Worried that AI—Artificial Intelligence—is going to make your digital marketing job obsolete?
Instead of looking at the future of AI in the digital marketing space as something that’s eventually going to replace us with robots, think of it instead as a business partner that will enhance your job and supplement your output.
Artificial Intelligence can never replace humans in areas such as empathy, sensibility, strategic capabilities, and creativity, but they can do things like sort through and analyze data quicker than the human brain can. So approach AI as a member of your team that handles some of that data for you so you have a little more time to concentrate on the parts of marketing that humans do best.
Rich: She’s a passionate digital marketing strategist helping businesses of all sizes achieve their marketing and revenue goals through highly effective and sustainable inbound and content marketing strategies. Also, as a certified Web Copywriter and Conversion Rate Optimizer, she’s turned websites and e-commerce sites into authentic leads & sales machines.
She’s also the owner & writer of mayneza.com, a blog that will empower you to become the best version of yourself.
And finally, she’s a YouTuber with over 73K subscribers and 18 million views across all different channels. Please welcome Natalia Maynez. Natalia, welcome to the show.
Natalia: Thank you very much, Rich.
Rich: I’m glad you’re here, and we’re talking about something that I’m absolutely fascinated by, which is AI, artificial intelligence. And I’m curious, how did you get interested in AI?
Natalia: Well as a marketer I’m always looking for more effective ways to reach our target market, and also to optimize my marketing processes. And at the same time how we as marketers can make things easier, but at the same time better. And how AI or other smart processes can help us focus on the things that matter the most.
So this is where when I started to get involved in AI and started researching the topic and pretty much became passionate about this topic.
Rich: Alright, sounds good. Now I’m sure a lot of people listening now thinks that AI sounds cool, but it sounds like something out of a science fiction movie, and it’s something that’s way off in the future that has no bearing to their business now. What would you say to those people?
Natalia: Well I’m aware of that idea. But in fact on a daily basis we are already getting along with AI. I mean if you as a marketer have an email marketing software or even Facebook, you are already incorporating having AI in your processes. And if you make a voice search on Google from your Siri app on your iPhone, you’re already using it.
So looking at AI as something in a science fiction movie is not a good approach. Because if you think like that, you’re never going to get close to it and start experimenting all the advantages it can have. So I think it’s more like something we are getting along, and the best approach is to use it to our advantage and to optimize our processes.
Rich: That totally makes sense and just from my personal experience, using Gmail these days is all about artificial intelligence. I can barely type out a few words before Gmail is trying to finish my sentences for me.
Natalia: Yeah, because email is using keyword analysis to see the key phrases that you often use. So when you start doing something they say, “Ok, if this person always writes a sentence this way, then I know that he or she might want to finish it that way”. So, accept it’s something you get along with every single day. And the best approach for us as marketers is to get the most out of it.
Rich: So let’s talk about some of the ways that we might see AI impacting our jobs as digital marketers right now or in the near future. What are some of the ways that it might change the way that we create content or write blogs?
Natalia: Well for content creation we have two approaches. One is creation and generation of content, and AI can already write reports and base it on that information. Intelligent tools like Wordsmith, Articoolo, and Quill, are already being used by these huge websites and the press. So just like the press uses them for news, they use them to create links on the website.
So in fact there are hundreds of AI quotes in the Washington Post that are already created through intelligence technology. Like for example the one that the Washington Post uses is called Heliograf. But this isn’t the only application that helps with content, it also has content curation. Now for example when you go to Netflix and you see these recommendations like, “You may also like…”, these kind of things you may be asking, ok, I know that it can make pretty accurate recommendations – such as the one on Amazon – but how can I as a marketer apply it to my content.
Well, imagine showing each of your blog visitors the articles that are most relevant to them based on the past things that they’ve already looked at on your blog. The articles that are most relevant to them based on the posts and topics they’ve already looked at on your blog. So as you can imagine this could represent much more time on your website and less bounce rate.
