AI marketing: 99% of marketers using AI tools on a daily basis

By John Koetsier February 22, 2024

A new survey of 1,200 marketers in the U.S., UK, Netherlands, and Germany suggests that almost every single marketer uses AI every single day. 99% use AI in some way every day, while 91% are using AI for their jobs daily. And 75% of marketers are optimistic that AI marketing tools will create new jobs as well as unlock new opportunities for growth.

Interestingly, generative AI, the noisiest and most-hyped application of artificial intelligence at the moment, is the least valued. 57% say that AI marketing tools enhance optimization, 53% say automation is the best use, and 50% look to AI marketing tools for predictive analytics. 

49% say that generative AI tools enhance their working lives.

AI marketing tools

But the study, commissioned by Iterable, suggests there are still challenges. 

Essentially half of marketers find AI intimidating, and 54% say the existence of AI marketing tools is heightening expectations from managers. And most feel they don’t have all the skills and knowledge they need to use AI effectively.

  • 49%: AI is intimidating
  • 54%: AI increases expectations
  • 89%: AI requires new skills, which is somewhat concerning
  • 29%: AI requires new skills, which is extremely concerning

Not surprisingly, less than half of marketers have been trained on AI marketing skills. 

That fully accords with my personal experience, which is based on personal dabbling with OpenAI, Creative Diffusion, MidJourney, Dall-E, and multiple other tools, but no formal training. (Of course, so many of the new AI tools have become available so recently that it’s almost impossible for training developers and programs to keep pace.)

AI marketing: what’s happening?

There’s obviously a lot going on in generative AI and marketing. Here’s just a few of the recent developments that we’ve talked about on the Singular blog:

AI marketing and ROI

One place where there isn’t clarity among marketers, however, is whether AI marketing tools are generating a positive return on investment. Or how they will do so in the future.

I’d assume that increased efficiency in what you’re already doing and increased capacity to do more things than you previously could are both indicative of positive ROI, but the survey focused on where AI will most likely benefit marketing organizations.

The ROI of AI
Image credit: Iterable

50% say ROI will come from better customer service — think users or players in a mobile app — while 47% say more effective analytics will be where AI marketing tools generate ROI. Slightly lower numbers see other areas of analytics as top priorities as well: predictive analytics for revenue and forecasting.

What marketers want from AI

According to the 1,200 marketers surveyed, 39% of marketers want AI marketing tools to enhance their creativity. 37% want AI to do part of their jobs so they have “more free time for fulfilling tasks,” and 37% want to feel tech savvy.

Almost a third are looking for AI to reduce their stress levels as well.

What pretty much everyone agrees is that we haven’t tapped AI’s full potential yet.

“While many marketers have embraced AI, they haven’t yet tapped its full potential. AI offers an incredible opportunity to liberate marketers from operational minutiae and tasks like data analysis and content creation,” said Adriana Gil Miner, Chief Marketing Officer of Iterable. “This frees them up to focus on creativity and crafting unique experiences that bring joy to customers. AI isn’t just about automation; it’s about elevation, unleashing creativity, and amplifying brand voices. 

I buy some of that, but not all of it.

Muddling in the data sometimes feels like drudgery (ok, almost always) but often brings eureka! moments when you find something unexpected. AI marketing tools can do that too, but not always. And you do have to double-check AI’s answers in data as well as text, since AI hallucinations are not yet a thing of the past.

Also, for writing — yeah, that thing I’m doing right now — AI-created content can be pretty basic, a bit meh, and fairly surface. That said, it can be a great starting point for the addition of human insights, creativity, and tone.

Miner agrees:

“The future of marketing lies not in replacing human ingenuity, but in using AI to empower it.”

At least, that’s what I’m telling the Terminator. And any AI marketing tools I use. 

And myself, of course.

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