Ask any marketer on the street if they’re using AI in their marketing strategy, and the answer is guaranteed to be either “yes” or “soon.” Everyone either has it or is racing to implement it.
AI is a must-have for every brand, so much so that it’s become the buzzword of the moment. But how can marketers look beyond the buzz and leverage it in a practical, results-oriented manner?
There are countless ways to turn AI into a meaningful tool in your marketing arsenal, but most of them fall into three main categories:
- Acquisition tactics to attract best-fit customers to your brand
- Engagement tactics to keep your product top of mind
- Retention tactics to ensure high-value customers keep coming back for more
Let’s dive into each of these categories to explore how you can drive the most impact with marketing AI.
Leveling up acquisition with AI
Obtaining quality leads is at the core of any marketing effort, and AI can both supplement and automate existing tactics. A common use case is monitoring customer activity to understand what other brands they’re interacting with and why. If you see machine learning results that indicate customers are unhappy with a competitor’s product or service, you have an opportunity to target ads highlighting what you do better.
AI can also be used to generate lookalike audiences on various platforms to expand your ad reach and increase the likelihood of new potential customers clicking through and interacting with your brand. This can help improve results by ensuring that you’re targeting the best-fit audience for your brand. With Facebook, for example, you can leverage AI to upload portable lookalikes or seed Facebook’s native lookalikes to get the best of both worlds.
AI is especially useful for setting ad spend priorities because it helps you understand where potential customers are in their buying journey and where they’re conducting research at each stage. This ensures you’re promoting the right information in the right places based on the buyer’s interests and priorities, whether they’re looking for value and a fast sale or willing to take their time and spend more on a luxury item. This type of AI-driven targeting works any ad channel you use, from heavyweights like Google to Snapchat, Pinterest, and beyond.
Another key benefit of AI in marketing is the ability to generate powerful lead scores in real-time. With AI-driven lead scoring, algorithms sort through thousands of data points in an instant to generate a highly accurate score based on your company's specific business goals, and you can opt to have scores delivered wherever you need them most. That might be a call center to help reps increase conversion rates and focus their efforts on the highest-value customers or a data warehouse where you'll use scores to prioritize leads for certain campaigns.
Marketing AI is even valuable in the brick-and-mortar world, especially if you’re eyeing expansion opportunities. Observing where customers go to shop and how they feel about the experience can guide you to the right location for a physical store. Does it make sense to be close to the competition so customers feel empowered by having more options? Do customers seem dissatisfied with long drives to a store and want something closer? Are there areas with plenty of open storefronts that pose the opportunity to bring something completely new to the community? Answering these questions with help from AI-collected data can help you keep on top of trends and narrow down your new location options.
Increasing audience engagement with AI
Whether you’re directing customers to your site or store, you want to keep them there for as long as possible—and ensure it’s a meaningful experience for them. Attentive sales floor staff make it easy for shoppers to learn about products and get recommendations, and AI allows you to replicate that experience online. Chatbots use language-based machine learning to understand customers’ priorities in real-time when evaluating a potential purchase and provide useful information to simplify their decision.
An effective chatbot automates the site visitor’s journey through a help menu, identifying the nature of their query and determining whether they need to be directed to information on another part of the site or a representative who can help them over a personal chat. This can be helpful when learning about product specifications and comparisons or tracking an order. Once the conversation shifts to a more personal interaction, the rep benefits from the context created by the customer’s responses to the chatbot, making the rest of the transaction more accurate, detailed, and useful.
AI isn’t just for bringing in new customers, though. It also tells your dedicated audience when there’s something else they might enjoy. The data you collect can generate product recommendations to display on your site as they browse, in social media and display ads on other platforms, and via email if they already subscribe to a list.
While the recommendations will vary based on your industry, remember that there are always opportunities to promote sales on items they’ve already viewed. Additionally, think about natural upsells in every sector, like additional ingredients and a recipe based on a food purchase, shoes and accessories to match an article of clothing, extended protection guarantees for a big-ticket item, or a chance to convert from a one-time purchase to a subscription.
Improving customer retention with AI
Once you have a better sense of how your customers shop and interact with brands, you also have a clearer view of the lifecycle of their relationship with those products and services. This means you can predict when they might begin to lose interest in your offerings and start looking elsewhere, so you can act quickly to target your recommendations towards building loyalty and re-engaging their interest. This type of churn prediction, which requires huge amounts of data processing and would be nearly impossible for a human to do on their own, is quite simple for a machine learning model.
Using AI to segment your highest quality customers based on spending by volume and frequency can help you find the right methods for re-engagement. In addition to well-targeted ads and emails, it's worthwhile for some brands to hold events for these customers, building a rich influencer network that also bolsters online marketing efforts.
Rewarding high-spending customers with exclusive discounts or previews of new products is likely to encourage more purchases in the future. People who shop with you often have considerable insight into your brand, so they’re absolutely worth the extra attention. Sending reminders to review recent purchases and share their knowledge helps boost your brand’s visibility and gives you more data to analyze. And being responsive to both positive and negative feedback shows that a brand relationship can be a two-way street that benefits both you and the customer.
Take your marketing to new heights with AI
Every company, from startups to legacy brands, can draw concrete benefits from AI in marketing. But it takes time to get it right, the same way it takes time to test a new ad campaign or product positioning.
The most successful marketing teams won’t just purchase AI capabilities to cash in on a buzzword or check off a box—they’ll fully commit. This means uploading the right data, giving models time to train, analyzing the results, and continuing to iterate.
If you’re interested in leveling up your marketing strategy with AI, contact us to learn more about our growing number of solutions. At Faraday, we help you grow closer to your customers with the power of prediction—taking AI beyond a buzzword.