Artificial intelligence, or AI, is empowering marketing teams to process and act on customer data in a way that more effectively reaches the individual. By identifying all devices associated with the same person, and unifying data to track behaviors, AI is able to prepare marketing for the Internet of Things (IoT) era. The latest marketing trends reflect this, as evidenced in the fourth annual “State of Marketing” report from Salesforce Research. In the report — which surveyed 3,500 marketing leaders worldwide — 51% of marketing leaders say that they currently use AI in some capacity, with a further 27% planning to start using it over the next two years. While usage seems high for a technology type that’s still in its infancy, AI has its roots in tactics like product recommendations and predictive lead scoring, which successful marketers have been using for years.
Interestingly, high-performing marketers are more than twice as likely as underperformers to say that they’re currently using AI, with 72% reporting current use. If we can draw any conclusions from this correlation, it would suggest that AI is both the present and future for top marketing teams. But what specifically does AI mean for the future of marketing?
Of the marketers who already use AI, 64% say that it has greatly or substantially increased their overall marketing efficiency. While there are a lot of customer-facing benefits of AI, there are also many lesser-known benefits internally for marketing teams. For example, 59% of marketing leaders expect AI to have a substantial or transformational impact on their business in the following areas over the next five years: productivity of marketers, campaign analytics, digital asset management, and business insights across data and systems. Additionally, 57% say they expect the same transformational impact on lead scoring.
AI can boost the productivity of marketers by empowering them to channel their time more efficiently. For example, AI can provide smart social insights that allow marketers to connect and evolve messages across channels based on customer behavior, and provide automated, personalized customer journeys without a significant increase in manual work. In fact, by reducing time spent on segmenting customer and prospect bases for messaging, AI could actively save marketers time. With AI-driven lead scoring, marketers can also know which areas they should focus on more than others, and which will take more time than they are worth. If a CRM platform is used to access these kinds of marketing AI tools, it also streamlines marketers’ jobs, as they can integrate channels and access everything they need to from a single platform.