Rich: Yeah, that makes sense for sure. So right now if I’m understanding you, you’ve got newspapers out there like the Washington Post – and I remember seeing this, I think it was in your article – that 850 blog posts last year were written by robots, or artificial intelligence, which just kind of blew me away that this is going on right now. Now we might not be able to use Heliograf, but maybe we can use some sort of AI, as you’re saying, to help a reader find the most relevant content on our website based on what they’ve already done, which is basically machine learning. That’s certainly going to improve our chances of keeping them in front of us, and our chances of converting them into a customer.
Natalia: Yeah, sure. And right now you’re mentioning the type of machine learning that helps to serve better content to users. I would also like to mention that there’s this field of digital marketing – maybe you’ve heard about it – it’s “zero conversion rate optimization”. And naturally machine learning and predictive personalization have made acute advantage in this specific field with predictive personalization.
It shows relevant content to users according to their behavior they have on your website, and it doesn’t require any human work behind. Like for example on rube-based personalization, humans make the rules. The humans show this content to these people at this time. With predictive personalization it uses a system – which is often machine learning – to decide what to show the visitor, and they show up on mobile at the same time in order to group conversion rates.
So imagine you have e-commerce and you’re trying to increase your sales, but you don’t know which title or headline works better. So you have this system and this system is analyzing which one provides more clicks and more conversions. So this is another example of how artificial intelligence can help us to serve better customers and increase our revenue.
Rich: That’s pretty interesting stuff. Now that’s all stuff that’s going on on our website. I know that one of the things we talk about quite a bit on this podcast is email marketing. So what kind of impact does AI have on email marketing and what are some of the tools or companies out there in that space?
Natalia: Ok, yeah. Email marketing is also one of the things that’s being highly improved by AI, because machine learning can analyze millions of data about our customers to determine what are the best times and days of the week to contact the users. But also it recommends you the right frequency so they don’t forget about you.
But the content also finds out which content captures their attention the most, and not even that, which email subject lines and titles are generating more clicks. So as you can predict, all this information and insights for us are clearly like pure gold to marketers, because we can personalize our message. And not only that, increase our KPIs and our goals in email marketing.
Rich: So one of the things that we often see these days in marketing is chatbots. Are chatbots artificial intelligence, and if so, how does that fit into everything?
Natalia: Yeah. We have two kinds of chatbots. The one that I like more are more basic that don’t use AI, are basically nurtured or trained by a human. But the ones that are more advanced are the ones that have…imagine you go into a chatbot and these are taught to answer not only closed questions but also open questions. So these AI facebots use natural learning processing and machine learning to find a correct response to each and every single lead.
So these chatbots also have other advantages. They can serve the clients 24/7, they are pretty friendly with them, and never lose patience. Yeah, because they are never going to get angry because bots always will treat them well. There is this example that I seem to love from Sephora, which is a beauty cosmetics brand. They have this bot they call the “visual artist”, and he’s capable of identifying the facial features of a girl or the client and then choose augmented reality to apply the selected product to the user’s photograph. So it can evenly automatically apply an eye shadow suggestion based on the skin tone of the customer. So I think that’s pretty awesome.
Rich: Yeah, that’s a very interesting application for sure.
Natalia: So in fact by the year 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationships with the enterprise without interacting with a human. So I think it’s crucial that we start seeing AI as a partner, and we as marketers focus more on what matters most to the business instead of seeing it like the apocalypse or something that is going to come here to take the jobs. (11:35-11:54)
So chatbots are pretty much one of the things that we should have on our list in order to have this competitive advantage and be right on the top of our competitors.
Rich: Alright, so chatbots are important, I’m hearing that from you. I’m sure a lot of people who are listening to this are probably freaking out about the fact they’re going to lose their job because they write content and now robots can write content, or they do email marketing and they’re afraid they’re going to lose their job.
Your take on this is that this is going to free us up to do better work. And as long as we understand these tools, we should be safe.
Natalia: Yeah. Elon Musk is one of the most prolific people that has things to say about AI. He has this quote that I like that says, “Humans must merge with machines or become irrelevant in the AI age.” So I think this approach is right, and while I agree that AI is better than us in some things such as mechanical and repetitive things or processing and organizing huge amounts of information, I strongly believe that humans are better in other areas. Certain areas like sensibility, strategic capabilities, human empathy, and understanding, among many others.
