Artificial intelligence (AI) is considered the newest form of intelligent technology, and businesses are utilizing the information they collect to better inform their marketing programs and reach new audiences. According to Forbes.com, a 2018 McKinsey study found that 47 percent of executives say their companies have embedded at least one AI capability in their business, and 21 percent say their companies have embedded AI in several parts of their businesses. The outlet also noted that AI can be used to improve the customer journey and boost a company’s return on investment (ROI). They expect a boom in the use of AI for marketing purposes in the coming years. Because of its applications in buyer profiling, ad targeting and brand referrals, this emerging, yet proven tactic is one all business owners—big or small—should utilize.
Think chatbots and support pop-ups! They seem to be everywhere.
In 2020, spending on AI systems is expected to reach $49.2 billion according to the Wall Street Journal. AI is something that companies big or small can integrate into their business. Here are some ways you can get started today:
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems: Companies are adopting AI through CRM systems, which allow them to organize and store customer information in databases. According to Inc.com, research has found that a properly integrated CRM solution can generate an ROI of approximately $2.50 to $5.60 for every dollar invested in the solution. These systems specifically help sales teams as they streamline many of their processes such as lead generation and analyzing customer feedback. There are several CRM options for small businesses that won’t break the bank and can be implemented immediately to help manage leads, opportunities and accounts.
- Automated Customer Communication: According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, an Oracle study found that 80 percent of businesses planned on using chatbots by 2020. A chatbot is a computer program that can respond to messages in a conversational, human-like way, utilizing AI to automate your customer service process. Chatbots can help small businesses who do not have 24/7 customer service representatives available and can be programmed to answer common questions that many customers may have. Chatbots can also help automate your sales process, freeing up your time to work on more timely tasks.
- Consumer Intelligence: AI can not only help you help with your business processes, but it can also help you get the pulse on your potential customers. Whether you are a national company trying to reach the masses or a smaller, local company trying to understand community concerns, there are various AI programs that allow you to compile and analyze consumer digital information much faster than a person could. These programs can then create reports based on the information they find. This is similar to how PPMA is providing Mainframe subscribers with state-by state-data on pests and pest control topics. For example, we found that engagement surrounding pantry moths in Vermont spiked 3,100 percent from December to January. This information can help inform your future marketing efforts.
Facebook messenger utilizes AI to deliver the right content to users.
AI, while relatively new, is a treasure trove that small business owners can no longer ignore. Incorporating AI into your marketing program enables you to make smarter choices, efficiently growing your consumer base and ultimately building your business. Using AI to handle smaller, everyday tasks is a great way to free up time for employees to focus on other areas that need their attention. Adopting this technology can also help you stay on top of your existing accounts, customer service and consumer needs. AI is indeed an integral part of our future and we look forward to our industry adopting and embracing this interactive technology.