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Generative AI:

The ultimate guide to AI marketing: Insights and trends

Artificial intelligence has cemented itself as a central part of any marketing activity in an organization. Recent advancements in AI models, such as generative AI, paired with the increasing availability of dedicated AI tools, mean there’s a growing number of opportunities for marketers to use these tools to streamline and accelerate day-to-day business processes. 

AI marketing strategies and techniques have already changed how businesses plan and deploy campaigns.

But to take full advantage of AI’s marketing capabilities, you need to keep up to date with the latest trends. We’re here to give you a crash course on how AI marketing works, what you can achieve with it and how to implement it to get the best results.

What is AI marketing?

AI marketing is the term used to describe marketing activities that use AI technology in some form. Given recent developments in the sophistication of widely available AI tools, there are a lot of potential applications for AI in marketing, including content creation, personalization, data analysis and customer support.

The concept of AI marketing is not new. In the late 90s, for example, Columbia University published a research report on the use of AI to predict future consumer behavior — an application now commonly used by companies like Amazon to power product recommendation engines.

But the pace of AI development has grown exponentially, and the last decade has seen AI become deeply embedded in the marketing world.

Why AI is a game changer

AI has long been used in marketing. It has helped organizations analyze data and behavior patterns to identify hot leads, automate tasks and much more. But as a tool, AI largely stayed in the background of marketing operations. 

Recently, though, AI has made waves with the onset of large language models and diffusion models. With these models, AI can more closely emulate how a human communicates through the written word and visualize what’s written in text. 

With these two developments, AI can now do more than simply analyze data. Now, it can create content. 

This is a major development. Here are just some of the ways today’s AI will leave a mark on the marketing industry.

Personalization at scale

McKinsey found that personalization in marketing can help businesses drive revenue increases of up to 25%. AI can make it easier to realize that outcome. Businesses can use AI engines to enact marketing personalization projects on a large scale, leading to more unique and relevant buying journeys for customers. 

Predictive analytics and AI-driven insights

One of the main use cases for AI technology is its ability to rapidly understand and analyze huge datasets. That can be applied in marketing to generate powerful insights based on audience analytics data, which can then be used to optimize marketing strategy.

Enhanced customer experiences

Creating positive customer experiences is an important element in marketing, and AI can help in a lot of ways. One of the most popular — using AI to power customer support chatbots — can ensure customers get quick and effective answers to questions, decreasing friction in the buying journey.

Planning Key components of AI marketing

The versatility of AI in marketing is one of its biggest strengths. With the right amount of know-how, it can be applied in practically limitless ways. But these are some of the main areas AI can drive meaningful improvements in the marketing process.

Content generation 

Good content is the cornerstone of any marketing strategy. But content can be both time-consuming and costly to create. AI can help accelerate content marketing efforts by allowing businesses to rapidly create net-new at scale in mere moments.

Tools like ON24’s generative AI engine, for example, can be used to create and curate derivative AI-generated marketing content from webinars, including blog posts, e-books and transcripts.  

That cuts down the amount of time brands have to spend on what was a previously laborious task, freeing up time to work on improving other areas of the marketing funnel.

Content personalization

AI isn’t just useful for generating content, it’s also great at curating personalized customer journeys. Businesses can use AI tools to analyze user data and develop unique content funnels for distinct audience groups through tailored content recommendations and messages.

This rapid-fire personalization can help improve customer engagement with brand content which, ultimately, results in an increased conversion rate and more revenue. It also appeases the growing demand from consumers for personalized experiences. 

Chatbots and virtual assistants

Potential customers are likely to have plenty of questions as they move through the conversion funnel. And while content (including AI-generated content) can answer a lot of them, it’s always useful to offer an alternative.

AI chatbots or virtual assistants are ideally suited to the task. They can provide real-time 24/7 customer support, delivering quick and accurate answers to diverse questions. This is great for improving customer experience, but it’s also a huge resource-saver, freeing customer support teams up to focus on more important matters or more technically complex situations.  

Customer segmentation and targeting

Marketing is more effective when tailored to suit specific audience needs and preferences. That can be achieved with effective segmentation — splitting an audience into smaller groups with shared demographics or interests. But manual audience segmentation is complicated and time-consuming.

AI helps by analyzing existing audience and customer data and automatically generating segments based on shared demographic features or characteristics. Marketers can then use these AI-generated audience segments to craft better, more personalized content strategies.

AI marketing trends

AI’s place in marketing is constantly shifting, and there are plenty of trends marketers should evaluate as they develop their AI strategy. Here are some of the key areas to keep an eye on: 

Generative AI for content creation

Generating marketing content, like social media posts, emails, blog posts or whitepapers, is one of the most obvious applications of AI-powered Natural Language Processing (NLP) tools. Even though this is a relatively new field in commercial AI, there are plenty of AI-powered content marketing engines that can help you create content fast.

