How Brands are Using Artificial Intelligence to Improve Customer Segmentation

Accurate customer segmentation is of primary importance for an effective marketing campaign. Segmenting is a key element to lead generation because it enables brands to divide prospects into groups with similar characteristics and then develop targeted content for each segmented audience. This is important because it means messaging is more relevant to the recipients, which leads to better response rates.

Typically, marketing teams will segment based on a few simple marketer-defined segments like income and location. This is a missed opportunity because the segment is too large, and likely there will be a large number of recipients in the group who are not responsive to your targeted message due to its broadness. This can lead to lower conversion rates, higher customer churn, and poor customer satisfaction. 

AI-based machine learning models present an opportunity to improve marketing segmentation by looking at a much broader variety of data – like browsing history, prior purchases, demographics, and household data from third parties. Brands can gain more meaningful insights into customer behavior, allowing them to target their marketing campaigns effectively. Plus, brands can have an unlimited number and size of segments. This advanced targeting allows analysis of large amounts of customer data to foster personalized customer experience. This approach yields higher conversion rates and higher revenues, which has led to a growing number of businesses adopting AI machine learning for customer segmentation.

Brands looking to improve their marketing efforts and drive revenue growth cannot ignore the effectiveness of AI-driven customer segmentation. Maximum efficiency and greater ROI are achieved with AI along with the ability to: 

Precisely Identify Customer Segments – Analyzing data from various sources, AI can hyper-target the right customer at the right time, identifying customer preferences and segmenting into meaningful groups. AI can also track each customer’s buying journey so brands can understand their customers better, create more engaging content, and drive revenue.

Create Engaging Content – Through analyzing customer data, AI can identify the content that is most likely to appeal to a specific customer segment, increasing customer engagement. AI can find hidden patterns in data that a human marketer may be unable to spot, enabling brands to act on this new data.

Identify and Track Leads – AI can help track leads and leverage new leads from existing client networks. Brands can analyze previous interactions with a specific lead to predict what products or services they’ll be most interested in. 

Measure the Success of Campaigns – AI-driven insights indicate how customer segments respond to specific messages and promotions. Even more, AI can continuously monitor customer behavior to identify changes so brands know when they need to adjust their strategies to maximize efficiency and ROI.

AI-driven customer segmentation is an invaluable tool to help brands improve marketing efforts and drive revenue growth. As brands increasingly look to digital channels for engagement, AI-driven customer segmentation is being viewed as the premier option for creating better customer experiences. With its ability to provide real-time insights into customer behavior and tailor campaigns accordingly, AI-based segmentation helps brands create more engaging content that resonates with their target audience exactly where they are in the buying journey and drives sales.


The Role of AI in Your Lead Gen Strategy

Digitization has transformed lead generation. No longer limited to traditional approaches of in-person events and painful cold calling, businesses are now using omnichannel outreach via e-mails, websites, apps, and social media to reach highly targeted customers who are ready to buy. 

With the addition of more communication channels, sales cycles are now longer and more complex, adding to the marketing and sales workload. In addition, despite best efforts, HubSpot reports nearly 79 percent of leads never convert. So, it’s no wonder more than 40 percent of salespeople and 60 percent of marketers report they see lead generation as a major pain point. Enter AI. AI is the perfect tool to improve lead generation and lead nurturing. 

Businesses are increasingly leveraging AI-powered tools for lead generation in their sales and marketing operations. These tools automate the once mundane and/or time consuming tasks of finding and qualifying leads, creating customer profiles, personalizing content, and nurturing leads. For example, through the use of AI platforms and other algorithms that collect and analyze data like sales and the performance of different marketing strategies, CRMs can function at a much higher level with business insights that improve sales and ROI with enhanced intel that aids customer management. According to reporting at Cience:

  • Enterprises that used AI-enabled lead-generation tools saw a 15% to 20% increase in sales productivity and 20% in order management throughput.
  • More than 40% of sales leaders using AI tools have seen major improvements in their lead prioritization, use of their salespersons’ time, and understanding of customer needs. 
  • About 84% of business executives believe AI can give them a competitive edge. 

