Marketers already realize the importance of taking advantage of artificial intelligence (AI) to create viable channel marketing strategy. AI already plays major role in automating marketing tasks and performing predictive analysis concerning channel sales. On the other hand, vendors and their partner ecosystem should go the last mile and implement solutions that not only predict market sentiment but also create customer experiences that sell.
From Segmentation to Customization
A channel marketing strategy should take into account that customers are now connected everywhere and all the time. Every customer leaves online traces that marketers should follow to create channel strategies and co-branded marketing programs. These data range from customers’ interests to buying actions to purchasing intents and AI-enabled systems are the ones that can cope with these Big Data trails.
Armed with AI, a channel marketing strategy can turn segmented data into targeted, accurate, and completely customized experiences, thus greatly boosting deal closures for any vendor and its partner ecosystem. An AI-enabled platform, integrated with a CRM and other enterprise software provides the marketers with tools to engage with customers exactly in the way they want, at the exact time, and on the exact channel.
The Future of AI
For example, channel sales often involve cold calling, which remains a top marketing strategy to generate leads. IT professionals, however, find this tactic the most annoying marketing approach. Nonetheless, an AI-powered system is able to identify the most appropriate day of the week and the most appropriate business hour to contact a person via phone. Using an advanced algorithm, based on Big Data, a vendor can identify the most advantageous time to make cold calls and incorporate these findings in its partner management program.
ROI and Brand Message Optimization
Another challenge before vendors and their channel partners is to track return on investment (ROI) of marketing campaigns, which in turns complicates the process of planning and releasing market development funds (MDF). Advanced AI systems are able to solve the issue by being capable of collecting vast amounts of data on the go, tracking numerous factors, and providing valuable insights about how a campaign is performing and which aspects of a channel marketing strategy should be improved.
It is impossible to achieve these goals with pen and paper or a spreadsheet software in the present global economic ecosystem. In fact, a partner program management should include AI-enabled analysis to assess geographic and demographic peculiarities, which boosts both efficiency and the number of closed deals.
Stats about AI by Adobe Digital Insights
• Business leaders believe AI is going to be fundamental in the future. In fact, 72% termed it a “business advantage.”
• In the immediate future, execs are looking for AI to alleviate repetitive, menial tasks, such as paperwork (82%), scheduling (79%), and timesheets (78%).
• By 2018, 75% of developer teams will include AI functionality in one or more application or service.
• By 2025, the artificial intelligence market will surpass $100 billion.
• A 2016 survey reported that 58% of enterprise business executives are already using predictive analytics within their organizations.
Brand message optimization is another field where AI can offer unparalleled benefits. Nearly half of IT professionals, or 45 percent, say that channel marketing programs contain too much marketing fluff. By using sophisticated AI system, a vendor and their partners can identify and experiment with, say, email open rates or rejected offers and thus identify brand messages that work and offers that are being rejected due to being too salesy.
Obviously, an AI system cannot express emotions, feelings, or empathy itself. Nonetheless, AI technology is already in place that deals pretty good with assessing emotions and feelings as well as natural language. That said, a channel marketing program can be built upon collected data about customer sentiments, their intentions and expressed desires in regard to a product or service.
All-in-One Holistic Approach
Furthermore, AI systems are able to both perform a marketing campaign and oversee its progress, making adjustments on the go. Hence, marketing people of vendors and their ecosystem of partners can return to creative tasks rather than performing repetitive and boring jobs, which in fact are impossible to perform accurately in a global market. Partner management will be more about creating a coherent brand message and creative co-branded marketing programs rather than delving into statistical and sales data. AI can perform all these tasks for us.
Sentiment toward AI
Holistic AI solutions, which are already on the market, can execute a channel marketing campaign continuously and autonomously. Such a system deals with all the tasks within a campaign as a part of one cohesive campaign – from target and segment creation, to cross-channel execution, to testing and optimization, to analysis and provision of insights. All you have to do is to set the key performance indicators (KPI) and load the creative components of a campaign.
Last but not least, AI systems in marketing are going to save time and money to large and small enterprises alike. Actually, large companies are harder to implement a holistic AI system due to established processes and procedures. The solution is to start small by testing a single campaign on a single channel and later on, if successful, move on to implement an overall AI solution. Smaller IT companies are more flexible and can implement AI faster, which gives them evident competitive advantage.
Overall, the next few years will be decisive for companies that plan to incorporate AI into their marketing and sales platforms. Adoption of AI in marketing is inevitable, and even though the technology is still in its infancy early adopters will gain marked competitive advantage over channel marketers that are waiting for more mature AI systems to emerge
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