From Google’s top executives to marketing leaders and researchers, everyone hints that Generative AI will be the most defining marketing trend in 2024. While 2023 was a year of experimentation, 2024 would see AI integration at a much deeper and faster scale.
From process automation to hyper-personalization and idea generation, Gen AI has surely supercharged modern marketers’ capabilities. It’s like living in a world where marketing and sales have no creative constraints. They can offer the right product to customers at the right time without any communication lapse or friction.
Moreover, the efficiency and automation gains are far more than we currently know. The type of campaigns that took months of preparation are now designed and executed within hours and days. Whether it’s content production, creative design, website development, email/ad copywriting, or data analytics, we can do things much faster and at scale.
Economic Impact of Gen AI
Due to the same advantages, researchers endorse that Gen AI has great economic potential. A study by McKinsey suggests that Generative AI could contribute up to $4.4 trillion in annual global productivity gains. Interestingly, marketing and sales are among the four biggest beneficiaries of these gains, with a combined gain of up to 75% of the total value. Marketing alone is expected to boost productivity gains up to 15 percent of the total marketing spend; a fair estimate is close to $500 billion.
This piece aims to give you an idea of how to integrate Generative AI into your marketing workflows and reap the positive results it offers.
Three Teirs or Groups of Companies
When it comes to the adoption of AI in marketing and sales workflows, there are three groups or tiers of marketers and companies.
- Starters – those in the early stage of AI adoption
- Movers – those who have adopted but now require a custom solution
- Leaders – those who are leading the way and transforming the industries
While you are the best judge of your marketing workflows and the current status of AI adoption, the following paragraphs should help you get an idea of how to move ahead and make the most out of available technology solutions.
In addition, we shall also be sharing some AI tools and resources that could greatly help your marketing and sales workflows.
Starters – Those getting started with Gen AI in marketing
The majority of marketers and companies are in this stage. Their primary use cases of AI include generating copy and images and responding to customers in less time. These are largely off-the-shelf projects that aim to increase the efficiency of existing workflows.
At this stage, companies are still exploring the capabilities and relevance of AI to their workflows. So, if you are also at this stage and wondering how and where to expand the Gen AI integration, here are a few use cases.
1) Exploring Ideas and Opportunities
AI can be your best buddy when it comes to analyzing the market, tracking competitors, and testing new product opportunities. Suppose you are a furniture shop and want to win more or new customers by introducing new and creative designs and testing them for success. Gen AI can generate five times more product concept images than manual labor, giving creative inspiration for new features.
If you are a digital marketing agency, Gen AI can offer you manifold advantages. It can help you create more content (images, text, videos) and campaign ideas to pitch to the client than manual work. It can also help assess the websites and gain useful insights for your and your clients’ businesses.
2) Process Automation
There are numerous use cases for marketing and sales to automate their processes and integration across the organization.
One good example is of automation of customer integrations. Gen AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants can handle routine customer service inquiries, answer basic questions, and process basic administrative tasks like booking appointments. As a result, your customer support team can focus on more complex matters and high-level customer interactions.
Generative AI can also help automate collateral development and data analysis. Looking at the data, it can generate reports and put forward recommendations with defined action items.
3) Personalized Campaigns and Outreach
Nothing deepens customer interaction and engagement more than personalized messaging and outreach. If you aim to make your outreach and campaigns more effective, Gen AI can greatly help there.
Artificial intelligence can generate personalized ad copies for different audience segments, leading to better CTR and conversions. You can also use it to build custom landing pages for individual users based on interests and demographics. Experimental studies have shown up to 25% improved engagement in email campaigns due to personalized copies written by AI.
Sales teams can also use Gen AI to automate the initial interactions in the sales process – like sending personalized emails in a sequence and making follow-up conversations. It’ll free the salespeople and help them focus on the bigger fish to fry.
If your organization is new to AI adoption, we recommend focusing on 2-3 high-impact areas where off-the-shelf tools are readily available. Launching too many initiatives can complicate things and prove a costly affair.
Mitigating potential risks like hallucinations, bias, data privacy violations, and copyright infringement is equally critical. You can set up a dedicated moderation and oversight team to do the quality control and ensure internal accountability. Lastly, remember that while AI is a good friend, do not fully rely on it for high-stakes decisions, regulated environments, or applications with a high volume of requests or analysis.
Movers – Those who have adopted but require a custom solution.
While most companies are early in AI adoption, some have moved beyond off-the-shelf AI tools. We’ll call them “movers” who have started on existing AI models but then employed their own data to develop a custom solution. They’re training existing models on task-specific data that allows them to gain competitive advantage and improve exponentially.