Here are some of the ways using AI as part of a comprehensive lead generation strategy can help a business grow.

1. Make Better Predictions

Using AI learning helps marketers make informed predictions by providing insight on the data collected and determining patterns in behavior. 

2. Develop Lookalike Audiences

AI and machine learning enable marketers to identify and target audiences that are the best fit.

3. Gather And Analyze Sales Data

AI can extract intelligence from huge market research data sets, but that’s not all it can do. Using the data in your CRM and other data warehouses, AI examines profiles of customers, transactional data, and behavior data to provide invaluable insights.

4. Make Real-Time Decisions

AI can take real-time data from your CRM and other data warehouses like Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms to help with lead scoring to determine your ideal customer, where they are in their journey, and the targeted message you should put in front of them. 

5. Create Targeted Lists

AI can be used to help create targeted lists such as a contact database grouped by industry, companies, and other factors with real-time updates. AI can then be used to manage updates, ensuring the data is always current. It also works well for creating e-mail lists and then tracking clicks, open rates, and other engagement.

6. Create Content

Content creation can be greatly assisted by AI, using it to generate subject lines, messaging, and design. However, there are still some hiccups with this. For more on this topic, read this article.  

Now is an exciting time to take advantage of AI technology to improve your lead generation. There is no denying its ability to help marketers gain greater insights that can be used to target and nurture leads through their journey all the way to the end of the funnel and increase sales.  

Your Guide to the New ChatGPT

In November 2022 the artificial intelligence startup OpenAI launched ChatGPT, a viral online large language machine that has the tech world and marketers giddy with excitement…and full of questions. ChatGPT was free to use, but now there is a fee, a necessity to triage capacity issues brought on by the free access that drove huge user numbers. 

It seems everyone has an opinion about ChatGPT. Engineers and  entrepreneurs tout it as a welcomed new frontier. It’s predicted to fuel new products, services and solutions, but not everyone is on the bandwagon. Social scientists and journalists are worried because they see the potential this technology may have to wreak havoc. Don’t worry. According to experts a full AI takeover isn’t imminent. ChatGPT doesn’t speak with sentience and doesn’t “think” like a human. There is an intrinsic difference between how humans produce language versus large language models. 

What puts this chatbot in the spotlight is how close it gets to replicating human-like language abilities thanks to generative AI, which uses statistics, reinforcement learning, and supervised learning to index words, phrases, and sentences. It’s a revolutionary technology that has been trained to learn what humans mean when they ask a question. It can also produce essays, solve coding problems, provide customer service, translate, and more. This is possible because it’s powered by large amounts of data and billions of words scraped from the web and other sources along with computing techniques to mimic writing styles, avoid certain types of conversations, and learn from questions. ChatGPT can access a vast vocabulary and database of information and understand words in context, helping it mimic human speech patterns to dispatch its encyclopedic knowledge. 

OpenAI is not alone in its use of large language model tools. Other well-known tech companies like Google and Meta use the large language model tools to develop programs that respond to human prompts and devise sophisticated responses. 

The technology is spreading to virtually every field – health care, marketing, law, you name it. But, it’s not a magic bullet. Open AI has acknowledged as much, sharing on its website that “ChatGPT sometimes writes plausible-sounding but incorrect or nonsensical answers.”  As with any technology, there are deficiencies and limitations. Here are a few in the spotlight now:

Plagiarism and Cheating

Plagiarism and student cheating are a valid concern. Thankfully, there is software that can be used to detect OpenAI text. However, due to the learning nature of the AI chatbot, it will keep learning and getting smarter, which may make it harder to identify plagiarism using the prescribed software.

