What CMOs Need to Know About AI
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a hot topic these days and because of the technical discussion surrounding it, CMOs may wonder if this really applies to them versus the CIO and Big Data teams. According to recent research from Demandbase, B2B marketing executives say AI will have a significant impact on their marketing efforts in the next five years.
Although CMOs are more open to adopting AI than ever before, less have a well thought through strategy on how to begin. According to an IBM survey, only 24 percent of CMOs said they currently had a cognitive technology implementation strategy in place.
Getting beyond the techie sound of AI and thinking more about how it can improve the marketing process is how CMOs should begin to discuss this within their organization.
Let’s focus on the fact that marketing teams are overwhelmed today. While they try and be more strategic in their thinking they still tend to get bogged down in a level of manual operational tasks that include data cleansing, segmentation and lead nurturing. According to Forrester Research analyst Joe Stanhope,
“human beings are now the limiting factor in B2C marketing, and the opportunity costs are growing daily as data sits idle and interactions remain generic.“
This statement should tell CMOs that throwing more bodies at work isn’t the answer. To help CMOs understand how they can get started in this area, I have described four areas of opportunity below with videos that help bring this more to light.
4 Ways AI Can Help the CMO
1. Increase efficiency of manual tasks.
Many repetitive and manual tasks done by the marketing team can be made more efficient by turning those tasks over to AI. For example, the process for segmenting users can require manual steps such as consolidating lists (or other data sources), reviewing analytics and more. Also, some marketers may resort to applying high-level user personas to segments thereby missing other sub-segments not to mention when those segments begin to change over time.
Adobe’s Sensei AI service has the ability to be used within their Marketing Cloud to watch user behavior on a web site and automatically place users (known and unknown) into segments dynamically rather than requiring the marketer to create segments manually in the Marketing Cloud and try and make users fit into their segments.
Although marketers certainly can be fairly accurate at times with creating high-level segments, if they don’t go to the next step then their messages and content will be too general.
Other manual tasks, such as writing and testing subject lines for emails can also be time-consuming and nothing but guesswork by marketers. Keep in mind how important the subject line is as it’s the main item that must win the interest of the reader in order to create the open and viewing of all of the other writing and design work done by the team.
Companies like Pharasee help marketers by automating email subject line copy (including A/B testing) with AI. The AI not only suggests new copy based on writing techniques but also by understanding the users and what resonates with them rather than what a marketer might guess would be best. Watch the video below to see more detail on how AI works for something as repetitive as email subject line enhancements.
2. Make smarter and faster decisions
The process of gathering data from multiple sources in order to assess a marketing campaign’s performance can be lengthy and time-consuming. Marketers responsible for providing campaign insight during and after a campaign spend time centralizing information, crunching numbers and analyzing outputs. AI-powered solutions can reduce or eliminate much of this manual process so that the marketer can react more quickly to changing campaign assets while in flight as the more real-time information and results are updated for them.
Although Salesforce may not be the perfect example, the video below shows a decent example of how Einstein Data Discovery (48-second mark of video) would help marketers work faster with more complex task being automated for them.
3. Ongoing performance improvement
Marketing’s processes for continuously optimizing campaigns in flight can be non-existent or slow if you’re lucky. Even with an agency assisting the marketing team with the review of keywords and ad performance, making time to collaborate can take time. This wastes money and opportunity to optimize the return on marketing investment (ROMI).
By using tools with AI capabilities, some campaign optimization, such as creative or content (copy), can be changed in real-time by the program and still be within the guide-rails of marketing’s required brand voice. These tools also can change audience segmentation dynamically based on new learning and activity show within the updated data, thereby increasing return on spending.
This video below from ReFUEL4 shares how their AI engine is applied to ad creative and how it optimizes that creative in real-time and without the need for manual intervention (36-second mark of video).
4. Better align with the sales team
A fourth additional value of AI for the CMO is the enhancements it makes to the lead scoring and follow-up process. As marketing drives leads into the sales person and they, in turn, begin the relationship development process, the activity done by the prospect, sales person and marketing can all be optimized as AI highlights and acts upon the unique patterns found within the data.
The second example below from Salesforce’s Einstein AI service articulates this value well to the CMO.
Taking the first step
Are you ready to get started with suggesting AI to your marketing team? You may already have access to tools with this capability built into them. Reach out to your current vendors that you’re placing your largest bets on and discuss their AI roadmaps and how you might take baby steps in this new area of marketing.