One caveat, however: while content marketing is one of the biggest AI marketing trends in recent memory, it still has a lot of room for improvement and often requires a human editor to correct factual mistakes and incorporate a brand’s voice into the material.

Causal AI for improved decision-making

Causal AI differs from predictive AI through its ability to identify causation versus correlation. Predictive AI can observe an event and predict an outcome based on similar examples in the data it was trained on, whereas causal AI can identify the underlying cause of an event and its relationship to the eventual outcome. 

This is a huge advancement and means that causal AI systems could help businesses make more successful decisions. Those decisions could, in turn, help drive marketing strategy and contribute towards achieving key marketing goals.

AI-enhanced visual content

NLP tools have revolutionized how businesses create written content. But AI is also applicable to visual content thanks to developments in diffusion. Already, tools like Bing AI have AI-powered image generation features that are freely available. And the underlying technology is only going to improve.

That means marketers in the near future could access tools that allow them to generate, edit and optimize visual content like images and videos for social media with a fraction of the effort it would have previously taken.

Natural language processing in customer support

The potential applications of AI in customer support are only just being touched on, and there’s plenty more to come. Already, AI chatbots are at the center of the conversation, thanks to their capability to quickly and effectively answer customer questions, 24/7.

But AI could also be used in other areas of customer support, including through automated helpdesk content generation and technical writing.  

Benefits of integrating AI into your marketing strategy

Estimates show that around 35% of global businesses are already using AI in some form, and over 50% planned to incorporate AI into their model at some point in 2023. Why? Because it offers clear benefits, like:

Improved ROI

AI can affect both elements that calculate marketing return on investment. This means it can be instrumental in achieving significantly improved marketing ROI.

Most obviously, it decreases costs by completing marketing tasks in a fraction of the time and expense it would take a human. In terms of revenue, the data analysis and content generation capabilities AI tools unlock could help businesses to build more effective marketing strategies which attract more customers, quicker.

Efficient resource allocation

Applying available resources efficiently is another key component in improving marketing ROI. AI can help businesses manage resource allocation more effectively by analyzing the results of previous marketing efforts and identifying the best-performing activities to double down on.

It’s also useful for adapting and repurposing content, helping businesses get more from each asset they produce. ON24’s generative AI engine, for example, can automatically generate transcripts from a webinar and convert them into blog posts, e-books and more — extending an event’s lifespan and producing more leads. 

Enhanced customer reach and engagement

The best marketing campaigns don’t just reach a large audience, they also create powerful engagement opportunities. AI can help businesses achieve both outcomes.

Generative AI content creation makes it quicker, easier and cheaper to maximize reach. AI can also be used to craft personalized copy that nurtures leads by engaging them based on their demographic category, interests or needs. 

Future of AI in marketing: Predictions and speculations

The continued growth of AI tools, in terms of both availability and sophistication, is affecting every business. It’s already made a large impact on how most organizations go to market, but there’s likely more to come in the near future.

While AI development is proceeding at a rapid pace, it’s possible to identify a few trends and anticipate what will happen next in the field. Here are some predictions on the future of AI marketing:

  • Better predictive analysis: AI’s capacity to digest and analyze vast datasets in seconds means it’s already able to be used to aid marketing decision-making, but its abilities in this area will only improve as AI models grow through further training.

    As a result, it’s likely that future iterations of AI will be even more deeply involved in data analysis and decision-making, helping marketers to more effectively target, segment and engage audiences to deliver better results.
  • Broader content generation capabilities: Textual content generation is one of AI’s current main use cases in marketing. But as the underlying AI models evolve, they’ll become capable of generating other forms of content, including images and videos, to the same standard.

    This is particularly valuable to marketers because there’s a clear trend towards consumers preferring video content from brands over other mediums.
  • Pervasive AI assistants: Currently, AI assistance is primarily available through generalized AI chatbots or dedicated AI-powered marketing tools. In the future, we’ll likely see AI assistants integrated throughout all SaaS products.

    They’ll help marketers better use the tools by providing automated optimization suggestions, analyzing data, delivering key insights and more.
  • More realistic conversational AI: Existing AI models like GPT-4 are often described as being conversational, but they’re still not at the point of being able to engage in truly human-like conversation.

    Their conversational abilities will improve consistently as AI models are trained on increasingly large datasets, meaning we’re likely to see AI chatbots that are practically indistinguishable from humans in the relatively near future.  

Tips for implementing AI in your marketing campaigns

Many businesses are using AI to help plan and deploy marketing strategies. If you want to join them, follow these three steps to get the best results from implementing AI in B2B marketing.

