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Embracing AI: 5 Key Considerations For CMOs

Artificial intelligence (AI) today has evolved far beyond a mere buzzword. Machine intelligence is making a significant impact across marketing, and CMOs who want to stay ahead must embrace it.

The integration of AI in marketing makes room for smarter, data-driven decision-making while offering power for automation that allows marketers to focus on priorities that require unique human intellect. When approached and implemented properly, AI alleviates the pressures of the overwhelming responsibilities CMOs and their teams are tasked with.

If CMOs haven’t integrated AI-fueled initiatives into their strategies just yet, they must prepare to equip their organizations for them soon. Gartner predicts that 70% of organizations will assist their employees’ productivity by integrating AI in the workplace by 2021. Leaders who fail to recognize the AI evolution and adapt will struggle to keep their brands relevant. Moreover, they must keep in mind how AI impacts both marketers and consumers in the rapidly changing environment.

How can CMOs lead their teams through the emerging era of AI-driven marketing and ensure their organizations adapt and stay at the forefront of innovation? Here are five key considerations every chief marketer ought to keep in mind to unlock the power of AI.

An Understanding Of Its Impact
Before enabling any AI technology, CMOs must realize how it can really help marketers succeed. A core understanding of AI’s capabilities better equips leaders to set objectives, craft a strategy that drives results, and measure its performance to gauge ROI.

As a CMO, you don’t necessarily have to be down in the trenches and know the nitty-gritty technicalities of natural language processing or robotics. You do, however, need to understand AI’s impact on your team and customers to effectively define the strategy and orchestrate (the right) AI-powered decisions.

Not only does this give marketers more time for strategic and creative thinking, but doing so offers insights into the customer like never before. AI takes time-consuming, mundane tasks off marketers’ hands through automation and shifts through massive amounts of big data—something that’s nearly impossible for humans to do.

AI offers visibility into:

  • Customers’ needs and expectations
  • Hyper-personalized messaging
  • Critical parts of the customer journey
  • Precise customer targeting
  • Effective content
  • Opportunities for growth
  • Hyper-targeted campaigns

This is only a brief list of the advantages AI provides. Understanding the expansive scope of the potential AI has to reshape marketing is key to successful adoption.

An Equipped Organizational Structure
A vital consideration for CMOs is how AI impacts the talent they need. Building the right team that’s in charge of executing the strategy and deploying AI-powered technology is critical. Without the proper internal skills to support AI initiatives, investments in technology are obscure.

The future of AI requires a workforce with a higher level of digital aptitude than what most organizations have today. Employing digital marketing talent that can adapt to the shift of AI, and leverage and interpret the insights from AI properly is essential.

AI and all of the subfields under it demand proper monitoring and adequate human support to drive meaningful results and scale work. In order for AI to be launched into full throttle, the right organizational structure—with the right roles and people to fill them—must be in place.

Translating Insights Into Action
AI helps to identify and understand the patterns in data from all of the platforms that are used within the organization to give marketers a seamless view of information. However, these insights are meaningless if marketers don’t apply them to enhance the complex customer journey and optimize marketing processes.

Marketing teams must be able to make sense of the information AI tools are telling them to translate into actionable measures. And it is up to the CMO to oversee how effective his or her team is in leveraging key findings.

Staying Abreast Of Growth Opportunities
CMOs must be able to identify new opportunities on the horizon that will benefit the organization in the long-run. One key development that’s particularly noteworthy is the rise of voice search.

The use of AI-powered voice services via mobile and digital assistants, such as Cortana, Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri, is on a rapid rise and won’t slow down. According to GlobalWebIndex’s Voice Search Index Report, 17% of Internet users currently own a voice-controlled smart assistant and 34% say they are interested in purchasing one.

The rise of voice-led search is certainly a shift for marketers. Optimizing for voice search is no longer an option for businesses, and CMOs across all industries need to consider how it impacts their organization. Fortunately, voice search is still in infancy, so early adopters will gain the most power in this space as it continues to grow.

Developments powered by AI, such as voice search technology, reshape how consumers purchase and behave. Leaders must continuously identify and recognize growth opportunities to meet the evolving demands of today’s marketing environment and its customers.

Awareness Of Your Martech Stack
How does AI line up with your current martech stack? CMOs must consider what AI capabilities their current technology stack has (and needs) before making significant investments.

Your AI technologies should allow your team to make smarter decisions, focusing on the unique needs of the customer. It’s up to the CMO to manage the performance of the stack and understand how each individual tool is performing to optimize the customer experience and reach business goals.

Recognizing how the AI tools you employ contribute to your marketing efforts is critical in driving maximum results. AI, machine learning, and deep learning are critical to optimizing processes, but being able to identify valuable vendors that truly solve challenges is equally important.

Conclusion
It’s safe to say that AI is here to stay and has claimed its place in marketing. But what we’ve seen with AI so far is only the beginning. Now the question becomes: How will CMOs and organizations keep up?

CMOs who are charged with leading their organizations toward digital innovation won’t get there without the right technology to enable the journey, but they must ensure that technology doesn’t outpace the business or customer needs.

The most important element leaders need to acknowledge is that while AI delivers a new way of working, it still needs human support and intelligence to push meaningful results. AI shouldn’t be used to replace marketers but rather complement them and should be seen as an enabler of innovation.

As long as CMOs keep this in mind, they will successfully maneuver through the revolution of AI and guide their teams in adapting to its capabilities.

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