By Van Diamandakas
We’re long past AI being a buzzword for CMOs. Like the Cloud and eCommerce before it, Artificial Intelligence has gone from a trend to a mainstay, with 70% of digital commerce organizations reporting that their AI projects are very or extremely successful, according to a 2018 Gartner survey.
We’re in an age where the brand that best uses AI will be the one left standing, and big questions now are, “Is your AI vendor measuring creative?” and “Does AI have a place in creative marketing?”
You’ll need to answer the first question yourself because the answer to the second question is yes. Artificial Intelligence is now essential to the creative marketing process. According to a 2018 Nielsen CMO study, 71% of CMOs are not confident that their creative is delivering ROI. Similarly, a 2018 Gartner CMO survey said that 66% of CMOs report not meeting their business targets. In truth, CMOs and their teams have hit a wall, which has led to them expecting to fail.
Introducing AI to creative remains a revolutionary concept in marketing, in large part because as marketers, we love to be creative. It can be an outlet — and that doesn’t need to change. The idea is not that machines will take over the process but rather human and machine will operate together to unlock the full potential of a campaign through data science and mathematical certainty. Every word, phrase and sentence must be precise. But we often use strategies like group-think and hunches, perhaps with a couple of insignificant data points (“this worked well once, let’s try it again!”). That is akin to operating in the dark. With AI, instead of putting together a campaign and hoping for the best, you can put all your ideas into the machine and allow it to come up with the best possible creative for success.
Despite often accepting failure, the reality is that there is little room for error in today’s competitive landscape. Each word, phrase and sentence in a campaign must be precise. And there are thousands of combinations — it is not possible for a human to think of all of them. There are also so many different ways to appeal to audiences, and what works best for yours may be different from your competitor’s.
Some audiences may engage most with product descriptions, whereas others may prioritize CTAs or emotional appeal. And in the case of emotions, which one to use? Gratification (“treating you to the best tech”) scores high for tech companies, while Encouragement (“it’s easy to earn more rewards”) scores low in FinServ, according to a new Persado report. But of course, this is broadly speaking, and AI can pinpoint what you need and scale it. The machine will learn and adapt, adjusting for decay or a change in your audience’s interests, as well as give you the reasons why something worked best.
Through the data and insights AI produces, we as CMOs can show our Chief Revenue Officers no-brainer formulas and confidently explain the reasons you used certain words or phrases and the impact digital marketing creative has had on the company. The math speaks louder (and in this day and age, there really is no excuse for not doing the math), and it will allow for a new conversation, one driven with measurable data rather than subjective explanations. If the math is there, it only makes sense to channel more funds into smart, marketing-led sales strategies.
So, the time has long come to stop debating whether or not AI is here and rather ask ourselves, “Is my AI doing everything it can do to predict and measure my entire marketing campaign, creative included?” As a CMO, you are risking too much by not asking this question — from the inability to defend digital creative decisions to the possibility of a continued backslide in sales. It’s too powerful not to ask this question and get a “yes” answer.