Robots are taking over the world. (At least, it sometimes feels that way.)
Just the mention of AI is enough to spark a lot of enthusiasm (and debate).
We’re living in a sci-fi world in which we can ask computers to accomplish highly complex tasks and think for themselves. And they often don’t do too bad of a job!
And AI marketing is changing the game and revolutionizing the landscape of marketing strategies and campaigns.
To put it in perspective, Statista reported $15.84 billion as the estimated market value for AI marketing in 2021. They also predicted that by 2028, this will increase to over $107.5 billion by 2028. Furthermore, they report that 80% of “industry experts” use AI in their marketing.
But the whole concept of AI marketing can be intimidating (and even a bit scary).
There’s so much potential, but how do you take advantage of it?
In this guide, we’ll explore the concept of AI marketing and its multitude of benefits. We’ll also delve into ways to use it and tools that can help businesses achieve unparalleled success in their marketing efforts.
Let’s step into the future and submerge ourselves into the world of artificial intelligence!
AI marketing refers to the application of artificial intelligence technology to help improve marketing strategies, marketing campaigns, and customer interactions. It involves using AI tools to accomplish any kind of marketing task, including analyzing data, providing ideas for copy, planning campaigns, and any other marketing-related function.
The idea is that by combining human creativity with the power of AI, businesses can achieve greater efficiency, personalization, and effectiveness in their marketing efforts.
AI is not yet at a point at which it can replace humans.
However, AI can play a pivotal role in transforming traditional marketing approaches.
AI enables marketers to automate or significantly speed up processes such as:
The outputs that AI gives in relation to all of these tasks (and more) often come out flawed, mechanical-feeling, and in need of human creativity to implement intelligently (we’ll talk more about this later).
However, just because AI is imperfect doesn’t discount the fact that it’s able to accomplish a lot in a small amount of time, and therefore can (and should) be a powerful tool for marketers to optimize their marketing efforts.
The benefits (and potential benefits) of AI marketing are significant. Let’s walk through some examples of ways AI could benefit you.
AI can help streamline almost every aspect of your marketing campaigns.
From helping you to build out an email journey to ideating on a social media campaign to planning out a longform blog post—AI is like having your own personal assistant to make all these tasks easier.
You can simply tell it what you want help with, and it will give you an intelligent output. As mentioned previously, you can even use specific AI tools to automate (or at least speed up) certain tasks and processes from managing social media to copywriting.
For example, I often use AI to help write up outlines for blog content. I can tell it the SEO keyword we’re trying to target, and tools like ChatGPT or Neil Patel’s AI Writer can come up with a suggested outline, which you can further ask it to expand upon. Alternatively, you can come up with your own outline and then feed it into the AI tool, and it will spin up some suggested paragraph content.
Note from the example above that the content produced by the AI tools should not be published as is, but should be heavily edited to make for the best reader experience (which we’ll discuss more throughout this article). However, this process serves as an example to demonstrate how AI can be used as a helpful tool in streamlining your marketing processes.
One significant potential benefit of AI marketing is the ability to gain deeper customer insights to help you as a marketer deliver highly personalized experiences.
AI algorithms can analyze vast amounts of customer data, including demographics, behaviors, interactions, and preferences, to create detailed customer profiles.
This comprehensive understanding of individual customers could allow you to segment audiences more effectively and deliver messaging tailored to customers’ specific needs and preferences.
But the potential opportunity goes even further. By analyzing historical data and customer behavior patterns, AI could identify hidden segments and micro-segments within a broader target audience—to help you really speak to your audience.
(Because we all know how important data is to marketing!)
Related to the concept of streamlining process is the benefit of scalability. With all the data processing, automation, and ideation capabilities, AI becomes a highly efficient tool to help you get more done, more quickly.
Being able to speed up your processes gives you more room to ramp up and scale your marketing efforts.
And one of the best parts about all of this is that AI tools are (currently) inexpensive and sometimes even free. So you get all of this benefit with little risk involved. AI helps businesses achieve higher productivity, reduce operational costs, and allocate resources more effectively.
By harnessing the benefits of AI marketing, businesses can transform their marketing efforts. In fact, embracing AI marketing is no longer a luxury but is almost a necessity for businesses looking to really thrive in today's digital era.
In other words, if you don’t embrace AI marketing, you’re missing out on some powerful opportunities.
The potential uses for AI in marketing are numerous. But here are just a few ideas to help get you thinking (we’ve touched on some of this already but now we’ll go more in-depth).
Let’s say you have a specific marketing campaign that you want to implement.
As an example, at Mobile Text Alerts we recently developed an integration that allows people to automatically transfer over their account data from another SMS provider that’s going out of business (Zipwhip). Since we have this new capability for easy transferring, and since Zipwhip customers need a new SMS provider, we decided we wanted to engage in a campaign to reach out to Zipwhip users.
One aspect of this campaign is to create social media posts. So we asked AI to generate a plan for making one social post per month until Zipwhip shuts down. AI then created a series of suggested social media content and graphic ideas for us to evaluate.
You can engage in this kind of ideation for any kind of campaign you’re running. And you can be as high-level or as granular as you’d like. In our Zipwhip example, for instance, instead of zeroing in on social media, we could have asked AI to general an entire campaign plan for Zipwhip, including email, SMS, social, and longform content.
TIP: One observation in regards to AI is that sometimes the more granular your needs are, the more high quality the output is. Specific requests can sometimes give you results that don’t need as much editing.
Another aspect of all of this is that, as mentioned, AI enables marketers to analyze customer behavior in depth and make predictions about future actions.
AI uses “machine learning algorithms.” Through these algorithms, these tools can help marketers identify patterns, trends, and correlations within customer data. AI can analyze these other data points to gain insights into customer preferences, interests, and purchase intent.
All of this information can help you make more data-informed decisions—instead of building marketing campaigns based on hunches (although hunches do have their place) and inconclusive data.
AI is all kinds of useful when it comes to helping you create content.
Admittedly, some of the content AI generates is less-than-stellar—particularly when it comes to text-to-voice readings or graphics. (Let’s face it—AI avatars are a bit creepy.) But many of its suggestions and outputs can be extremely helpful.
Struggling with email content? Ask AI to give you some ideas to get your juices flowing.
Is your SMS marketing content too long? Ask AI to help you shorten it to the key points.
Want to quickly turn your blog post script into a voiceover? Use AI voices (just try to find one that sounds the least robotic).
And again, sometimes the more granular your request can be, the better output you can get from your AI tool (especially when it comes to content creation). For example, use AI to help you find a good opening hook or subject line for your email rather than expecting it to write the entire email successfully.
The bottom line is that AI can really do a lot to help speed up your marketing content creation process.
Whether you realize it or not, if you’re like millions of Americans, you’ve actually benefited from the power of AI for a while now through certain chatbots and through virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa.
AI-driven chatbots and virtual assistants have transformed customer interactions and support functions. While some chatbots only provide canned automated responses, other chatbots apply actual AI technology to help answer customer inquiries.
These chatbots can handle routine questions, provide product recommendations, assist with purchases, and even resolve basic issues, freeing up human support agents for more complex tasks.
Although this application of AI into business is more customer service-oriented than marketing-oriented, offering chatbots or “virtual assistants” to your customers and prospects is a marketing-level decision you can consider, in regards to how you present your business to the market.
“Social listening” refers to monitoring all of social media for certain keywords related to your brand.
One of the ideas behind social listening is that being on top of the conversations that are happening surrounding your market allows you to speak to the needs, desires, and pain points of your prospects and customers.
This is another potential use of AI: social listening tools.
AI can monitor and analyze social media conversations to gain insights into customer sentiment, and market trends. Natural Language Processing algorithms used by AI tools enable businesses to track mentions, hashtags, and comments across various social media platforms.
The information you can pull from this “AI listening” can help you understand customer opinions, respond to feedback, and identify emerging trends or potential issues.
By using AI for social media listening and sentiment analysis, you can have even more data to drive your marketing decisions.
Of course, this is just a sample of different ways you can use AI for marketing. If there are any of these strategies you haven’t implemented yet, pick one or two to try out now.
All of this talk about AI marketing sounds great, right?
Yet it’s all a bit overwhelming.
There’s almost too much potential and too many tools and too many considerations that it’s hard to even know what to do.
Here are a few tips to help you consider next steps.
You can’t do everything at once. If you try, you’ll just be scrambling around getting nothing much really accomplished.