Here’s one example from Mckensiy’s report.
A European telecommunications company successfully used AI to shift from manual and boring customer outreach to personalized messaging that would resonate with target customer segments.
They used Gen AI to personalize customer outreach messages for 150 audience segments, which led to a 40% increase in response rates and a 25% reduction in costs. The company previously struggled with generic messaging and limited resources that would not engage customers. For example, messages sent to customers not in the customers’ native dialect had a particularly low conversion rate.
They built an AI engine to create personalized messaging and trained it on non-personally identifiable data to tailor communications to each segment’s demographics, region, and dialect. Then, they employed GPT-4 and Dall-E for copy and imagery and used the combination for customer communication.
This success shows how custom AI models can revolutionize marketing by enabling hyper-personalization and faster development.
If you are at this stage where you need a custom AI solution, make sure you have the capabilities and the right data to feed/train the AI engine.
Every company has some kind of data set, but in order to build a specific module, AI would need specific data. Also, look out for your in-house capabilities as well, or else you’ll have to source talent or partner to build that kind of model for you. Nonetheless, the right investment in the right modules/solutions could be a game-changer for your business.
Leaders – those who are leading the way and transforming the industries
The market leaders have a totally different mindset regarding AI or any other technology adoption. They are driven by a mission and aim to achieve it, employing whatever means.
Regarding AI, visionary companies aim at the ultimate destination: a marketing function completely transformed by generative AI. In this future state, almost every aspect of marketing will be enhanced by Gen AI, from crafting compelling ad/email copies with AI-generated drafts to leveraging democratized data insights gleaned by Artificial Intelligence solutions.
These companies think beyond immediate advantages and efficiency gains and aim to create unique and impactful customer experiences that propel exponential growth. However, this transformative potential must be carefully balanced with robust safeguards to protect personally identifiable information, prevent improper use of copyrighted materials, and mitigate other emerging risks.
By embracing the transformative power of gen AI and navigating its complexities with foresight and responsibility, companies can unlock a future of unparalleled customer engagement and drive extraordinary business growth.
Despite all advancements in Gen AI, we are still in the early days and still unsure about what the future will look like. However, one thing is sure – and that is business transformation, which is happening at a much faster pace than we know.
If you are a business or leader who aims to be a leader in the adoption of AI, we would recommend the following.
- Create a vision and guiding principles for your organization. What kind of future do you want to see, and how would you create it? Outline the code of conduct and ethical responsibilities you aim to abide by while pursuing the vision.
- Build a team that understands the mission and believes in your defined values. As noted in the previous section, no company can do it alone or in-house and would need partners and resources. The team should consist of AI professionals, cross-functional folks, and compliance people who can ensure everything is done per the defined vision and values.
- Invest in pilot projects. Before aiming at bigger targets and processes, focus first on the quick wins and low-hanging fruits. In this regard, define a few efforts where AI could deliver quick wins and sustain the advantage.
I hope the given tiers of companies will give you an idea of the current market status and help assess your business. As we move into the new year, it should give you a lot of clarity about the potential of AI and create a vision for your business or department. Generative AI has great potential to boost efficiency and creativity, provided with vision and clarity. A lot depends on clarity of vision and effective execution.
Resources to Get Started on AI in Marketing
If you are still unsure about Gen AI or getting started on how to use and employ AI to your business advantage, the following resources are a good starting point. I’ve taken some from Google’s AI Handbook.
- Introduction to Generative AI – This one-day course from Google Cloud Skills Boost helps you learn the business benefits of generative AI.
- What AI Means for Marketers – This piece by Marie Gulin-Merle, global VP of ads marketing at Google, will give you some insights on how marketers can use AI-powered tools to be better at their jobs.
- The Economic Potential of Generative AI: The Next Productivity Frontier – This 68-page report by McKinsey shall give you a broader perspective on AI’s economic impact and potential.
- Supercharging Search with generative AI – Refer to Google’s update on Search, which now uses generative AI to give you more contextual responses.
- AI Essential Checklist for Ads – If your organization or team uses Google Ads, this checklist by the Google Ads team is a must-read to lay the right foundations for your marketing and AI adoption strategy.
Lastly, thank you for reading this piece. If you enjoyed it, please share it with your network and friends and help them gain a fresh perspective on Gen AI.
Hi, I’m Tahir – your marketing and growth partner! Over the last decade, I’ve helped businesses implement best-in-class marketing programs and growth practices. You can connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter.