kind for products or services. View a list of Institute partners here and MAICON sponsors here.