3 Levers to Drive Value from AI in Marketing

Image source: Adobe Stock / Maxim.

by Manu Malhotra

posted on 12-17-2018

Marketing leadership is about assessing the ever-evolving needs of customers, curating offerings that can solve pain areas, taking the offerings to the potential audience, continuously positioning it to break through the clutter, and finally strengthening the offerings based on feedback.

As this marketing process continues to evolve, the era of artificial intelligence (AI) promises great opportunities for marketers. However, leveraging AI requires marketers to embrace AI, improvise with it, and collaborate across disciplines to drive value for the overall marketing function.

Embrace change

In an ever-changing, volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world, marketing leaders are faced with challenges. One of them is to create an urgency in the organizational ecosystem to drive a strong vision for embracing AI. Threats, such as AI adoption, might result in a loss of jobs, and that looms large in the minds of employees. However, the World Economic Forum (WEF) says that robots and automation can create more jobs than they displace.

In such a scenario, marketing leaders needs to take charge and communicate a strong vision — how AI can play a critical role in organizational success and which capabilities the business will need in the near future. A wider marketing organizational awareness to rethink the skills for future roles will help a great deal. Marketing leaders today need to evangelize the AI revolution and prepare the workforce to embrace this change.

Improvise to drive value

Today, AI may not have all the answers, but the important aspect is that it helps make more informed decisions. Artificially intelligent tools empower marketers with insights to run campaigns with precision and drive bottom-of-the-funnel business objectives such as ROI, margins, and revenue. For instance, based on historical data of models and campaigns, you can plan offers for the upcoming holiday season and manage budgets in a more diligent way, driving online sales as well as ROI.

In addition, improvising marketing campaigns by embracing AI can help businesses improve not only the top line, but also positively impact the bottom line. For example, a better return on advertising spend shrinks the marketing expenses of selling — along with general and administrative expenses — and lifts the revenue.

Collaborate for synergy

Realizing true value from AI requires rich data collected throughout the customer journey. The customer journey today spans across multiple screens, numerous channels, and a distributed timeline. To build a unified customer journey, it is of utmost importance that the marketing leadership takes a cohesive approach, and that these touchpoints across screens, channels, and timelines are captured to glean meaningful insights.

Here is a case — traditionally different functions in marketing, such as advertising management and analytic platforms, have resided in silos. It has limited the information sharing between the platforms. However, if you look at the scenario today, it is crucial to share information between platforms.

Today’s consumers are engaging with interesting content on web properties, with apps, and with responsive websites that can all provide great experiences. There is a lot that is happening between the initial top-of-the-funnel impressions, clicks, and final conversions, right?!

All of the engagements around researching a product on a website, viewing product videos, checking out product reviews, searching the product on web search engines, and signing up for a newsletter drive eventual conversion. Hence, to realize value, we need to “join hands,” plug connectors between siloed marketing functions, and let data and knowledge flow through, seamlessly. That’s when AI can be a most powerful ammunition for marketing leadership.

The human touch cannot be discounted. Much of what AI does today is awesome, but humans have a big role to play in driving marketing leadership excellence. Emotions move people. In addition to leveraging AI, marketing leadership will continue to require critical thinking, creativity, and innovative execution to drive business success.

Topics: Digital Transformation