Picture this: a world where artificial intelligence and machine learning seamlessly comes together to plan and execute effective marketing campaigns, keeping human intervention to a bare minimum.
No dedicated marketing analysts, copywriters, and content creators.
Just a sophisticated technology that seems to have a mind of its own, constantly learning and adapting to changes in consumer behavior and optimizing your campaigns in real-time.
Sounds a bit like science fiction, doesn’t it? It’s not.
The era of autonomous marketing, where marketing AI successfully integrates itself with machine learning, is already here and rewriting the rules of marketing as we know it.
An analogy that almost always comes up is that of autonomous marketing and self-driving cars, which kind of makes sense when you think about it.
Their underlying principles are the same – using advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning to autonomously operate and adapt to their environment.
Here’s how a paper by Deloitte puts it:
“Autonomous marketing is [the use of] predictive capabilities to personalize customer relationships in real time with content, [data-driven] recommendations, fulfillment, and even purchase follow-up that anticipate people’s needs.”
To put it in a nutshell, autonomous marketing systems (or AMS) analyze customer data to identify industry trends and patterns, leveraging information to build marketing campaigns with minimal human intervention.
Notice how we say “minimal human intervention” as opposed to “no human intervention?”
This is because AMS is designed to work with humans as opposed to without them. Although smart AI algorithms and marketing automation do take the front seat, the actual reins lie with you, the marketer.
A question that pops up (even though it’s a no brainer, really): Why do you need autonomous marketing in your business plans? Especially now?
Here’s the answer.
We are living in the age of AI and digital transformation, wherein the marketing landscape is continually shaped by innovations that demand agility, adaptability and efficiency.
Just look at the way the term “AI” has exploded in the last two decades.
And why not? AI algorithms are outperforming humans at every turn, especially when it comes to spotting your target audiences.
Think Facebook, Google, and their advanced algorithms that analyze vast amounts of user data and behavior.
Marketing as a whole is now incomplete without AI technologies. Without them, it is simply impossible to keep up with the pace at which your buyers and markets evolve.
That said, look at these interesting stats about AI and marketing:
Hence, autonomous marketing (powered by AI) becomes not just a choice but a strategic investment for companies looking to stay ahead of the curve and their competitors.
The end goal of all your marketing activities is to improve your customer experience. It doesn’t matter if you have an audience of one or one thousand.
Autonomous AI is a step in this direction.
Going back to its definition by VentureBeat, “autonomous artificial intelligence is defined as routines designed to allow robots, cars, planes and other devices to execute extended sequences of maneuvers without guidance from humans.”
In marketing, AI agents are being used to create content, run ad campaigns, predict industry shifts, and offer personalized customer journeys.
Their benefits don’t end here.
Autonomous AI agents further give you the ability to make informed decisions even in unpredictable scenarios, ensuring that your strategies can adapt to any changes swiftly and effectively.
Don’t you think that the words autonomous and automated look identical? They do.
But if you were to look up the words in, say the Oxford dictionary, their meanings would be slightly different from the other.
Autonomous means ‘having the freedom to govern itself or control its own affairs,' while automated means ‘working by itself with little or no direct human control.’
It’s a similar situation with autonomous and automated marketing. Both terms are related to each other but have different meanings in the context of your marketing plans.
Marketing automation, or automated marketing, uses tools and technologies to simplify the online marketing process and automate repetitive tasks.
It needs a person to run it.
As stated in an article by UQ Business School, automated marketing is the precursor to autonomous marketing systems and can be traced back to the 1990s.
You must have heard of Hubspot, Mailchimp, and Salesforce, right?
These are automation platforms that allow you to schedule, track, and analyze everyday marketing activities, such as:
Sometimes, brands may use not one but multiple marketing automation tools for customer segmentation, behavioral analysis, and campaign management.
The actual difference between autonomous and automated marketing lies in their level of intelligence and adaptability.
Autonomous marketing systems possess a higher degree of cognitive abilities and flexibility compared to automated systems, since they continuously learn from complex situations.
While the latter follows a set of predefined rules and workflows, relying on human intervention to adapt to dynamic situations, it lacks the ability to deviate from set functions.
In contrast, autonomous marketing can learn and adapt based on past experiences.
Consider the following conversation between Alexa, Amazon’s voice-activated virtual assistant, and a normal marketer by Brent J. Dreyer on DataEM.
