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Get Started with Artificial Intelligence for Marketers

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Identify how artificial intelligence impacts our lives.
  • Explain why artificial intelligence is important for marketers.
  • List the top challenges marketers want to solve with artificial intelligence.

Introduction

Hi there! You’re probably here because you’ve heard about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and you’ve got some questions. We’re excited to help answer those questions and put AI in the context of marketing. 

Your first question might be, “What is AI, anyway?” To answer that, we’d suggest checking out  the Artificial Intelligence Basics module. It covers the foundations of this transformative technology. 

If you’re already familiar with AI, the next question you’re probably asking yourself is, what does it mean for me as a marketer?

So, let’s dive in.

The New Marketing Landscape

Our world is changing quite rapidly. We are in the midst of a digital revolution, one the World Economic Forum coined the Fourth Industrial Revolution

It’s transforming the way we live and work, and is driven by advancements in robotics, IoT [Internet of Things], connected products and of course, artificial intelligence.

4 pillars from left to right representing the four different revolutions: Steam (1700s), Electricity (1800s), Computing (1900s), and Connectivity (Today).

But the truth is, artificial intelligence is not just some new fad. Nor is it one that we’re unfamiliar with as consumers.

Today, in our personal lives, AI is everywhere. Let’s imagine what a typical morning might look like for someone (maybe you) these days:

  • You hear your alarm, and the first thing you do is ask your Google Home to play your favorite music playlist to help ease you awake.
  • On the way to work, you plug your office address into Waze to avoid traffic on the way.
  • Before you get to the office, you turn into Starbucks for your morning coffee ritual. When you order through the app, it recommends seasonal coffee drinks based on your past orders.

Image of various AI-powered experiences in our daily lives: At Home: command for Google Home Assistant to play music; On the Go: Waze directions predicting optimal route; Before Work: coffee recommendations served on the Starbucks App.

You may have guessed it, but in each of these interactions, AI powered the experience. From natural language processing helping Google understand your commands to machine learning making your commute and coffee order more efficient—this new normal has transformed our expectations as consumers.

The AI Imperative for Marketers

But when we think about the enterprise, this “new normal” has far-reaching implications for marketers and businesses as well, who are trying to build their brand and grow relationships with customers.

Meeting Heightened Customer Expectations Means Business

Consumers are more empowered than ever and accustomed to fast, convenient, and personal interactions with the apps, websites, and brands they use. 

This means marketers can’t afford to get their customer interactions wrong.

According to Salesforce’s research in the State of the Connected Customer, 79% of consumers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services. It means that the holistic customer experience is the new brand differentiator and capital.

In a similar Salesforce report, The AI Revolution, 52% of consumers said they were likely to switch brands if they receive communications that are not personalized to them, while 50% would switch if they feel a company doesn’t anticipate their needs. The stakes are even higher amongst business buyers, with over 65% and 64% of respondents respectively indicating they were likely to switch.

Working Smarter, Not Harder

Meanwhile, for marketers, delivering on these experiences is easier said than done. They contend with challenges, such as:

  • Identity resolution across devices.
  • Increasing data volumes from new and complex data sources (e.g., connected products).
  • Increasing data velocity, creating scale and processing issues.
  • Uncovering actionable audience and campaign insights that match the speed of the consumer.
  • Engaging in 1-to-1 marketing at massive scale.
  • Working efficiently to ensure the timely execution of campaigns.

And these challenges are only expected to become greater when you consider that:

Given these projections and the knowledge that marketing teams are often working at capacity already, not to mention tight on budget for additional headcount, marketers must turn to other solutions to help solve these challenges, assist them with their repetitive tasks, and improve their efficiency in order to continue executing their marketing campaigns on time. 

Top Performing Marketers Look to AI for Answers

Across industries, marketing leaders know to invest in artificial intelligence if they want to meet elevated customer expectations, stave off competitive pressures, help employees continue to work effectively, and improve their overall business margins. 

In fact, the use of AI by marketing leaders has grown 40% year over year per our Fifth Annual State of Marketing Report. And they use AI across the marketing lifecycle—from attracting new customers to engaging them with personalized content.

Pie chart showing breakdown of how many marketers currently use AI (22%) vs. how many plan to use AI within 2 years (57%) AND typical use cases marketers seek to solve with AI, such as personalized channel experiences and real-time next best offers.

Marketers are using AI in all kinds of ways, including:  

  • Improving customer segmentation
  • Personalizing channel experiences and customer journeys
  • Automating social and messenger app interactions
  • Sending real-time next best offers
  • Crafting dynamic landing pages and websites

Here’s the good news—AI works! Marketers report that using AI: 

  • Increases Overall Marketing Efficiency. 64% see a greatly or substantially increased marketing efficiency.
  • Powers 1-to-1 Marketing. 57% of marketers using AI say it’s absolutely or very essential in helping their company create 1-to-1 marketing across every touchpoint.

So far, you’ve seen how artificial intelligence is woven into our daily lives and learned how the heightened expectations it has created for customer experience is impacting decisions that marketers and brands must make. 

In the next unit, we’ll cover the specific challenges and focus areas for marketers where artificial intelligence can be applied and where Einstein—Salesforce’s AI platform and products—can assist marketers in their efforts.

Resources