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Alex Vaidya CEO & CO-FOUNDER Storystream

What does AI mean for Marketers?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not something that will happen to marketing eventually. It’s happening right now! Everyday there are stories in the news; “10 Ways AI Can Improve Your Marketing”, “Does AI Bring Any Real Value To Marketer?” and “Will AI Replace Marketers?”.

Not only are there a lot questions being asked, but there are also new buzzwords to learn; Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Big Data, Predictive Analytics to name but a few.

You know AI has the potential to improve marketing, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the complexities.

As soon as you start speaking to people about AI, there’s a whole extra vocabulary of words that you’ll hear. Some of these are more important than others;

  • AI: is the broader concept of machines being able to carry out tasks in a way that we would consider “smart” using vast amounts of data (source).
  • Machine Learning: is one subfield of AI. The core principle here is that machines take data and “learn” for themselves. It’s currently the most promising tool in the AI kit for businesses (source).
  • Deep Learning: is a subset of Machine Learning. It uses some ML techniques to solve real-world problems by tapping into neural networks that simulate human decision-making (source).

How AI Can Impact Marketing

AI is not a magic bullet that will immediately elevate and transform your marketing results overnight. Instead think of it as process driven sleepless assistant, that is faster than you.

It’s a resource better suited to tedious tasks than the human brain. They are capable of handling large amounts of consumer data in a short amount of time, when it might take a human days, months or even years.

It’s also a lot more accurate and dependable than a human. Just think about all the repetitive that are vital for development, evolution and proving the value of marketing. For marketers, this is both time consuming and boring work. When fatigue and frustration kicks in, the likelihood of human error rises. On the other hand AI systems don’t get distracted or tired, making them highly accurate.

AI has the comprehension to not only take over the number crunching, but also the optimisation, far faster than a human could do it. It owns the tasks, making decisions to improve operations and freeing up vital time for marketers to focus on creativity and innovation.

In order to really see the true value that AI can bring to marketing, we need to take a deeper look at what issues marketers face, particularly in regards to marketing content;

They are under resourced

It can be difficult for teams to balance people, process and technology. The result? Collaboration efficiency slumps having a negative repercussion on creativity, deadlines, approvals and budgets.

Content is squandered and scattered

With various places to make and store content, pieces can fall through the cracks. Time, money and other resources end up wasted due to large amount of duplications, re-creations and unnecessary versionings.

Content isn’t optimised to fuel the customer experiences

Content used to power customer experiences is often created and utilised in a ‘trial and error’ haphazard manner. Without fully tracking and understanding content performance, they are unable to connect the dots between content creation, management and utilisation.

They are unable to drive changes quickly with deep content insights

So many areas of a business feed into content planning and production, and it’s becoming heavily influenced by what sales and other parts of the organisation need. As Robert Rose has said before, marketing is becoming an on-demand content vending machine for other parts of the business, which stifles creativity, influence and effect.

The bottom line is that the link between content production, content utilisation and how it impacts revenue is broken. This means that when CMO’s are challenged on content investments, they find it difficult to prove ROI.

What Content Problems Can AI Solve?

The major issues barring marketers from delivering captivating brand narratives, enhancing the customer experience and ultimately driving engagement and conversions revolve around insufficient resources. It takes dedicated creative time and insights to produce consistent, high-quality and engaging content and these are a limited commodity for a marketer.

Thankfully, many laborious but essential marketing tasks can be automated by AI. Some of the more common problems marketers talk about are:

  • Understanding the context of content and tagging it correctly
  • Finding similar content from a vast library, either images or text
  • Understanding sentiment of content so that positive comments can be found quickly
  • Predicting what content works for a particular scenario based on large volumes of past performance data

AI can help with all of these broad areas. By far the biggest benefit of AI to marketing is the efficiencies it can provide when dealing with large volumes of data. It can learn from every campaign, every piece of content and every interaction far faster than you and your team can. It’s able to build a complete understanding of your brand, your consumers and your content in realtime; a mammoth task for a human.

And this continuous learning means that you’ll be getting much deeper insights to guide your campaigns. Each planning session and creative brainstorm will be directed by new information which has been pulled quickly, making sure that you’re ahead of the curve rather than behind it.

With image recognition and tagging capabilities, AI can take all of your Brand Generated (owned) and User Generated (earned) content and turn it into an easy to use asset library. Your team will no longer have to search and tag manually, and labeling standardisation means that content will be easy to find and use. This is a godsend for marketing teams that have large amounts of content squirrelled away in strange places.

When it comes to managing projects, AI can also boost engagement and performance with contextual intelligences, learning from historical data to provide you with content that has a higher potential to grab consumer attention and convert.

It can even control publication for you, connecting content with various smart publishing tools, but in an intelligent way. It will know which content will perform best on a particular channel and it can manage the optimisation, meaning that your days of trial and error testing, and faffing around with aspect ratios are over.

Where Can You Get This Type Of AI From?

If you have an in-house technical team then you may be able to implement your own solutions, although most companies choose to work with a provider as this is far more economical.   

There a several MarTech providers offering AI content solutions so when doing your research it’s important to understand what tasks you want AI to take over. Have a look at the pain points in your team. What are your most time and resource consuming tasks?

Once you have established what your process driven marketing tasks are, you can then sit down with an AI team and identify where AI can actually help.  

Armed with a clear understanding of your needs and knowing which things should be considered before you buy AI; not only will you be able to find a provider that can give you a clear return on your adoption of the technology, but you’ll have a much easier experience in adding AI to your business.

Here at StoryStream, we’ve invested an extra £1.2 million into building an unparalleled, intelligent AI system that can improve efficiency, power engaging content experiences and unlock valuable marketing insights. Talk to us today to find out how this can advance your marketing strategy.

First published on the StoryStream blog site