Selling AI to your CMO

Selling AI to your CMO is not a case of just putting together a list of your hopes and marketing wish-list. True value lies in using the language of AI and Marketing to clearly define where AI can add value—directly to your business.

Artificial Intelligence is the story of the year at the moment, and articles (and books) abound that are breathless with promise. It is predicted that organisations using AI in their marketing will contribute $1.2 trillion to the economy by 2020 (source). 

But in the here-and-now, how does the organisational marketer convince their CMO to make the potentially not-inconsiderable investment in AI?

Firstly, be prepared to demonstrate exactly how AI can help. Be prepared with case studies. (We know, case studies are hard to find at the moment, but persevere with your searching—companies are building AI engines, they’re just not talking about them yet; Lee Odden’s excellent post on third-party vendors will help you get started).

AI can add value in three ways:

  • By building customer connections: chatbots and natural language processing (NLP) are excellent tools to help customers get what they are looking for at the time that they need it;
  • By personalising experiences: think Amazon and Netflix. Both organisations deliver excellent product and viewing suggestions based on past purchases and viewing behaviour. The search engine Bing has long used AI to guide search results based on user intent; and
  • By identifying new customers: AI and machine learning can analyse huge amounts of data in next-to-no-time, freeing up lower-level marketers and data analysts to become involved in higher-value projects. AI can provide predictive insights that the ordinary analyst and marketer might miss.

Next, you want to be talking to your CMO in the language of marketing and artificial intelligence. Talk about numbers, about retention rates or churn rates, of predictive search, of automated processes, of predictive analysis, of programmed advertising and auto-bidding. 

Finally, talk about the coming new world, of the fourth industrial revolution and how no-one wants to get behind but that the early adopters will reap the benefits.

Buy them a copy of ‘What To Do When Machines Do Everything’ and let them see for themselves (in chapter 2) why the coming revolution will be as predictable as the past three industrial revolutions, and just as disruptive.

Remind them that no-one took social media seriously at first. Now look at how disruptive it’s become.

Keep a calm head, present your case, and remember that you may have to present your case a number of times in a number of ways before it is accepted. 

Good luck.


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