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The Startup’s Guide to AI-Driven Marketing: Trends and Tools for 2024

Olivia James
Chief Poduct Officer

Scale faster with quality tech expertise

Modern-day startups have a unique opportunity to utilise AI to their advantage. AI can be your personal assistant, a way to optimise workflows and save the team’s time, and it’s a powerful tool for marketing too. 

At Emphasoft, we are working with many startups that are diving into AI-powered marketing, and we are able to see first-hand how it empowers the venture and accelerates growth. That’s why today we will explore the subject of marketing and AI for startup companies, and give you some examples and tips to kickstart your own journey with this revolutionary technology. 

Understanding AI-driven marketing

To put it simply, AI-driven marketing is applying AI technology to any aspect of the marketing strategy: planning, research, execution, and analysis. 

Among the main AI-related technologies that marketing utilises are:

  • Machine Learning (ML) for AI to get better at analysing data and generating ideas as time passes.
  • Predictive AI, for example, to estimate what products or services clients are likely to purchase based on their history with the company or the season. 
  • Generative AI can take care of the creative part of marketing and generate texts, images, and videos based on the data and tasks provided.

The scope of AI-driven marketing

The scope of AI-driven marketing includes:

  1. Customer service and support. By now, we’ve all had a chance to communicate with AI-powered chatbots that were helping us track our orders, fix an issue, or learn about new product offerings. They help clients deal with the most common issues, and companies get to optimise their teams and save time for urgent and complex requests. 
  2. Marketing automation that includes a wide range of activities, such as campaign management, email marketing, and lead scoring.
  3. Audience segmentation. AI can segment your target audiences into smaller groups, finding connections that a human eye would miss. It’s perfect for spotting and grouping users based on their interests, behaviours, and preferences. 
  4. Ads targeting. If you’ve ever worked with ad targeting, you know how tricky and time-consuming this process is. AI can study consumers’ behaviour and place ads in the best spots at the right time. Think YouTube – the platform uses AI to allocate the best spots for ads within the video to increase the chances of the viewer seeing it, therefore, boosting ad revenue. 
  5. ROI estimation and analysis. AI can help the marketing team estimate how profitable the upcoming campaign can be, and it’s also a great helper in reviewing the results and drawing data-based conclusions. 
  6. Content generation. There are countless AI tools out there that can create images, videos, texts, and audio for anything about anything. Once your AI understands your brand, and you learn how to feed data to it and assign tasks in the best way possible, you can generate results that are similar to what boutique creative agencies produce. 
  7. Trend predictions. AI is your go-to technology for identifying future trends, fads, and behavioural shifts. Running AI-driven predictive analysis is crucial for marketers who want to stay on top of the latest customer wants and needs. The technology helps them optimise the time it takes to identify those trends,while being more precise and avoiding personal bias. 

Overall, AI-driven marketing allows us to process vast amounts of data quickly and use the findings for a wide range of purposes, including the decision-making on vital marketing activities and campaigns. With regular data analysis, marketers can swiftly adapt to all behavioural and market changes, and maximise the outcome of any situation. 

Key benefits of incorporating AI into marketing strategies

AI can greatly benefit a startup's marketing team:

  • Automate repetitive tasks and free up employee time.
  • Improve targeting, segmentation, and personalisation. 
  • Boost the marketing team’s productivity and help them achieve more within the same time span.  
  • Elevate the decision-making process by making it more data-driven and precise. 
  • Improve customer experience with your product or service through better targeting, personalisation, and timely assistance. 
  • Increase overall marketing ROI by reducing costs and time spent, while simultaneously generating more sales.  

AI-driven marketing trends for 2024

AI has influenced all spheres of our life, including marketing, of course. Below is the list of the most relevant marketing trends for 2024 that have been influenced or created by AI.

Personalisation at scale

Personalisation was a trend even before the AI boom, but the technology has only escalated it further. Consumers today are used to seeing personal ads, receiving unique offers and deals just for them, and having companies cater to their most niche needs. AI has empowered marketing teams worldwide to maximise the personalisation while keeping the user experience at a high level. In 2024, personalising your marketing with AI is no longer a perk or a cool thing to do, it’s a must. 

Predictive Analytics

Something else that AI brought to a whole new level in marketing is predicting consumer behaviour and market trends. It was a big task for all startups and established companies even before AI, but in 2024 it will become the norm to scan through enormous amounts of data to identify new patterns and preferences.

Voice and visual search through AI assistants

2023 was the year when consumers began using textual and voice assistants with AI, such as ChatGPT. 2024 is the year when startups will leverage AI in chatbots and voice search functionality in their marketing campaigns to engage clients in a new, more conversational way.