Of course, this is not something our current marketing software can do; it’s only an illustration of how different things can be.
But if technology continues to evolve at its current rate, this is what the future of marketing will look like:
AI enabled marketing assistants that go beyond basic task automation to include actionable insights, intelligent decision-making, and adaptation based on real-time data and analytics.
The only thing you have to do? Set an objective and give out an order.
A normal automation software can lead to a 14.5% increase in sales productivity.
In marketing, improvements can be seen in terms of lead quantity and quality, increased efficiency, and a higher return on investment (ROI), as stated in the Marketing Automation Report.
These results are achieved by technology that is still largely traditional and requires people to spend a lot of time learning how to use and integrating it with any other tools they have.
A process like this naturally demands human resources and capital.
Autonomous marketing is different; it works on a principle where AI does most of the work, with marketers typically being involved at the beginning and end.
It’s not just cost-effective, but lets you refocus your efforts on more impactful business initiatives.
As mentioned before, one of the primary advantages of autonomous marketing is its ability to streamline repetitive and resource-intensive tasks.
It becomes ridiculously easy to handle complex jobs like data analysis, segmentation, and user journey mapping, automatically covering end-to-end customer touchpoints.
This efficiency not only enhances productivity but also allows marketers to allocate their time toward developing creative marketing content.
Digital transformation is compelling everyone to change; it does not matter if you are a consumer or a marketer.
As per reports, many customers want a highly personalized and consistent customer experience across multiple channels, including both physical and digital interactions.
Businesses need to be mindful of this shift and adapt to new technologies in order to offer better services and meet evolving customer expectations.
Autonomous systems aid this process by personalizing customer interactions in real-time.
You might wonder, how?
Well, AI has predictive analytics capabilities that can dynamically adjust content based on specific customer needs and pain points. Customized customer journeys obviously lead to better engagement.
For example, Amazon’s personalized product recommendation system.
The ecommerce giant leverages smart algorithms to analyze user behavior, preferences, and purchase history to suggest relevant products.
Here’s a penny for your thoughts. Do you think AI can create great content—not just for the sake of website traffic and SEO, but for the people?
Without human intervention, it is almost impossible for generative AI tools like ChatGPT to create content that is truly valuable and cannot be found elsewhere.
Remember, AI feeds on data.
It learns how to perform tasks from multiple sources and is limited to identifying patterns and repetitions, producing similar outputs with little variation.
So individuals who ask similar questions will receive similar answers, albeit with minor variations. The output is mostly rudimentary and requires a lot of work from your side.
Rendering the entire process meaningless.
This is where autonomous marketing comes in. The system can create and customize content across various touchpoints, right from the awareness stage to the post-purchase stage.
Hence, if a user shows a preference for video content, it will ensure that they receive the same across all marketing platforms.
Marketers who know the importance of implementing data-driven marketing technology (martech) are better equipped to make tough decisions in testing times.
After all, software infused with AI and ML has excellent decision-making abilities, thanks to advanced analytics and predictive modeling.
It monitors omnichannel customer data, like browsing behavior and past transactions, to forecast potential problems and make intuitive suggestions.
Predictions that address the who, what, why, when, and where questions with regards to your customers.
It helps you take proactive measures, giving out the right message at the right time to the right person on the right platform, thereby increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
We have witnessed a rise in the number of affordable marketing software in the past few years.
You’d think technology that makes marketing more efficient would be expensive (and it is, sometimes) but that’s not always the case.
Most generative AI tools like ChatGPT, DALL-E, and Runway come with a freemium option. You can use them to plan a campaign, create marketing material, and optimize your strategies without incurring substantial costs.
Having said that, businesses of all sizes can now harness the power of AI for marketing, collectively organizing data and creating automated campaigns.
And it is not only about affordability.
The beauty of autonomous technology is that you can seamlessly integrate it with your CRM systems, social media platforms and Google Analytics accounts for better accessibility.
Did you know that there are about 1.13 billion websites on the internet today, with a new website being built every three seconds?
Imagine multiplying all those websites with the thousands of different customer segments in the marketplace. Do the math and you quickly arrive at a number that is way too much for anyone to handle.
And that's not even including app data.
In an era where information is burgeoning at an unprecedented rate, a fully autonomous marketing system that uses machines and AI to drive decisioning has become a necessity.
Delve AI has been working towards making this vision a reality since its inception in 2019.
