AI and Digital Transformation: The Future of Digital Marketing

An average of 4.62 billion global users, 424 million new users in the past year, and around two and a half hours every day as the average usage time. The most recent social media statistics speak for themselves, but how can businesses ensure they are making the most of their online platforms?

For those currently working in digital marketing, concerns of a future where humans are replaced by machines is all too real. If computers can produce data and automate menial tasks without human input, then where does that leave our workers?

Regardless of reasonable concerns, AI is in fact likely to create millions of digital marketing jobs that are far beyond our ability to imagine. Manni Singh, CEO of Bobble Digital says: “the best way for digital marketers to prepare for digital transformation is to educate, inform and learn about AI.”

Here’s Bobble Digital’s take on how AI is set to shape the future of digital marketing.

The Role of AI in Digital Marketing

We are seeing the integration of AI technologies across various different digital marketing strategies from gathering real time data to improving customer experience with customisation.

“The best sector that’s using AI right now is e-commerce.” At Bobble Digital, we currently use an AI tool called Pure Clarity for some of our e-commerce clients. With this automated software, we can look at which products are being viewed the most, which products are being bought by the masses and then create real time website customisation to specifically target consumers.

When a customer is on site looking at a particular product, we can use an AI tool to then retarget them to that specific product. An article published in Marketing Week considers that “multivariate testing (MVT) is transforming the marketer’s ability to target consumers online based on their individual tastes, habits and needs”, which is proving to be the best way to reach targeted customers.

Based on recent purchases and digital interactions with your company, machine learning can map the customer lifecycle of each consumer. The next time they visit the website, they will be met with a completely unique experience when the first message welcomes them by name and guides them to the product that they were originally interested in.

As opposed to exclusively promoting offers on your home page, automation will recommend products based on previous buyer behaviour. For example, people frequently buy a dresser with a cabinet, or they’re likely to buy accessories with certain electronic products – this process uses an AI platform to drive results on site. Not only does this improve customer experience of your brand, but it also improves the digital marketing to know definitively that certain products and strategies work well together.

At Bobble Digital, we use AI as part of our data analytics across platforms like Google and Facebook to refine our understanding of conversion rate optimisation and improve the performance of our website. An extensive knowledge of these strategies will undoubtably give us an advantage as digital transformation advances in the future.

Manni expressed his belief that “digital marketers should start integrating AI into their marketing strategy…however, it’s not a simple process.” To effectively implement AI, you need to have a fundamental understanding of digital transformation and the benefits and limitations of automation – which isn’t always easy.

Benefits

Time and Resources

“The biggest benefit to digital marketing with AI and digital transformation is time saving, as it is with any business.” The ability to obtain specific data analysis and insights through automation is significantly quicker than producing the data manually – giving you more time to focus on alternative marketing methods.

As a digital marketing agency, we use AI to look at our clients’ customers behaviour on their websites and release new ad campaigns based on the specific products the consumers are interested in – using real time data to produce a rapid response.

Adapt and Grow

Automation and digital transformation will help the digital marketing industry because we won’t need to hire as many data analysts. Instead, we will hire people who understand AI and digital transformation as part of data analysis – which is why marketers must educate themselves.

The same development will apply to conversion rate optimisation specialists within our company because the evolution of digital transformation will produce a tool for this. As a result, we will get to upskill existing staff to gain a wider skill set and get paid more for their expertise.

Christopher Burgess, founder and CEO of Future Technology IP Ltd stated, “it has been surreal to watch aspects of AI revolutionise businesses in many different areas, but digital marketing is one that is particularly interesting.” Considering the online sales process, AI can model your audience based on viewing data; perform a demographic analysis to show trends and patterns; make decisions on PPC bids and tell you what keywords perform best (in a matter of seconds!).

Maximising the use of AI and digital transformation means that our team provides more actionable benefits, more profitable benefits, and valuable time for our clients. In an interview with The Drum, Tom Rigden, commercial director of Jaywing stated that “AI in marketing is becoming more understood and accepted as an enabler for growth, placing emphasis on data as a driver of competitive advantage.”

For those working in digital marketing, mastering automation will eventually become essential; but it’s important to consider digital transformation to be an opportunity for growth as opposed to a daunting technological advancement.

Limitations

Budget

One of the key limitations of AI and digital transformation is the cost of implementation. Alongside the expense of automation and the investment of money to understand how that AI can work, there’s no guarantee that your efforts will be rewarded.

Every business in every sector and every product is unique, which means that you might need to create your own AI tool based on how you as an agency, or you as a marketing department work. Adapting an AI system that is tailored to your company and your marketing function is going to take time, expertise, and cost – which isn’t available to everyone.

Knowledge and Experience

“If I talked to most of my clients, I’d probably say that one out of all the clients we have will have a good understanding of AI and how it should be implemented into their business and their marketing function.” A huge limitation of AI and digital transformation is the lack of education out there.

We want to look at how we can start educating clients more on AI. More tools, more information, more blogs, more videos, more podcasts, and more available resources for businesses to learn about AI and for every industry sector to benefit from – stay up to date with our blog and podcast for marketing tips and resources.

Data Regulation

When considering the limitations of AI, it’s hard not to touch upon General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Changes in data regulation mean that automation cannot be used to its full potential – so what is the relationship between GDPR and AI?

The ethical concerns regarding the availability of customer data and specific monitoring means that GDPR restricts the processing of personal data within AI functions. For digital marketers, automation “will only take us 80% of the way there and there’s still a 20% element that needs to be done manually.”

While data regulation acts as a barrier for digital marketers to benefit from all the possible data, GDPR will help to nurture the necessary trust between consumers, businesses, and governments to facilitate AI acceptance.

Opportunities: AI and The Future of Digital Marketing

“AI won’t replace digital marketers…but what it will do is replace the need for hiring a high volume of staff within your company.”

For a young agency such as ourselves, AI allows us to automate menial tasks, giving our staff the time to be working on more measurable actions. With the time awarded to us from using AI, we now have the time and resources to hire people less skilled and train them up – ensuring that we maintain an expert workforce.

There must be a top-down approach to the implementation of AI tools within companies. Business owners and account directors must be the ones to research, strategize and implement AI based on business suitability. As an agency, we use AI as part of our strategy to understand what our clients’ customers are doing in real time when they’re online.

Instead of eradicating an entire workplace department and replacing it with AI, the implementation of digital transformation will mean that companies won’t need to hire as many staff because “they’ll be able to maximise their resources in terms of time, productivity and output of work.”

The time has come for digital marketers to educate, inform, and learn about AI and digital transformation. Consider how it will impact your role and the function of marketing within your business or agency. Why not test and experiment with different AI tools and see how they work to improve productivity?

Find businesses that are advanced in digital transformation – what are they doing? How are they doing it? Learn how you can implement similar digital marketing strategies in a way that is structured to your specific organisation. How will AI and digital transformation benefit your company?

As part two in a two-part blog series, head over to our blog page to read part one – AI and Digital Transformation: The Future of Business. If there’s anything you’d like to discuss with the team at Bobble Digital regarding AI and Digital Transformation, we’d love to hear from you.