Artificial intelligence is transforming the way marketing teams work, opening doors to better use of all the data we’re collecting and the creation of more personalized content. Paul Roetzer is founder and CEO of PR 20/20, a B2B content marketing agency, and author of “The Marketing Performance Blueprint.” At his recent Content Marketing World session, he gave marketers an overview of how to use AI technology to upgrade their content processes and get a leg up on the competition.
After the presentation, Roetzer expanded on the common misconceptions he hears about AI and marketing, and his advice for marketers who want to begin experimenting with AI in their work.
Don’t Assume It’s Too Late to Dive into AI
Roetzer says that marketers who are just starting to pay attention to AI may feel overwhelmed or that they’ve fallen behind and are missing out. “The natural hype cycle that comes with any disruptive technology can create the impression that things are further along than they really are,” he notes.
“The reality is that we’re just at the very beginning. While the hype around marketing AI is growing fast, the technology in many cases actually isn’t that ‘intelligent’ yet.”
His advice for marketers: Commit to learning about AI and seek opportunities to integrate AI-powered tools.
Upgrade Your Current AI Knowledge
Roetzer points to a long list of free and affordable resources for marketers. His team built the Marketing AI Institute, a hub of information about the intersection of AI and marketing, in part to make AI more approachable and actionable.
If the basic vocabulary about AI and machine learning has you scratching your head (what does “weak AI” mean?), browse this glossary of the most important terms.
If you work at a marketing agency, Paul wrote a specific guide for how agencies can get a jump on the latest trends in AI.
To go even deeper, consider taking an online course on AI. Coursera, Udemy and Udacity all offer AI courses taught by top AI researchers and experts.
Find a Way to Experiment with AI
At Content Marketing World, Roetzer suggested that every marketer find a single use case to begin experimenting with AI. When asked for an example of where to start, he pointed toward one specific category of AI: personalization.
“We’ve developed a framework that we call the 5 P’s of AI: planning, production, personalization, promotion and performance. We then break each of those categories into use cases. Many of the AI-powered tools being built fall into the personalization category,” he said. “In particular, look at the personalization of content recommendations on your website. There are a number of solutions that can be installed into a third-party CMS to enable this capability, or your CMS provider may have built-in machine learning that intelligently alters content recommendations at an individual user level.”
Look to Other Brands for Inspiration
On his blog, Roetzer outlines five ways that brands are using AI to improve marketing results:
- Create content at scale: Brands are automating the content creation process, using natural language generation (NLG), an AI technology that automatically creates narratives from structured data sets.
- Create better-performing content: Online publishers are using AI vendors to figure out which content will be most successful with hyper-targeted groups, and using that insight to create and deliver the right content.
- Improve online ad performance: Companies like Harley-Davidson are rethinking the way they manage online ads, replacing human decision-making with proven algorithms.
- Predict which marketing efforts will be successful: Brands like Citrix are using customer psychographic data to improve conversions.
- Extract actionable insights from data: AI sounds like another layer of data, and no marketer is interested in adding to the mountain of data, but Roetzer’s team says that AI is actually helpful in separating the most actionable data from all the noise. For example, who wouldn’t love help sorting through monthly data from Google Analytics? The AI platform PaveAI processes Google Analytics data and turns it into actionable written reports with key insights.
Roetzer’s presentation was all about the potential of AI, and the need for marketers to start learning about opportunities and possibilities now: “The marketers who start learning about and experimenting with AI now will have a competitive advantage in the months and years to come.”