How to Create Smarter Content Strategies with AI
Vennli uses AI to help marketers plan more effective content.
Using a proprietary way to surface relevant content topics, the tool offers recommendations on what content to create for each stage of the customer journey.
We caught up with Bart Frischknecht, VP Product Strategy at Vennli, to learn more.
1. In a single sentence or statement, describe Vennli.
Vennli provides software and services that marketers need to plan content that engages and motivates customers in order to drive results.
2. How does Vennli use artificial intelligence (i.e. machine learning, natural language generation, natural language processing, deep learning, etc.)?
Vennli has developed a proprietary way to surface relevant content topics for particular markets at each stage of the customer journey.
We call this approach Content Ecosystem Mapping. It uses the open web via search engine results pages and Vennli’s AI to generate topic recommendations that are specific for a particular persona, product category, and competitive set.
Vennli uses graph theoretic techniques and natural language processing to analyze the results from a carefully designed set of search queries. Using machine learning algorithms, the topics are also scored by customer intent in order to classify the appropriateness of certain topics by stage of the customer journey. The graph analysis enables Vennli to score topics by overall relevance to the audience as well as score topics by competitor association so that priority can be given to those topics that are likely to differentiate an organization from its competition.
3. What are the primary use cases of Vennli for marketers?
Smart content planning. We use artificial intelligence to deliver a content calendar that is more relevant to what people are searching for and having problems with.
4. Who are your ideal customers in terms of company sizes and industries?
Vennli is designed for marketing managers, directors, and VPs that are responsible for their organization's content calendar. Vennli is particularly relevant for small to midsize organizations that may have digital marketers and content creators, but do not have the resources for a full content strategy team.
Vennli’s software is a great resource to marketers in industries where marketing content is having the biggest impact and industries where high consideration consumer choices are prevalent. Examples include B2C markets such as higher ed and healthcare and B2B markets such as software, tech, manufacturing, and financial services.
5. What makes your AI-powered solution smarter than traditional approaches and products?
If a marketer’s content doesn’t connect with customers, the organization won’t grow. By surfacing content topics relevant to a marketer's audience and particular business objective and by sorting these topics by customer journey stage, Vennli saves the content marketer time in researching audience needs and relevant topics.
Vennli also streamlines the process of turning marketing goals and content topics into a content calendar. The resulting content calendar means the marketer is producing content that is more likely to succeed with the intended audience compared with internal brainstorming or limited research.
6. Are there any minimum requirements for marketers to get value out of your AI-powered technology? (e.g. data, list size, etc.)
No data requirements from the marketer since the AI component of Vennli today is operating on search engine results pages (i.e., the open web).
7. What do you see as the future potential of artificial intelligence in marketing?
The best AI-driven marketing tools will mature by interacting with marketers in a way that feels more human. A tool will feel more human when it can proposes a limited number of solutions or alternatives rather than simply returning “insights.” It will feel more human when it automatically takes care of simple tasks so that the marketer can focus on marketing rather than wrangling a tool. AI tools will accomplish this by maturing their platforms through additional AI prediction models that can be integrated behind the scenes to surface only the most relevant decision alternatives.
8. What do you see as the limitations of artificial intelligence as it exists today?
The biggest limit with AI enabled tools today is that they provide partial solutions over a limited context. The ultimate goal for AI-enabled marketing tools is to help marketers make better decisions. Most marketing decisions involve a complex number of factors. However, AI tools are built to solve one prediction problem at a time. It is taking time for platforms to develop a suite of prediction tools that can make decision recommendations more holistically and remove even more of the burden of data collection and analysis from marketers. The tools of today are a huge step forward because the alternative is going with our guts. However, most tools today still take a lot of investment and skill to get the value for marketing.
9. Any other thoughts on AI in marketing, or advice for marketers who are just starting to explore the possibilities of AI?
Our expectations for AI in marketing are sky high. In many cases we expect AI tools to be "smarter" than us right out of the box. As more and more of our digital (and physical) world is automated, our expectations will continue to rise.
It is important to remember that great marketing is a complex combination of judgments and can't be handed off to a tool. The best way to think about AI tools in marketing is as just that — a tool — rather than a superhuman. Buying a robot vacuum cleaner or lawnmower can be liberating, but it is not as hands off as hiring a cleaning or lawn service. You need to embrace the technology and get your hands dirty with it for it to give you the best results.
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.