You’ve been reading about artificial intelligence (AI) and its potential impact on the accounting profession – particularly as it relates to auditing. But, that’s not the only place AI is having a huge impact. Marketing is also seeing a big uptick in AI efforts as the traditional sales model shifts.
What exactly will it be doing for and in marketing? Trying to mimic human intelligence, which will allow marketers to increase actions based on past interactions between humans and their online activities.
Sounds rather Twilight Zone-ish, but it’s already making an impact at large companies.
Here’s how it would work.
In the past, marketing efforts usually followed this path:
- Analyze website and social media analytics to see where and when people visit and the type of content they gravitated toward.
- Design A/B content split tests to see which one people reacted to more often. Then build on those results to provide the format and content most people preferred.
- Adjust website design and format to meet the needs visitors expressed through behavior analytics, downloads, and more.
Once AI comes fully into the picture…
Machines will analyze the traffic without (or with limited) the human factor; continuously A/B split testing content; and adjusting the website or online media to generate a new “website” automatically based on the person’s need and past visiting behavior – almost like crowd-sourced content.
Demandbase, in conjunction with Wakefield Research, said that “Eighty percent of marketing leaders believe AI will revolutionize marketing by the year 2020.” And, that 98 percent believed it would “provide some benefit to their overall marketing.”
The survey also stated that only about 26 percent are very confident of the impact and its understanding. And, only 10 percent are currently using it.
According to MarketingProfs, “B2B marketing executives expect the top challenges of AI will be integrating it into their existing systems/technologies (60 percent cite it as an issue) and training employees on how to use it (54 percent).”
ROI Success Metrics
When it’s all said, and done, what success will really come down to is its return on investment (ROI). How will AI impact a firm’s ROI?
Leading marketing professionals believe B2B companies will see an increase in better close rates for sales; increased revenue; improved website traffic and engagement; and a higher lead conversion.
That all sounds great, but how do you make it happen?
Triggered Email Process – The Actions
When creating a triggered email process, you must first outline the actions you want people to take in order for them to reach the goal – becoming a client. Here’s an example:
- Website form completion emails the requested file to the lead with a hook to join the email list.
- Once the person joins the email list, he/she is added to an industry bucket. An email is triggered with additional content they might like.
- Once email 2 is opened, it triggers a third email that invites the person to a 30-minute webinar about the topic they have shown interest in. This email includes the webinar registration link.
- Now that they’ve registered for the webinar, feed a weekly email to them about the topic with additional information, survey findings, important updates, etc. he/she may find useful. Remind them to share the registration link with others and include a link to download one of the pieces of additional information.
- Additional information item has been clicked on, move them to the next level of the funnel, which is a free consultation post webinar. That email gets sent once the webinar is attended.
- Begin segmenting email lists and creating highly-personalized content to send in those emails. For example, if you have a client base of manufacturing and construction clients, review what each client clicks on in your emails. Move them into respective groups of people who like the same kind of content. Then when you email the lists, they will be getting content they want, need, and enjoy.
- Consider social media tools to help you leverage groups and lists to share messages to targeted recipients.
- Create a structure for email that is similar to drip campaigns, so that when a person responds to one email, they trigger a series of additional emails to move them down the marketing funnel – ultimately to a close. See the sidebar.
- Educate your sales and marketing teams on how AI can impact your efforts, increase leads, and require additional skills to make it successful.
- Investigate solution providers and identify products that will easily fit into your existing suite of software and hardware.
Implementing an AI marketing process is not something that can – nor should – be done in a vacuum. Include your IT and sales teams in the development because their expertise and client knowledge will be crucial. As with any new initiative, trial and error will be required to determine the best path to take.
Will you be leveraging AI in your marketing efforts the near future?
Disclaimer: This post originally appeared in the CPA Client Bulletin Resource Guide, © 2016, AICPA. Reprinted by permission.