5 Ways AI Is Transforming Digital Marketing

AI is everywhere these days. It powers our personal assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Home, prevents credit card fraud, and even successfully overturns parking fines. With each passing month, AI becomes ever more integral to our world. Last month we learned how AI is changing the job of designers. But the impact goes further than that. Advertising and marketing are at the fore in terms of partnering with digital creative agencies to find unique uses for the technology. In fact, AI is transforming digital marketing in many ways from machine learning to building custom content.

AI is a relatively broad term that encompasses a number of approaches to building computer systems that can ‘think’ and perform tasks as well as, or in some cases better, than humans. Here’s a look at five of the applications for AI that are already revolutionizing digital marketing.

1. Machine Learning

Machine Learning (ML) is AI tech that allows machines to learn from past processes or actions. The technology can also improve its decision-making for similar processes and actions in the future. The uses for marketers include lead generation, search optimization, and ad targeting.

By enabling machines to make these types of decisions, company owners and employees are able to spend more time on the creative aspects of their work. One such business application is the use of personal digital assistants that can arrange meetings between colleagues or business executives.

2. Behaviour Analysis

AI is largely about analyzing vast amounts of data and making decisions based on the findings and predictive analytics is a big way in which AI is transforming digital marketing. Given that marketers base campaigns, ads, and other materials on buyer personas and other data collected from buyer journeys, AI analysis seems like the perfect tool for the task.

Platforms and websites already collect numerous kinds of data so consumer patterns can be analyzed. It also allows for the site, ad, campaign, and the like to be optimized as the marketer learns more about customer behaviour. AI can sift through and spot behavioural patterns and individual idiosyncrasies much faster and with far more accuracy than a human ever could.

In the near future, these systems will be in command of large datasets from a range of platforms. They will be able to handle bigger campaign decisions and possibly build their own outreach strategies to connect with new consumers by creating copy that matches the profiles of the individuals they have been observing online.

3. Integrating Insights

AI is also great for gathering and integrating different datasets from multiple platforms, like social media, websites, apps, and more. The more developed this becomes, the better the technology will get at targeting consumers and customizing ads for individuals.

Using meta-analysis, AI can corral and analyze datasets in much more complex ways than say, Facebook Insights or Twitter Analytics currently allows. Spreading this information over more than one channel which will enable automation in ways that are hard to imagine today.

4. Creating and Presenting Personalized Content

AI programs like Wordsmith are already being used to generate content for news outlets and some businesses. Essentially, the AI program gathers and reports on data fed to it by a spreadsheet or CSV file, based on a range of rules such as ‘if not that, then this’ to fill pre-set templates in with text.

In terms of presenting personalized content, AI will be able to direct you to the articles, ads, or clips that have been determined to be most relevant to you based on your history. The AI system will provide similar content in much the same way that Netflix suggests movies and series you may like based on your previous viewing history.

5. Generating Leads

Just as AI can quickly and easily sift through large amounts of data to create its own buyer personas, it can do the same to find your ideal customers, clients, and work colleagues. What’s more, it can even rate how warm a potential lead is.

In terms of recruiting, sifting through piles of CVs and applications is already becoming outdated. AI is helping screen candidates and creates shortlists to help employers recruit faster and at lower costs. Similarly, systems like LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator allows users find employment leads and potential clients.

AI-enabled tools are being used more in businesses of all kinds to reduce costs, take over mundane or finicky tasks (such as sifting through data for a particular fact or story), and speed up information-sharing.

Analytical tools, content creation, chatbots, and organization are just the tip of the AI application iceberg. Digital marketers will not only need to understand how to engage these systems but also how to do so ethically and without crossing the line from cool to creepy when putting their super AI powers to use.

This article originally appeared in Wax Marketing Blog, it was written by Bonnie Harris from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Rogue CEOs: Tips on Building Trust Between PR and Top Executives

When CEOs of corporations make major mistakes or utter unfortunate remarks that harm the organization’s reputation, it’s usually PR that must find a way to fix the situation. Within the past few years, leaders from large companies, including UberPapa John’s Pizza, and most recently, Amazon, have all negatively impacted their business through cringe-worthy comments and questionable decisions. All of these situations caused their PR team to mobilize into crisis mode quickly.

Although most PR people may not be dealing with CEOs who are household names, there are plenty of business leaders whose slip ups can lead to an unexpected issue. But what can a PR professional do to avoid or lessen the fallout? And how do you guide a rogue CEO when it’s time to respond to the crisis?

According to Kim Marshall, a seasoned PR pro and co-founder of S’Well Public Relations, it is important for CEOs to be fully media-trained and ready for anything. Although she was not connected with any of the companies mentioned above, she explained that lessons can be learned when it comes to all crisis situations. She said, “CEOs need to understand that in the business world, anything that’s personal becomes instantly public. And a personal crisis can be incredibly embarrassing. But honesty is always the best policy—because you need to show that you are human.”

