As technology advances and businesses become more customer and data-centric, it is becoming increasingly important for brands to use machine learning to develop marketing creative, improve customer relationships and drive personalization. On Wednesday, May 8, Persado Co-Founder and SVP of Product and Engineering Assaf Baciu joined PWC Marketing Transformation Lead William Wapshott and Virgin Brand Director and Head of Customer Experience Claire Willetts to discuss the role AI is playing today in creating customized, precise messages that engage an audience at scale. These are some of the top learnings to discuss at your next marketing meeting.
There are millions of ways to convey a message. To test each to see what will resonate with an audience would take decades for a global brand, and by the time a marketing team finds the right fit, the audience’s preferences may have changed. During the webinar, Baciu walked listeners through a typical scenario of how creative elements are ultimately chosen using traditional methods: A business will have some images and need someone to write something. Someone will come up with copy, and maybe people will go with it or perhaps make one or two tweaks. For example, someone may say, “We did this last year. I think we should add a discount.” Someone else may say, “Let’s A/B test with a discount and without.” What’s wrong with this? The brand is guessing. No matter how smart or senior a marketer is, they can benefit from putting all their ideas through a machine. The machine will learn the elements of a message, such as a product description, call to action, emotional appeal and formatting (such as bolding certain words), and what each means to your audience, then come up with the best message to deploy. “If you apply this, you get better performance,” Baciu said. “Better performance in our context is…on average, 41% more conversions, more transactions, more business. If you have it, you definitely have the attention of the CMO.”
At some point, every CMO has had to answer the question, “Why did we choose this copy? Why this CTA?” It often comes from the CEO, CFO or head of sales. AI gives answers like, “We chose these words because they are worth £230 per month.” “There’s impact and accountability with the ability to explain why,” Baciu said. If leaders still want to change the copy, they can, but the marketing team will have presented them with the most mathematically sound option. Top brands have seen major increases by trusting the machine as an impactful teammate.
As important it is to trust the machine and make it part and parcel of every marketing campaign, brands are still invested in ensuring their voice and tone remain consistent. In the past, AI vendors have pushed back, but Persado evolved by investing in Narrative Intelligence. “Today, AI, with the right training material can mimic the tone of a brand,” Baciu said. The training involves giving input on brand tone and voice guidelines. Brands can also tone down or ratchet up the intensity of a message, which will allow the machine to continually learn the precise and most consistent voice a team is trying to keep.
Whapshott said that a new PWC report revealed that 75% of transformational marketing programs fail to provide sustainable business value “because more than a shiny new tool…people drive lasting change and that adoption in terms of showing new tools from an efficiency and effectiveness perspective.” This is why it is essential to get buy-in from all employees, and Baciu insisted that it must be a top-down process. “It has to start with the executive because if they are not bought in it’s like selling Salesforce to a sales alignment manager instead of a CRO,” he said. If the CRO isn’t bought-in on the value of Salesforce, the rest of the team won’t be either. The same is true for CMOs and AI — show employees the ROI of AI, empower them to use the tool and tie it to their individual KPIs (which they will ultimately appreciate once they see the results and become an organizational hero).
“A generation of forward-thinking CMOs have embarked with us on that journey,” Baciu said. “They truly believe that they need to make choices about creative and specifically the words they talk to customers with data.” During the webinar, Baciu pointed out that charity:water saw a 147% increase in acquisition when they used Persado to boost their donor base. A global retail brand saw 30 times ROI on digital marketing investments, and Dell skyrocketed revenue by 63%. These case studies may provide leaders with more confidence that your brand should also trust the machine.