How AI is Transforming Digital Marketing For SMEs

Content marketing has enjoyed significant growth over the last decade, largely fuelled by the near-ubiquity of smartphones and social media. You can’t read a single piece of journalism without being hit by a multitude of clickbait images and headlines. And with the erosion of advertising revenue for most publishing houses, the need to supplement with paid-for content has smashed down the walls that once existed between sales and editorial departments.

One only has to look at the influence of Facebook and Google and the situation in Australia to see why the battles in the sphere of content production and distribution are being fought so ferociously.

As the pandemic continues to impact the ways in which we work and consume content, this growth is now accelerating at an exponential rate. As a result, all businesses need to be able to reach their audience across digital platforms.

At the same time, this rapid digitisation combined with an expanding SME market means it’s vital that SMEs know how to effectively enter the conversation and increase their share of voice. It’s not enough to simply push out content. Digital marketing requires a smarter approach. The use of AI-driven insights can help founders and SMEs more effectively navigate an increasingly complex social marketing environment, enabling them to easily produce relevant and engaging content.

Keep your AI on the prize

So, what are the most significant changes in AI that SMEs need to know, and utilise in their digital marketing efforts, in order to succeed?

Greater customer engagement and experience through AI integration tools: This is by no means a new concept, but with the rise of automated customer query responses such as chat boxes, locating purchasing patterns and offering personalisation through personalisation engines, AI is leading the charge in UX.

AI derives further competitive insight: With automated strategy tracking through SEO insight tools, gaps in product offerings can be identified and pricing can now be done through retail intelligence engines.

Locating the right audience, at the right time: Platforms can pull insight from various social platforms and automate both insight and content delivery, utilising behavioural engines that target people on their behaviours, rather than demographics.

Applying AI intelligence as we accelerate toward digital

Covid-19 has turned the marketing sector on its head. Businesses of all sizes, across all sectors, have been forced to rethink their marketing strategies and consider new and different ways of engaging with their audiences.

Given the acceleration in the consumer use of digital channels, digital content marketing should clearly be a priority if SMEs are to engage with customers in their new, predominantly online, arena. So it’s perhaps unsurprising that 90 percent of SMEs say lockdown has emphasised or increased the priority of digital transformation.

Currently accounting for 99.9 percent of all the UK’s private business population, the number of SMEs has grown by 63 percent over the last two decades. Yet, while this growth runs in tandem with the development of digital and mobile channels, and the marketing opportunities they represent, 70 percent of SMEs recently surveyed about the business impact of COVID-19, suggested it was more important than ever to communicate with customers about their offerings.

The pandemic will have forced many SMEs to pivot quickly, however, abandoning their marketing plans and switching tactics in an effort to address changing consumer demands. This is a hugely inefficient approach, though, using up time, resources, and money that SMEs – in particular – can often ill afford to waste.

Larger enterprises, on the other hand, typically have access to a wealth of content intelligence data, the insight from which can help guide their content marketing decisions. Providing SMEs with affordable access to the same data would level the playing field considerably. But navigating today’s rapidly evolving content marketing landscape may require more. Many of the platforms which provide this data use legacy technology stacks, often unable to keep up with the current pace of change.

Instead, the application of AI and automation technologies enables richer data to be produced faster, with the benefit of machine learning continuously enriching the data as searches are carried out. This enables SMEs to identify just what content is working for their target audiences at any given time, and unpick the “magic sauce” ingredients behind the success of this content.

Based on these ingredients, SMEs are then able to produce their own engaging content, knowing that it will have an impact on their target audiences.
Augmented by AI, an SME’s marketing efforts are far more likely to succeed in this ever-changing digital world.
Written by Tom Gutteridge, CTO at Mobile Streams PLC

Tom Gutteridge