Racism, Sexism, and Bias

ChatGPT fell under scrutiny when racial and gender biases were associated with the chatbot. Implicit bias built into technology is not a new discovery. UC Berkeley psychology and neuroscience professor Steven Piantadosi stated on Twitter in early December 2022 his concerns, “No, OpenAI has not come close to addressing the problem of bias. Filters appear to be bypassed with simple tricks, and superficially masked. And what is lurking inside is egregious.” He used queries based on race and gender, and ChatGPT produced results that favored white males over women and people of color.

Inaccurate Information

Despite the ongoing hype over ChatGPT, it also has ongoing issues with accuracy that have been well-documented since its inception. OpenAI has conceded that its chatbot possesses “limited knowledge of world events after 2021.” If there is insufficient data on a particular subject, the chatbot gives replies that contain incorrect data. This has started a much-needed discourse on the use of AI as a reliable source to create content – especially among news sources.

Clearly, some refined, deep content is necessary to address this problem. While it’s one thing for the chatbot to work “just ok” to relieve writer’s block, let’s say, this level of performance isn’t acceptable when using the chatbot to source valid, deep, and expansive domain data. If the information programmed is inherently flawed and the algorithms aren’t constantly regulating for reliability, then this new technology is just a big disinformation machine. Other issues with inaccuracies include:

Phrasing Sensitivity – ChatGPT is sensitive to tweaks to input phrasing or multiple attempts with the same prompt. It can claim to not know an answer, but when rephrased can answer the questions correctly.

Excessively Verbose – The model can be unnecessarily wordy, overusing certain phrases and being repetitive due to biases in the training data that favor long answers that are believed to be more comprehensive.

Inaccurate Guessing – Ambiguous queries should be questioned;  however, the current models usually guess at the user’s intention.

In the tech world, more data is always better. That philosophy is at play here as well, with OpenAI suggesting the system will “learn” from invalid data as long as the data set gets bigger. Fixing issues with inaccuracies is a challenging assignment that will garner more attention as the technology matures.

Not Original Content

A limitation is if more than one user asks the chatbot to write on the same topic, everyone making that request will get the same response. Therefore, the content created isn’t unique or original – all users will end up with the same copy. Thus, personalization is an area that still requires a lot of development.

No Mobile App

Currently, ChatGPT is strictly a browser-based platform with no mobile app feature available as of yet; however, I’m certain one is coming, but there has been no confirmation of this by the brand. This lack of cross platform availability has given rise to copycat apps charging exorbitant prices. Beware of ChatGPT fakes not associated with or supported by OpenAI. A popular workaround for this is to load the chatbot on your smartphone browser. 

Looking to the Future

As with most new technologies, pioneers usually take most of the heat for early misses. However, the market will grow and advance, fueled by eager VC firm funding. Financial investors predict ChatGPT will spawn new companies and products moving forward. Some also foresee a new form of Internet search coming from this technology.

Competition is certainly on the way, as all of the players will enter the ring, perhaps introducing industry-specific and domain-specific offerings, new products, and other creative solutions. Just yesterday OpenAI announced version three of ChatGPT is out, unveiling “an entirely new user interface” complete with:

  • Five new creative sizes for those who do display or programmatic ads
  • A new version of AI that can generate more and better creatives even faster 
  • An OpenAI-supported startup with  several copywriting methodologies

The opportunities this technology presents is staggering. Rather than replacing vast amounts of workers, the technology will be used to enhance and upgrade the systems we use to do our work so we can do that work more effectively and efficiently.

Video Drives Sales – Here’s What You Need To Know

Study after study has shown that video is the easiest and most effective way to engage customers and drive them to take action. Video works exceedingly well to create brand awareness, activation, onboarding, and retention. Effectively using video as a component of your marketing strategy helps you gain a competitive edge in an  increasingly crowded market.

According to a Wyzowl State of Video Marketing Report and Hubspot surveying:

  • Online video watching has almost doubled since 2018.
  • Nearly 93% of brands reported new customer acquisition came from videos posted on their social media.
  • 87% of video marketers reported that video gives them a positive ROI.
  • 85% of consumers report wanting to see more videos from brands. 
  • Video usage in ad campaigns increases conversion rates by 34% according to Vidyard.  
  • Unbounce reports including a video on your landing page can boost your conversion rate by up to 80%. 

