You’ve likely heard that artificial intelligence (AI) is a powerful technology packed with all kinds of potential to enhance your marketing initiatives. You may also be a little anxious about starting to use it, as many marketers are. That’s okay — new technologies are often exciting, but they can also be a bit nerve-wracking.

It can be tough not to worry about how to use AI when you’re just starting. Is it easy to manage all the data? Can you connect data from different sources? Will customers still trust you if you use AI? Fortunately, the answer to all of these questions is yes, and it doesn’t take long for most marketers to transform from AI amateurs into AI aficionados.

Resourceful marketers have discovered a number of excellent growth-driving applications for AI, from creating personalization at scale to building customer trust.

To help inspire your AI innovations, let’s explore all of these applications for the technology.


Experimenting with AI

AI has only become readily accessible to marketers in the last several years. In that time, excitement over potential use cases for the technology has steadily increased as marketers learn how easy it is to get started and how impactful AI can be in driving ROI for the business.

There’s a lot marketers are doing with AI. They’re using it to automate tedious tasks and uncover new insights from troves of customer data. They’re using it to power media buying and customer segmentation. They’re even using AI to facilitate more human interactions between brands and customers with personalized customer journeys and channel experiences (by creating dynamic web content and automated interactions, for example). In fact, 22% of marketers are currently using AI for those purposes — but 57% plan to start within the next two years. That’s a massive projected 257% two-year growth for AI in marketing.


Creating personalization at scale

One of the most promising things about AI is its ability to create personalized customer experiences at scale. Seventy-nine percent of customers are willing to share data in exchange for contextualized engagement, and 88% will do so for personalized offers. Marketers know more about their customers now than ever before, and more data is being generated all the time. It’s our responsibility to use that data to benefit our customers — and that’s just what AI helps us do. 

AI-powered capabilities can help you deliver the relevant experiences customers are looking for by predicting and recommending the right audience, channel, timing, content, and offers. For example, AI can automatically send emails to individual customers at times when they are most likely to open them. AI can also help you get to know your customers better by combining demographic and behavioral data analyses with each customer’s history — allowing you to make tailored content recommendations. 

Since 62% of customers expect companies to anticipate their needs, personalization through prediction is more important than ever before. Many marketers have found that predictive analytics make anticipating and acting on customer needs much easier. Insightful AI tools can follow customers’ real-time engagement with brands and then crunch millions of data combinations to recommend the next best actions — all without any guesswork on your part. This helps you zero in on the messaging, channels, content, and offers that will resonate with each member of your customer audience.

What’s more, reaping the benefits of AI is not limited to any one type of marketer. It can help drive personalization and return on investment whether you are an advertiser seeking to attract and convert new leads, a social marketer looking to better engage in the conversations around your brand, or a digital marketer wanting to deepen relationships through connected journeys and relevant content.


Balancing personalization and privacy

Personalization is important to customers, but so is privacy. While many customers are happy to share their data in exchange for personalized experiences, they want companies to be transparent about how their data is being used. That sentiment is at the heart of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) passed in 2018 by the European Union, which sets new rules brands must follow to protect consumer data. By setting up clear data consent controls and documenting your brand’s compliance with GDPR, you can focus on collecting the data customers want to share — allowing you to create the experiences they really want to have.

Marketers understand this, and they’re working to improve. Fifty-one percent of marketing teams are balancing personalization and privacy more mindfully now than they were two years ago. Just by being transparent about data use and delivering experiences based on the data that has been shared, marketers can increase customer trust. Case in point, 78% of customers are more likely to trust companies with personal information when it’s used to fully personalize their experience. It’s simple: when marketers use data the way customers want, customers will continue to give their trust.

Marketers who use customer data responsibly are blazing a trail to a better future, strengthening the bonds of trust between customers and brands, and opening the gates to revolutionary personalization at scale with the help of AI.

If you’re among the 57% of marketers just beginning to explore AI, you’re in great company. There’s never been a better time to get started. The technology is evolving and maturing, and there’s so much innovation happening, thanks to marketers like you — and the customers you serve.

Learn more about how to start innovating with AI on Trailhead.