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This Artificial Intelligence Powered Content Marketing Tool Just Raised $110 Million to Check Your Grammar (and Potentially So Much More)
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By: Mike Kaput

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May 25th, 2017

This Artificial Intelligence Powered Content Marketing Tool Just Raised $110 Million to Check Your Grammar (and Potentially So Much More)

Your fourth grade English teacher wouldn’t have dreamed millions could be made by correcting your grammar. Well, Mrs. Barnes didn’t have AI, now did she?

Grammarly (@Grammarly), an eight-year-old startup, just raised $110 million to improve and expand its AI-powered grammar checking tool.

Run Grammarly’s browser extension, and it will identify grammatical errors in your writing, then offer suggestions to correct them. The tool fixes 250 different types of grammatical errors, contextual mistakes and poor word usage. It will analyze text in documents, emails, social media posts and most other places online using sophisticated machine learning algorithms, an AI technology.

That’s part of the reason for the sky-high investment round (the company’s first).

“The company’s pitch centers on its machine learning capabilities,” reports Mashable. “It claims this technology can dig into the substance of users’ writing in a way that’s not possible with Microsoft Word or other autocorrect programs.” The tool is currently free for most of the company’s nearly 7 million users, though a paid version that corrects sentence structure makes the company profitable.

CEO Brad Hoover told Techcrunch that Grammarly is “using artificial intelligence to help people with the substance and content of what they write.” The funding is going partially toward improving the company’s algorithm.

We anticipate this is just the beginning of Grammarly’s capabilities. AI systems have almost unlimited potential to learn and improve from rich datasets. Right now, Grammarly checks grammar and spelling. With algorithmic improvements, more data and time, we would not be surprised if the tool teaches you how to be a better writer in ways previously only humans could.

That may include providing recommendations based on your content’s goals. Tone, sentiment, structure and style may all be tweaked by Grammarly to improve the effectiveness of your content. Grammarly’s algorithm, over time, can make significant strides towards being your own personal content marketing consultant.

This has important implications for marketers.

What It Means for Marketers

There is some fear in marketing communities that AI is coming for jobs—and AI boosters are trying to replace marketing talent. In reality, the most commercially viable and widely used AI solutions—like Grammarly—enhance what marketers do. Or, they automate lower-level tasks to free up marketers for higher-value creative tasks.

In other words, no one got into content marketing so they could spend all day correcting grammatical errors. In fact, most of us aren’t even that good at spell-checking or grammar correcting anyway. (We’d venture to say most people use spell-check functions on their computer already to some degree.)

Why not use software to do it, so we can focus on the creation and promotion of world-class content?

This isn’t to say stop paying attention to proper grammar. It’s saying outsource the grunt work to a machine, so you can keep your eyes locked on marketing performance.

After all, just because we use marketing automation to schedule social shares doesn’t mean we forget how to post on Facebook or Twitter.

Artificial intelligence like Grammarly makes marketers’ jobs faster and easier—a more important value proposition than ever given how much is expected of us. In fact, 60% of B2B content marketers surveyed by Content Marketing Institute said “producing engaging content” was a top challenge. Fifty-seven percent indicated “producing content consistently” was a top challenge.

Grammarly is also a prime example of how AI is quickly transforming the jobs of marketers. As noted by The Hustle, the founders of Grammarly had expertise in “analyzing text to combat plagiarism, so they decided to continue into the world of wordsmithing” and started the company.

AI systems and algorithms designed for non-marketing functions can—and will—be applied to our industry, upending business as usual. They already are: ecommerce firm Otto predicts what customers will buy with 90% accuracy—using an algorithm designed for a particle physics laboratory.

New AI technologies are not cause for alarm, but they are a reminder to stay on our toes. Marketers need to be armed with accurate, actionable information that helps them understand, vet and implement AI in their businesses. Those that are stand to enrich their companies and careers.

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About Mike Kaput

Mike Kaput is the Director of Marketing AI Institute and a senior consultant at PR 20/20. He writes and speaks about how marketers can understand, adopt, and pilot artificial intelligence to increase revenue and reduce costs. Full bio.

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