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How Winning Content Marketers Use AI

John Lahr
November 09, 2017

Ready or not, the Artificial Intelligence revolution is here and marketers who have embraced it have a serious competitive edge over the competition. While fears over automation leading to fewer opportunities and skepticism from consumers have made some hesitant to implement AI technology, the truth is AI is giving marketers the tools and insights to be more effective in their efforts, and spend more time solving high level challenges. These tools are already working in the background of a wide variety of companies such Netflix, Spotify, Amazon, and Salesforce and has dramatically increased the personalization and speed of improvement of their services.

See What Powers Your Best Ideas

The key for content marketers to make the most of implementing machine learning in their marketing process is understanding what tasks can gain the most leverage by being automated.

What AI is built for

With the speed of business online continuing to accelerate, having rapid feedback loops for all marketing campaigns to inform data-driven decision-making has never been more important. Currently the time and effort required to track all the necessary data, analyze the results, and consistently and reliably implement the insights gained into content creation takes a dedicated data scientist. Even with a team member to analyze all the data from your campaigns, expanding these efforts to include competitive analysis or broad assessment of an industry is nearly impossible.

It’s in areas like these that require analyzing large amounts of disparate data where AI can have the greatest impact. Not only can Artificial Intelligence find and analyze all this data quickly, the algorithms can also look at all of these continuously and find trends that humans often cannot.

Removing guesswork and decisions rooted in opinions

Marketing has traditionally been a discipline not as beholden to numbers as other business functions such as sales, engineering, or operations. However with more data being available from distribution channels, and increasing focus on conversion metrics and contribution to the bottom line, marketers are having to provide more data on how their efforts are contributing to revenue or other strategic goals.

Luckily, one of AI’s strengths is being able to identify what content is having the greatest impact with your target audience in real time. No more guessing and testing (or worse, just guessing) to see what moves the needle with your audience. Artificial intelligence platforms can take broad looks across your content, your competitors content, and industries as a whole to tell you the exact right content creation strategy for your audience right now. Not only will you see dramatically higher conversion rates, with this level of content intelligence you’ll be able to know what factors contributed to them.

Serving content tailor-made for specific audiences

More than ever, consumers are demanding the increasing personalization in the messaging that reaches them. Blanket personas as the overarching strategy are no longer enough. But creating or finding a wide variety of high-quality content to reach diverse audiences is challenging. So challenging in fact, that in 2016 the Content Marketing Institute reported only 30% of B2B marketers considered their organizations effective at content marketing. AI can be powerful here since platforms like Cortex can recommend and track social media content based on themes tailored for specific audiences.

AI can not only takes the guesswork out of content curation for different groups, but even sources the content for you so all that needs to be done is quickly review it and schedule. These themes are also tracked independently so different audiences can be compared and optimized for.

Analyzing results and implementing insights into future campaigns

Anyone who’s ever done A/B testing knows it is tedious at best. For social media in particular it means downloading spreadsheets from all of a brand’s social channels, and crunching the numbers by hand. Even then, your analysis is only as good as the person analyzing the results. Without a dedicated marketing data scientist, you are almost sure to be missing key insights and be falling behind competitors who have significant investments in data.

Artificial intelligence not only automates this entire process for a fraction of the cost, it performs more complete analysis from dramatically larger data sets continuously. No more waiting on the data team to get back to you with their findings before you can adjust course. Just open up the analytics dashboard and see the results of the campaign instantly. Once you have the insights from the test, the AI engine will have already incorporated its findings into the recommendations it provides. No more processes or updated creative briefs to ensure the learnings are implemented and continuously being used.

Keep up to speed on competitors and the industry at large

Robust competitive analysis in the content marketing space has traditionally been something incredibly complex and time consuming due to sheer amount of content being distributed by brands, and the difficulty in quantifying all the data. A single analysis on a key competitor is a significant effort, and looking at whole industries is something left to Forrester or Gartner. If you’re not already using AI that is.

Once you have an AI engine you’ll be able to run the exact same analysis on your competition and the broader industry as you have on your own content. If you consider only 37% of marketers are actively looking at potential AI uses cases, that puts marketers already employing AI in a league of their own. Not only are they drastically outperforming their competition, they know more about their competition’s content performance than their competition does! This gives early adopters of marketing AI technology tremendous competitive advantage that will only grow the longer the competition waits, and has even allowed some agencies that have caught on the ability to charge substantially higher fees than those without AI capabilities.

What's it all mean for content marketers?

 

All of theses benefits of artificial intelligence really boil down to a few key advantages. Smart content, and speed. Content that is continually self-adjusting its messaging, targeting, and delivery. For marketers that are overwhelmed with just getting by with their day to day obligations this may seem like a dream, but it’s real and it’s here. How content marketers use AI in their content strategy can give them a serious competitive advantage in reaching customers and improving the customer experience with the brand. Being able to deploy smart content at crucial points in the customer journey at scale and evaluate and act on key insights in real time is something savvy marketers have been doing for a while now, and the time is now to join them or be left behind.

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