Step 1. Identify your business and marketing objectives.
There are overwhelming amount of AI technologies and applications available. Instead of trying to implement several at once, a stepped approach or "crawl-walk-run" approach is highly recommended.
The first step is to identify your business and marketing objectives. It is because if we start outside (i.e. looking at what's available and what is the "shiniest", we will always experience the "shiny ball syndrome". The number of new marketing technologies introduced in 2019 is close to the number of all existing marketing technologies in 2015 (Source: HBR article, Don't Buy the Wrong Marketing Tech). New and shiny technologies and applications will continue to be introduced at an unprecedented rate.
If you have created your 6PM (6-Pillar Marketing) Framework, using the 5Q Marketing Strategy Template, you should already have your objectives clearly identified and written down. Getting this first step done before moving on to the next steps will help you avoid numerous pitfalls such as redundant technologies, abandoned applications, overspent, and data hoarding.
Step 2. Identify what you already have.
What AI applications are you already using? You may not be using any at the moment or might have been using some. Knowing what you currently have is helpful to establish a baseline, avoid purchase of redundant technologies, and recognize integration opportunities.
Whenever you purchase a new technology, you want to understand how it can be integrated with your existing applications. When your tools don't talk to each other, your data is scattered and you don't get to take full advantage of the benefits brought to you by the various applications.
See the image on the right for a list of rather well-established, widely-used marketing AI applications (Source: HBR article, How to Design an AI Marketing Strategy). Referencing the list may may help you identify the AI applications you have been using.
Step 3. Identify the areas of marketing you want and need automation the most.
Now with your business and marketing objectives and currently used AI applications all identified, the next step is to think about what areas of your marketing you want AI applications the most. We can look at this from two angles: "most efficiency gained" and "most value gained".
Most efficiency gained
One example of "most efficiency gained" can be removing repetitive tasks using an AI application like a website chatbot. Website chatbots are advanced enough now that they function well without causing your website visitors inconvenience or frustration. It can help enhance your website visitors' experience day and night by efficiently providing the useful and relevant information.
For example, you are a B2B service organization. There is a website visitor, Susan, who asks a question that only your experienced consultant, not your inside sales representative who monitors the chatbot inquiries, can answer. A chatbot can provide a link to a blog where the visitor can find answers to way more efficiently than a representative can. It increases efficiency on your end and also on your website visitors' end.
Most value gained
One example of most value gained can be implementing a marketing automation platform like Hubspot which can automate email workflows and calculating lead scores based on your website visitors and email subscribers behaviour with your content.
Let's go back to the example above. Susan checked out the blog recommended by the chatbot and found the information in the blog helpful. She visited few more blogs from there and subscribed to the company's email newsletters. Without involving any human's effort, she is now part of the email newsletter subscriber list and starts receiving the newsletters.
Based on what content Susan consumes (for example, which links she clicks and which content she downloads), the marketing automation tool calculates her "lead score". Based on the score, the company's marketing team or sales team can figure out the best way to further engage Susan (i.e. what additional content to provide her and how to contact her).