AI will have a huge influence on marketing in the coming decade. We talked to expert marketers, and they shared their private predictions with us. These forecasts are sweeping and transformative. For example, one expert guessed PR tools will find targeted prospects and pitch to them automatically. That would be a game-changer, particularly for B2B SaaS businesses.
The future of AI is brimming with possibilities. Here are eleven expert predictions about AI’s influence on marketing in the next 10 years.
Prediction #1: AI Will Make Data Analysis Much Easier
“The biggest pain for marketers today is collecting all the data we have and creating actionable insights with it. AI is going to crunch the data and then use it to automate the process. We will finally be able to segment and create relevant marketing at scale. It won’t solve all our problems but it’s going to help dramatically, even going so far as picking the right creative, messages, times of day and platforms for advertising to be displayed. It’s very exciting and I am looking forward to seeing where it takes us.”– Chris ‘Kubby’ Kubbernus, Founder & CEO at Kubb&co, Forbes #1 Business Guru on Snapchat | Entrepreneur | Speaker
Data Analysis is hard. Siteimprove mentions four large challenges marketers have with data. First, the right employees don’t always have access to the right data. Second, data takes a lot of time to decipher. Third, it’s difficult to track the metrics that truly matter. Fourth, tying data to measurable goals is a challenge in itself. These are formidable challenges.
Chris Kubbernus acknowledges the struggle of gleaning practical insights with data. He even says that creating actionable insights with data is the “biggest pain” that marketers face today. Chris believes that AI will revolutionize the landscape for marketers that use data. He says that AI will advance to the point where marketers can “create relevant marketing at scale.”
Will AI change data analysis in the next decade? Actually, companies like Anodot are changing the tableau now. Anodot uses advanced machine-learning computations to exceed other data analysis tools. The cutting-edge company uses an expensive technology called unsupervised AI, which autonomously categorizes and interprets data. Right now only huge conglomerates like Microsoft, Google, and Comcast are using Anodot. However, it’s only a matter of time before this technology becomes affordable for the masses.
As Chris says, it’s a “very exciting time” to be a marketer.
Prediction #2: AI Will Eliminate Menial Marketing Tasks
“I think the biggest influence AI will have on marketing in the next few years is on automating things that right now require manual effort without creativity. For example, transcribing sales calls into useful reports, looking at user behavior across an app or website and coming up with optimization suggestions, or making suggestions for enhancing new content based on past analysis.” – Sid Bharath, Growth Marketer | SAAS Consultant | Entrepreneur, Siddharth87
Sid says marketing tasks that require “manual effort without creativity” will eventually be done by AI. He gives the example of “transcribing sales calls into useful reports.” Indeed, this is already happening. Companies like Callscribe are using AI to turn phone calls into a treasure trove of data.
What does Callscribe do exactly? For one thing, it turns a phone call into a written script, which can be read faster than audio can be listened to. It also analyzes phone calls for potential keywords you can insert into your landing page copy. Moreover, it also gives you a CSV file filled with information: keywords, agent, duration, phone number, etc. As you can see, Callscribe is a good start for AI.
Sid mentioned the phrase, “new content based on past analysis.” For instance, Callscribe gives you keywords you can use in your PPC ad campaigns. Still, for many businesses, that’s not a difference-maker. PPC remains expensive even if you know the right words to use. Truly futuristic AI software would suggest blog topics (that are relatively easy to rank for) based on phone conversations.
Prediction # 3: AI Won’t Replace Interacting With Customers
“While AI can be beneficial for tasks such as advertising targeting, those who use it to avoid interacting with customers may find they alienate them. Small businesses should focus on personal interactions to attract business away from corporations.” – Gail Gardner, Small Business Marketing Strategist, Growmap
A lot of business employ the Steve Jobs motto. He quipped, “It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Jobs is not alone in this thought process. Henry Ford famously opined, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
This sparks a fascinating debate. Do great companies need surveys and personal interactions with customers? We think they do.
It’s vital to remember Jobs and Ford had a unique set of circumstances. The iPod and the automobile redefined their product categories. However, most businesses aren’t so transformative. To see the danger in the Jobs strategy take a gander at Ron Johnson. He was the former VP of retail sales at Apple, and then he took over at JCPenney. He made huge changes at JCPenney (like removing discounts) without consulting customers. When questioned by his colleagues he famously said, “We didn’t test at Apple.” His reformation keelhauled the company, and the stock dropped by 40%.