Clearly, video is no longer a nicety; it’s a necessity to ensure your brand is responsive to consumers’ growing desire for efficient and informative self-service options along their buying journey. More consumers than ever before are digesting content before reaching out to sales. Video enables marketers to target different personas to deliver the most relevant and compelling information at various stages in the sales funnel. Video has been shown to be superior at explaining information and building momentum, so it’s a great choice to keep moving prospects further into the buying journey and down the funnel by directing them to the next relevant video. Avoid the pitfall of the “request a demo” option. It works much better to use wording like “watch our demo now.” Simple changes like this will boost your conversion.

In order to take full advantage of video content, you need to understand the best strategies for using video as well as how to track and quantify its impact. The importance of video will only grow as we move further toward enterprise self-service. Let’s take a look at the four most common types of videos you should be creating.

Explainer Videos 

As the name alludes, this approach is best when you need to explain a complex product or service or differentiate your brand. 

Onboarding Videos 

This is typically a series of videos that welcome new customers and work to get them more familiar with a product or service by addressing key areas. Often these videos will include screen captures and audio instructions to show actions the customer will need to take.

Demo Videos 

This video approach allows you to demonstrate your product or service to show prospects exactly how it works. This type of video also makes use of screen captures and audio instructions. 

Testimonial Videos 

These videos are your opportunity to showcase satisfied customers to positively influence prospects. 

Top Tips For Maximum Results

These tips will help you achieve your video marketing goals and track your results. 

Shorter Is Better – The goal is to deliver relevant information as quickly as possible. Follow these time guidelines:

Explainer Videos: 45-90 seconds
Demo Videos: Maximum of 10 minutes
Onboarding Videos: 1-3 minutes
Testimonial Videos: 45-90 seconds

Using More Videos Is Better – Don’t think of your videos as a one-stop shop. Instead, realize that the most effective approach is to drip your content over a series of videos. Prospects are more likely to watch more short videos. 

Use Videos To Address Pitfalls – Use what you know about your sales funnel and any of its possible pitfalls and address them with videos that pull prospects down your funnel. 

Track the ROI Of Your Videos – You’ll want to track who watched what and how those views impacted your KPIs, influenced new leads, the amount of new pipeline, and new revenue generated. 

For marketers looking to deliver on the new self-service buyer journey, maximize their sales efficiency, and increase conversions, video is a must in your marketing strategy. Video delivers a full-funnel strategy that is proven effective. 

How to Use Digital Marketing Automation to Increase Your ROI

Digital marketing automation combines personalization and automation, and is a huge time-saver that produces great results when done right. Here are the most effective ways to use digital marketing automation to create powerful campaigns.

Create Funnel-Optimized Content

Marketers know they need to create personalized experiences that speak directly to their target market. The way to do this is through creating funnel-optimized content. This approach delivers targeted content that addresses relevant concerns as the prospect moves down the sales funnel. Talk to sales and customer support to see what concerns prospects have and when they are most likely to want those concerns addressed.

Make Content Personal

We’ve gone way beyond just customizing an e-mail with the recipient’s name. Prospects have come to expect personalized content that is based on their behaviors and product preferences with a brand. Personalization such as an abandoned cart reminder, targeted coupons and discounts, information on related or similar products all work to drive sales. This is where machine learning and AI are a big help – more on that below. Marketers need to use data to provide the right content to prospects at the right time to drive conversions. 

Study The Data 

Digital marketing enables marketers to collect a wealth of data on prospects as well as loyal customers. However, if the data collected remains dormant and is never analyzed, it cannot provide insight into the effectiveness of a campaign or help drive sales. Marketers who study their data make better informed decisions. 

