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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

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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Editor's note: This post originally appeared on the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute's blog. Check out more posts like it here.

Marketing automation platforms have transformed the industry over the last decade, making marketers more efficient, productive and successful. But, the great irony of marketing automation is that it’s largely still manual.

Consider how much time your marketing team spends on repetitive and administrative tasks, such as drafting social media updates, writing data-driven blog posts, personalizing emails and website copy, A/B testing landing pages, building lead nurturing workflows, developing advertising copy, managing paid media spend, conducting keyword research, finding insights in analytics and recommending strategies (to name a few).

Now, what if we told you every one of those tasks, and many more, could be done more efficiently using artificial intelligence technology that’s available today? The challenge is that the solutions mostly exist in stand-alone AI tools, rather than as native elements of the major marketing automation platforms.

While we expect marketing automation companies to rapidly develop and integrate AI capabilities in the months and years ahead (through both acquisitions and internal R&D), for now, marketers need to piece together AI-powered products and integrate them into their core marketing technology stack.

Following are 11 common marketing tasks that can be more intelligently automated right now using AI technology. Many of the companies we include are still early in their product and market development, so use this list as a starting point for your AI research, not as a de facto buyer’s guide.

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Editor's Note: This post was originally published on Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute (MAII), a new community for modern marketers created and powered by PR 20/20. 

Gartner predicts that a full 20 percent of business content will be written by machines starting in 2018. This is a startling claim. The analyst firm says: “Business content, such as shareholder reports, legal documents, market reports, press releases, articles and white papers, are all candidates for automated writing tools.”

Will artificial intelligence automate content creation? It’s a legitimate question. If Gartner is talking about the issue, it’s worth considering. Artificial intelligence technologies are advancing rapidly, to the point where the Associated Press now has machines writing full earnings reports. Marketers rely on content more than ever as a linchpin of their strategies. What if the creation of content was suddenly the responsibility of a machine, not a marketer?

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Who doesn’t love a good round up of predicted trends every New Year? Marketers are especially into emerging mediums, as it’s imperative we build our activities and tactics around the latest and greatest innovations.

Now that we’re nearing the end of the first quarter, we’ve noticed a reoccurring prediction for this year: video marketing. Our consumers are demanding video content more than ever, and here are a few numbers to prove it

  • 100 million Internet users watch online video every day.
  • 90% of online shoppers indicate they find video helpful for buying decisions.
  • 65% of executives visit a marketer’s website after viewing a video online.
  • Emails that include videos have a 96% higher click through rate.

Video has been on the scene for quite some time, but now it’s becoming a must-have piece of marketing strategies. It’s normal to feel that you may not have the proper equipment or skill to give into this trend. But, don’t fear because there are plenty of ways to quickly and easily incorporate video into your 2016 marketing plans.

Continue reading for three ways marketers can dive right into the video trend.

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You’ve heard the saying, ‘Nothing in life comes free.’

Well, good news: it’s not true!

There are thousands of free software solutions out there claiming to make you more productive, more efficient and more impactful. Some are a waste of time (sad but true); others, however, have become a staple in my daily routine. 

The key is finding the tools that work for you. Need a starting point? Below, I’ve listed my top 10. Yes, I could live without then … but I’d rather not.

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By losing our biggest family golf championship, I stumbled upon an insanely powerful, free platform that lets you build your own marketing performance tools. 

The platform I'm referring to is the combination of Google Sheets and Google Apps Script. With it, I’ve managed to:

  • Connect sheets to data sources like Google Analytics through APIs.
  • Strategically build large data sets from multiple sources.
  • Marry marketing activities to performance metrics.
  • Build small algorithms to sort through and pull insights out of thousands of data points.
  • Allow multiple Google Sheets to communicate with one another.
  • And much more.

If you’ve got some coding background or are interested in learning to code, I’ve tried to incorporate everything you need to get started building your own marketing tools, including:

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What if there was a single product that helped streamline all marketing tasks, improved lead management, and impacted overall revenue?

Oh wait … there is.

It’s marketing automation, and unless you’re stuck in the marketing stone age, you’ve probably at least heard of it. 

Businesses and marketers in all sorts of industries are recognizing the power of marketing automation, and these stats prove it:

  • Businesses that nurture prospects via marketing automation experience a 451% increase in qualified leads.
  • 25% of all B2B Fortune 500 companies are using marketing automation.
  • 76% of the world’s largest SaaS companies use it, too.
  • 63% say the ability to set measurable objectives is the biggest value driver. 

We all agree that marketing automation has endless benefits like shortening the sales cycle, enhancing efficiencies and improving lead scoring, just to name a few. But, unfortunately, there is one major issue: we have an overwhelming number of solutions to consider (more than 239 are listed by Capterra as “top” products).  

If you’re looking to adopt a marketing automation solution or ready to make a switch from the product you have now, don’t let the sheer number of options scare you. Read on for five factors to consider when comparing software to get you on the road to the perfect solution.

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“HubSpot is at the intersection of technology and philosophy.” — Dharmesh Shah, co-founder and CTO, HubSpot

Dharmesh (@dharmesh) opened his INBOUND 2015 keynote with co-founder Brian Halligan (@bhalligan) with this simple truth. I couldn’t agree more—that the company is at this crossroads, and that its technology is inexplicably tied to the ideology, practices and desires of its users.

Taking it a step further, I’d argue that in the case of the Boston-based SaaS company with more than 13,000 customers worldwide, its product is a direct reflection of the behaviors and preferences of consumers today.

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Marketing operations are constantly innovated by new technologies, from automation and gelocation to personalization. But, at the heart of branding is one constant element: content marketing.

Content drives the narrative behind all campaigns, big and small. It’s the pulse of company culture and the beat of service offerings—constantly pumping purpose and inspiration into your team. 

It’s critical to bottom-line business health, and it’s a complicated practice. Below I’ve curated a few of PR 20/20’s favorite content marketing resources, tools, charts and graphics to advance your content marketing practice, from idea generation to production.  

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