So this is pretty much like a team. They’re letting AI do what it does best, and we as marketers do what only humans can do. These characteristics that are so purely human that they are just irreplaceable. So I can see this like a synergetic relationship in which we are taking the most out of both worlds.
Rich: I think that makes a lot of sense because there is a lot of marketing work that is grunt work, or that is not optimized for a human brain but optimized for a computer brain. There’s a lot of data and it’s difficult or even impossible for a single human brain to process that. But there are things, like you mentioned – creativity, empathy – that at least for the time being cannot be replicated by a machine.
If we can outsource some of the more grunt work to AI so we can focus on the creative and empathic work that marketers should be focused on, this is actually going to give us an advantage over our competition.
Natalia: Yeah, totally. I think we as marketers need to invest our time in three crucial things, that at the same time, are going to stick to the key abilities of a new email marketing specialist. These three key areas are understanding much better our prospects or buyer personas, so that we can create better hypothesis to test our AI systems. Because at the end of the day, for example, Google or Facebook advertising are asking to please provide me more creative, more pictures, more copies that I can test to teach others so that I can know what works better for your target.
So imagine that we as marketers are going to have this focus on getting to know better our prospects, in order to deliver better creatives and operate with a more profound hypothesis, and AI is going to be there in order to tell us which one of all those hypotheses or ideas is working better. So that’s one.
And the second one is developing these ideas based on a deep understanding about our target market. I don’t know if I mentioned this earlier but I work for this AI company and the way we solved these relationships between AI and human, is that the human develops the ideas, they create an element in which he or she is the best at, and AI is going to test it across multiple platforms and is going to provide some feedback and insight that we can use in order to prove our process. So that’s the second one.
And the third one is we take those insights that AI is giving us and we can integrate our creatives and get better in our work. So I think those are the three crucial pieces that we as marketers are going to be required in order to get along in this AI era.
Rich: That’s some fantastic advice for looking forward to what we should think about. Now as we’re looking forward, we’re coming up on the end of 2018, and in thinking about our 2019 marketing plans, a lot of this sounds interesting. But if I’m a small business or if I market for a small business, I wonder if some of these platforms are priced out of my price range right now. And so for the small business owner or marketer, what advice would you give them in terms of jumping into artificial intelligence?
Natalia: Well a business owner has two choices if he or she wants to get along in this AI era. One is to develop its own AI systems. It is pretty expensive and you will last years doing it. And the other one is just join the tools that are already using it. And I think that’s the right approach to go. So just start doing some research about the marketing tools that already have AI or machine learning assistance or predictive analytics added to their tools.
It doesn’t have to be something expensive, as I already said, Facebook and Google advertising are already using machine learning. And there are other tools that are an advertising tool that only charges when it provides results. For example you can go into email marketing sub words that also use AI and aren’t expensive. So it’s’ just researching about these tools and just merging with them in order to have the best results.
Rich: Alright, that’s sound advice. This has been great, and a great place for us to start our thinking about how to use artificial intelligence in our digital marketing. Natalia, I’m sure that some people are going to want to dig a little bit deeper and understand it and know a little bit more about you. Where can we send them?
Natalia: You guys can visit my LinkedIn profile, I also have my personal site that’s mayneza.com. And you can also look into my Facebook, Natalia Maynez. If you’d like to talk or you have any questions on this podcast, reach me on my LinkedIn or my email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rich: Natalia, thank you so much for stopping by today and sharing your thoughts on artificial intelligence.
Natalia: No, thanks for inviting me. It’s such a pleasure to come here and talk about this interesting topic.
Natalia Maynez is passionate about the role that AI is currently – and will in the future – be playing in the digital marketing space. Follow her on LinkedIn and Facebook, as well as her blog, to find out more about what she has to say on this exciting topic.
Rich Brooks is the President of flyte new media, a web design & digital marketing agency in Portland, Maine. He knows a thing or two about helping businesses grow by reaching their ideal customers, and to prove that, he puts on a yearly conference to inspire small businesses to achieve big success. You can also head on over to Twitter to check him out, and he has added “author” to his resume with his latest book!