There has been a steady increase in the use of lead scoring. While there are numerous lead qualification strategies available, building a lead scoring process helps determine which prospects are ready to convert and which ones need more warming up through targeted content. Every prospect who connects with a brand is not the same. Lead scoring assesses a prospect using a series of quantitative measures: 

Implicit Data – Based on the information you already have

Explicit Data  Based on factual information from completed forms, CRM, etc.

Behavioral Data – Based on a prospect’s actions (clicks, downloads, form submission, etc.) 

Demographic Data   Based on specific demographics of a prospect (age, location, education, etc.) 

Lead scoring helps marketers prioritize prospects, working more effectively and efficiently to increase conversion rates. 

Unify Omnichannel Marketing

These days every brand is marketing on many different platforms to expand reach: websites, social media sites, mobile devices, etc. It is imperative that the messaging and branding is consistent to create a unified experience across multiple marketing channels. Making use of technology such as a CRM is one way to track sales pipelines and automate prospect interactions.

Automate Social Media Posts

Automated social media marketing is a gamechanger. Marketers can create posts in advance and schedule them to publish on a specific date and time. This helps ensure nothing falls through the cracks and regular content posting is happening. The platform used can also provide important metrics on the how each post performs.

Implement Chatbot Interactions

The use of chatbots is predicted to be one of the top digital marketing trends for 2023. That’s because chatbots enhance customer service and engagement so effectively. Chatbots help marketers build relationships with prospects and enable 24/7 interactions with prospects without lifting a finger. For more on chatbots, read this.  

Invest In Machine Learning

Machine learning and AI enable better data collection from what prospects are doing online. This helps marketers develop better campaigns and automatically sort the data collected.

Marketers can use this information to develop targeted, personalized content that speaks directly to prospects. 

Use Conversational Marketing

Marketing automation is all about making a more meaningful connection with prospects. It makes sense then that marketing materials should use a friendly, conversational approach while remaining professional. Keep automated messages light and friendly and not robotic. Prospects want to feel like they are interacting with a human even when they aren’t.

Automate Mobile Marketing

Mobile is where most marketers reach prospects. 70 percent of Internet time is spent on a mobile device and more than 50 percent of Internet traffic comes from mobile. Mobile marketing automation is a necessity, helping marketers learn a prospect’s location, browsing habits, device type, etc., so customized mobile content SMS updates and surveys, push notification, etc., can be created to engage prospects on their mobile devices, keeping a brand top of mind.

At Producers Digital Network we can assist you with all of your marketing automation needs. Let’s talk!

Everyone’s Talking About Chatbots: What You Need To Know

The advancements in digital marketing require marketers to continue to upskill to stay abreast of the changes and the opportunities (or challenges) they present. The scope of digital marketing is forever widening. Having a good working knowledge of the latest advancements is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity. Today’s consumers expect around-the-clock service. In response, companies are increasingly looking to implement chatbots and virtual assistants to respond to customers any time of day, any day of the week.

Chatbots secure a place on all of the 2023 digital marketing trends lists. That’s because they are so effective – 80% of consumers have interacted with a chatbot at some point.  In 2020, the chatbot industry was worth over $17 billion. By 2025, the growth is expected to increase to over $102 billion. With this in mind, this blog takes a closer look at chatbots.

The Buzz On Chatbots

What is a chatbot? There are two kinds: virtual assistants and messaging apps. 

Virtual Assistants – This chatbot helps users find information, remember stuff or buy things – Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa are good examples. They are powered by machine learning; they rely on artificial intelligence to learn and figure out what a consumer wants.

Messaging Apps – This chatbot enables businesses and brands to be online 24/7, providing customer support – Facebook Messenger and WeChat are good examples. They use pre-programmed rules to interact with consumers.

Marketers would be hard pressed to find an easier or more efficient way to engage with customers. Chatbots provide around-the-clock customer service that few businesses could afford to offer with employees alone. Another benefit of using chatbots is marketers can offer instant responses to inquiries, which is imperative in today’s competitive, global online marketplace. Chatbot technology empowers a business to be able to provide service to hundreds of customers at once – all without taxing their staff with this chore.