Setting clear objectives

Before you get started, it’s important to decide what exactly you’re looking to achieve by using AI in your marketing. Establish clear and measurable objectives that align with your broader marketing KPIs, like increasing content output by 50% or personalizing audience engagement for target personas. 

Measuring your performance in relation to these objectives will help you to understand whether your use of AI is actually contributing towards your overall business goals, meaning you’ll know whether to keep going or adapt your approach.

Investing in training

To get the most from the AI tools you integrate into your marketing tech stack, you’ll need to make sure your marketing team knows exactly how to use them. That makes investing in training an important part of maximizing AI’s potential.

There are lots of ways to go about this, but the most important is to take advantage of any available training resources for the specific AI-powered marketing tools you decide to use. These tools often have a lot of functional capabilities that can deliver value in several different ways. Take the time to get to know the products in full so you can get the most out of them. 

Testing for optimal results

As with any other element of a marketing campaign, it’s essential that you measure how your AI marketing efforts are going if you want to refine your approach over time. Make sure to collect data as you roll out AI-assisted marketing strategies and compare the results with your previous campaigns to see how results have improved.

Don’t be afraid to run tests and experiments if you think of new ways to integrate AI into your marketing process. Large parts of AI marketing are still uncharted territory, meaning you can discover new opportunities to develop a competitive advantage.

ON24 AI solutions

At ON24, we’re exploring how we can use AI to help marketers achieve more results with less effort. At the center of our efforts is our Analytics and Content Engine, or ACE for short. 

Here’s a quick look at what ACE can do to help your marketing scale efficiencies with the power of AI:

AI-generated content

With webinars averaging more than 50 minutes, there’s no better source for original, high-value content. With ON24, you can use ACE to increase the impact of webinars and virtual presentations by turning auto-generated into written transcripts, e-books, blogs and summaries to fuel multichannel campaigns and feed content hubs. 

SmartText

Achieving webinar program success starts with high-impact promotions that drive registrations. With SmartText, an ACE-powered assistant copywriter, you can quickly craft compelling abstracts, emails and subject lines generated from a few simple prompts that capture attention and break through the digital noise. 

Key moments

Every question asked, poll answered or even emoji reaction during a live webinar is an important signal of your audience’s interest and buying intent. 

With ACE, you can unlock and use these insights with a heatmap analysis of audience engagement, down to the individual slide level. Then, you can use this information to produce short-form video clips for better sales follow-up and more targeted audience nurtures.

Q&A chatbot

A flawless webinar or virtual event requires rock-solid technical execution. Use ACE’s AI-powered Q&A chatbot to ensure your audience’s frequent audio/visual questions are resolved quickly and efficiently while allowing you to focus on meaningful audience conversations.

Webinar FAQs

What is AI marketing?

AI marketing is the use of software that emulates human intelligence, like machine learning, by businesses to help throughout the marketing process. It’s an umbrella term, describing the use of AI to help with, or complete entirely independently, tasks like data analysis, customer segmentation, content creation and customer support.

How do I start AI marketing?

The first step towards using AI in your marketing process is to decide where it makes the most sense to integrate it. If you struggle to produce enough content, for example, supplementing your existing content creation resources with an AI tool would help.

Once you know where you could benefit from introducing AI, the next step is to find the right AI tool or platform. While you can default to freely available tools like ChatGPT, AI platforms dedicated to marketing will generally be a better fit for specialized tasks. AI capabilities are being integrated into many of the marketing platforms you already use today.

How is AI used in content marketing?

At this point in time, AI is most often used in content marketing as an assistant. Marketers tend to use AI tools to help them create content briefs, generate first drafts, make final edits or repurpose the content into another form.

However, as technology advances, more sophisticated AI tools for content marketing are emerging. These tools can act more independently, requiring less oversight from a human operator, and can improve with time. 

There’s also growth in the use of AI for content marketing tasks beyond the writing process, including generating images or creating derivative content based on an existing piece. It’s likely that this trend will continue, resulting in AI and content marketing becoming more intertwined.

Should you use AI to write content?

While it’s not necessarily advisable to use AI to generate every single piece of content for your brand in full, it’s certainly useful in lots of specific sub-processes. That includes creating content ideas, creating content briefs and adapting content to suit other mediums.

AI, in its current form, is arguably better suited to working with existing material than generating it from scratch. That’s why derivative content generators like ON24’s generative AI engine are useful.

However, as NLP technology becomes more advanced and AI models receive better training, the content AI tools write will improve.

Can you make money with AI marketing?

The short answer is yes, you can make money with AI marketing. But that doesn’t mean you should rely entirely on AI to fuel your marketing efforts. It’s still important to have trained and experienced marketers running the overall strategy.