So you’ll need to prioritize what you want to try, and implement things one step at a time.
In order to do that, as with any marketing efforts, you can determine your most important goals first. And determining your highest priority goals will help give you direction.
Do you primarily want to increase customer engagement? To improve conversion rates? To optimize marketing processes? To ramp up your video creation strategy?
You can nail down one or two goals at first, and then tackle the other goals later.
Clear goals will help guide your strategy and measure success. Consider both short-term and long-term objectives to create a roadmap for AI implementation.
Once you’ve determined your highest priority goals, evaluate which tool(s) you’d like to try in order to help you achieve that goal.
You can use the list I’ll mention below as a starting point.
Is your goal to optimize your marketing processes? Consider whether using ChatGPT or Jasper could help speed up your copywriting or help unblock the brainstorming phase.
Is your goal to ramp up your video creation strategy? Consider whether ZebraCat could help you quickly whip up some videos, or whether Soundful could help you save time in finding the right music to go with your videos.
Sure, you can read reviews and ask for word-of-mouth advice. But the only real way to truly test these tools is to try them out for yourself—and most of them have a free trial offering (or in some cases an always-free option).
Now keep in mind that it can take time to get to know these tools and feel comfortable using them. So you may find when you first start using something, it won’t actually save time because you’re not getting the kinds of outputs you’re looking for.
But the more you get to use these tools, the more you’ll get a feel for the best ways to use them—and the more likely you’ll see how potentially useful they can be.
As you’re testing these AI solutions, don’t forget that they are simply tools. Like any other tools, they’re something that humans use to help accomplish tasks.
The tools do not replace the humans who use them. In fact, tools can malfunction or work in ways that you don’t expect or intend.
A tool can be very helpful, but it can’t get your job done for you. The tool doesn’t have creativity and real-life experience.
For example, if you rely too much on AI to help write your copy, you’re going to end up sounding repetitive and robotic.
Case in point: as I was using AI to help me in ideating and writing this article, it was particularly helpful in fleshing out an outline of the article. But the specific sentences it provided in its outputs often repeated similar points in different ways throughout, and just didn’t sound like a real human wrote them. I took what was helpful in the outputs the AI tool gave me, but I recognized that it was my job to put together an article that was useful, comprehensive, and engaging for readers—something the AI tool can’t fully do.
So while you shouldn’t discount the power and potential of AI, you also shouldn’t overestimate its power. At this point in AI history, AI still needs you to oversee and inject humanness into its efforts.
After you’ve used your AI tool for a while, you’ll have a better feel for whether it’s been helpful for you to accomplish your goals.
You can consider things like, “Has this helped speed up processes? Has it helped give us better ideas? Has it helped unblock brainstorming? Has it helped us make better decisions?”
You may find that certain tools are more helpful than others. For example, in regards to creating content, I personally find ChatGPT to be so helpful that other content tools like Jasper aren’t necessary. But you may find that you like using Jasper better.
Or I personally don’t think avatar tools like Synthesia are at a point yet in which they make sense for our business. But your business may be at a different point and you may find it incredibly helpful.
You can decide for yourself which tools you personally find to be helpful and which tools you should set aside.
Follow these “first-step” tips for implementing AI marketing to help you get started in determining which AI tools will be most useful for your business.
So AI obviously has amazing potential. It’s definitely all the rage. But there are so many tools out there. Which ones are best for marketing?
Here’s a list of some of the available marketing tools. You can try out the tools that look interesting to you and see which ones work the best for your business.
Here are some AI tools on the market for general use.
ChatGPT (by OpenAI) needs no explanation, with an apparent record-breaking estimated user base of over 100 million.
And there’s good reason why it’s so popular!
ChatGPT is incredibly user-friendly and useful as a tool to create all kinds of outputs for virtually endless marketing applications.
(Copy, strategy, brainstorm, creative ideas, landing page structure—you name it.)
Just type in your requests into the chat box and you’ll get outputs within seconds.
Plus, it’s free!
AutoGPT is another chatbot along the lines of ChatGPT.
However, one difference is that AutoGPT is designed to be able to anticipate the next steps that the user needs without requiring prompts.
In addition to ChatGPT, there are many other AI tools you can use to help you create marketing copy.
Here are a couple of those.
Jasper is arguably the most popular AI tool for generating copy.
