Staying ahead of the curve is essential for enterprise marketing teams. With organizations leaning on marketing to drive revenue, and team sizes shrinking, it’s critical to find ways to optimize your marketing efforts. One of the most impactful ways to achieve this is by integrating artificial intelligence (AI) and specifically Generative AI (GenAI) into your marketing strategy. AI offers the potential to streamline processes, enhance customer experiences, and drive revenue growth in a variety of ways. Let’s explore the applications of AI in marketing that are driving results, from the first touch through to customer retention, and how it can improve your marketing results.

The importance of AI in marketing

AI has become a game-changer in the marketing landscape. It allows marketers to analyze vast amounts of data, automate repetitive tasks, and deliver personalized experiences to their prospects and customers. For both enterprise and small marketing teams, AI is not just a tool; it’s a strategic asset that can significantly improve efficiency and effectiveness.

Understanding the customer journey

It’s crucial to understand the customer journey to fully leverage AI. This encompasses every stage of the customer lifecycle, from the initial touchpoint to conversion and retention. At O3, this is the backbone of our work and leads to strategic insights around how, where and why to improve the customer journey.

Here’s how AI fits into each phase:

First touch: Capturing the attention of the right customer

The first interaction with potential customers is crucial. AI-powered tools can help you identify and target the right audience. Using data analysis and machine learning algorithms, AI can predict which prospects are most likely to engage with your content.

Understanding the who

All marketing must start with appropriate segmentation and targeting. AI tools are now baked into most of the leading CRM’s and experience platforms (Salesforce, Hubspot, Adobe, Sitecore, etc) and can help you understand, more granularly, which brands and prospects are engaging across each touchpoint of your customer journey and give you the data you need to personalize content towards specific needs and pain points.

AI in paid media

Once you have a more clear picture of who is engaging with your brand and more of an indication as to why they’re engaging, then using the AI tools integrated into the ad platforms you’re likely already using like Google Ads and Facebook Ads allow marketers to optimize ad targeting and placement. This ensures that you’re reaching the most relevant audience, increasing click-through rates and conversions. They also allow for quick, comprehensive testing and even provide content ideas to better match specific customer needs.

Social marketing with AI

By analyzing social media trends and user behavior (tools like Hootsuite and Sprout Social provide this sort of data), you can begin to craft compelling content that resonates more with your audience, enhancing your social media presence. By combining this insight with personalized content, marketers can create effective engagement strategies.

Consideration phase: Engaging prospects with personalized content

Once prospects are aware of your brand, the next step is to engage them. AI can personalize content (or even hyper-personalize to the individual) and interactions based on user profile and behavioral data, making prospects more likely to consider your offerings.

Automating segmentation

As stated above, segmenting your audience is vital for personalized marketing. However, it can be complex and time-consuming. AI tools simplify this process by automatically segmenting your audience based on various criteria. We typically look at two primary factors: profile information and user behavior. Profile data (which is different from demographic data) is incredibly useful because it focuses on marketing-centric information like preferences, pain points and needs vs. gender, age and income which can be biased and drive incorrect actions. Behavioral data like recent visit history, purchase behavior and content preferences are also critical. By leveraging data on both, we can automate segmentation and drive more useful personalization strategies.

Personalizing content with AI

While platforms like Adobe Experience Manager and Optimizely have been offering personalization tools for years, they have traditionally been difficult to use and require a lot of time and resources to effectively map content to appropriate segments, create and personalize the content and then test and deploy effective changes. GenAI tools are now integrated into many of these platforms or exist as simple stand alone products like ChatGPT. They have streamlined the process for personalizing content by allowing marketers to automate the process of rewriting content dozens of times over to better match specific profile and behavioral needs, ultimately delivering highly tailored experiences for customers. This level of personalization can significantly enhance user engagement and lead to higher conversion rates.

Conversion Phase: Turning prospects into customers through conversational AI

Converting prospects into paying customers is the ultimate goal of any marketing strategy. If all you’re trying to do is sell a single widget via an eCommerce platform, that’s one thing. But, if you’re selling a complex set of products and/or services that require a lot of exploration, then that digital conversion can be a lot more challenging. Historically, this “conversion point” would be a form, an email or possibly a chat experience. Regardless of the channel, a successful conversion often requires human-to-human interaction, which is both time consuming and difficult to control outcomes. With the rise of GenAI, we can now deliver conversational experiences that are far more effective, insightful and even human.

Moving beyond decision agents

We’ve all encountered bad chatbots. You start the conversation with high-hopes and end either calling customer service in a huff or simply abandoning the experience entirely. It’s not the bot’s fault though. Most chatbot technologies are built on a foundation of what’s called a “decision agent” which is a component or a function within the chatbot system that is responsible for making decisions based on predefined logic. These are rules, conditions, and processes that are explicitly defined and programmed into a system before it is used. So, your customer asks a question and gets 4 or 5 possible answers and then goes from there. This works some of the time, but only when there is a clear roadmap to a response. If you have to veer a little left or right, the experience can get quite frustrating.

