Can Artificial Intelligence Make Your Company’s Marketing More “Human”?
The answer is, Yes! But there are a few key things to consider before implementing AI to get it right. As part of an ongoing series, we will be defining what AI really is, what to consider before implementing AI, and how to use AI powered insights. Let’s jump in!
Part 3. Selecting an AI Vendor
In part 1 and 2, I defined the uses of AI for marketing and laid out the steps to get your data AI ready.
Now that you understand what AI does, and have standardized a data source, it’s time to select an AI vendor that specializes in building models that align with your companies marketing objectives. We have already compared data to the fuel that powers AI, now think of AI companies as the vehicles. You wouldn’t put diesel fuel in a sports car, and the alignment of your company to an AI vendor is just as important.
Here are 3 Questions to ask when you select an AI vendor.
- What is your specialty?
Not all AI is the same. Artificial Intelligence is an algorithm that applies human reasoning and problem solving to build models. Each engine has its strengths, just as each company has its specialties.
There are some that are focused on building look-alike models to target buying trends of retail consumers, some do the same for business. Other companies analyze your existing customer base, their behaviors, their buying cycles, and the influencers who impact their decisions.
In B2B and B2C, the models can also include intent behavior. Understanding the intent of your audience based on their actions is the real magic to AI. It allows marketers to laser focus messages to the right audience at the right time. In B2B sales this becomes even more important due to contract cycles, budget approvals windows, and complicated buying processes.
Timing is everything! Make sure the vendors specialize in building models that give you the actionable info you need to support your needs.
- What information will I get?
The information that you get from your AI models will directly impact how and what you are able to do as a result.
If you select a vendor that provides a look-alike model without any intent, you might need to build a brand awareness campaign. If you have a model that provides intent data, you can craft marketing with a demand generation focus knowing the prospects are likely to be in the market for your product or services.
Understanding what insights you will get for each vendor will give you the ability to pre-plan a process for using the information and set reasonable expectations to measure your performance.
- How much?
You can expect to pay anywhere between $20-250 thousand dollars annually for an AI vendor. The models they provide can help you acquire new customers efficiently, but if the service costs outweigh the benefits, you won’t have a sustainable ROI. Your AI service provider needs to provide a clear purpose and reasonable expectations for performance if it’s going to provide meaningful ROI.
Make sure you understand what you are getting, what your expectations should be, and how the service will make you money.
You should ask for a sample and a trial plan that will provide you with a real proof of concept. Use real data to validate each company’s performance claims.
Now that you have selected a vendor, what do you do with the insights? The most common question I hear every day is, “How should I use the information”? Covered in Part 4.