Data and research will always have their place, but there’s no substitute for personal interactions with the customer. Gail Gardner says small companies “should focus on personal interactions”, and we totally agree with him
Prediction # 4: AI Will Thoroughly Disrupt Marketing
“There’s only three things that can be guaranteed in life – death, taxes and the disruption of an industry. Disruption is happening all around us, every day. Look what Amazon has done to retail, Uber to taxis, LinkedIn to job boards, the Internet to the media, cryptocurrencies to finance, and so on, and so on. Artificial intelligence (AI) alone is predicted to disrupt forecasting, customer service, education, finance, foodservice, personalized healthcare, medical, logistics, loyalty programs, procurement, public relations, search, and security.
Marketing is no exception.
AI technology will make it easier for brands to not only manage its’ big data and get actionable insights but will drive marketing key performance indicators (KPIs) to new heights. They’ll also usher in a new level of transparency never seen before in ad tech. As marketers, we all need to ask ourselves, “Are we prepared for marketing to be fundamentally disrupted?” ?”– Chad Pollit, Co-Founder, Professor, Author, Board Member, International Speaker & former US Army Commander, VP of Marketing at inPowered
Chad Pollitt is extremely bullish on AI. He puts AI in top-tier company among other transformative bric-a-brac like Uber and Amazon. If AI changes marketing like these aforementioned titans changed their industries then unprepared marketers will be in trouble.
Embracing technology is the difference between success and failure in your business. Just take a look at Blockbuster. They racked up monstrous sales in the 1980 and the 1990’s. However, they refused to explore/invest in streaming technology. Netflix and Hulu came along, gobbling up their old customers, putting them out of business.
AI might be the next technological wave that makes and breaks companies. Chad Pollitt certainly thinks so. Make sure you don’t miss the boat.
Prediction #5: AI Will Replace Entry-Level Marketing Tasks
““You’ll start seeing smarter features on familiar tools. Without naming the tools themselves, here are examples of where AI scripts will extend features of popular products. You can fill in the blanks with your favorite tools to complete the prediction…
- Analytics tools doing analysis and recommending general site improvements
- Landing pages tools recommending conversion tweaks based on past tests
- Social media tools will recommend headlines for posts
- PR and influencer marketing tools will recommend people to mention and pitch to
Some of these are already happening and it’s nice. As users, we’re happy but we’re not impressed. But what the next evolution will blow your mind…
- Analytics tools will improve your website for you
- Landing page tools will tweak your landing pages
- Social media tools will write your headlines
- PR and influencer marketing tools will mention and pitch to people…automatically. That’s the power of AI and automation in marketing.” – Andy Crestodina, Chief Marketing Officer, and Co-Founder, Orbit Media Studios, Inc.
Andy’s prognosis is mind-blowing! There’s so much to unpack, but let’s unearth the first part of his quote. Andy said, “AI scripts will extend features of popular products.” There will be a race to do this.
Think about the products you know. For instance, consider Grammarly. It’s software that edits your grammar and helps you write clearer sentences. The next step for a company like Grammarly might be using AI to suggest SEO-friendly headlines for your articles.
Andy also mentions some radical changes that really would shake up marketing. He says tools like Yoast will edit your web pages for you. He says PR software will look for people and send them customized cold emails. Imagine how much time that would save. If AI could send a customized cold email to target prospects, then B2B marketing would be flipped on its head.
Prediction #6: AI Will Transform Email Copywriting and Personalization
“AI is here and now making waves across industries, including the marketing world. Machine learning for various platforms can learn and understand what resonates with the target audience and create compelling emails that are crafted to perfection. It achieves this rare feat with a high degree of personalization in the emails right from generating a captivating subject line to maintaining the brands’ voice in the content without losing the human touch. All in all, AI along with predictive analysis plays an effective role in ensuring that the right email is sent to the right people and at the right frequency.”– Pratik Dholakiya, Co-Founder, E2MSolutions
“As personalization and marketing automation become more and more critical to email marketing success, artificial intelligence and machine learning will become vital components of every program. The scale and speed necessary to deliver 1-to-1 messages will simply make those unavoidable. Over the next decade, a significant portion of an email marketer’s job will become creating email modules and assets and then managing and optimizing the AI that serves those up to subscribers.” -Chad S. White, Author of “Email Marketing Rules” and Research Director at Litmus
Can AI write like a human? There’s already AI that can write poetry like a human. It even stumps poetry experts. The technology is rapidly improving, although it’s certainly not polished yet.
Pratik thinks this will change over the next decade, and he mentions AI crafting emails with “a high degree of personalization.” Email personalization isn’t just a trendy phrase, it works. According to eConsultancy, “74% of marketers say that targeted personalization increases customer engagement.”
