If you think you’re seeing more on the topic of artificial intelligence in marketing lately, there’s a reason—you are.

In fact, a new study by Weber Shandwick finds that the majority of CMOs in five global markets believe artificial intelligence (AI) will surpass social media’s influence in the industry.

According to the 150 senior executives surveyed, 55% believe that AI will transform the marketing and communications world even more than social media, and 68% say that their brand is currently selling, using, or planning for business in the era of AI.

When we think about artificial intelligence, we think about Siri, Arnold Swarzeneeger’s character in The Terminator, or IBM’s Watson, which recently defeated the two greatest Jeopardy champions and “stole” the $1 million prize. But AI is being used for practical ways that, as marketers, affect us all.

In particular, AI’s use for predictive analysis of consumers’ online behavior has led to the field of artificial intelligence marketing (AIM), which is the set of tools and techniques used to enable behavioral targeting.

The most familiar type of AIM is based on tracking and analyzing consumers’ web browsing behavior to deliver more relevant content and targeted ads. Cookies are used to track the behavior of website visitors to see which pages they visit, how much time they spend on each page, the links they click on, and the assets they interact with. This, along with other factors, such as the web searches they perform, is used to create a profile of each person.  This allows marketers to precisely target individuals and define audience segments based on consumers with similar profiles.

On the ground, this translates to more
accurate content delivery, better personalized recommendations, and more precisely targeted programmatic ads. It is also used for creating more accurate sales forecasting and product pricing (based on AI’s analysis of sales trends, inventory levels, and other data sources). It can even predict a consumers’ likelihood to convert to a sale and, if delivered, what content is most likely to get them there.

What if your clients aren’t heavy digital marketers? How can AI help them improve their marketing?

  1. More relevant content delivery.

One of the primary goals of print marketing is to drive customers online, where they can engage more deeply and interactively with the brand. Once there, AI picks up and “learns” more about each individual so your customer can increase the relevance of the marketing experience for those prospects, whether through personalized email or online content delivery.

  1. Better customization.

AI can help your customers better define their customer segments. Which customers are interested in which products? Do these customers have common characteristics? Do they follow a similar path to researching products? What information do they gravitate towards? Do they fall into other common buckets? If so, which ones? This type of knowledge benefits not only your customers’ digital marketing, but their offline marketing, too.

  1. More accurate re-targeting.

If your customers aren’t using re-targeting, perhaps it’s time to start. AI not only allows them to deliver more accurate content on their own sites, but to deliver targeted, relevant advertising on other sites like LinkedIn or Facebook. This keeps products of interest in front of prospects even after they leave the site and, if prospects click through the ad, keeps them moving through the sales funnel. Interaction with the brand doesn’t have to end once the customer leaves the site.

Artificial intelligence is set to radically transform marketing, and we are only at the beginning of what it can do. Get your customers involved early so that as AI grows and matures, their marketing strategies do, too.