Want Your Marketing Team to Embrace AI? Prepare for These Challenges.

When artificial intelligence (AI) first burst onto the marketing scene, there was a lot of noise surrounding its impact — and whether that impact would be positive or negative for organizations. Now that practical use cases have been shared more widely and myths surrounding the “robot takeover” have been debunked, organizations have become more eager to embrace AI themselves.

In fact, 80% of enterprise organizations are using some form of AI, according to research from Teradata, and 30% plan to increase their investments over the next 36 months. Of these respondents, 32% said their marketing departments are driving revenue from AI capabilities today.

According to research from Econsultancy, the most common reasons marketing teams use AI revolve around improving operational efficiencies and campaign effectiveness:

  • Audience targeting (47%)
  • Audience segmentation (45%)
  • Dynamic creative (42%)
  • Campaign planning and modeling (41%)
  • Media spend optimization (39%)
  • Personalized offers (38%)

On the surface, it seems like marketers are starting to ride the AI wave. But as with any disruptive technology trend, there are undoubtedly challenges and obstacles that inhibit marketers from realizing the full benefits of AI — or stop them from implementing it altogether. In fact, nearly all (91%) respondents to the Teradata survey said they anticipated significant barriers to adoption.

I learned about this survey from an article written by B2B marketing consultant, author and all-around awesome guy Michael Brenner. He delved a little bit deeper into the challenges and, most importantly, how organizations can tackle them.

1. Lack of IT infrastructure: The top challenge spotlighted in the Teradata survey revolved around lack of IT infrastructure. “A successful AI-driven marketing strategy needs a robust IT infrastructure behind it,” Brenner noted. “AI technology processes vast quantities of data. It needs high-performing hardware in order to do this.”

But that doesn’t mean that organizations need to invest in overhauling their computer systems. More cloud-based AI solutions are entering the market, especially for marketing. These cloud-based solutions are updated in real time and provide organizations with a bit more flexibility.

2. Lack of budget: Getting the appropriate buy-in and spending power was a challenge for 30% of executives who participated in the Teradata survey. Of course, getting budget is always an issue, especially for marketing teams that are fighting to prove the value of their campaigns and investments. And for some, an AI solution may seem like just another budget line item.

However, research has pointed to the undeniable benefits AI can bring marketers as they strive to personalize brand experiences and connect with buyers on a deeper level. In a survey of 13,000 marketing, creative and technology professionals, Adobe found that organizations using AI tools to personalize customer experiences were 50% more likely to significantly exceed their business goals.

As marketers, our strategies (and investments) are constantly under the microscope. So, we must do their due diligence by researching the broader business impact of AI — from improved efficiencies to better campaign performance, increased conversions and greater customer loyalty. The AI story is certainly compelling, but we must explain why AI must take precedence over all other investments.

3. Lack of in-house talent: The preceding challenge ties to this one. It takes time and money to hire the right people and empower them with the appropriate training. And as of now, 34% of organizations that participated in the Teradata survey pointed to a jarring employee skill gap. However, 61% say they plan to hire Chief AI Officer in the future, so lower-level hiring and empowerment priorities should follow, right? Not so fast.

Brenner explained in his article that “the existing pool of AI talent is not growing fast enough to fill new positions. Even those companies using readymade AI marketing software and solutions will need to ensure that they have sufficiently skilled and trained employees to deploy and manage them, and to interpret the results correctly.”

Marketing teams must take a hard look at the role that AI will play in their operations today and in the future. Then, your team must collaborate with HR to ensure that future role creation, hiring and training initiatives align with this vision.

AI tools present marketers with a wealth of opportunities; however, teams must be prepared with an action plan for tackling these challenges and getting key decision-makers and influencers within the organization on board.

Has your team implemented AI tools to improve marketing efficiencies and campaign results? We’d love to hear if you faced any of these challenges and how you navigated them.