AI software will endeavor to do hyper-targeted personalization since the software has much a higher capacity than humans. Good AI software will be able to find ridiculously targeted subsections. You’ll be able to email customers who bought last Wednesday, live on the West Coast, and have less than five employees. You’ll have tons of hyper-targeted email lists like these, and the AI software will even help write the email.
Prediction #7: AI Will Overhaul E-commerce Recommendation Engines, But It Won’t Eliminate Email Surveys
“If we take the definition of solving problems that marketers deal with by using data in a smart way, I think Artificial Intelligence will have a profound impact. The one area I’d highlight is recommendation engines for email marketing, that match product or content with the subscriber. Micro-conversions, those smaller steps like filling in a form, a click, browse behavior all lead to a sharper picture of the subscriber and therefore better use of the data. When used smartly in email marketing, more data means more conversions. So data is the new currency.” – Jordie van Rijn, email marketing consultant, Email Monday
Jordie van Rijn is another analyst who is bullish on AI for email marketers. We were surprised so many marketers think AI will explode.
Jordie’s quote mentions “recommendation engines.” This is an area where AI can transform online retail. Amazon is great at recommending products to customers, but Amazon has more data than most companies, simply because they have tremendous volume. E-commerce businesses need to improve their recommendation engines, and better AI software will make that possible.
As Jordie mentions, data is the crucial point in getting artificial intelligence to actually work for recommendations. The ease of using behavioral and external data to predict trends has given the process buzz, but you can’t underestimate the power of email surveys. Via surveys, it is possible to know more about preferences (and even unregistered purchases) than you would normally ever find out.
Online surveys definitely have problems. People rush through them to get collect incentives. They are often preferred by people with extreme views (those who love or hate the product). Also, you only get answers to the questions you think of asking, leaving potentially useful insights on the table.
This means online surveys shouldn’t be your only source of data. However, they shouldn’t be disregarded either. The survey allows you to learn more “than you would normally find out.” Cloud Cherry agrees, saying surveys still “have a place in customer feedback collection.” Even as AI morphs data analysis, online surveys won’t go away.
Prediction #8: AI Will Change the Economics of 1:1 Marketing
“AI and machine learning I am personally very interested in, I believe it has huge role to play in the future of email marketing at scale – 1:1 marketing at large scale is only affordable through automated smart targeting and as marketers start to utilize the huge amount of data that is available then it can only improve the customer experience.” – Timothy Bointon, Email Marketing Operations Tech SME at , eBay (AWF)
“AI will influence the future of B2B marketing by enabling relevance at scale through both prediction and personalization. B2B marketers have struggled with personalization for years due to a lack of, or only superficial knowledge about their customers. The ability to create the 1:1 contextually relevant interactions our customers clamor for has been unattainable due to the amount of human effort required to create strategies and messages that resonate. AI will empower marketers to achieve meaningful and purpose-driven 1:1 interactions at scale that can be proven to impact business objectives.” – Ardath Albee, CEO & B2B Marketing Strategist, Marketing Interactions
“AI/machine learning influence on marketing in the next decade will be quite significant. It will streamline a lot of the processes and tasks that we currently perform manually, bringing with it increased ROI – not only from a time-saving perspective but also from the perspective that we marketers will need to upskill and become more strategic in our approach, which will bring its own benefits. Additionally, it will bring enhanced insights to the table, enabling better 1:1 personalisation, improved customer experience for our audiences (based upon the insights we have gained through the machine learning) and valuable predictive metrics such as predictive customer lifetime value.” – Kath Pay, CEO, Holistic Email Marketing
1:1 marketing is the art of making customers feel special. And making customers feel special works. Crazy Egg recapitulated a restaurant experiment that consisted of three test Groups. These are Groups A, B, and C.
Group A included a few mints with the check. Group B asked if anyone wanted a mint. Group C included a few mints with the check as well. They also asked if anyone wanted a second mint.
Group C saw the most explosive growth (no mint tables were the baseline) in the tip, 21%. Likewise, Group A saw a 3% boost, and Group B saw a 14% improvement in the tip. People like to feel special. AI will give businesses the data they need to become better one-on-one marketers. It will also make 1 to 1 marketing more economical, shaving time from the process. This is what marketers need the most.
AI May Disrupt Marketing. Will You Be Ready?
Barnes and Noble, Kodak, Blockbuster. All these companies fell from their lofty heights because they couldn’t deal with disruptive change. The advent of AI may be another disruptive change. It could revolutionize marketing. Will your company be a first mover in your industry? The rewards are immense. The upside is Netflix and the downside is Blockbuster.
Start exploring AI now. The rewards are too big to miss