There’s no question that marketing and sales teams will increasingly use AI technology for creating and delivering content. It will be disruptive, yes, but it’s not about replacement. It’s about evolving the way companies connect with their customers.
We’ve talked about the fear that AI is going to take over scores of jobs, leaving humans in jobless limbo (understanding, to be sure, but hugely overblown). We’ve also addressed the fact that AI in a lot of ways is imperfect, and requires human translators to use it in a truly effective way. This balance of AI and human intelligence is even more important in the current time we live in.
The brands that are doing the best marketing/outreach right now in the time of COVID-19 are those that understand their target audience’s fear and struggle, not just right now with the world turned upside down, but all the time.
These brands are being steered by marketing experts who know how to operate with compassion and empathy.
AI can’t come up with that yet, but AI can collect and aggregate data at lightning speed to help human marketers make decisions about their outreach. It’s one thing to decide to be compassionate and empathetic in messaging. It’s an entirely different thing to do so effectively, addressing the top pain points of your audience.
That’s where AI comes in.
Putting AI to work: disruptive but effective
The focus of marketing and sales leaders right now is to recover from lost revenue, while working with slashed budgets and furloughed or laid off employees.
This is tough. It means doing more with less. AI helps with that, automating and streamlining tasks that drive efficiencies and data-driven insights for every step of marketing and the buyer’s journey.
Even before COVID-19, marketers have already recognized the disruptive force of AI. It won’t replace marketers and sales reps — their expertise are still the brains we need, not the artificial kind — but AI will change roles forever, some becoming redundant as AI and martech prove themselves the better, faster, and cheaper solution.
You need empathy, yes. You need data, too.
The reality is that we no longer face automation — we’re in it. Eschewing sales and marketing automation means getting left behind.
In the current pandemic situation, it’s more important than ever for organizations to recognize the importance of human teams, and for human teams to recognize the brilliance of employing AI to create and deliver content on a solid foundation of data-driven insights.
In late 2018, Marketing AI Institute reported on the Top 25 Use Cases for Marketing AI. It’s not surprising that the most valued uses are those that involve data. And with goodwill marketing and micro-moments on the rise, this is data utilization that still applies in 2020 and beyond.
One day, even when a COVID-19 vaccine has made the world a safer place once again, brands can’t afford to publish tone-deaf messaging. We’ve just lived through a huge blip in history, and just like WWII did, it will change marketing and sales forever.
The new normal will be tinged with struggle and suffering for a good long while. What brands need to do is stay on top of how their customers’ needs/pain points evolve, so they can continuously modify their messaging with empathy and relevance.
You need data for that. And while human intelligence supplies the charismatic (and empathetic) element(s), AI can supply the data.
Some marketers are still bewildered about where to push their AI to its full potential. It’s an understandable dilemma especially in the face of colleagues whose jobs might be on the line. But now’s the time to streamline marketing workflows and train people to use AI.
These top 10 use cases (for marketing alone!) should be more than enough to give you ideas on where to start:
- SWOT analysis of existing online content
- Choosing keywords and topic clusters for content optimization
- Constructing buyer personas based on needs, goals, intent and behavior.
- Data-driven content
- Insights into top-performing content and campaigns
- ROI measurement by channel and campaign (and overall)
- Behavior-based and lookalike audience targeting
- Website content optimization search engines
- Real-time and highly-targeted content recommendations for users
- Content assessment and development with A/B testing
The above insights allow human marketing teams to focus on creating the messaging and content that addresses the true pulse of customers.
Automation for customer experience and customer retention
The true pulse of customers are concentrated in micro-moments, which only underlines customer experience and the absolute requirement for our content to be there in those moments.
With the data it collects and turns into insights, AI helps marketing teams understand and predict customer behavior, and plan their content around these patterns for the most effective campaigns and messaging at every touchpoint.
Seven of the top 10 use cases for AI listed above deal with content marketing, and no wonder, because people will always be looking at content. Right now while we’re all at home, we’re even more exposed to content and how brands talk to us across channels.
Automation works so that you’re always putting the right content to the right audiences at the right time. Customers are even more keen-eyed about your responsiveness and proactiveness now. You need to connect with them and solve their problems, triggering awareness of those problems along with the solutions you offer.
And you don’t stop there. AI’s insights for content marketing helps you continue to provide valuable and relevant content to not only satisfy but retain customers.
- Personalization – Make your customers feel like family, using their data for personalized recommendations and quicker checkout.
- Efficient assistance – Chatbots provide targeted, friendly, and timely information when your customers need them. Human teams can follow up with support tickets where chatbots don’t suffice for the customer’s concerns.
All of us have gotten used to a certain level of content outreach and responsiveness. These strategies for customer satisfaction and retention are impossible without automation.