We may like it or hate it, but digitalization is taking over almost every facet of human activity. Needless to say that marketing efforts depend on informational technology and the Internet more than ever before. And there is no other future than for the trend to move one. Businesses all around the world, both large and small ones, strive to leverage the benefits of online marketing. Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most obvious, yet often misconstrued ways to boost your online marketing activities.
The possible benefits of the technology are difficult to deny, and large multinational companies are reaping their benefits already. However, there is still considerable fear of applying AI as an online marketing tool among the owners of small and even middle-sized businesses. The reasons for the hesitance may differ but they ultimately boil down to several key considerations:
- The technology is too expensive to use for a smaller business.
- The approach is too difficult to master and apply effectively.
- The amount of data necessary to make AI induced marketing decisions effective is too difficult and, as a result, expensive to gather.
In this article, we will show you that the considerations mentioned above are but mental barriers that prevent you from adopting AI in your digital marketing strategy to move your interaction with the prospective clients, and your business as a whole, to the next level.
What is AI
Much of the mystery surrounding the AI comes from the fact that people often misunderstand the meaning of the term. To put it simply, artificial intelligence is the technology that allows a computer to simulate the human thinking process. Unfortunately, this mundane definition is more misleading than it may appear initially.
Indeed, AI simulates the decision making process characteristic for the human mind. However, it does not mean that artificial intelligence is on par with the human one and is capable of replacing it. Making a machine that can literally think as a human being is the end goal of AI which is yet to be achieved. Instead, the technology relies on processing data and performing logical operations (both basic and more sophisticated ones) based on it.
To clarify this point, let us consider the common understanding of the history and origins of AI. It is often confused with machine learning in a sense that people consider artificial intelligence to originate in the beginning of the twenty-first century. In other words, AI is confused with machine learning. However, AI as a concept is much older. In fact, it is safe to say that every programming language uses artificial intelligence when it comes to if statements and logical operators.
The obvious conclusion to come at is that you are already using AI in some form of another if you use any form of digital marketing in promoting your business. The point of this article, however, is to persuade you that you need to move even further than that and let dedicated AI solutions help you in your promotional efforts online.
Why you need AI for online marketing
To speak bluntly, there is no other way. On a more friendly and less fatalistic note, AI is not the future but the present of digital marketing. It means that while you are making the decision on whether to incorporate the technology in your marketing processes, your competitors are probably using it already. Lots of students are studying this in the universities and they often request help from writing services on this topic. In other words, reluctance to apply AI puts you in the inferior position on the market.
Again, the point of this article is not to persuade you to replace your current marketing team with machines. There are not programs capable of fully replacing people in decision making yet (whether it is a good thing is a topic for a separate article). The point in case is that AI is a cool way to make the routine processes easier giving the marketing staff creative freedom to propel your business further.
Naturally, you may argue that your business does not have the resources necessary to apply AI successfully. This objection stems from the misconceptions about AI that have been outlined above. To address these ideas that prevent you from taking your business to the next level, let us tackle them one by one starting from the one mentioned last.
There is not enough data
As discussed above, AI is used to make automated decisions based on available data. The technology is especially relevant nowadays as data mining is a staple of any online activity. You may think, however, that only giant corporations mining tons of data can reap the benefits of AI induced decision making. Fortunately, it is not the case.
You may start small and then increase the amount of information your AI instruments rely on. The simplest example of making AI work on a limited amount of data is targeting advertisements on your target market. For instance, as a startup owner, you may have in mind only the general characteristics of your target population such as age, gender, or geographic location. These parameters are sufficient to launch automated advertising campaigns. Needless to say that they may not yield the optimal conversion, yet the leads those initial campaigns yield may serve as a vital source of further information about your prospective clients that will be used to make marketing efforts more effective in the future.
In other words, AI creates a positive loop and can be scaled together with your business. Automation of digital marketing efforts shall be used as a tool rather than end goal achievable only when a certain amount of data is mined.
The technology is too difficult to master
Another perceived barrier is the eyes of entrepreneurs who cannot yet boast of having major scale businesses is that AI systems are too difficult and expensive to implement and maintain. This view is debunked by the already mentioned fact that AI has been around for virtually as long as informational technology itself. In other words, it can be viewed as the natural extension of your current digital marketing practices rather than a dramatic change.
Even if your current IT team struggles with adding AI to the technological toolbox of your business, it will not be too difficult to find some professional help. After all, the trend towards AI makes it a must for both practicing and aspiring IT professionals to master the technology to some degree at least.
AI is too expensive to be feasible
The reply to this misconception flows naturally from the points discussed above. First and foremost, you may incorporate AI solutions into your digital marketing activities gradually and then scale them as your business scales. There is no need to invest insane budgets into data mining to make sure that AI has something to work with. Instead, it makes sense to view the technology as the way to make your marketing team more efficient by relieving them of the tedious tasks that might stop them from looking at the bigger picture.
The belief that giant corporations somehow have the monopoly on using AI has to be debunked as well. It might be the case before as larger businesses indeed possess the resources necessary to experiment with innovative marketing approaches and technology. However, nowadays the door of opportunity is open to virtually anyone.
Where to use AI
To start with, you already tap into this opportunity when buying ads from Facebook or Google as the companies use AI algorithms to target your promotional materials accurately. The point is, however, that you do not need to stop there. The current market of software solutions provides business owners and marketing professionals with tools that can be applied for several specific promotional activities.
As already mentioned, connecting businesses to their target audiences is the most obvious and popular way to use AI in marketing. The success of targeting is dependent on the amount of data available for analysis. Therefore, mining Big Data is considered to be one of the core marketing activities for businesses across borders and industries.
An AI of Shakespear’s talent is yet to be developed, but programs creating appealing and engaging texts based on the target audience’s preferences are reality already. Using AI algorithms as a part of your email marketing strategy is likely to boost productivity. And email marketing is one of those rare fields where quantity may well mean quality.
It goes without saying that emails are not the only text that AI can write for your marketing department. Modern software solutions are capable of generating decent and engaging texts that may need only slight polishing by human editors. Incorporating this technology in your digital marketing routines is likely to boost both efficiency and morale of your marketing team by allowing them to focus on creative endeavors instead of endless copywriting.
So, what are you waiting for?
AI has already set its foot in the world of digital marketing. Whether you think about it or not, you probably are using the technology in your marketing already. The next step however, is to become proactive and apply the available solutions to boost your digital marketing efforts and stay ahead of the competition.