[column] Artificial intelligence for beginners

Most modern marketers work with a large number of tools that make their tasks a lot more effective and strategic.

Did you know that research from The Stamford Firm showed a 270% growth in the use of AI in marketing? And that, according to PwC, more than 72% of (US) executives believe AI is indispensable for business development? This is impressive and this growth seems to continue this year. Exciting times with many new possibilities.

What is AI?

In short, AI is about computers that perform human tasks. The aim of AI developers is to develop systems in such a way that they think exactly like humans. By means of “machine learning”, certain systems are now able to improve themselves more and more, so that they learn to work more precisely and indeed come closer to carrying out human actions.

However, most AI systems are not that far yet. Many AI tools currently operate based on human thinking and based on pre-set rules. Think for example of the chatbot, the robot vacuum cleaner or Siri or Echo.

Intimidated by AI

AI is still a new concept for many. The application of this seems complicated and therefore sometimes scares entrepreneurs and marketers somewhat. And that, while the use of this is now essential to really grow a company. After all, the competitor does it too – and you don’t want to lag behind.

“AI isn’t simply another buzzword; it absolutely has a place in marketing technology and will yield substantial benefits. We’ve arrived at the inflection point where legitimate AI-powered marketing solutions align with marketers’ readiness. To prepare for the future of marketing, brands need to advance their understanding of AI and start testing solutions today. “- Forbes, Forrester VP Joe Stanhope.

To show you that AI can not be complicated and useful, we have listed 4 accessible AI tips in this blog.

With these tips, we hope to make AI practical and accessible, and to show how companies with less technical knowledge can still stay up-to-date with the latest marketing techniques.

Are you a marketer? Then these tips may help you implement the first AI functions at a new company. Have you started working on a marketing strategy for your own company? Then we hope that this blog helps you successfully implement the first AI steps.

  1. Social listening

A nice first example of an AI technology that fits within almost every marketing strategy is “social listening”.

Years ago, marketers and business owners wondered what was being said about their company. Were there any complaints on Twitter? Was there any hints on Facebook that they could use to improve their business or product? Or were questions asked on social media that were overlooked?

Marketers therefore spent hours scouring social media and online forums looking for mentions of their brand, industry, product or competitor. Hoping to get interesting information from there, which often worked but took way too much time.

Using AI tools, the entire internet can now be searched in seconds for a company name or keyword. All you have to do is enter a keyword and a tool gives you a neat overview of everything that happens online around this word. Easy and extremely valuable for any company.

In recent years we have seen a number of handy tools that are easy to use and do not require extensive technical knowledge. Some nice examples are Brand24, Mention and Brandwatch (slightly more expensive). Advanced AI, accessible to everyone.

Using AI tools, the entire internet can now be searched in seconds for a company name or keyword

  1. Email marketing

Most companies use email marketing. They collect the email addresses of their customers and leads and regularly forward updates and offers.

This generally works well, but presents a number of challenges. This way you can never be sure that all your contacts are waiting for your emails. Are you sending an offer? Then this will come at just the right time for some, but others will not be ready for a purchase at all. After all, everyone is at a different time in the buyer journey, and it is difficult to time your emails so that they are well received by everyone.

Fortunately, AI techniques have now been developed that can help marketers with this timing. With automated campaigns, you can now calculate, based on customer data, who can best approach you with your emails. These techniques use information such as previous purchases, interests and browsing behavior on the internet.

In addition, AI tools can calculate which type of content in your emails yields the most conversions. And this also saves a lot of manual analysis.

Most companies will do well with MailChimp (not built on AI, but uses AI functions) or Drip (aimed at e-commerce shops). And we expect prices to only go down in the coming years, while automated email campaigns will become the norm.

  1. Design

A final and perhaps less obvious way in which companies can use AI is in their design. Years ago, a video editor or designer took days to assemble a video. The same was true for logo design or for making simple drawings or figures.

Meanwhile, AI has also made design much more accessible to marketers and companies. No extensive design training is required to create simple logos, images and videos. For example, AI tools can now turn quick doodles into neat little figures, assemble videos based on just a little text, and design logos based on style and color preferences. All within a few seconds, and often for free.

Some great tools to check out are Lumen5, Designhill and Google AutoDraw. (See also video Lumen below)

A marketing strategy that includes social listening, automated email marketing, AI-driven analytics and beautiful design will ensure good progress in awareness and sales

  1. Analytics

Whether you are aware of this as a company or not all companies perish in the data. Most organizations use dozens of tools, all of which yield certain results (data). These are often stored in the form of scripts, CSV documents or other long lists.

But what can you do with this data? Years ago, before the time of the AI ​​analysis tools, these data were often ignored or analysts spent days performing calculations.

This is no longer necessary. Thanks to the development of AI-driven analysis tools, all this data can now be processed at lightning speed and (in the case of textual data) even converted into simple, understandable sentences (Natural Language). This suddenly makes performing valuable analyzes much easier.

For example, AI tools can now go through thousands of leads and determine which are most valuable, calculate whether an experiment was successful, which campaigns yield the most, how customers (likely) will respond to certain actions, and how best to approach different groups of leads ( segmentation).

AI analyzes are also becoming the norm within social media marketing. Useful tools, such as Unmetric, calculate exactly what works and what does not work on social media and how the results of the competitor can be included in a future strategy.

The number of AI-driven marketing analysis tools seems infinite nowadays, but for many, Google Analytics (with the Google Analytics Intelligence platform to convert the analyzes into “natural language”) will be the most complete and accessible. Crayon is a nice tool for extensive analysis of the competition and trends, but there is a price tag.

Conclusion: AI is interesting

Of course, the above options are just a selection of all tasks that can be performed by AI. Chatbots, dynamic prices, extensive personalization, AI-driven content generation and AI-driven PPC ads can also be interesting for companies that are open to more AI applications.

The above four applications are a good start for companies with less technical knowledge or less budget.

This blog was written by Francisca Zimmermann, content marketer at Leapforce.

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