There’s no denying that artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly moving from fiction to reality.
In marketing especially, interest in AI has intensified as marketers have realized the potential that intelligently harnessing the ever-growing streams of customer data has on transforming customer experiences.
Fueling AI’s adoption has been marketers demanding to see — and receiving — proof that AI delivers what it promises. Early adopters have shown how AI in marketing makes them more efficient, productive and effective by simplifying, accelerating and scaling marketing initiatives while removing many complexities inherent in marketing today.
Similarly, our company’s recent benchmark analysis of 3.8 billion marketing interactions across channels and verticals found that AI-powered marketing campaigns increase customer engagement by seven times and revenue by three times by helping marketers be more targeted, more relevant in their content and more effective with how they engage each individual customer.
Now, as we step into 2019, here are five predictions for what the year holds for AI in marketing:
1. AI Will Intelligently Orchestrate The Full Customer Journey
Marketers’ first venture into AI was at the top of the funnel for audience expansion and audience targeting. Moving forward, AI will increasingly power the full customer lifecycle, from customer acquisition to engagement to retention. Forrester (via Forbes) recently predicted that “more than 20% of marketing platforms will use AI to optimize midcycle engagement” for business-to-business (B2B) marketing.
That number will be far greater for business-to-consumer (B2C). Furthermore, AI will move from influencing just the edges of the customer experience, such as dynamic content insertion, to orchestrating its core.
2. CMOs Will Challenge Their Teams To Scale, And It Will Happen Through AI
As marketing organizations’ demands and revenue targets continue to grow, CMOs will place increasing emphasis on leveraging technology to meet those demands. CMOs will challenge their teams to run more campaigns, add more personalization and diversify their strategies by being smarter with their resources. Marketing organizations will quickly realize that AI can effectively help them streamline and scale how they work.
3. Marketers Will Get Creative With How They Use AI
As marketers begin to understand how AI can augment and amplify their efforts, we’ll see them leverage AI in innovative ways and start breaking status quo marketing practices. After the initial AI learning curve and period of laying the groundwork with strategy, processes and people, marketers will start pushing the boundaries of their programs and experimenting with new strategies, taking a bigger leap every time.
What this means for marketers: Beyond offloading mundane marketing tasks to AI, marketers can embrace the opportunity to reimagine their customer engagement strategies. With AI, new campaign ideas can go live in no time without significant resources and be readily optimized and pivoted.
4. Marketers Will Fully Embrace AI Because It Stops Being A Black Box
Marketers want control of their marketing programs and need to be able to explain their marketing investments. But the first generation of AI marketing asked marketers to take a leap of faith. That’s why the recent Business Insider Intelligencereport found that “when asked to choose which trending technology they felt most unprepared for, 34% of global marketing executives chose AI.” The growth in AI in 2019 and beyond will be fueled by “explainable AI” in which marketers can see what factors influence predictions and can control the parameters that guide AI.
5. Marketing AI Companies Providing Real Return On Investment Will Emerge From The Noise
Last year, Gartner analysts predicted that “by 2020, AI technologies will be virtually pervasive in almost every new software product and service.” We’re already seeing this prediction play out with a proliferation of marketing software providers — emerging and incumbent — adding AI to their product strategies and pivoting their messaging to claim AI capabilities. Yet not all marketing AI is created equal. This year, we’ll see more emphasis on separating real AI marketing solutions from fringe AI solutions. Gartner has already started helping marketers identify noteworthy AI solutions by introducing the first Cool Vendors report on AI for Marketing.
What this means for marketers: As the “AI” label becomes standard, marketers will find it increasingly challenging to identify real AI solutions capable of effectively solving their problems. Marketers will need to be more vigilant with testing vendors’ claims to weed out masked AI solutions.
Lastly, here’s one final prediction to add to the mix: 2019 will be a pivotal year in which marketers finally realize the return on investment of AI. We’ll see AI’s mounting, tangible benefits move it from hype to mainstream. Will 2019 be the year you embrace AI?
This article was originally posted on – https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2019/01/15/five-predictions-for-ai-in-marketing-in-2019/#618635937efa