As a marketer, artificial intelligence may not have been the first square that you chose for your 2020 bingo card.

Given the media’s historically less-than-kind portrayal of AI, it’s not unreasonable for marketers to be apprehensive of the emerging technology. We can’t help it that our minds automatically flash to Terminator or The Matrix. The truth, though, is that AI isn’t actually as out there as it may seem. These days, AI is ubiquitous — it’s arguably a guest star in our everyday lives.

Heck, I’ve already come across AI while writing this draft in Google Docs.

It's Natural for Marketers to...

As we go about our lives, we encounter AI at nearly every turn; it’s so common that when we come across it, we hardly flinch. Why? Because at its best, AI makes us more efficient and more effective. Here are just a few examples of this in practice:

  • Apple’s iMessage “knows” exactly when you want to send that 😂 emoji to your best friend
  • GMail’s Smart Compose automatically suggests a relevant, one-click reply to a colleague’s request
  • Amazon’s product search automatically plugs in the name of the item that’s at the top of your shopping list

In each of these examples, artificial intelligence provides us with a shortcut — a course of action that’s informed by how we’ve behaved in the past under similar circumstances. But that’s not the only trait that those three examples share. In each of those instances, AI generates text that helps us convey the right message at the right time.

If AI can offer such obvious benefits for how we communicate as consumers, then it’s about time for us to warm up to using AI as a tool for amping up our marketing messages. In fact, when marketers think “AI,” they should think “All In.”

Demystifying AI

If you’re going to take an “all in” approach with AI, it helps to have a firm grasp on the basics. Luckily, a PhD in data science isn’t required.

Think of AI as the computer counterpart to human intuition. We’re all familiar with the concept of intuition: throughout life, we have countless experiences and interactions, all of which inform how we instinctively react to any given situation. AI works in much the same way: Gigantic data sets (your experiences) are fed into complex mathematical models (your brain) which are “trained” to produce the desired result based on a particular set of criteria (your gut instinct).

Using this approach, AI-powered marketing tools are able to understand what marketing messages work best and for whom they’re most relevant.

How AI Can Help You Reach The Right Audiences + Save Your Budget

From a content creation perspective, AI is its most powerful when it looks into past user behavior to generate content that helps marketers:

  • Increase user engagement by tailoring marketing language to their target audiences
  • Optimize their messaging to for specific conversion goals
  • Retain their budgets by avoiding too many costly A/B tests

Tailor marketing language to target audiences
One of the most powerful ways that marketers can leverage AI is to use it to tailor messaging to specific target audiences. Using mountains of historical data, AI algorithms are able to know what kind of language was most effective for certain segments. With modern AI-powered tools, marketers can input an original marketing message into an algorithm, which in turn modifies or enhances the text to better appeal to the marketer’s desired audience.

Optimize marketing language for specific goals
Taking things one step further, marketers can also use AI to optimize their marketing language toward specific user goals, such as clicks, sign-ups, or even conversions. While one of two words in a post or ad may seem inconsequential, it’s often the small differences in text that ultimately elicit different actions. With the help of AI, you can easily modify messages according to your desired outcome.

Save you time and resources with predictive insights
Again, the fact that AI is trained using humongous data sets means that the algorithms know in advance what messaging is likely to work. For marketers, this means that you can hold on to more of your precious budget, especially when it comes to A/B testing creatives and messaging.

With AI, It’s Time to Go All In

I’ll admit it. Before I worked closely with AI, I had my reservations. My mind couldn’t help but immediately snap to “the robots are about to take over.”

Now that I’ve had the opportunity to see AI up close, it feels like my eyes have been opened. In reality, AI is a powerful tool that’s within reach for most, if not all marketers. And in the same way that it can help you quickly send the right iMessage back to your friend, or automatically complete the email that you’re writing to a colleague, AI has the power to help marketers communicate effectively and drive results.

With all of the challenges that 2020 has wrought, I think that anything that can make our lives easier in any context, is a win. 2020 should be the year that marketers go “all in” on AI. I know I am.