She pointed out that frequently, a CEO may want to “hide” a crisis or a bad decision. A true PR pro must convince a CEO that a decision was wrong and he or she must change tactics and their response to the media—quickly. She added, “Don’t hide or wait. It’s important to address the issue immediately. Some of the most common mistakes I’ve have seen CEOs make in terms of public relations are not listening to their PR team, not preparing for an interview, not realizing that nothing is really ‘off the record,’ and not understanding the on-the-ground reality of what their front-of-the-line employees are going through during a crisis.”

Known for her extensive experience in crisis management, Marshall has dealt with a number of crisis where the CEOs did not handle a situation well. In one instance, she was working at a major resort when a tragedy occurred. “The resort featured a “swim with the dolphin” program, and unfortunately, two of the dolphins suddenly died. The backlash was so huge, even Greenpeace was protesting outside the resort. But instead of dealing with this honestly, the CEO recommended to avoid showing the dolphin area to any journalists—a true impossibility since their lagoon was a focal point of the resort.”

She continued, “If we followed this bad advice, it would have caused the resort’s problems to worsen, but I had to convince them to tell the truth and show that we care about the dolphins and the environment. We then launched an educational program, and found the cause of the dolphin deaths was from a toxin from a nearby golf course. After we identified the problem, we were able to clean the area and ensure the other dolphins were healthy.”

Marshall shared another example from years later, when she was working with a luxury resort that hosted a group of influencers. She explained, “We held a dinner in the hotel’s restaurant and unfortunately almost everyone had food poisoning the next day. But instead of doing the right thing, taking the blame and showing remorse, the CEO remarked that they probably caught the flu and didn’t apologize. I did everything I could to help the group, and wrote an apology letter to each person myself. It was seriously a miracle that nothing bad was written about that experience, but I’m sure those influencers won’t be returning to that resort. If the CEO had responded in a kinder way, those individuals would have felt like we cared about their well-being.”

Marshall believes that CEOs should choose wisely when selecting their public relations directors or agencies, as those are the people who will be guiding them during a crisis. She said, “You definitely don’t want a ‘yes’ person or someone who is inexperienced. A tough, smart PR person can save you from a major crisis or a great embarrassment. A professional PR pro is always prepared for anything—and provides the most valuable advice.”

Key Takeaways

Don’t wait until hell breaks loose to get your CEO thinking about the public impact of their words and actions.

  1. Preparation: Your CEO is by default a brand spokesperson. Make sure that she or he understands this, and takes it seriously, especially if your executive is on social or interacting with journalists and influencers.
  2. Trust: Everyone can slip up, but not everyone is prepared to take accountability for it. Sometimes ever. Let your executive know that you’re here to fix messes, and are prepared to take the lead when that happens.

For a complete guide to crisis management, read our free ebook on using media intelligence to prepare for crisis—or better yet, avoid it altogether.

6 Uses of Social Listening for Agencies

Faced with an increasingly competitive market, the scope of responsibilities of communication agencies has evolved greatly. From the analysis of the competition to the measure of the return on investment while passing by the relations press and influencers, while ensuring that the customers are satisfied, your agency is responsible for everything!

Such a workload implies a millimeter use of his time. Fortunately, there are tools to save time and efficiency: social listening tools.

Social listening means the monitoring and analysis of social media publications (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, but also forums or in consumer opinion sites) on a specific topic. This activity meets several objectives: the monitoring of the e-reputation of a brand, the competitive analysis, the trend watch or the search for consumer insights.

But how can these tools fit into the work process of an agency? This is what we will see in this article!

Why use Social Listening in an agency?

To save precious time

When working in an agency, time is a scarce resource. You can not spend hours browsing the web and write down each relevant message for the needs of only one of your customers. Especially since new messages are constantly being published!

Social listening tools automatically scan the press and social media for information about your customers, competitors and industry in just a few clicks.

Tasks like reporting or search for opportunities, which used to take hours, are now done in seconds.

Social Listening Amazon Echo

To stay informed during your travels

Working in an agency also means being regularly on the move. You must attend many meetings, appointments and events. Difficult to keep up to date with the latest important information about your customers when traveling.

Some social listening tools allow you to receive alerts wherever you are, thanks to a mobile application and an intelligent notification system. If some alerts require an immediate reaction, you are free to transfer them to your available colleagues!

Because your competitors are already doing it

As Brigitte Majewski, VP and Research Director for the Forrester research firm, pointed out to Adage :

“Too many agencies do not rely on data because they are focused on creation. But this model will not work anymore. In the future, marrying creativity and data will be the key to success for agencies. “

Staying competitive is crucial for agencies. These are facing a lot of changes right now. Markets, technologies and business philosophies are constantly changing, which can sometimes make it difficult for an agency to work.

To stay one step ahead of your competitors in this industry, you need to be flexible and agile at the same time.

