Embracing the AI Revolution in Marketing: Harnessing the Best of Both Worlds – Humans and Machines

By:  Andy Amaya, Platforms Lead, Social Media

AI is sliding into every corner of the marketing world shaking up the game in ways that go beyond just chatbots and automation – and we need to get comfortable with it. Brands and marketers, AI is our frenemy and it’s time to work it into your strategies. From customer experience to campaign management and generative content, AI is poised to transform shopping and marketing as we know it.

AI-Powered Bots & Virtual Pals Have Entered the Customer Support Chat

AI is scaling up customer experiences and satisfaction by giving customers round the-clock support, product recommendations, and enhancing user experiences across the web all while driving cost efficiencies for brands. A Salesforce survey shows that 90% of marketers use automation for customer interactions, while 88% employ AI to personalize customer journeys.

As consumers look to brands for personalized experiences, AI is here to provide real-time data analysis and insights into customer preferences so that brands can deliver bespoke experiences and recommendations. Stitch Fix is a leading example of how AI can be used to create personalized services for consumers from product descriptions and recommendations to trend forecasting all based on the 4.5 billion data signals their customers have provided through written feedback. In turn, this allows Stitch Fix to make smarter investment and partnership decisions to meet the demands of their customers.

Casper’s insomnobot exemplifies an audacious way of using AI to deliver personalized, emotional connections with consumers who deal with insomnia. It’s a classic chatbot that works using natural language processing and machine learning (think ChatGBT) in real-time to deliver human-like responses, bedtime stories, meditation, and even soothing exercises, keeping consumers company when they’re having a hard time falling asleep. It’s also a great way for Casper to amplify their brand story and marketing efforts while driving connections with consumers.

Brands that are getting comfortable with virtual assistants and chatbots are leveling up support and customization compared to the old-school FAQs or time-constrained helplines. While these bots keep things feeling human-like and are on the grind 24/7, they aren’t perfect. A survey found that 34% of consumers find chatbots helpful, but 43% say there’s room to level up.

The future of customer service has AI written all over it, but it needs more TLC and human oversight to ensure tools are built with unbiased data, empathy, transparency, and fairness as they evolve and generate results that benefit the customer. For brands and marketers, AI adoption will be key to gain a competitive edge by providing better customer experiences and boosting conversions.

Unlocking Efficiency & Driving Conversions Across Digital Marketing Channels

Machine learning and automation are big deals within campaign management and bidding across digital channels like search, social, and programmatic. And this trend is just getting ramped up. Marketers often fear relinquishing control to AI. Yet, it can enhance efficiency beyond human capability, particularly in campaign automation.

Take Google as an example, which leads the charge in scaling AI and machine learning across campaign management. Performance Max (PMax) campaigns are Google’s crown jewel of AI mastery. They’re all about streamlining the process, crafting ads, picking networks, targeting the perfect audience, and delivering high-performing combinations of assets. Google has the receipts – PMax is scoring 18% higher conversions thanks to AI ramping up bids, creativity, query matching, and flashy formats like YouTube Shorts.

Meta is also leading the AI arms race in campaign management with its release of the Meta Advantage+ suite of products. The algorithms can run tests of potential ads and select what they think will be most effective, including the option to automatically alter text and images. Meta’s data shows that Advantage+ campaigns can generate up to a 32% increase in ROAS.

As AI takes a greater role in optimization, marketers should shift their focus from manual control  to strategic inputs. Figure out how those inputs and other factors affect campaign effectiveness and efficiency and lean into automation to get better results instead of trying to hold on to manual processes. Our media buying teams at Media Matters were quick to adopt these advanced buying tools across search and paid social which led to significant ROAS gains – a 440% increase in search and a 36% increase in social – for a D2C client following implementation. With advanced digital buying tools, we reach higher volumes of in-market consumers with dynamic and engaging ads.

Buyer beware – if you’re not keeping tabs on those results, businesses face risks of programmatic fraud, campaign failure, and overspending your budget. A “trust-but-verify” approach is essential when adopting new AI applications.

Generative Content & Creative – AI’s Shining Star

AI-powered tools like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and DALL-E 2 offer simplified versions of AI-driven content and creative production from text to images and videos. While these platforms serve as creative catalysts, they require considerable human input and oversight as they are not yet capable of independent creative execution.

No matter how sophisticated AI becomes, human involvement will always play a vital role in the strategic creative process. Canva, as an example, empowers its users with AI-powered creative tools to alleviate workloads, saving costs and time by giving designers and writers more time for other projects. In turn, this paves the way for AI to take a more substantial role in the creative process and increases the likelihood that other platforms will invest in capabilities to dissect and remix campaigns in all sorts of wild ways.

Keep in mind that these AI-powered creative platforms have limitations and demand significant human involvement, effort, and constant result monitoring to yield valuable outcomes. To make AI-generated magic creators need to provide robust, clear prompts and inputs, and articulate their visions and goals.

It’s not enough to just prevent incomplete or error-ridden creative from entering campaigns. People want to engage with creative that resonates with authenticity, regardless of whether they originate from AI or human creators. That human touch? It’s irreplaceable.

Help The Machines Help You

Brands and marketers are diving deep into AI to gain a competitive edge in the already very competitive landscape. However, the AI scene is still in its trial phase, demanding human oversight during early development.

To start with AI:
– Get to know new tools by experimenting
– Find ways to save time across your team
– Include AI in important workflows
– Assign people to watch and improve results
– Test machine learning approaches for best practices

Will AI take over digital marketing? Probably not. But it can free up your time to do your best work and lean into creativity and strategy – including what you’re putting into the machines to get your desired outputs and results. You need to become the best at working with AI instead of trying to be an alternative to it. The future of marketing belongs to those who seize the opportunity and make the most of these tools