Large language models (LLMs) and Generative AI

With the introduction of LLMs driven chat experiences (these are now available through a myriad of products from Salesforce and Hubspot to custom implementations of Azure and OpenAI), marketers can now take full advantage of a more comprehensive chat engagement strategy. Not only can chatbots now respond to a much wider range of possible questions, it can do so within a brand voice and even a personality that aligns directly with organizational objectives. A good example of this is the work we’ve done with Scarlet AI. What customers get more closely resembles a real life interaction with a human where the content of the conversation and overall approach are much more consistent than variations that may occur from human conversations. Of course, bots don’t need to sleep either 😉

Human in the loop

It is important to note however that while LLM / GenAI driven bots can create a much better experience for customers, people still want to connect with a human, eventually. The handoff to a human interaction needs to be thoughtfully designed into the experience so that the value of the human interaction is maximized in order to effectively convert a customer.

Retention phase: Keeping customers engaged

Retaining customers is just as important as acquiring new ones. AI driven marketing experiences can help you maintain strong relationships with your existing customers through customer service, ongoing insight assessments and workflow automation, ensuring they remain loyal to your brand.

AI for customer service

AI-powered customer service tools like the LLM powered chat experiences described above can handle a wide range of tasks, from answering common queries to providing personalized support. This not only improves customer satisfaction but also frees up your team to focus on more complex issues.

Decreasing time to insight

A key component of ongoing customer engagement through AI, is the rich data it can provide to improve the experience. Whether that’s through conversational insight coming out of a chatbot, or combining interaction data from personalized experiences to inform new testing concepts, marketers can now decrease the “time to insight” in order to deliver better experiences.

Workflow automation

Automating repetitive tasks can significantly improve efficiency. Tools like Jasper AI assist with content creation, while workflow automation platforms streamline processes, ensuring your team can focus on strategic activities.

How O3 is implementing AI in our marketing

Integrating AI into your marketing strategy requires careful planning and execution. Here are some steps to get you started:

Step 1: Identify key areas for AI integration

Start by identifying the areas of your marketing strategy where AI can have the most significant impact. By mapping your customer journey first, this helps to determine key friction points or areas of opportunity to layer in AI. This could be anything from content creation and lead generation to customer service and analytics.

Step 2: Choose the right tools

O3 is heavily focused on leveraging AI to help our clients drive revenue and streamline processes. As an internal marketing team of two, we’ve harnessed AI tools to maximize our outputs and improve efficiencies across O3’s brand. By adopting these strategies for ourselves, we not only enhance our productivity but deliver more personalized and engaging marketing content.

Our journey with AI has involved continuous exploration of various tools, each serving different aspects of our marketing strategy. This list may change with new tools always emerging, but we wanted to share some of the tools O3’s internal marketing team is leveraging.

  • Jasper AI: A powerful AI writing tool that helps generate high-quality content quickly.
  • Formless by Typeform: An AI-driven platform that creates interactive forms capable of both asking and answering questions to enhance user engagement in a more personalized way.
  • HubSpot: An AI-powered platform that automates lead generation and CRM integration.
  • Google Analytics: Uses AI to provide insights into website traffic and user behavior.
  • SEMrush: An AI-driven SEO tool that helps improve search engine rankings.
  • Optimizely: Personalizes web and mobile experiences using AI for enhanced engagement and conversion rates.

Step 3: Train your team

Ensure your team is well-versed in using these tools effectively. Provide training and resources to help them understand how to leverage AI for maximum impact.

We look at AI as a new colleague at work. Just like onboarding a new employee, AI needs comprehensive background information and knowledge to align with existing processes and perform effectively. You can’t expect AI to excel from day one without proper guidance and support. Overcommunication and clear expectations are crucial for success, ensuring that AI understands its role and objectives. As AI becomes more familiar with the tasks and requirements, it can iteratively improve, becoming an increasingly valuable asset to the team. With the right implementation and training, AI can integrate seamlessly and contribute meaningfully over time.

Step 4: Monitor and optimize

AI implementation is an ongoing process. Continuously monitor the performance of your AI-driven marketing efforts and make adjustments as needed. Use data and insights provided by AI tools to refine your strategy and achieve better results.

The Future of AI in marketing

AI is continuously evolving, and its potential applications in marketing are expanding. By leveraging AI tools and technologies, marketers can streamline processes, enhance customer experiences, and drive revenue growth. The key is to understand the potential of AI and implement it strategically to achieve your marketing objectives.

We encourage you to explore these tools and see how they can revolutionize your marketing strategy. For more information on O3’s AI solutions and to discuss how we can help your company’s AI approach, reach out to us today.

About O3

Since 2005, our team has been pushing the boundaries of innovation with its deep understanding of the current and emerging digital ecosystem. Learn more about us, our work or innovation at O3.