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Artificial intelligence and machine learning continue to create much hype among marketers and the technology has become the newest must-have for vendors seeking to further automate content creation and distribution.

Firms are continuing to pitch AI as a way to automate communications and build scalable and highly-customized content. The sales pitches from vendors span the full gamut of marketing media--from email to display ads and SEO. Amidst the hype, however, some marketers are emphasizing that AI, like all technologies, has its limitations and is unlikely to replace humans.

AI is being used to deliver highly-customized email. A Statista study has found that personalized emails have an 18.1% open rate compared to 13.1% for non-personalized emails, reports ClickZ. The publication says AI can also increase lead generation by better analyzing large amounts of data. The increased lead generation could contribute $14 trillion to the economy by 2035. ClickZ also reports that AI can be used for cross selling by analyzing customers’ past purchases to better engage current clients and to better understand why some clients have left.

Marketers appear to be highly optimistic about the AI, according to a survey of business to business (B2B) marketers by Demandbase. The survey found that only 18% of B2B marketers currently use AI, but 66% of survey respondents say they are either planning to implement the technology or are either implementing it or evaluating it. Among survey respondents, 84% expect to see value within a year or less of implementing AI.

At first blush, it appears that virtually every marketing technology vendor is pitching AI capabilities. AdGreetz, for example, recently announced the launch of AdChef, which the company claims is the only fully-automated and integrated marketing platform, reports MarTech Series.

AdGreetz says the technology is able to generate, upload and deploy millions of creative versions of content to digital media platforms and demand side platforms. It uses AI to optimize the content in real time. The technology so far works with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, The Trade Desk and Google offerings such as YouTube, AdWords, and DoubleClick. AdGreetz has even applied for a patent for the technology in the U.S. and for similar protection in India.

Marketing technology company Contentstack is also jumping into AI, reports MediaPost. The company has recently added AI to its CMS platform, eliminating the need for marketers to add the capabilities as an additional tool to their technology stack. Among other features, the AI feature can help make recommendations to help firms improve their SEO. From a broader perspective, Contentstack maintains that its CMS platform is highly flexible so that clients can easily change different technology providers. Vendors, over time, make changes to their technology, so Contentstack clients may want to change a vendor in the event that new A/B testing tools are made available, for example.

At least one marketer, however, is calling for the industry to manage its expectations for AI. As the keynote speaker at the MarTech Conference, Adobe CMO Ann Lewnes, emphasized that AI will never replace humans in marketing, according to MarTech Today.

AI is powerful for analyzing large amounts of data for making predictions and to help conduct mundane tasks and streamline processes, she maintains, but the technology can’t replicate human instinct, intuition and creativity that marketing requires. Nevertheless, AI has excelled for helping to improve the success of emailing marketing and display adds, reports Entrepreneur.

AI can analyze email open rates and other engagement data to better predict the best time to send communications. In the display advertising area, Facebook and Google platforms use machine learning and AI to analyze interests, actions (likes, shares, and comments), demographics and other factors to learn and then discover the most effective audience for their brand.

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