AI Marketing: Cracking the Code and Harnessing its Power

By Rosie Tobyn


There’s no doubt about it: marketing has always been an ever-changing and evolving industry. And in recent years, as technology has evolved, the sophistication of a marketeers’ tool-box has transformed to create increasingly targeted, personalized and scaled campaigns. It’s a transformation that isn’t letting up; one that will only quicken due to the speed at which Artificial Intelligence is adapting.  

So how exactly can marketeers use AI to revolutionize their outputs? How can we use AI to support insight, drive faster and more efficient design, scale content creation and adaption and amplify decision making? And how is AI marketing making waves already?  

 Join us in our new blog series as we explore the key areas where we as an industry can leverage AI to support insight,  drive faster and more efficient design, scale content creation and adaptation, and amplify decision making.   

What is AI marketing? 

AI stands for "Artificial Intelligence”, which refers to the ability of machines or software to perform tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as perception, reasoning, learning, and problem-solving. AI has numerous applications already in brand marketing and is expected to play an increasingly important role in shaping its future.

AI marketing is the process of using AI methods and tools, like data models, machine learning and social listening to produce insight that can optimise spending, customize content and personalize the customer journey at speed. 

Of course, there are many unknowns about the future of AI in relation to data privacy, bias and fairness, intellectual property, brand consistency, quality control, security, transparency and human symbiosis. However, the potential of AI to revolutionize the way brands and agencies approach marketing by enabling more personalized, data-driven strategies that can better meet the needs, user experience and preferences of individual customers cannot be ignored.  

How to use AI in marketing 

Here are four ways AI marketing is already changing our industry and boosting the ROI of campaigns.  

1. In-depth Consumer Insights 

Consumer behaviour is ever changing in relation to preferences, habits and social responsibilities. AI can be used as a data analysis tool to quickly analyse a significant amount of data based on demographics, online behaviour and trends. One form of this is sentiment analysis and social listening: by searching through reviews, social media conversations and feedback to present customer sentiment and feelings about a brand, their product and reputation.  

A report by Gartner estimates that by 2025 60% of CMOs will rely on AI to improve the customer experience as well as use AI to optimize campaigns and personalize messaging. By leveraging AI in this way, marketing functions can process this information and make faster strategic decisions about opportunities and issues to create more authentic and emotional connections with target consumers.  Predictive insights can also be gained by using historic data to anticipate future trends and needs which gives marketers a competitive edge whilst allowing teams to get their products to digital channels and platforms faster than traditional methods.  

Our prediction: Data, recommendations and sentiments will continue to become increasingly more accurate and authentic to organisations as AI is utilized. 

2. Save Time 

One of the biggest challenges facing marketing functions is the race to market. The quicker you can get your products and services to your audience, the better. Similarly, operating in a lean fashion is a common organisational objective.  

AI brings a host of automation benefits to marketers; one admin related aspect is repetitive task automation. Task automation can account for content creation to scheduling of campaigns, as well as crunching data which would take numerous hours to manually set up and translate into meaningful actions and insights. 

By evaluating where automation can create time efficiencies within marketing and creation processes, marketers’ roles can now be freed up for activities that rely on high personalisation efforts as well as changing countless admin hours to shorter quality control tasks. Firms can now dedicate more time to create authentic and humanistic messaging and approaches and automate more repetitive, administration related tasks.  

Specifically, we often see brands and agencies using automation tools that rely on templated master documents that can be married with a variable data file to drive and adaption processes.  While these types of solutions do drive efficiency over manual efforts, setting up templates can become overly complex and the need for highly structured and accurate data files are paramount to success.  With AI, we are able to drive the adaption process without the need for master templates and there is opportunity to train AI models on less structured data sources.  Simply prompting an AI engine to create versions for different markets and to update language, price points and messaging is already a proven AI functionality. 

Rapid advancements in AI mean we're already using it to turbo-charge ideation, bringing to life creative concepts fasther than ever before. Prompt: Attractive model with hair blowing in the wind, beauty shot, canon, ultra realistic 

3. Create Content 

Traditional marketing activities value an authentic and personified approach to connecting with customers. AI tools have the capability to analyse an organisation’s online presence to mimic messaging and style directly without the need for copywriters to spend hours on tone of voice and style guidelines. Indeed, a Deloitte report found that 70% of companies that are currently using AI in their creative processes believe that it has improved the quality and speed of their work. Not to say, these roles become obsolete; AI relies on data being accurate and aligned.  

Similarly, AI has a huge impact on transcreation teams. Operating globally brings a host of challenges relating to global customer segmentation in relation to translation, localisation and cultural differences. Using AI data, companies can shave substantial time relating to content translation needs and ensure the delivery suits the preferences and culture of the market. At SGK, we're already seeing AI being a key service of copywriting and transcreation advisory to make this process leaner.  

We anticipate the use of AI in content creation and design ideation phases to create, illuminate and amplify human creativity – driving time and cost efficiencies. By using AI in these areas, firms could create proof of concepts and mood boards within a matter of hours, making visually bespoke proposals without requesting additional time and budget from creative teams. 

“We are excited to unleash the next generation of creativity offered by this rapidly emerging technology. We see opportunities to enhance our marketing through cutting-edge AI, along with exploring ways to improve our business operations and capabilities” Coca-Cola, CEO 

4. Drive Data-Driven Decision Making 

Emphasis on using data to make better investment and strategic decisions are becoming more prevalent and important for CMOs and other C-suite level executives. Indeed, in 2020, the global AI in the investment management market was valued at $1.8 billion and is expected to reach $10.3 billion by 2026 according to a report by MarketsandMarkets.   

AI is a gateway to a vast amount of historic data when it comes to successful marketing approaches, channels and consumer data. Organisations can use AI to A/B test strategies at scale – think A/Z testing, enabling messaging and design to be able to select the optimised approach in order to better connect with their target market based on the results gathered. Similarly, using AI to consolidate and gather insights from split testing, consumer insights and market trends to be able to support investment decisions to better forecast and predict ROI. This is an extremely attractive function of AI for CFOs and board level executives to build trust and assign finance to future business initiatives. 

Innovating to serve our client base 

Change is one of the only things in life that is certain. At SGK we believe AI is here to stay and we anticipate a huge shift in ways or working for many organisations, not just within marketing operations. Equally there is going to be a huge effort in relation to change management activities and initiatives for AI to be successfully implemented, embraced and become a tool used to benefit from the opportunities discussed in this piece. 

Of course, it presents its own risks relating to local, regional and global legislation and potential reputational damage from biased or stereotyped information. It is highly likely that the introduction of AI into business operations will lead to job titles and departments that didn’t exist 5 years ago. These roles are going to be critical in its successful implementation and use for firms. The investment in human centred capability and change management may well be the biggest challenge for brands and agencies alike. SGK’s heritage is in innovating to better serve our client base and therefore we are excited by the opportunities that forward looking AI machine learning capability gives us as we work to ensure our clients’ content provides maximum impact and value to the consumer. 

AI software was used to help speed up the initial drafting of this article.  It was then honed, shaped and brought to life by the power of the human mind. 

About Rosie Tobyn

Rosie is the newest addition to SGK’s European consulting team, bringing business consulting experience as well as consultative selling skills. Rosie holds recognised professional training qualifications across Change Management, Business Analysis and Project Management. Prior to joining SGK, Rosie worked on several initiatives including technology implementations, uplifting internal capabilities, and managing training rollouts. Rosie is passionate about working collaboratively, challenging the norm and prioritizing customer-centric values. In her spare time, Rosie enjoys cooking Asian inspired cuisine and getting outside, exploring London’s parks and attractions.