24 Oct 2016
SMEs and the AI marketing revolution
There are patterns to all things.
This universal truth applies to marketing just as much as it does anywhere else, a fact many large companies have understood for quite some time.
The who, what, when, where, why, and how of marketing all matter, and finding the best of each is the science of marketing. This “science” is where artificial intelligence and machine learning come into play.
SMEs and the AI marketing revolution
Finding the patterns that matter and focusing our marketing efforts accordingly, is the very core of spending our marketing budgets efficiently. It is the one key factor that separates successful marketing campaigns from unsuccessful ones.
And machines are really good at it.
They have been for a while, actually.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning have been playing a key role in the digital marketing field for several years. When we see a targeted ad on Facebook, a list of websites on Google, a promoted post on Twitter, a suggested video on YouTube, or a marketing email in our inbox, there is a fair chance that a machine put it there. The juggernauts of the internet have spent vast sums of money developing the learning machines and algorithms which measure, test, and optimise the who, what, where, when, why, and how of exactly what appears on our computer, tablet, and mobile phone screens every time we look at them.
The appearance, location, and language of the internet advertising we all see is, to a large extent, optimised by artificial intelligence.
For big companies with huge marketing budgets, this approach just makes good fiscal sense. The investment in developing, maintaining, and updating of their machine learning marketing technology (martech), is returned a hundredfold in marketing team man-hours saved and increased ROI the minute the machine begins to do its work.
Which is great… for them.
But what about SMEs?
For small to medium enterprises, the expense of developing and implementing such technologies is hard to justify, since the actual impact of machine learning martech has not been widely understood. As data on machine learning’s marketing optimisation impact has become more available, SMEs have begun to see the potential, leaving a gap in the market. A gap that many martech startups have been moving in to fill.
For companies with more limited marketing budgets, machine learning tech companies now offer to step in on an ad hoc basis. Providing the martech support to allow SMEs to level the playing field. The machine learning technology on offer from such companies, frequently on-par with, or even ahead of, that developed in-house by the internet bigwigs, promises to give smaller companies with more limited marketing budgets a seat at the big table, where they too can experience the well-documented benefits of marketing campaigns optimised through machine learning data analysis.
Does this mean that an SMEs marketing efforts will be as widely visible as those of the fortune 500? No.
But they don’t need to be.
For starters, most SMEs have a much more focused, targeted or “niche” market to begin with. When marketing to such an audience, it is not so much HOW the marketing message is delivered, as it is WHAT that message actually is. That distinction is key, because when aiming for a smaller market, where number of eyeballs that will see our message is smaller, we need to make sure that our message is received in the most positive way possible. To accomplish this, the “what” of our message needs to be optimised too.
And guess what? Machines are really good at that as well.
And this, dear readers, is where machine learning’s next marketing revolution will take place: marketing messages optimised for our audience, using the most effective and efficient language and presentation possible. All of it tested, optimised, and tested again by learning machines.
This revolution will allow those who partake in the benefits of machine learning and marketing data analysis to maximise the ROI of their marketing efforts, ensuring that their company’s message is heard loud and clear by those they wish to reach.
Sounds nice, doesn’t it?