Emerging TechnologyArtificial intelligence (AI) in marketing

Artificial intelligence (AI) in marketing

AI has enabled marketer’s strategy for better engagement in more ways than we know.

30-second summary:

  • Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing DCO (Dynamic Creative Optimization) and CDP analytics by giving these programs access to multiple data points, across business silos, a more accurate customer profile and effective campaigns.
  • Personalized AI marketing can drive growth and creates better engagement with your audience
  • AI is here to stay, but not in the way consumers think, it will not replace humans
  • The COVID-19 pandemic emphasized to most marketers and brands the importance of being able to quickly change content and messages across all communication channels.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is taking the world by storm. It is a relevant game-changer for every vertical, from legal to retail to travel to ecommerce and the list goes on. It only grows more in impacting almost every facet of our daily lives.

So, what is AI? And as a marketer, what can it do for you?

It is important to understand that AI is not a solution. It is not a piece of technology that you license, and that stands alone.

It is a compilation of several technology solutions that evolve on their own, but when combined – the fused solution (“The Machine”) can observe, evaluate, understand, act, analyze, learn and improve at a very high speed, scale and efficiency that go beyond any human capabilities.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that AI will replace humans. It will not. Rather, it will allow them to focus on what only humans can and should focus on, such as strategy, concepting and the storytelling.

The machine helps with automating production speed and scale, and the heavy lifting of processing massive amounts of data, analyzing and identifying insights – actions that will take humans weeks to fulfill while the machine is able to handle in milliseconds.

When it comes to marketing, we can divide AI to three main aspects that can help us better measure and understand how, when and to what extent to utilize AI and the value it can provide: Automation, Decisioning, Optimization.

AI and Automation

‘Automation’ is increasingly becoming more relevant as channels, formats and experiences are added to the marketing mix and the number of touchpoints between a brand and its consumers are constantly increasing.

Marketers need to be able to produce, control and test the content and the quality of the experiences delivered to each individual. We are already beyond the scale that humans can handle, and things only get more and more complex.

AI allows us to streamline the production of ad experiences and messaging at high scale, quickly and cost-efficiently, using dynamic creative templates and massive feeds that include all the potential combinations of products, messages, locations, call-to-actions, backgrounds, content, and more, where literally every component in the ad experience is fully dynamic and can be customized and personalized per viewer in real time.

Recent events resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic only emphasized to most marketers and brands the importance of being able to quickly change content and messages across all communication channels and to stay relevant and authentic.

Decisioning with AI

‘Decisioning’ is where data is introduced into the mix. How do you make sure that every element and component within the experience you serve your consumers is the most relevant for them and resonates with them?

How do you make sure it relates to their own personal context, location and time – three important factors that can build brand trust or crush it instantly if not done and executed correctly.

AI plays a huge role here in the real time decision making of what to show to who, when and why.

Decisioning is also where different situational data signals beyond user preferences, behavior and affinity come into the mix, such as time of day, weather conditions, location, language, and other parameters that should affect the experience delivered.

Advanced marketing teams are investing time and bandwidth on the strategic level and utilizing AI for the more tactical execution.

Up until now we dealt with the activation part. Now we get to the more interesting and sophisticated part where AI truly accel, as it simply becomes impossible for humans to handle.

Optimization with AI

‘Optimization’ is where scale and speed matter the most.

Just think, not that long ago the first machine-based optimization was just simple A/B testing for better click rates, then media performance was added to click rates and that made for more effective spending, but you were still measuring only two variables… but now, there are dozens of variables and more complex decisions, can we handle it the same way, at the same speed we used to for a single or two variants?

Well, as a marketer you already know the answer.

The current amount of data from every captured event and user interaction collected from all experiences served, in all ad formats across all channels for every user in every online impression, email, in-store activation and other environments, are all aggregated, analyzed and digested into meaningful, actionable learnings.

But the role of true AI doesn’t end here. Your platform should learn as it goes, and — most importantly — use what it learns in each channel to make decisions in the others. For most companies, what they learn in YouTube only applies to optimizing in YouTube.

This is missing the full-omnichannel direction in which marketing is sprinting towards, as the whole idea is to learn and then apply those learning across the different channels and activations holistically in literally every touchpoint.

AI was wrongly perceived among many marketers as a mystery and a threat to avoid and fear as it is destined to replace the humans in the process. It is here to enhance you. It is an additive not a replacement.

Think of it as your smart and strong extension for what you need to do but unable due to human limitations, resources and time constrains.

The amount of data, calculations, versioning options and learnings are too much to handle at the speed of digital marketing today – these should be done by the machine.

This is all good news! because now you have more time to do what you should be doing – think, plan, strategize and manage. While AI lacks human creativity and rely on facts, people can derive insights from facts and create hypotheses and strategies.

It is important to define the roles of Artificial Intelligence in your organization and make sure you’re maximizing the outcomes, and as you embrace it and learn how to best implement and utilize, you’ll quickly enjoy and focus more on the ‘I’ and less on the ‘A’ in AI.

Oz Etzioni is CEO and co-founder of Clinch. After spending years leading user experience, design and innovation teams at major agencies, Etzioni founded Clinch to take advantage of the explosive growth in programmatic and address the need to provide data-driven video creative at scale.

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