The Rise Of AI In Marketing: What Every Business Owner Should Know

A business owner using Chat GPT an AI chatbot to better understand how the rise of AI will affect their business

Artificial Intelligence (AI) software has revolutionised several industries over the past decade, and marketing is no exception. With a range of AI-driven tools now capable of automating routine tasks, gathering market insights, and enhancing customer engagement, it has become crucial for SME business owners to stay up to speed with this important technology. In this article, we will look at the ways in which AI is changing the digital marketing landscape and how SME business owners can leverage these trends to boost productivity and value.


But First, What Do We Mean By ‘Artificial Intelligence’?

AI is a field of computer science that focuses on developing algorithms capable of performing tasks that traditionally require human intelligence, including speech recognition, decision-making, visual perception, and language translation. AI covers a very broad technological area, including machine learning, natural language processing, deep learning, and robotics – the software technologies are used to develop systems that learn from data and experiences to improve performance and can make semi-independent decisions based on that learning.

AI differs from traditional software programming in that the algorithm is capable of developing outside the strict bounds of its initial programming, contrasting with standard coding, which is dependent on moment-to-moment human input.

So, how are AI applications transforming marketing?

1. Data Analysis And Insight

AI applications are elevating the power of data in digital marketing by enabling business owners to quickly analyse huge quantities of information, recognising behavioural patterns and preferences. This empowers SMEs to create hyper-targeted and personalised marketing campaigns that are more likely to resonate with their audiences than a static and generalised approach.

2. Smart Automation

AI-powered tools are automating a wide range of marketing processes, from email marketing and social media listening to content planning and curation, image generation, and even customer service in the form of chatbots. This frees up time and reduces the manual effort for businesses, leveraging a greater ROI from marketing expenditure.

3. Greater Personalisation

Personalisation is the key to successful digital marketing for small business owners, and this is one of the key areas in which AI-driven tools come into their own. AI-enabled marketing automation applications help businesses customise their marketing communications to cater to individual buyer groups and personas. By analysing user behaviour, preferences, and past interactions, AI tools can help businesses develop bespoke content strategies and messages for maximum impact on their target customers.

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In What Ways Can SME Business Owners Benefit From AI Marketing Tools?

A wide range of business tools and marketing applications now include AI capabilities. These can help users optimise and better manage various marketing tasks, making them more efficient and helping drive a higher ROI. For example, AI-driven content recommendation engines can help streamline the process of identifying what content topics, search keywords, and themes your target personas will find most interesting and engaging, helping create more relevant article topics and landing pages.

Benefit One: Better Decision-Making

AI-driven data analytics gives you access to robust data and real-time insights on which to make informed decisions. This helps business owners better understand what marketing strategies are most effective for their market and apply this knowledge to fine-tune future campaigns for lower costs and better returns.

Benefit Two: Competitiveness

Investing in AI-driven marketing tools and processes, such as HubSpot, keeps you at the forefront of digital marketing trends and gives your business a competitive edge in the market, setting you apart from competitors who have yet to adopt these technologies. Real-world advantages of early adoption of AI include better results from PPC and a lower cost per click, better optimised social media and blogging campaigns, more email marketing click-throughs, and a lower overall cost per acquisition.


The Risks Of AI Marketing And What To Avoid

While embracing AI technologies can yield numerous benefits, AI is a new field and there are various considerations and potential drawbacks that business owners should be aware of:

1. Privacy Concerns

Customer privacy and data security is a prevalent concern in the digital age, and businesses must ensure that their data collection processes are transparent and compliant with UK Data Protection Regulations and the EU and UK’s GDPR. The extent to which AI applications are capable of the discernment required to comply with these regulations is currently unknown, and so all AI-enabled data collection and analysis processes will still require direct human oversight.

2. Overdependence On Automation

Relying too heavily on AI applications can cause businesses to lose their human touch, potentially damaging their customer relationships, and undermining the quality of their marketing strategy. Marketing communications and content should never be entirely created by an AI, as robots are incapable of discerning between facts that are true and those that are false, and the current generation of algorithms is too basic and formulaic to create genuinely personalised messages. 

3. High Initial Costs

Although AI-enabled marketing tools can save time and money long term, SMEs may face high initial costs in implementing these systems. Business owners should evaluate potential AI solutions based on their long-term value and scalability, as well as their ROI goals from digital marketing. As with any field of software technology, mature platforms and well-tested applications offered better value and less operational risk than first-generation and untested applications.

4. Regulatory Uncertainties

The AI market is currently unregulated, but this is unlikely to remain the case long-term. In particular, Google has yet to formulate a definitive position on how it is going to allow AI algorithms to interact with its search engines, and what the ranking criteria should be for AI-generated and AI-enabled content. Until these issues have been clarified, we recommend that businesses proceed with caution in adopting AI marketing tools and consult with an experienced agency if you are unsure.

Embrace The Future But Tread Carefully

AI platforms are undeniably making waves in the way that businesses conduct digital marketing, but to make the most of the opportunities, business owners should carefully weigh the benefits against the associated risks. At the end of the day, AI applications are automated software scripts, not sci-fi robots, and the technology is not at a stage where it can replace human input in any area of marketing. However, by implementing a dynamic balance between human creativity and AI-driven productivity tools, businesses can leverage these new technologies to increase productivity and marketing, optimise the way campaigns are managed, and remain competitive in an ever-evolving digital marketplace.

To find out more about digital marketing and the benefits of automation, please call JDR Group today on 01332 343281.

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