AI is transforming digital marketing faster than ever. Here’s how medium businesses can benefit from it

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In a recent survey by IDC, 42 percent of technology decision-makers indicated that their organisations plan to invest in technology to close the digital transformation gap. Meredith Whalen, Chief Research Officer at IDC, was quoted as saying that the pandemic has made increasing technology investment and accelerating digital transformation timetables business necessities. She added that many of these initiatives which started as ways to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19 have become permanent roadmap requirements for future enterprise success in the digital economy.

Today, this is true for medium businesses as it is for larger enterprises. IDC’s outlook for future enterprises also predicts that the months to come will see digital transformation efforts focusing on workforce, new customer demands and accelerating automation initiatives.

At the heart of driving this technological transformation are technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), IoT, Analytics and Machine Learning. While the canvas of the scope and impact that these technologies can drive is huge, it is interesting to see how technologies like AI are beginning to increasingly play an important role in not just core IT or industrial use cases but also beyond. Here, it is particularly interesting to examine how digital marketing has embraced AI.

AI in action in digital marketing

All of us have experienced AI in digital marketing in some ways or the other - from what we see on our feeds on social media to movie recommendations on digital channels, suggestions on what products to buy, or even updates on customer requests.

AI has become intrinsic to digital marketing, due to its ability to gain access to data in real time, analyse and profile the audience, predict their interests and behaviour and deliver customised communications,. Not only does it bring in rich insightful data but also the ability to understand what is working and what isn’t. It provides actionable insights that enable businesses to modify the digital strategy to maximise effectiveness well within time. AI-driven solutions enable businesses to be available to customers 24*7 and also engage with them through customised and intuitive communications.

Today, AI is already being implemented in areas such as customer communication, product recommendations, content personalisation, e-commerce transactions - which form the core of digital marketing. The rise of programmatic advertising, one of the most talked-about trends, is rooted in AI. With AI automating ad buying, businesses are able to target more specific audiences, which leads to higher conversions and lower acquisition costs.

The application of AI spans across a range of use as well as different stages of a digital marketing campaign process - right from strategy to implementation to measurement and insights. And, the months to come will see an acceleration in adopting AI in these areas.

To put it simply, with its ability to collect data, analyse it, apply it and then learn from it, AI is transforming digital strategies in newer ways. And as AI continues to advance, it will further open up opportunities to improve digital marketing strategies and provide valuable customer insights for businesses. Another reason why AI is so relevant to digital marketing is because it not only expands the scope of what is possible, but it also demonstrates evident improvements in performance. From better consumer insights to bringing in increased marketing agility, AI in digital marketing gives businesses the much-needed edge to stay competitive.

With customers continuing to demand immediate, contextual and innate responses, personalisation and conversational marketing will become all the more important. This is not limited to conversations via chatbots but also other content, including emails, messages, and also in the very way that marketing strategies are planned and executed. Again, much of this will be powered by AI and its allied technologies.

An added thrust factor will be the fact that with each passing day, computing power is becoming all the more affordable. At the same time, chipmakers are continuously accelerating innovation to develop hardware that powers AI and software companies are further working on solutions that simplify and democratise AI. All of these translate into more opportunities for digital marketing to deepen its AI applications and benefit from AI.

But, to move forward with AI you need to first go digital

While many of the digital marketing strategies have been tried, tested and their impact proven by the early adopters, which in most cases were enterprises, now it is the turn of startups and medium businesses to adapt to the changing market dynamics. Given the current market landscape, digital marketing will become key especially for medium businesses and startups across geographies and sectors. And, digital marketing powered by AI will enable these businesses to develop the necessary capability to grow, evolve, and innovate. But, given that a lot of medium businesses are most likely either contemplating a digital journey or equipping themselves with digital tools to get started on the digital journey, it’s time for them to quickly play catch-up first.

For that, it becomes important to get the right foundation and invest in the right tools and resources. Here, the Digital Scale-Up: ‍The Medium Business Course by Dell Technologies, in association with YourStory Academy and the Ministry of Micro Small & Medium Enterprises (M/o MSME), has been designed specifically to meet this need. The immersive learning programme led by India Inc. provides working knowledge of the fundamentals of entrepreneurship as well digital transformation. With a strong focus on digital marketing strategy, the course provides practical lessons on leveraging digital channels to grow the business. The course explores the different components of digital marketing and explains what kind of digital marketing mix works. All this enables medium businesses to get a good grasp of the fundamentals of digital strategy, and adopt and leverage the right AI-led digital strategies for their business growth.

AI will be at the heart of the digital transformation journey. But, first it’s time to take the first step in this journey with the Digital Scale-Up: The Medium Business Course


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