People in all kinds of industries are debating AI pros and cons.
AI pros and cons are going to shape future generations – and, indeed, the whole future of our species. Today, however, science fiction is still just a story.
When you’re thinking about AI and what it can do, it’s important to recognize its limitations. But it’s also vital to remember just how quickly it has moved forward.
Seeing both sides of the coin lets you really understand where AI is excellent and where it still has serious shortcomings.
One thing is for sure: You should be using AI.
The more familiar you are with AI capabilities now, the better off you’ll be later. This is an inevitable part of tomorrow’s sales and marketing landscape. As AI pros and cons gradually shift, successful marketers will be there for the whole ride.
Let’s take a closer look with our ultimate list of AI pros and cons.
Pros of AI in Marketing
1. Incredibly Responsive Customer Experiences
AI gets smarter every single time it interacts with a customer. Yes, every time!
Theoretically, humans do this, too: However, it’s unusual for a person to take a “valuable lesson” from every time he or she chats with a customer. Plus, people have to reflect on past experiences for a while before changing how they approach problems. Not so with AI.
Because of this, your AI will be able to deliver even more personalized customer experiences and refine its ability to deliver sales and other conversions faster. Your customers may find the level of personalization is far beyond what the average rep can offer them.
2. Higher Website Conversion Rates Overall
The ultimate goal of today’s sales and marketing AI is to move people along in a buyer journey. A good AI chat bot is uniquely positioned to do so, since it is inextricably linked with all your other systems – for example, web analytics and inventory.
This means the AI can furnish a truly seamless experience.
Your leads could be asking basic questions about a topic, look at potential solutions, compare them side by side, and schedule a demo all in the same quick interaction. In cases where it makes sense to do so, AI can even handle the entire buy.
3. More Upsells and Cross-Sells Than Ever Before
Even experienced sales experts often have difficulty finding new ways to add value to their existing accounts. Of course, it’s far easier to sell to a current customer than to a new one, but how can you make the process faster and easier? AI is the answer.
Since AI has immediate access to a customer’s entire purchase history – and can infer all of the meanings hidden in the various patterns – it’s easier for an AI-based chat system to move people along the path to helpful (and lucrative) cross-sells.
Upsells remain more challenging. Still, with enough data to crunch and perhaps some simple rules to follow set by tech-savvy humans, AI can direct your customers to the content they’ll use to determine the best options for them.
4. Better, More Efficient Use of Your Data
You’ve got tons of data, but are you using it the way you should be?
Data that isn’t either stored somewhere for later or applied to a problem immediately is as good as lost. It’s just floating out there. The older it gets and the longer it remains unused, the harder it is to figure out where it all fits within the big picture.
When AI is configured properly, you’ll have data moving directly from collection into use.
An optimized AI system is built to take in data from all kinds of other sources. Now only that, but it immediately captures its own data points and propagates them across every active instance of the AI. That means insights can be distilled down and utilized much faster than before.
5. Massive Cost Savings
Cost savings are a big issue for most marketing departments. If you’re going to go through the trouble of selecting, implementing, and learning an enterprise-class solution, you want to be sure it will deliver ROI. With AI, you win that ROI from at least two distinct sources.
First, there’s the extra revenue you pull from more conversions. That’s obvious.
Second, there’s your newfound ability to achieve more with less. AI means that you don’t need a fleet of customer service representatives sitting at their desks to handle every chat request that comes in. It may even mean you need fewer sales and marketing pros overall.
The lower headcount can make a tremendous difference in costs, especially for early stage businesses.
6. Better Use of Your Time
If you want to level the playing field and give entrenched industry rivals a good fight, then AI is the way to go. You’ll be able to leverage more productivity out of every hour because you can take a hands-off approach to the giant swirling vortex of new data that is your web chat.
Does this mean you have a completely hands-off approach? Naturally, the answer is no.
When it comes to AI pros and cons, though, it’s hard to overstate how convenient it all is. It can manage, correlate, and even “think” about problems in its area of expertise.
So, instead of laboriously combing through thousands of individual chat interactions, you end up looking at a couple quick reports that make sense of (almost) everything at a glance.
Cons of AI in Marketing
1. Not Everyone Wants to Talk to Robots
Here’s the major downside: Not everyone likes AI chat bots.
Sad, but true!
No matter how hard you work to make your AI personal and personable, some people are going to look at this technology as, well, crap. They’ll feel you’re demonstrating just how unimportant their business is to you – or that you’re simply collecting even more data for nefarious ends.
This probably won’t break an existing brand relationship on its own.
Combined with other factors, though, it may cause some leads to look elsewhere.
2. Algorithms Can Fail
Algorithms are usually pretty good – assuming they’ve gone through enough testing and they get plenty of relevant, accurate data to run on. But they can also go stupendously wrong, pumping out answers that will only get you closer to your business goals by accident.
This is a worst case scenario, but it can still happen.
And if it does, you’re probably not in a position to notice the difference.
3. AI Still Needs Humans (for Now!)
AI pros and cons look pretty favorable right now, but the fact of the matter is AI still needs real people to function. Without help from experienced, enthusiastic humans, AI can only do a small fraction of the job at hand. Yes, it does that portion well – but the end results aren’t strategic. You won’t achieve much in comparison to a team using AI to its utmost potential.
The bottom line: AI in marketing is a winning bet ... as long as you’re willing to take it seriously and integrate it into a complete digital marketing and sales plan. Although AI isn’t perfect today, it’s poised to get better and better.