Artificial intelligence is already helping marketers succeed in a number of ways, from efficiently engaging website visitors via chatbots to conducting predictive analytics campaigns. But what about artificial intelligence and its relationship with content marketing in particular? We’ve asked some marketing experts, and they came up with four distinct, yet equally exciting ways that AI will change content marketing in 2019 and beyond.
New Content Marketing Landscape
According to Peter Mikeal, Head of Marketing Strategy at NC.-based Small Footprint, AI will fundamentally change the landscape of marketing as we know it. “The age-old statement in marketing, “50 percent of our marketing efforts work, we just don’t know which 50%”, will become a fable of the past,” he said.
He noted that as AI matures it will eliminate many of the legacy marketing jobs that are task-oriented and will create new ones to manage the data and make swift pivots to increase lead generation and revenue.
There are those that disagree with that notion however. Valerie Turgeon, a content marketing manager at London-based Brandpoint, doesn't believe that AI will take content marketer’s jobs away. “I think it’s interesting that there’s a conversation about whether AI will take marketers’ jobs away. I don’t think it will. Humans are the only beings that can understand other humans,” Turgeon said. “AI marketing tools just help gather the data to understand a mass amount of people. But to create the campaigns and determine how to use AI, that has to come from the brainpower of human marketers whose core role will never change – to provide helpful, informative content for their customers and build business,” Turgeon continued.
It's worth noting that many believe even if jobs aren't taken by AI, the marketing roles being performed will evolve to higher level tasks.
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More Vivid Context
"There's long been a saying that 'content is king’ – but content is meaningless without context and distribution," said Nick Worth, CMO of Calif.-based Selligent Marketing Cloud. By algorithmically analyzing things like user demographics, geographics, the time of day, the time of year, and a whole bunch of other factors, artificial intelligence is going to paint a better picture for marketers when it comes to context.
“AI plays a key role by using data points, behavior and engagement trends to understand relevance, context and distribution for content marketers. By leveraging both AI and machine learning, brands will know where their loyal customers are engaging with them most and serve up content that is most likely to be interesting to a particular individual,” Worth stated.
Mika Yamamoto, CDMO at Walldorf, Germany-based SAP, explained that AI — and in particular predictive analytics — will help content marketers be “more proactive about approaching customers, [as their content] will be more contextually relevant.” She went on to explain that marketers in general could use chatbots and predictive analytics, “in a surprise and delight kind of way,” to truly give consumers what they want and need.
Because data analysis will be more efficient than ever thanks to AI, it’s going to be a lot simpler for content marketers to hyper-personalize content both in terms of the words written or spoken, and in terms of when that content should be presented to the user. Worth noted that consumers today have become more and more entitled and expect brands to know their preferences on a very intimate level. “The pressure is on for marketers to abandon the ineffective spray-and-pray method and focus on building individual relationships that deliver on unique interests and distribution preferences,” he said
Worth referred to research carried out by Selligent, which recently polled 7,000 global consumers. According to Worth, 74 percent noted that they "expect companies to treat me as an individual, not as a member of some segment like millennials or suburban mothers."
“AI is going to be the game-changer that will boost a brand's ability to deliver just that, swiftly and accurately. Much of it is currently done by data splicing and dicing and segmentation, but that will only go so far in terms of personalizing consumer experiences, especially through content. I expect to see a big shift with AI for marketing tools in the next two years,” Worth explained.
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Better Content Strategies
Valerie Turgeon told us that AI tools like Lucy, powered by IBM Watson, are already helping brands whip up content strategies. She explained that Lucy uses cognitive computing and natural language processing to help marketers with research, analysis, and forming content strategies so companies can create better content that returns results for their business. “We have used Lucy at Brandpoint, specifically, to help us with audience analysis for our clients and better understand who they’re marketing to,” Turgeon explained.
Broader IoT Experiences
Turgeon also touched on how AI is already morphing the channels and touchpoints we see covered within content strategies. That’s due to conversational AI — the kind found in Alexa, Siri, and Cortana — opening up new touchpoints through which brands and consumers can interact. “AI is also changing the way that consumers interact with branded content. They’re using voice search and smart speakers. They’re able to order a pizza without even dialing a number. So, perhaps the biggest challenge for marketers will be determining how to provide new experiences for their customers with these AI devices,” Turgeon said.
“Right now, brands can create 'Skills' for a smart speaker that consumers can interact with. Betty Crocker is an excellent example, a timeless brand that has stayed relevant in the digital age by implementing Alexa Skills so consumers can ask about recipes and measurements while in the kitchen,” she said.
Producing content may always be a human-dominated task, but optimizing that content for the search engines will most likely be left to the bots. Mikeal went into further detail. “Historically, a lot of marketing strategies are very manual such as identifying keywords to optimize blogs or articles for SEO and then creating backlinks. As machine learning matures, all of these tedious and time-consuming SEO tasks when creating marketing content will be automated with fewer errors along the way,” he explained.
Moreover, Mikeal can see AI playing a significant role in analyzing voice data and then optimizing for voice search queries.
How do you expect AI to impact content marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.