By Carl Henderson, Social Media and Content Marketing Manager, Salesforce
Increasingly, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is giving marketers a helping hand – reducing manual workloads, and enabling them to make rapid personalisation decisions, at scale, to improve their targeting.
It’s incredibly useful – but understandably, it has caused some to wonder whether the benefits of artificial intelligence will one day come at a risk to their jobs.
The folks at Salesforce don’t think marketers would have much to worry about.
It’s true, AI is going to take over certain aspects of marketing. However, it’s about supplementing existing roles and processes to make them better – more intelligent and insightful.
As Larry Kotch of Brainbroker put it: “These things don’t destroy jobs, they just change what jobs are needed.”
Take Salesforce Einstein for example. Its AI-powered predictive analytics traces and records customers’ past behaviour, allowing marketers to personalise messaging – and then double down on what worked with lookalike customers.
The better AI gets, the better personalisation marketing can offer – so messages are more relevant and targeted, with less wastage. The result: higher return, lower spend.
Drawbacks and Benefits of AI in Marketing
Jim Sinai, VP of Product Marketing for Salesforce Einstein, told AI Business that artificial intelligence is now for everyone:
“We’ve done the heavy lifting to remove the complexity of AI and make it accessible to companies of all sizes and industries. Now, our users across sales, service, marketing, commerce, and more can deliver smarter, more productive and predictive experiences to their customers with Einstein embedded directly into every cloud.”
But AI isn’t a silver bullet – and marketers need to balance the pros and cons for each possible use:
Advantages of AI in marketing
- Providing checks and balances: we all make mistakes from time to time, that’s just human nature. Assuming the correct processes are already in place, AI can eliminate error and improve your overall accuracy.
- Quick decision making: once AI has learned how to carry out the day-to-day work and identified patterns in behaviour, systems can then begin to make decisions based on pre-determined criteria.
- Test and learn: building on its ability to think and act quicker, AI can be used to run multiple tests at any given time, while harvesting real-time data to continually influence the testing cycle – optimising your marketing as it goes.
- Dealing with the ordinary: in theory, the more you can delegate your most mundane marketing tasks to a machine, the more space you’ll have to be creative, and devise campaigns that connect on a human level.
Limitations of AI in marketing
- It’s no match for human interaction: no matter how sophisticated AI becomes, there will always be the need for human-to-human communication to supplement AI technology. You’ll still need to understand what makes people tick – and craft the messages that will tempt them to respond.
- Beware putting your eggs in one basket: while the benefits of artificial intelligence are clear, it’s important not to completely rely on the technology, but for AI to complement existing processes.
The Power of Relevance: AI Decision-Making in Action
It’s understandable if marketers are still getting to grips with how best to use AI. The possibilities are literally endless – it’s a blank sheet of paper, and it seems like there are few examples to follow. But actually, inspiration is everywhere.
Narrative Science states that 44% of executives believe AI’s most important benefit is decision making. By targeting audiences with microscopic granularity, organisations can give their customers exactly what they want.
You’ll have experienced it yourself, if you’ve bought anything from Amazon.
According to McKinsey, 35% of Amazon.com’s revenue is generated by its recommendation engine – a vast figure for an organisation that enjoys continuous positive growth year-on-year. It shows the power of analysing data to predict what your customer wants, and offering it to them – and that’s one of the things AI does best.
Can AI align Sales and Marketing for Good?
Forrester has already predicted that businesses who use AI insights to drive marketing will gain $1.2 trillion (approx RM 4.9 trillion) every year from those who don’t. But it doesn’t matter how well your AI provides messaging insights or turbocharges your lead generation, if the baton’s dropped between marketing and sales.
Sales and marketing have long since been the two great warring families within business. And the result is fumbled leads, unused materials, and lost opportunities.
For years, organisations have tried and failed to converge the two departments into one super group. But what if there was a unified system bridging the two? Where all data is unified and everyone is working to the same holistic view of each prospect, and what they need?
This is where Salesforce’s Einstein AI comes in. Because Einstein can bring sales and marketing data together and make sense of it all, it suddenly becomes a lot easier to understand which leads are genuinely qualified, which prospects are hot, and what materials sales really need.
We can’t promise you instant harmony, but it’s a start.
Improving the Marketing Experience through AI: Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola has one of the largest marketing budgets in the world. The team wanted to discover how Salesforce could help make their marketing a lot smarter, though the use of artificial intelligence.
Salesforce Einstein is helping Coca-Cola to refine its customer targeting through ‘end-point’ data collection – cookies, app usage, and promotional website usage.
Richard Socher, Salesforce’s chief scientist, explains: “We can use artificial intelligence to group different users based on a whole host of different patterns. All of that complexity – identifying different patterns, going through millions of marketing hypotheses to find these clusters and target the audience – it’s all simplified thanks to Einstein AI.”
For Coca-Cola, that means understanding how customers react, and why – and how those patterns vary all over the world. Knowing what works, and what doesn’t, makes marketing smarter.
AI Technology and Marketing – A Match Made in Heaven?
Marketers have little to fear from AI – research by Oxford University and Deloitte found that marketers were less likely to lose their job to automation compared to other workers – and there’s potentially much to gain.
According to Erik Devaney at Drift: “AI isn’t going to replace marketers and marketing teams, it’s going to make them more efficient.”
Stuart Russel, a computer scientist at the University of California, compares the way we’ll use AI to any other technological advance: “Everything that civilization offers is a product of our intelligence. AI provides a way to expand that intelligence along various dimensions, in much the same way that cranes allow us to carry hundreds of tons, airplanes allow us to move at hundreds of miles per hour, and telescopes allow us to see things trillions of miles away. AI systems can, if suitably designed, support much greater realisation of human values.”
Ultimately, marketing is about communicating with people – and AI can help us to amplify that. We’re looking forward to it.
The AI-enabled marketer will be able to:
- Leverage smart scoring to predict each customer’s likelihood to convert
- Use predictive intelligence to segment and build audiences based on likely future actions
- Automatically adapt the journey for each individual customer
- Deliver the best next product, content, or offer — every time
- Send messages at the right time, when a customer is most likely to engage
Article first appeared on the Salesforce Blog.
Lava is an authorised Salesforce Partner in Malaysia and has more than a decade of experience in cloud solutions which includes marketing automation, CRM implementation, change management, and consultation. We pride ourselves in not just being a CRM partner but in also understanding the needs of our customers and taking their business to the next level.