By Noah Rue

Artificial intelligence is taking over the world. While it’s not in a Terminator or Matrix-style future, AI is slowly taking over business and other sectors of our day to day lives. This is especially true for marketing. AI programs are being developed to assist and improve nearly every aspect of marketing, from data collecting and analysis, to even creating content.

It’s clear that AI will be playing a role in nearly everybody’s marketing — even small businesses — but the key decision is how it will be part of your marketing. While AI is expensive to build and maintain, and so many businesses will have to pick specific parts to include it in, there are a few specific ways AI is impacting marketing and how it can improve your small business.

AI and Big Data Analysis: A Match Made in Cyber Heaven

As big data continues to evolve and becomes more available to marketers, there grows a need for somebody to analyze the data. They hunt for trends, insights, and understanding in how their customers, target market, or just general population act.

For humans, combing through massive amounts of data is a challenge, but AI is capable of analyzing it very quickly and efficiently. It can find more trends and patterns than humans can and, with some human guidance, learn which ones to pay attention to and others to ignore.

AI is also useful when gathering and compiling data. This could include creating and collecting surveys, monitoring how users interact with your website, and gathering information about buying patterns from current customers.

Businesses that have a lot of data at their disposal and are looking to improve their marketing should look into how AI can help them out. Just be aware that the more data you have, the more powerful your AI will need to be, and that means more expensive. That being said, even with AI helping out, you will need somebody skilled at understanding business analytics to make sense of what the AI is finding and then apply that to your current marketing.

Chatbots: The Always Available Sales or Customer Support Member

AI chatbots are one invention that many are excited for, but not just for marketing purposes. Chatbots could be used to help out sales departments, help take the load off of customer support, and be useful in managing social media.

As a marketing tool, chatbots can fulfill a variety of roles and help out multiple parts of your marketing funnel. A chatbot could help curate content or products for potential leads, interact with leads to help qualify them for a salesperson, or answer questions for website visitors instead of them having to find the answers themselves.

One way chatbots are better than their human counterparts is their ability to learn and understand users over time and instantly remember their preferences. For example, if your chatbot is used to curate products for users, it can remember each individual’s likes and dislikes from previous uses. If one user says they hate the color blue, the chatbot can remember that and when offering up new products, avoid ones that feature a blue color.

Businesses that could benefit from chatbots are ones that currently interact a lot with their website visitors, leads, or customers. If it requires a lot of back and forth between your business and leads, a chatbot could be useful to free up your team to focus on other aspects of marketing.

Robots Making Content

There’s been this internet meme going around where people force an AI to watch thousands of hours of something and then tell it to write its own script. People have made AI write Olive Garden commercials, Trump speeches, even old 90s ads. While the current results are pretty ridiculous, funny, or horrifying, it does make one thing clear. AI is capable of writing real content.

With enough practice and guidance, AI could be given a topic and online resources to pull from and write content for a website with very little human oversight. The more human feedback it receives, the better it could get, coming across more human, and even include things like jokes or anecdotes. Entire blogs could be written solely by AI, with a human occasionally checking in and choosing new topics for it to write about.

For small businesses who don’t have the time or resources for a full content marketing strategy, this could be a game changer. Many businesses want to employ content marketing but can’t keep up with their editorial calendar or lack the skills necessary. AI could handle the heavy lifting, requiring minimal supervision from marketers.

AI is just one of the many trends that will play a role in the future of marketing, but smart small businesses will pick and choose where and how to use them. However, remember that simply having an AI on the team doesn’t mean you’ll instantly find success. It needs to be strategically implemented into your marketing and time to start seeing results.

Noah Rue is a journalist and a digital nomad, fascinated with the intersection between global health, personal wellness, and modern technology. When he isn’t frantically updating his news feeds, Noah likes to shut off his devices, head to the beach and read detective novels from the 1930s.

AI stock photo by issaro prakalung/Shutterstock