More and more agencies are now using social listening, both for their customers and for their own brand. These solutions allow them to expand their areas of intervention, including services such as influencer research or crisis prevention for example.

Because if you do not monitor the mentions of your customers – someone else will.

6 Social Listening apps for agencies

1. Collaborate with new clients

The social listening can help you in the development of pitches to present to your future potential customers.

Imagine that you participate in a tender for a company.

While other agencies will base their argument on how they think the target audience behaves or on the size of that audience, you will be able to use social listening to prove your speech.

The social listening will help you in the blink of an eye to analyze the existing brand that appeals to you. How many people are talking about it? For what reasons? How do their competitors act? Who are the influencers in this sector?

If you have all this information already ready when presenting your pitch, you will easily outperform your competitors. For example, you can tell them precisely that 2,000 people were exposed to their brand last week, while their competitors hit 10 times more.

It’s up to you to present a plan of action that will reverse the trend!

2. Track the reputation of your customers and anticipate their crises

On social media, a message can become viral in hours, even minutes. It is crucial for agencies to analyze the reputation of their customers and constantly monitor their endorsements and the sentiment of those endorsements.

In the words of Warren Buffett, it takes 20 years to build a reputation and only 5 minutes to destroy it.

For agencies, the question is not “if” a customer will experience a crisis, but “when”.

Help your customers spot a negative event before it escalates into a crisis. Minimize action time by activating alerts when a customer encounters unusual volume, a negative sentiment that is higher than the norm, or when influencers relay the news.

With about 30% of corporate crises becoming international in one hour , it is very important to stay one step ahead of the problem.

3. Detect flagship trends

For an agency, staying abreast of the latest trends is crucial.

To deliver truly impactful campaigns to your customers , you need to know their market and their target by heart, and anticipate future trends.

What are the exciting innovations of the moment? Which topics are most mentioned by their target? Who are the people who really influence their sector?

Trends reflect the interests and intentions of the public. Mastering these trends means knowing what drives and makes your clients’ target audience speak. A social listening tool helps you discover the trends that inspire great campaigns.

4. Offer a competitive intelligence to your customers

Analyze your customers’ main competitors , their news and their campaigns will help you to develop your expertise and help your client to position himself on his sector.

You can build competitive relationships to highlight the performance of the social accounts of their competitors, the various campaigns put in place, influencers activated.

Tableau de bord de veille concurentielle
Example: Scoreboard comparing Mars to Twix, Kit Kat and Snickers

For example, a competitive social media report can be done in three stages:

  1. Analysis of the strategy and the positioning of the competitors : study of the published formats, the themes addressed, the tone employed, their interactions with their audience.
  2. Analysis of their performance social networks : frequency of publication, commitment obtained, growth of their community, etc.
  3. Analysis of their mentions : volume and share of voice mentions, trends and key topics, feeling, influencers engaged.

You can also track their customers’ feedback to get insights on their products, their points of differentiation and possible improvements for your customers.

5. Track the real-time impact of an event

You organize trade shows or events for your customers? Social listening helps you to follow in real time the reactions of the participants.

Influencers participate and speak up? Easily spot them among the message flow and make sure they get the most out of this event.

Follow the participants’ live reactions to identify the key topics, both positive and negative , that they talk about most, and react accordingly, to ensure the impact of your event .

6. Prove and show the ROI of your campaigns

Proving the return on investment of its campaigns is one of the major challenges for communication professionals.

If for a long time, the agencies could stick to the number of mentions generated and the equivalence advertising, this is not enough today for their customers.

To prove the value of your work, it is recommended to create post-campaign reports, showing the results achieved and the objectives achieved.

A good campaign report should contain concrete results, your observations that justify these results, and your recommendations for the future.

As part of a post-campaign social media report, your report might look like this:

  • Summary of results (or executive summary)
  • Owned Media  : Analyzes related to the accounts of the brand. For example, the number of posts published, their impressions, the evolution of the audience and the engagement.
  • Earned Media  : This part analyzes the mentions and messages generated by Internet users, related to the brand. It contains the volume of mentions, their feelings, trends and key hashtags, audience and committed influencers or top publications.
  • Competitive Benchmark  : How did your customers’ competitors perform over the same period?
  • Recommendations  : your action plan to improve your performance over the next period and your strategic recommendations for your client according to the insights observed during your reporting.

Social listening tools automate the creation of reports, which you can customize according to your agency and your client. You just have to add your own comments!

reporting for social media performance - meltwater india blog

Thus, thanks to social media, agencies as advertisers have access to an incredible amount of information and insights about their sector, made easily accessible via social listening tools.

For an agency, the goal is to be able to count on both its creative talents and a good knowledge of the data. While brands are already crowded with astronomical amounts of data, your agency can differentiate itself by helping them extract truly critical information and develop a solid communication strategy.

So, want to try social media monitoring for your agency? You can request a free demo of the Meltwater platform here!