Entrepreneurs. Forget Marketing Agencies. Use AI.

As a CMO, it may seem odd for me to question whether or not marketers are needed in the modern world. But when it comes to start-ups and SMEs, I genuinely believe that the role of the traditional marketing professional is quickly going the way of the dinosaurs.

For most start-up owners and entrepreneurs, marketing is one of the hardest and most time-consuming parts of launching a new business.

Often, entrepreneurs who should be spending time designing great products, seeking investment and building stable business ideas, find themselves instead bogged down in the process of marketing their own brands.

For a lot of these entrepreneurs, tasks like building a website, designing a logo, generating press interest and producing promotional materials don’t come naturally. As such, a significant amount of time and money can be spent either acquiring these skills, or recruiting a marketing agency to manage them on your behalf.

Today, all of this is changing. With new developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning, so many of the tasks that once would have been conducted by a content or marketing agency are now being performed almost entirely by machines.

If you’ve been following the news, stories about AI coming for marketers’ jobs are growing increasingly common. Only last month, Microsoft announced that it would be replacing entire content teams across its MSN platform with AI-powered copywriting tools.

Similarly, brands like Lexus, Lyft and Spotify have all boasted about their use of artificial intelligence tools to help target customers, generate promotional materials and even direct TV ads.

But what about the smaller brands? Those without the massive budgets to spend on building their own AI or adopting expensive marketing automation platforms?

Well, already entrepreneurs are finding a whole host of ways to use artificial intelligence to their advantage, swapping out expensive marketing agencies and freeing up their time for other, more important tasks. Here are just three examples of where entrepreneurs are using AI to help market their brands:

Building a company website

When it comes to setting up a new business venture, building a website can be a major upfront expense. Traditionally, getting a professional website built can cost anywhere between £1,000 and £15,000, and this doesn’t even include ongoing hosting, domain and maintenance costs. This is a massive up-front cost for a new start-up.

Thanks to AI, the world of web design is changing. Rather than relying on a professional designer or programmer to build the site, a growing number of small business owners are turning to powerful do-it-yourself web builder platforms.

These web builders are now able to generate fully fledged website designs and ecommerce sites. AI can also be used to analyse the layout of these sites, with tools like heat maps being used to ensure that a site is visually appealing for potential visitors.

Thanks to new AI tools, entrepreneurs can now build — and optimise — their own websites in a matter of hours rather than weeks, and all without the involvement of a marketing agency or team.

Writing copy and designing promotional content

As mentioned, when working for a start-up business, it’s often down to entrepreneurs to prepare their own marketing strategy, generate their own sales materials, write their own web copy and launch all of their own promotional campaigns.

Today, there are a whole host of AI-powered marketing tools available to entrepreneurs hoping to cut costs while still delivering memorable marketing campaigns.

You can use AI tools to design your logo, to generate your web copy, to write a company slogan, and even, to decide your business’ trading name. Once again, this cuts out the need for expensive agencies and marketing professionals altogether.

If you need to kick-start your business idea and get something off the ground quickly, all the elements you need are available through some form of AI.

Finding new customers

People always talk about AI as though it’s something far off on the horizon. In reality, most small businesses are already benefiting from AI without even realising that they’re using it. Tools that start-up owners use every day are already beginning to incorporate AI, making their insights more powerful and more relevant for entrepreneurs.

As just one example, Google’s “Analytics Intelligence” function applies the tech giant’s sophisticated machine learning and natural language processing to Google Analytics data.

In short, this means that small business owners no longer have to be trained in data science to uncover relevant patterns and trends in their customers’ behaviours.

Now, if a business owner wants to understand which of their channels has the highest conversion they can simply type “Which channel had the highest conversion rate?” and Google analytics will give them the answer.

This type of natural language search query is revolutionising the way that business owners approach prospects, helping them to create targeted promotions and adverts that can help turn potential prospects into customers and ‘browsers’ into ‘buyers’.

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