According to a recent Mindshare report, 63% of consumers prefer messaging on chatbots to communicate with businesses or brands. The advantage for businesses is not just in increased sales or customer satisfaction but also in the diminishment of repetitive tasks employees no longer have to perform. Over the last couple of years, chatbot savings are estimated at up to $8 billion. In the next few years, that savings could easily jump to tens of billions of dollars as chatbot usage is more prevalent. As chatbots continue to reduce operating costs, the market will continue to expand, with chatbots used for marketing, payments, processing, and services. By 2024, worldwide consumer retail spending via chatbots will reach $142 billion – up from $2.8 billion in 2019, according to Juniper Research.

Here are some interesting stats from reporting by ServiceBell:

  • Nearly 90% of chatbot users view them as acceptable or extremely helpful 
  • Over 50% of online consumers love the 24/7 accessibility chatbots offer
  • 40 % of consumers would rather use a chatbot than talk with a human in a live chat
  • 1/3 of consumers think chatbots should be a staple for customer interaction with businesses
  • Chatbots help 55% of businesses generate high-quality leads

Messaging services are expected to surpass social networking sites in terms of the number of users. Questions raised by consumers are increasingly being handled with chatbots, with 90% of inquiries being answered successfully by a chatbot. This eliminates or greatly reduces the reliance on or need for telephone agents. 

Starbucks is just one example of a business taking full advantage of chatbot technology. They are doing this via the MyBarista app. Customers can now order from the brand by auditory message through Amazon Alexa or messaging. They are then notified when their order is ready for pick-up and can pay for their order and tip their server all through the chatbot. 

The growth in the chatbot digital market is a reflection of the growing need to offer24/7 customer service, an increasing consumer preference for self-service operations, and corporate desire to reduce operational costs by reassigning some tasks to chatbots. Chatbots developed for integration with messaging applications are projected to increase in usage as businesses continue to automate their sales and customer service. Chatbot technology enables businesses to deliver timely services at a reduced cost and is well worth investigating.

The Future of Digital Marketing

The digital marketing landscape has changed tremendously, and we can expect more of the same in the years to come. Our ability to work with user-level audience data will continue to evolve, creating obstacles and presenting opportunities. As always, marketers will be asking themselves questions like:

Addressability – What is the best way to reach my audience?

Segmentation – How do I differentiate my audience as needed?

Measurement – How do I determine the success of my marketing?

Growth – How do I keep my CPM down and grow?

Looking Beyond Just Sales To Measure Success

A critical component of digital marketing is measuring the cost per lead. However, moving forward, marketers will seek to measure the effectiveness of digital campaigns using a variety of changing metrics. We’ve already seen that process begin, thanks to recent changes with the elimination of cookies and other perishable IDs, browsers blocking ads and cross-channel targeting, etc.

Moving forward there will be a greater focus on the overall sales picture. Of course, sales are a critical measurement for the success of a campaign, but they are not the sole measurement. It’s increasingly important to also look at brand affinity, content engagement, e-mail/newsletter/membership/offer sign-ups, and shopping cart behavior to name a few. There was a time not long ago when CPMs were the sole gauge to measure the success of campaigns against chosen outcomes, but that will be less prevalent moving forward. 

Consumers are more particular than ever about what they are willing to consume in terms of content. They will continue to expect high-quality content. Marketers will need to find new ways to tell stories that connect them with their consumers who are seeking information and value in anything they listen to, watch, or read.

Studying Collected Data To Drive Sales And Strategy

Businesses collect more and more data on their audiences, but it’s what they do with that data that really counts. As targeting gets more complicated, data becomes more valuable. It will help dictate how marketers go about reaching a targeted audience. Marketers able to reach their targeted segment through digital platforms are able to justify paying a higher cost per lead. Digital marketing will continue to be built on data – even more so going forward. Marketers will be focused on the following priorities:

  • Data Quality
  • Valuation
  • Monetization

Data Quality Still Rules The Future Digital Marketing World

Data will only become more critical to digital marketing in the future. Marketers need quality data to make the connection between audience and value. With third-party cookies going away, some marketers are shifting to using first-party data to collect information about consumers. Zero-party data is also gaining attention. Zero-party data comes from customer surveys and polls, but first-party data comes from customer web activity. Marketers can use both data types to personalize their ad campaigns. 

