AI-powered technology has edged its way into nearly every arena of marketing over the past few years. And although AI-powered marketing tools moved into the mainstream in 2021, in 2022 we're likely to get more practical applications.
As martech matures and companies become more advanced in how they apply AI, those innovations will likely move from flashy novelty to marketing mainstay. The impact is already evident in a few areas—mostly in conversion optimization and the detection of outliers.
But as the technology evolves and marketing professionals innovate in how they apply that technology, AI-powered martech will cause disruption and create growth in the following areas: long-form content creation, campaign optimization, and customer segmentation.
Progress in AI Martech
To date, artificial intelligence has mostly shown up in rapid, large-scale data analysis. AI marketing applications focus on a few key areas.
Conversion Prediction and Customer Lifetime Value
One significant area of growth is the ability to predict conversions for campaigns, both at the individual and the aggregate level. On the individual level, companies such as Salesforce have developed AI-powered lead scoring to identify and prioritize opportunities. Numerous advertising platforms allow marketers to target ads to specific people who are most likely to convert based on past behavior.
Beyond the individual transaction, similar prediction models can help marketers estimate the lifetime value of an individual customer by analyzing and predicting purchasing behavior over time. New marketing firms are even using models to estimate customer value at the company level, and applying the results to everything from decision making to corporate valuations.
Although those models have already demonstrated their value, their application is on track to grow even more over the coming years.
Trend Identification and Anomaly Detection
AI has already proven its immense value in processing enormous data sets and identifying trends and outliers. At each step of a marketing funnel, AI-powered technology has emerged to help marketers gain better insights into customer behavior and drive better decision-making.
Among the mainstream applications is Google's Analytics Intelligence, which allows marketers to bring meaningful insights to the surface and identify shifts in behavior quickly—all in ways that would never have been possible without such technology.
Similar tools have emerged for analyzing paid-ad performance and for email campaign optimization, allowing marketers to better understand their customers and make strategic decisions with deeper insights.
The Promise of AI-Powered Marketing
Though AI has already made a powerful impact on some mainstream applications over the past few years, innovations in both the technology and its implementation mean that widespread use is likely to ramp up in the coming year.
A few key areas seem best positioned for disruptive change.
Text-Gen Powered Content Creation
The speedy development of language-prediction models has enabled AI-generated long-form content.
Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 (GPT-3), for example, is a language model created by OpenAI that can produce text that reads almost as if it were human-generated. Companies such as Jasper AI have also made impressive advancements in long-form content creation.
Such programs can create marketing copy, sales emails, blog posts, and even SEO-friendly website content. They allow marketing professionals to generate content more quickly and target potential clients more precisely.
However, automated text generation still generally requires human oversight and editing, especially to detect factual errors. Although next-generation tools can produce work that sounds authentic, sometimes the text is actually too creative, inventing things that aren't true or relevant to the points being made.
However, AI-powered martech that generates text is still in its early stages and likely to improve; it's far too early to be too critical.
AI-Powered Communications and Public Relations
AI-powered martech will likely bring innovation to previously slow-to-adapt industries, including public relations.
AI-powered media monitoring is allowing companies to quickly detect industry trends. Also, we're not far away from being able to use similar models to actually predict what stories journalists are likely to write, a function similar to consumer-purchase prediction.
Of course, AI can't predict breaking news in the real world (not yet, anyway). However, when stories do break, AI can predict who's likely to cover those stories and who's most likely to want a source for their stories.
Furthermore, AI-powered tech will allow companies to respond more quickly to such real-world developments, whether with rapid content creation on social media channels or thoughtful outreach to influencers and journalists.
The combination of trend detection and content creation will allow companies to stay ahead of rapidly shifting media landscapes, providing communications professionals and marketers the insights and tools that will help them pivot quickly.
More Advanced Campaign Optimization
On the platform side, Google, Facebook, and others have been continually developing their campaign optimization capabilities, processing massive amounts of data on consumer behavior, interests, demographics, and buying habits to provide built-in optimization for advertisers.
Advertisers using those and other platforms already have a plethora of AI-powered options that allow for better targeting and delivery. What's more, when marketing teams use machine learning and other forms of AI, 89% of them experience higher conversion rates, research from Adobe indicates.
Deeper optimization should come this year, specifically in the areas of true multiplatform optimization and more advanced ad personalization. Tools such as AdRoll are likely to continue to advance cross-channel campaign optimization, and various other tools are emerging to fully automate ad spending and tracking across multiple campaigns.
Although split-testing creative content has been a marketing mainstay for years, with AI it's increasingly possible to personalize content for smaller and smaller segments, and to automatically optimize delivery to each segment. Soon, it will be possible to generate personalized content at a very large scale—and intelligently and automatically optimize delivery to niche audiences.
In short, AI is taking personalized advertising to a whole new level.
Keeping Pace with AI in Marketing
These are just a few aspects of the many ways in which AI is transforming martech. For most teams, the ongoing changes create significant opportunities, but there's also the real risk of marketers' feeling overwhelmed and becoming fearful of the difficulty to keep up.
In pursuing the benefits of AI-powered marketing, be careful not to apply tech innovation to all aspects of your operations at once, lest you spread both your budget and your staff too thin.
Consider focusing on a few areas where you see the largest potential impact for your company. Run limited-scope tests and measure results carefully to see whether you've achieved the desired outcomes from the new tech. When you do, you will soon notice some meaningful impact.
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