Marketers Are Confused About What AI Can Do For Them

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Marketers Are Confused About What AI Can Do For Them

02/16/2017
Adgorithms, creators of the world's first fully autonomous AI marketing platform, Alberttm, released the findings of new third-party study, "AI: The Next Generation of Marketing," conducted by independent research firm Forrester Consulting. The company commissioned the study in order to gauge marketers' perceptions of artificial intelligence, as it relates to marketing, other marketing technologies and widely-known industry challenges. The research is available for download here.

Among the findings, the study reveals that marketers' lack of understanding of AI-driven marketing might be influencing the rate of its adoption to date. This lack of understanding is punctuated by the fact that more than 40 percent of participants said they thought they had already adopted AI-driven marketing, reflecting a belief that their targeting capabilities and automation meant that AI was operating behind the scenes.

Still more confusion was revealed by marketers' varying levels of ability to delineate between targeted campaign efforts and true contextual marketing (relevant, personalized advertising and marketing based on insights gathered from relationships, and historical and situational context with customers). The latter represents tremendous opportunity to deepen and personalize customer relationships, but also represents considerable complexity, which is precisely what stunts marketers' evolution. It is also what AI-driven marketing automates and simplifies.

"We believe the results of this study confirm many of the trends we're witnessing in the marketplace, but we were surprised by the root causes of common marketing challenges," said Amy Inlow, CMO of Albert. "The common denominators driving these challenges were marketers' willful lack of knowledge about the tools they're working with and the tools available to them. As a result, they continue to be plagued by technological complexities, unreliable insights, and a lack of control."

Findings from the study include:
  • Marketers are disproportionately focused on early stages of the customer life cycle. When asked what objectives marketers were looking to accomplish with their marketing programs, they were more likely to respond with upper-funnel objectives, such as driving customer acquisition (61 percent of marketers) or awareness (53 percent of marketers). Marketers were far less likely to say they focused their marketing efforts on later stages, where context comes even more heavily into play.
  • Marketers perceive technological and data complexities as inherent to marketing programs aimed at deepening and personalizing customer relationships. The complexities that marketers cited as inevitable to meeting their objectives stemmed from technology and data, and were said to result in the following difficulties and/or inefficiencies: Over-reliance on vendors/agencies for driving marketing strategy (37 percent); difficulty understanding the relative contribution of marketing channels to conversions (35 percent); difficulty translating customer insights into actionable marketing outcomes (34 percent); difficulty collecting, integrating and managing marketing data (32 percent); and difficulty operating fast enough to keep up with rapid pace of interactions and data collection (32 percent).
  • Marketers have low expectations of their current approaches. Eighty-one percent (81 percent) of participants said they expected efficiency gains of 10 percent or less using current tools and processes for marketing optimization.
  • Marketers exhibit varying levels of understanding of AI-driven marketing, but are extremely attracted to the benefits it promises. Ninety-four percent (94 percent) of participating marketers said a tool that provides continuous, autonomous optimization across channels would be appealing to them, while 91 percent said a tool that enables their teams to review, analyze, and act upon customer and marketing data in a continuous and real-time fashion would be valuable for their organization. Eighty-eight percent (88 percent) said that reducing the time spent on preparing reports and analysis, thereby granting more time for strategy and focusing on customer interactions, would be valuable.
  • Marketers aren't reluctant to adopt AI-driven marketing because they're satisfied with their current approach. Only 6 percent of participants stated they believed their current tools and approaches were working sufficiently well. Otherwise, the reasons they offered for their disinterest in an adopting AI-driven marketing solution included: Their belief that it would cost too much (48 percent); difficulty finding a vendor that fits their needs (35 percent); they hadn't heard or know enough about it (35 percent); or their assumptions about the difficulty of integrating the technology into their current tools and processes (29 percent).
This study was conducted between October 2016 and January 2017. Forrester Consulting surveyed 152 organizations across various industries including financial services, retail, CPG, travel, telecommunications and others within the US to evaluate their perceptions around AI-driven marketing. Survey participants included decision-makers in a marketing or eBusiness role. Questions provided to the participants asked about their current contextual marketing efforts and challenges, as well as their perceptions of AI-driven marketing.