AI-generated content

In 2024 more companies will dive into AI-generated content and rely on it to create custom product descriptions, and social media content (videos, images, audio, texts). The use of AI-powered content will skyrocket in 2024 and onwards, as more success stories appear on the market where businesses of different sizes are using AI to scale their content production and acquire bigger market shares while keeping their costs relatively low.

Chatbots with AI

AI-powered chatbots are somewhat widespread, but they’re mostly used by large companies or ambitious startups. In 2024 we will see more businesses join the game by implementing their own AI chatbots. Simple chatbots are no longer enough to meet the needs of the clients. Despite requiring dedicated time and increased financial resources, implementing AI will ultimately boost your ROI. Chatbots reduce customer service costs by up to 30%, and 69% of clients are satisfied with the quality of their conversations with the robot. With time, the AI chatbot will only work better as it’s able to learn and cater to clients’ needs more efficiently. 

The ethics of using AI

2024 will be the year when we’ll have many difficult conversations about AI. While the technology is able to optimise companies’ performance and cater to individual client needs, resulting in higher satisfaction, there are concerns over how AI can and cannot be used. Data privacy as well as the ability to manipulate human behaviour through multiple channels are all valid concerns. With regulators traditionally falling behind the trends, it will be largely in the hands of the business to define the best ethical way to employ AI. 

Essential AI tools and technologies for startups

Let’s look at some of the AI tools that can help lots of startups reshape and elevate their marketing strategies.

Data analytics platforms

These tools gather insights from data and help teams make informed decisions about future strategies. By leveraging several analytics techniques at the same time, AI-powered tools can generate data-informed strategies within minutes. This allows the teams to reduce the evaluation and research stages of the marketing lifecycle without damaging the quality of the output.

💡If you’re curious to try data analytics platforms, have a look at Snowflake, Alteryx, and IBM Watson Studio

AI content generators

This type of software creates high-quality content within seconds. You will still want a human employee looking at the output and fixing minor mistakes. You will also want to provide training for your employees so they can best leverage these tools. Teaching your employees how to phrase assignments or ask questions will make your AI more efficient and generate better results. 

💡Among the most popular tools in that area are ChatGDP by OpenAI and Article Forge. 

Customer relationship management (CRM) with AI

CRMs offer many benefits to businesses. They organize all the company’s data on clients, integrate all departments of the company (sales, finance, marketing, etc), and provide a more streamlined business workflow. AI-powered CRMs take it a step further. They provide advanced data analytics and run a deep analysis of customer interactions, helping marketing and sales teams improve performance and boost sales. 

💡Explore Salesforce Einstein, HubSpot CRM, and Zoho CRM to see how their AI can personalise and uplift your client interactions. 

Programmatic advertising platforms

Automating ad buying and placement helps your startup reach the target audience faster, with less budget waste, and generate more revenue. 

💡Among the top players in that field are Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and Amazon Ads

Social media monitoring tools

Social media continues to rule the world, whether we like it or not. Leveraging AI to track brand mentions and consumer sentiment will go a long way for any startup.

💡Use the following tools to analyse social media data, discover insights and trends, and engage with your audiences in a meaningful way: Brandwatch Consumer Research, Talkwalker, or SproutSocial.

Implementing AI in your marketing strategy

You don’t need to launch a major AI implementation project to add it to your marketing strategy. Here are the four key steps to get you hired. 

  • Start small. Identify low-hanging fruit for AI integration, for example, consider adding AI to your chatbot.
  • Build a skilled team. As a startup, you probably don’t have a large budget for hiring a marketing team. Prioritise candidates with AI knowledge and experience, and if you already have someone in place, invest in their education and training. Your return will be tenfold. If you choose to ignore this, you risk missing out on potential revenue and market shares.
  • Adopt continuous learning and adaptation. Keeping up with AI advancements and industry changes is paramount, as it’s a very dynamic field. The sooner you adopt the forever-learning mentality, the better your results will be. 
  • Measure success. Don’t fall into the usual trap where businesses implement trendy things just for the sake of it. Anything you do, especially as a startup with limited resources, should generate value of some sort, and this value has to be measured. Set KPIs and track how effective your initiatives are. Change and adjust KPIs with time if needed.

Preparing for the future 

AI-driven marketing is the future of marketing. It’s inevitable, and we all need to prepare for it and learn to use it to our advantage. Don’t wait until you grow as a company to start. Begin by investing in your talent and their expertise. Run an audit of your current workflow and see what processes can be improved with AI. Experiment with tools and format, and be prepared to make mistakes. Whatever you do with AI-powered marketing, remember that customer value should be your top priority, as well as the ethical use of AI.

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