While artificial intelligence was the work of science fiction only a few decades ago, many of us now interact with AI technology on a day-to-day basis. Just think about the last time you listened to a curated playlist on Spotify or asked Siri to set a kitchen timer—that’s all AI in action.
Needless to say, AI plays a big role in our professional lives, too. In fact, if you’re reading this blog, then chances are that you’re looking to take advantage of AI to either help you do more or squeeze more return on investment (ROI) out of your business’ marketing efforts. So without further ado, let’s dive into the benefits, challenges and tools of AI marketing.
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What is AI marketing?
In the broadest terms, artificial intelligence (AI) marketing is a marketing method that uses advanced computing to analyze data and better understand your target customers. AI has proven useful for analyzing customer behavior and providing insights that can enable you to communicate better across all of your different marketing channels.
Plenty of professionals have gone all-in on embracing the maximized efficiency of this new technology. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, 61.4% of marketers currently use AI in their marketing activities, with 71.2% believing that AI can outperform humans at their jobs. More than half—54.5%—believe that AI is likely to greatly enhance their marketing efforts overall.
How AI is used in marketing today
In the realm of digital marketing, AI is being used to create, streamline and improve website copy on a large scale. For example, Wix’s AI text creator lets you generate product descriptions, about pages, FAQs and even newsletters with a few simple prompts.
An effective small business marketing strategy means reaching your target audience in the most effective way possible using the fewest resources possible. AI marketing can replace manual guesswork and help your business use your already-existing customer data more efficiently, satisfying this requirement perfectly.
Generative AI can also automate otherwise tedious marketing tasks like creating different versions of ad copy for various social profiles.
Some additional ways you can use AI to optimize your small business marketing efforts include:
Providing real-time product suggestions based on previous customer interactions
Using programmatic ads to help maximize media planning efforts
Automatically pricing items based on supply and demand data to boost sales
The benefits and challenges of AI marketing
There are pros and cons to all new technologies, and AI marketing is no different. The best way to employ artificial intelligence in your marketing efforts is to understand the benefits and challenges it brings to the table.
Benefits of AI marketing
AI benefits small businesses by optimizing their marketing strategies to move faster and more efficiently.
“When people come to a small business, they come for a specific reason,” says Shachaf Rodberg, researcher and curator at Wix who works to inspire internal teams with industry news and marketing trends. “Any type of marketing tool will automate manual tasks and allow you to focus on talking with people and creating a good customer experience. You can use AI to scale yourself as a person when you don’t have a large budget.”
What else can AI marketing tools do for you? Some additional benefits include:
Saves time: 97% of small businesses in an Unbounce survey said that AI helps them save a significant amount of time on marketing tasks. Imagine, for example, using generative AI to write unique product descriptions for hundreds of items in an online store. This task would have taken days—if not weeks—to accomplish manually, versus seconds with AI.
Increases your return on investment (ROI): AI marketing tools increase ROI by reducing the time you spend on repetitive tasks. You can create marketing materials more quickly, which makes your message more relevant, and allows you to optimize your campaigns more efficiently.
Accelerates revenue growth: Per the Unbounce survey, 82% of small businesses claim that AI marketing tools help accelerate their revenue growth. AI can help you create more effective blog outlines, suggest copy for social media posts, transcribe video and audio content, and allow you to launch campaigns more quickly.
Improve customer experience: One of the most promising functions of AI marketing is the ability to analyze large volumes of customer data. This data can be used to understand your customers’ preferences, detect changes in behavior and make personalized recommendations for products and content. All of this contributes to creating a better customer experience—and much of this can be automated.
Remain competitive: AI can also help your business become more competitive using programmatic ads and cutting-edge media. Small businesses traditionally don’t have the time or resources to compete with the big brands in this capacity. Now, you can use tools like Wix’s AI text creator to generate newsletter copy, or Synthesia.io to create realistic talking-head avatar videos from text. It’s a way to keep your marketing ideas fresh.
Challenges of AI marketing
While AI marketing can benefit your business, it’s not always a plug-and-play option. You’ll still need to devote training, time and financial resources to make sure you’re getting the best outcome in any type of marketing initiative.
Here are some of the challenges you may face when implementing AI marketing solutions:
Privacy: Privacy can be an ongoing challenge since you need to confirm that you have permission to share customer information with the third-party tools in an ethical and private form. You should create a system of best practices within your business to ensure that customer data is processed, analyzed and shared in a secure manner.
Content quality: The quality of content generated by AI tools might not always align with your brand's voice or resonate with your target audience. Creating unique and custom content requires human oversight and editing. It’s also important to validate that all content created by an AI tool isn’t plagiarized and is accurate, since AI tools have been known to “hallucinate” (e.g., make up statistics, links, facts and stories.) CEO of OpenAI, Sam Altman, even called this out while speaking to the Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology Delhi in 2023. “I probably trust the answers that come out of ChatGPT the least of anybody on Earth,” Altman said.
Bias: CMSWire reports that because AI tools use already-existing data, it’s likely they will reproduce any inherent bias in the dataset, be that racial, gender, ethnic or other social inequality. You’ll thereby need to be vigilant in checking that your AI-generated content is not assuming these biases.
Customer adoption: It may make time for customers to acclimate to any customer-facing marketing tools. While some customers may feel uneasy about the shift at first, Shachaf says as the quality of AI improves, and these tools are more embedded in the culture, it’s likely that more people will learn to live with them. The first step towards that, he says, is simply to disclose to the customer that AI technology is assisting the interaction. “Human behavior doesn’t change: technology can change, tools can change, but humans are basically the same,” Shachaf says.
Disruption to workflow: Implementing AI tools can sometimes disrupt established workflows, necessitating adjustments and adaptations. If you’re a one-person business, then it’s easy to adjust your processes to new platforms and tools—but for larger businesses, it’s important you train and prepare your team to ensure that you’re using all AI tools effectively.
What’s next for AI in marketing?
AI marketing may have started out the year as a trend, but it's rapidly becoming a necessity for businesses of all types. The staggering potential of generative AI tools has given many of us the perfect recipe for creating effective marketing campaigns quickly, efficiently and confidently.
And, AI is constantly evolving. So what do we see looking ahead?
More natural, intelligent text generation: AI-generated text can fall into the rut of being repetitive, predictable and formulaic. As the various generative AI platforms refine their algorithms and see widespread use, we expect to see more natural use of language, common sense and opinion in the text being created.
More originality in media assets: Like text, generative AI often produces images, artwork, sound or videos that seem repetitive or off-base. As these platforms continue to evolve and develop a much larger pool of source material, we expect this to become nothing more than a growing pain.
Continued need for human involvement: AI is not here to replace us human marketers; it’s here to help. Per the Influencer Marketing Hub survey cited earlier, 42.2% of survey respondents believe that if AI took over marketing operations completely, high-level strategy and decision-making would still require human oversight.
AI will continue transforming website creation: Wix has a long history of AI implementation dating back to 2016. Now, it’s ushering in the next generation of how to make a website with the upcoming AI site generator. This AI website builder can generate an entire website for you from scratch—text, design, images and all—based on a few simple prompts. “We’re turning the corner on something amazing, and we’re only at the beginning of how AI will transform Wix and the website-building experience,” says Wix CEO Avishai Abrahami.
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