(It even has 4.7 stars on G2.)
Copy.ai offers services similar to Jasper.
They do have a free plan (allowing 2,000 words per month) which could be helpful if you just want to use it occasionally.
Neil Patel’s AI Writer is primarily focused on longform SEO-centric content.
There are a few image creation AI tools out there. These tools will accept your requests for certain types of images and will automatically create those images based on your prompts.
Admittedly, the image creation AI doesn’t always give the best results. But the outputs that it can give are sometimes pretty remarkable, and their effectiveness will only improve as time goes on.
Like ChatGPT, DALL-E 2 was created by OpenAI.
In addition to image creation, DALL-E 2 can also:
Using Canva’s AI tools especially makes sense if you’re already familiar with and are using Canva as an image design tool for your marketing efforts.
Some video-centric AI tools can create lifelike or animated avatars for you to use in your marketing videos, while others can create entire videos.
Avatars are lifelike representations of people for use in videos. They can “read” content you input, and the AI tool tries to match their mouth movements with the audio content.
I mentioned previously how AI avatars are a bit creepy, and I still think it’s true. However, avatar generation tools like Synthesia are still pretty amazing when you think about it.
And if you can get past the uncanny valley, there really are a lot of potential uses for marketing.
If you think human-like avatars are problematic, another option is animated avatars.
Steve.ai is one tool that allows you to create videos with these kinds of cartoon-looking avatars.
In contrast to video tools that primarily allow you to create avatars, ZebraCat allows you to generate entire shortform videos.
It not only pulls in stock footage but also selects music to best match your video goals.
Audio-centric AI tools can help generate text-to-speech that sounds less robotic than text-to-speech tools of old. Some tools can also generate music based on prompts.
While an astute listener can tell that the synthesized voices don’t always sound quite right, some of the voices sound quite amazingly real.
Soundful allows you to generate background music for videos or voiceovers.
You can give it prompts based on how you’d like the music to sound, and see what it comes up with.
AI provides an amazing opportunity to get your data analyzed for you. Data analysis tools can give you insights from your data, and can present those insights in easy-to-understand ways.
Polymer is a tool that allows you to create dashboards and visualizations so that you can quickly see and present your data in an easy-to-consume format.
Another data analytics platform, Tableau allows you to manage and ask questions in regards to your data, so that you can draw informed conclusions.
With Emplifi Listening, you can engage in “social listening” to analyze data relevant to your business not only across social media but also across news sites and blogs.
Numerous.ai is a plugin that connects ChatGPT into Google Sheets or Excel.
This kind of tool could open up a lot of possibilities for what you can do within your spreadsheet data, including categorizing, writing text, and generating formulas.
As an SMS marketing company, we’d be remiss not to make a few comments about using AI in your SMS efforts.
Here are a few ways you can implement AI for SMS marketing.
AI can be a valuable tool for helping you develop your overall SMS marketing strategy.
It can give you ideas for how often (and when) you should send texts, as well as what kinds of messages you should send.
You can use simple tools like ChatGPT or our in-house SmartSMS Suggest to help you generate your specific SMS copy. Ask it to write an SMS message (or a series of messages) with the goals you’re looking for and see what it comes up with.
As mentioned previously, you’ll want to evaluate and “inject humanness” into the output (or you may not like the output at all and scrap it completely), but at the very least, this can help you brainstorm content ideas.
Sending SMS longer than 160 characters can cost more to your bottom line. In addition, it’s generally recommended to keep SMS messages short and concise.
But keeping your marketing copy under 160 characters is a challenge. You can save time by asking AI to shorten your message for you.
(In fact, Mobile Text Alerts actually has an AI shortener tool that can automatically shorten your texts for you.)
If you want to include graphics in your text campaigns, AI can help you brainstorm what sort of images to include.
If the images are simple enough, AI tools can also actually generate suggested images for you. (See our SmartSMS Image Generator.)
It’s no longer accurate to say that AI marketing is the way of the future. In reality, it’s the way of now.
So grab hold of one or two of the ideas in this article and see how you can incorporate them into your own marketing processes.
And press on into the future, brave marketer.
You can also join our SmartSMS wait list to be the first to know when new AI solutions are developed for the SMS platform. Exciting updates are coming!
Thanks to Simon Hammer and Orendael Miller for contributing to this article.
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