From the year of our founding, we have had one vision: to revolutionize marketing with the help of AI systems and redefine the way businesses connect with their target audiences.
In fact, our plans have not changed a bit in the past four years.
Machines will be able to build an amazing marketing plan only when they completely understand your target audience.
As such, our first step to developing a fully autonomous system is creating buyer personas using machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence.
But why use machines?
We have addressed this point in the previous sections: Machines eliminate the human errors and biases associated with traditional persona building.
Our platform takes a data-driven approach, incorporating first-party (including customer data) and public data sources, along with competitor intelligence data, to create AI generated personas for your business, competitors, and social media handles.
Here’s an example.
We generate personas using a diverse set of data sources, like CRM data, web analytics, social media data, voice of customer (VoC) data, and competitor data.
As displayed above, this data is analyzed and then segmented to create customer personas for your business.
Side note: You might have come across resources that outline the process of creating personas with generative AI tools like ChatGPT.
However, the data used by these tools is completely random and not specifically related to your business as it does not have access to your first-party (internal) data sources. So be prepared for the personas generated to lack objectivity, reliability, and usability.
You will notice that, once generated, your personas answer critical questions, like:
When put together, all of these components give you a 360-degree overview of your ideal customers.
Our platform uses the insights derived from these personas to reach the next stage of autonomous marketing; generating AI-driven recommendations that guide you on acquiring and retaining your audience.
Our AI based marketing advisor helps you identify audiences that you hadn’t considered before, along with tactical means to reach them.
By combining media planning with artificial intelligence, it will find new marketing opportunities that allow you to grow your target audience cost-effectively.
For instance, if your company has a limited marketing budget, it will prioritize segmentation to ensure optimal return on investment (ROI).
If the machine finds public relations (PR) to be your best avenue for acquiring new customers, it will provide assistance on which magazines, media houses, or journalists to reach out to.
Our advisor does not stop here.
It will go a step further and identify all the topics, keywords, and subjects you have in common with those journalists and media houses, significantly increasing your chances of success.
According to McKinsey, brands that invest in AI-driven marketing witness a 3-15% increase in revenue and a significant reduction in customer acquisition costs.
Yet, the question remains, “Is using machines the right way to go?”
Current marketing systems are largely operated by their human counterparts and limited to being used in digital marketing endeavors; they have achieved partial autonomy.
That said, operationalization is normal right now, primarily carried out by marketers.
An AI model cannot perform tasks that marketers traditionally handle, particularly those involving personal interactions and qualitative insights.
Nonetheless, as the efficiency of AI technologies increases, we will witness a marketing utopia where machines attain full autonomy over important marketing tasks.
An all-in-one marketing platform that controls both your online and offline marketing activities.
This is the kind of future that Delve AI envisions – a future that is still a work in progress, destined to happen and promising a shift in your marketing dynamics.
And don’t worry, it will work because autonomous marketing is inherently symbiotic in nature.
Machines and people will complement each other, contributing to the overall success of your marketing strategy.
In fact, a system like this operates as a cyclic model, continuously refining and improving itself over time. Since AI thrives on data, as your inputs change, so will the output.
Your personas will become adaptable to new changes in the market, your recommendations will evolve, and the autonomous system will transform.
Humans, with their unique abilities of empathy and creativity, will remain an integral part of the marketing loop, providing context, ethics, and strategic oversight.
While autonomous marketing will cut down redundancies and streamline the creative process, it is highly unlikely that human marketers will be completely thrown out of the picture.
Instead, they will be empowered to make better decisions and navigate the complexities of the digital age with precision.
Autonomous systems further offer the potential to eliminate, or at least significantly reduce, the risks associated with so many marketing expenditures.
By backing up human insights with data and enhancing customer experiences, we can usher in an era of marketing that is far more sophisticated than anything we could have imagined a few years ago.
Autonomous marketing has not yet fully developed.
It will take people a lot of time to completely understand, trust, and familiarize themselves with artificial intelligence for that to happen.
However, as web browsers move toward a cookieless future, marketers will need a tool to connect with users and measure the impact of their campaigns without relying on third-party cookies.
Thus autonomous marketing platforms like Delve AI aren't just a trend; they represent the future.
Businesses that embrace this shift will find themselves not just surviving but thriving in an era where adaptability is the name of the game.
Buckle up, marketers; the future of marketing is autonomous, and it's looking brighter than ever!