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This post originally appeared on the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute's blog. The Marketing AI Institute was created and is powered by PR 20/20. 

“Can we automate content creation using artificial intelligence? More specifically, can we use machines to write blog posts at scale?”

These are the questions we sought to answer in spring 2015 when I launched an internal initiative named Project Copyscale at my content marketing agency, PR 20/20.

I’d had a growing fascination with artificial intelligence since IBM Watson won on Jeopardy! in 2011. I didn’t understand the underlying technology at the time, but when I read Automate This by Christopher Steiner in late 2012 I became convinced that artificial intelligence would transform marketing as we know it. It was only a matter of time.

“Some algorithms’ roots trace to the field of artificial intelligence. They may not be intelligent and self-aware like Hal 9000 (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer), the machine from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), but algorithms can evolve. They observe, experiment, and learn—all independently of their human creators. Using advanced computer science techniques such as machine learning and neural networking, algorithms can even create new and improved algorithms based on observed results.” — Christopher Steiner, Automated This (Penguin Group, 2012)

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We’ve always believed in HubSpot’s potential to disrupt an industry. In fact, PR 20/20 became HubSpot’s first agency partner back in 2007—a decision that continues to fuel and inspire our business.

So we’re not surprised that the software company reported more than 34,000 customers and upwards of $89 million in revenue at the end of Q2.

HubSpot continues to flourish because of one solid fact: the product works. (And no, this is not a paid endorsement; we’ve just seen the results.)

The HubSpot Growth Stack aims to solve our number one setback as data-driven marketers: the “elusive, fully-integrated marketing stack.” It creates a home base for all marketing, sales, service and CRM activity, enabling performance-driven, agile marketing. From initial prospecting to closing the deal, you can use the stack to design and serve the full customer experience.

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Editor's Note: The following excerpt originally appeared in Content Marketing Fast Forward. See the full article here

Despite advances in marketing automation, much of the technology marketers rely on to plan, execute, and evaluate content marketing campaigns is elementary. But artificial intelligence (AI) possesses the power to change everything. Artificial intelligence is the science of making machines smarter, which in turn augments human knowledge and capabilities.

While traditional marketing technology is built on algorithms in which humans code sets of instructions that tell machines what to do, with AI the machine creates its own algorithms, determines new paths and unlocks unlimited potential to advance marketing and business.

It may seem like a futuristic concept, but AI-powered technologies are already being used today by companies like Amazon, Salesforce, and HubSpot to improve marketing and sales. In the process, AI will change how brands organize their content marketing.

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Editor's note: This post was originally published in May 2013, and was updated in August 2017 per latest best practices and data. 

Why do we need a blog? What is the ROI of social? What if we get sued? I want to review this before it’s published. Who will own this?  

Sound familiar?

At times, working in a marketing department can feel like being on trial. You’re constantly defending programs, proving value, fighting for dollars.

HubSpot’s 2017 State of Inbound Marketing annual report asked marketing teams about their top challenges. While only 7% cite executive sponsorship as their paramount challenge, 40% indicated that the most common challenge—proving ROI—points to a crucial need to drum up and perpetuate internal support.

My own experiences echo these findings. The primary reason I’ve seen inbound marketing programs get squashed is not lack of resources, lack of data or lack of success, but lack of buy-in. 

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Picture this: A B2B SaaS company with $2 million in funding and aggressive growth goals is struggling to meet lead-generation targets. The marketing team is consistently blogging, distributing content across their social networks, and producing high-quality premium content pieces monthly.

Despite the effort, not enough people are finding and engaging with the content. In fact, they are still quite reliant on purchased contacts. So what should they do? It’s the universal marketing performance struggle.

Sound familiar?

Most startups suffer from a lack of reach at the top of the funnel. And it’s no wonder, considering the oversaturation of branded content and the ever-increasing battle for consumer attention.

That’s why it’s more important than ever that we plan faster, experiment more efficiently and adapt to constantly accelerate success. In fall 2015 we introduced Marketing Growth Hackathons as a planning model to do just that. Our goal was to condense 30 days worth of planning into 3 hours.

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This post was written by PR 20/20 intern Emily Dann (@EmilyRDann). Emily is a dual major studying Public Relations at S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications as well as Marketing Management in the Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University.

 

Today’s consumers have a digital-first attitude, relying more on their social media inbox for news than old-school snail mail. That means we as marketers must accept that traditional tactics like direct mail and cold calling are no longer viable options to reach our digitally savvy audience. Luckily for us, rapid advancements in marketing automation technology present new opportunities to revamp our marketing efforts. And, in an era of widespread adoption, there’s no surprise that 58% of B2B companies plan to explore marketing automation if they haven’t already. 

According to PR 20/20’s marketing assessment tool and intelligence engine, Marketing Score, those who have adopted marketing automation report high performance. In fact, marketing automation high performers have an average lead to sales conversion rate of 6.1, which is 1.6 times the average rate of all others. These high performers rate cost of customer acquisition (COCA) 1.4 times stronger, and have an average overall Marketing Score of 61%, 1.5 times all others. 

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This post originally appeared on the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute's blog. See even more like it here

If you’re a marketer who wants to use artificial intelligence, the internet certainly isn’t doing you any favors.

There’s tons of hype about AI, but little substance on the subject of how you might actually use marketing AI systems and solutions.

We’ve spent a few years testing AI solutions, implementing AI for clients and talking to solutions providers about what’s possible.

So we thought it would be helpful to outline the biggest use cases for AI in marketing that we’re seeing right now.

This isn’t a comprehensive list of what AI can do, but it is a guide to what we think marketers ought to be doing with AI.

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Goal-oriented marketers aim to produce top-notch results that prove their efforts are worth it. Take content creation: We want to produce the most effective assets, reach the right audiences, and in turn, gain more website visitors, obtain leads and boost our site’s rank. 

But, while a good content asset is useful, what if you aren’t reaching the right audiences? Or, what if you aren’t reaching any audience at all, and your time is wasted on stale or unusable content?

As a simple example, take into account the amount of time it takes to produce a blog post. According to HubSpot, about 30% of marketers spend two to three hours writing blog posts. Now, multiply that by the two, three or four posts you’re producing in a week, and suddenly, you’ve devoted almost an entire workday to blog production, just to have no one read your efforts.

This is where maximum content distribution comes into play. Read below to learn several different promotion strategies, along with ideas to maximize your content’s ROI across three different types of audiences.

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Is your site’s content going stale? Or is this the first time you’re considering offering a blog or resource section on your site? Either way, it sounds like it’s time for a new editorial calendar. And if you’re putting all of this work into creating new content, you’ll probably want it to rank. In April 2017, there were 345 million Tumblr blogs alone, which means there’s a lot of content to compete with these days. 

This post will help you lay the groundwork for an effective content calendar rooted in SEO strategy. If you’re looking for a new editorial approach, you’ve found the right resource. 

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This post originally appeared on the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute's blog. See even more like it here

We started the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute to connect the dots for marketers, executives and entrepreneurs who want to learn how AI will impact their companies, industries and careers.

Since our launch in late 2016, we’ve profiled dozens of marketing AI solutions providers and discussed how marketers can begin using AI to drive productivity, personalization and performance.

Over the course of this journey, we’ve learned there are three big things that marketers need to know as they get started with artificial intelligence. Understanding the ideas that follow is critical to applying artificial intelligence and related technologies to your business.

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