Inbound & Artificial Intelligence: the future of marketing
Artificial intelligence is revolutionising inbound marketing, and the way that we connect with customers. We've investigated what you need to know here.
Published: 18 Nov 2019
8 minutes read
Artificial intelligence is fairly new to the marketing world, however its use is becoming more frequent than ever before. This is mainly because the use of AI in marketing strategies across different industries is helping companies deliver improved customer experiences on a more personal and user friendly level.With more pressure for marketers to improve their performance and achieve ROI quickly, AI technology is helping these companies drive maximum results with minimum costs.
What is Artificial Intelligence?
Simply put, artificial intelligence is the simulation of human intelligence by machines. It enables machines to think about and perform tasks like humans. It also allows machines to learn from experiences and adjust to new input based on those, which is a specific subset of AI called machine learning.
This technology is being used more commonly than most people perceive, with 63% of people unaware that they're already using AI technologies. Some of the most common everyday examples of this include voice command, or Google’s RankBrain. On top of this, companies such as Netflix, Spotify and Starbucks are all utilising AI to show recommended products based on what their customers have previously watched, listened to or purchased.
There are a number of reasons why so many companies are using AI in their marketing strategy. Some of these include:
- It accounts for more accuracy and fewer errors, which leads to improved efficiency because workers spend less time finding and correcting mistakes.
- It analyzes data at a much deeper level than humans, allowing for more valuable insights into customer behaviour.
- It is able to adapt to new input through progressive learning algorithms, meaning that it will learn from its mistakes.
Because of its exceptional capabilities, AI is revolutionising the way many industries are operating, including banking and medicine.
However in the marketing industry, AI technology is in the relatively early stages of development. Currently, it is mainly used to automate and augment campaigns, but it is being developed constantly to do more.
How AI is changing the face of inbound marketing
As you probably already know, inbound marketing is an approach to marketing that provides the customer value through every step of their journey. In order to do this, it requires companies to undertake constant assessment and measurement of the customer’s online activity, which is increasingly being done by AI.
Artificial Intelligence has a number of benefits for inbound marketers including:
- It can help you better understand your target audience
In-depth data analysis can predict what your customers will do next, by honing in on their behaviours and decisions.
- It can improve user experience
AI will get to know your customers well and tailor their aspects of the buying process directly to them, making for a much better user experience.
- Improved productivity
Because of its excellent data analysis capabilities, AI enables you to automate a huge range of repetitive tasks that would’ve once had to be completed manually. This saves companies a lot of valuable time that can be spent elsewhere.
- It is predicted that AI will revolutionise customer service
38% of consumers think that AI will improve customer service and this is due to the rising use of bots as customer service agents and the use of AI to recommend products and services to customers based on their previous actions. This could be very useful to companies who want to improve efficiency in customer service departments.
By implementing appropriate AI technology that works for your business, you can reach out to your customers in a way that prioritises them, with content and offers directly tailored to their needs. This can in turn help you generate leads and retain loyal customers.
For more information on how to elevate your marketing strategy for lead generation, download our helpful guide.
How to use AI in your inbound strategy
Using appropriate AI technology in your inbound marketing strategies can transform the way you engage with your customers. AI can help you drive traffic to your website, acquire new leads and customers, as well as help keep your existing customers engaged.
Here are just some of the ways you can use AI in your inbound strategy:
A chatbot is a piece of software that automates conversation in a way that aims to mirror how humans speak to one another. Advanced bots are powered by artificial intelligence, which helps it to understand requests and personalise responses based on these, as well as using machine learning to improve over time.
This technology is fairly new, so most bots are currently programmed by humans via bot-building platforms based on a set of if-then statements and pre-written responses. The need for these is often questioned, however from an inbound marketing perspective, bots simply reflect the change in consumer attitudes.
How can I use them?
Today's customers want to make the time between them realising they have a problem and finding a solution as short as possible - and bots can help do this with minimal manual labour required. Using messaging apps, bots are able to do this by helping customers come up with a solution quickly, no matter which devices they use.
However, since the technology is still in its infancy, it can be very easy to use bots in an ineffective way. For example, many companies place bots where they aren’t needed, or the bots they use don't understand conversational tone or context, which can lead to extremely unhappy customers.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use bots though - you should use them where appropriate and where they can truly be of value to your customers. A HubSpot research study found that 47% of shoppers would be willing to purchase from a bot, so this kind of technology is definitely worth investing in.
As long as you keep your customer at the forefront of each decision, the use of chatbots could aid your inbound strategy significantly, helping maximise your online lead generation.
Content strategy tools
Content strategy tools use machine learning to help you discover new content ideas and build groups of topics based on these. This kind of tool offers you suggestions about which topic clusters are the most relevant by performing competitive research on those topics to make sure they are worth pursuing.
How can I use them?
The built in SEO tools will give advice on how best to optimise your content for search engines, meaning you won’t miss a crucial element of a blog post, landing page or site page. This can improve how highly your content ranks on Google which can directly influence how many leads your website gets.
With such an overload of content on the internet, its easy for consumers to switch off completely and ignore most of that which comes their way, which is making it all the more difficult for companies to connect with their customers.
It's easy to ignore information when it doesn’t concern you directly, but according to psychological studies, when people hear or read their first name there is a sudden reaction in the brain that makes them alert.
It is this unique reaction that AI technologies are focusing on.
Some forms of AI technology are able to make a personalized product recommendation that isn’t based on an assumption but on recommendations based on actual user behavior - getting the consumer to hear their name at the right time.
How can I use them?
A huge number of retail brands use AI technology to track their customers’ behaviour, spending habits and preferences. The insights gained from this information can be extremely useful for businesses, as it can be a great way to influence how you execute your marketing strategy. You are able to react to customer behaviour and promote content or products that they actually want to buy.
Studies show that product recommendations contributed to 31% of the best performing sites’ revenue, which suggests you cannot ignore the lead generating potential of personalised recommendations. Consumers love personalisation, so be sure to personalise where you can in order to keep them engaged because it can directly increase leads generated, revenue and customer loyalty.
Why should I use AI in my inbound marketing strategy?
Artificial intelligence is one of the most incredible advances in technology in recent years. It has revolutionised the way businesses connect with and respond to their customers. With more companies adopting these different technologies every single day, you don’t want to be left behind.
By implementing AI in some form into your marketing strategy you are making the leap into a new way of marketing that puts the customer at the front of every action. With AI, you can solve your customers’ problems immediately, and converse with them in a way that improves efficiency due to automated response..
Although for some this thought can be intimidating, remember that AI isn’t there to replace us, it's there to help.
AI is the perfect tool for inbound marketers, as it can help you engage with customers in ways you couldn’t previously which will have a direct positive effect on the amount of customers you are able to gain and retain.
For more information on how to maximise your lead generation in your inbound marketing strategy, download our guide: Maximising online lead generation. In this guide, we discuss how to elevate your marketing strategy to generate leads and convert these into loyal customers.