Effective CRM management will also become more important to enable faster data access and analysis.

Marketers who improve their data quality and connectivity will be in a position to create more impactful campaigns and thus develop deeper relationships with their audience.

Valuation Methods Will Continue To Evolve And Improve

Now that the dust has settled on losing some digital identifiers that enabled marketers to target audiences (like cookies), we see that today there are even stronger tools for making identity connections with audiences that enable marketers to find extra value in the data that is collected. Marketers must remain open to change and stay abreast of changes. With heightened consumer expectations, new end-to-end experiences will need to be developed that are relevant, immersive, and frictionless at every touchpoint – from acquisition through engagement and retention.

Data Is The Future Of Monetization

Limits to third-party tracking have led to an accelerated need to access granular user data and powerful algorithms to drive effective targeting in order to personalize and monetize content experiences. Marketers must evaluate data collection methods and results on an ongoing basis, making adjustments when necessary. Having a good understanding of the data collected primes marketers to be able to monetize it by creating effective digital marketing. When marketers improve their data quality, they can build better campaigns, which leads to better relationships, which leads to sales. Also, marketers who feed their funnel with better data have higher user satisfaction and retention rates and more effective audience acquisition strategies.

We’ve seen major shifts in the digital marketing ecosystem, and more are certain to come. As marketers, we must view them as an opportunity to do our job more effectively and efficiently. What’s to come in digital marketing will help marketers enhance and connect first-party data in the evolving digital platform. Advanced tools will aide marketers in valuating audience data and unlock new ways to monetize it.

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Digital Marketing Trends for 2023 

It’s difficult to stay up on all of the changes and new opportunities in digital marketing. Yet, with 1.5 billion social media users around the world, the demand for digital marketing only continues to grow – and consumers’ expectations right along with it. Consumers want increasingly rapid response times, a stellar user experience, and options for how they do business with the brands they choose.

Digital marketing, like never before, enables marketers to deliver what consumers want when they want it, using multiple platforms. The benefits of digital marketing on growing the bottom line cannot be overstated.

  • Target The Right Audience
  • Optimize And Improve Conversion Rates
  • Increase Customer Loyalty
  • Build Brand Credibility

Here are eight digital marketing trends you should plan for in 2023. It’s never too early to retool your strategy and transform your marketing efforts going forward.

1.  Gather Data Using Forms 

Our dependence on big data is as inescapable. It also has the power to be transformative, making it significantly more important to businesses. However, privacy laws have affected how marketers gather data. 2023 will bring with it a shift toward businesses being even more proactive in gathering data, using varying methods. Businesses will continue to implement savvy collection methods and analysis of the information gathered, integrating their findings into their digital marketing campaigns and using it to steer marketing decisions. 

The use of forms will continue to grow in 2023 because they are quick and easy and work so well to gather useful information on customers. Forms are a highly effective way to keep users engaged.

2. Include E-Mail Marketing

E-mail marketing will continue to be popular in the coming year because it’s so effective at generating leads. Nearly everyone in the world has an e-mail account, so that makes this platform a continued must for marketers looking to connect with customers and give them access to their brand. The success of any e-mail campaign ultimately relies on the list you are sending to. Make sure it’s highly targeted and cleaned up regularly.

3. Implement Real-Time Messaging Platforms 

Real-time messaging platforms enable marketers to reach customers quickly and directly, right when they are read to communicate with your brand. It’s also a great way to collect data so you can know as much about your customers as possible. Today’s customer is impatient, often seeking instant gratification. Empowering marketers and sales to be in contact with those eager to do business when they are ready to talk is powerful.

As these platforms mature, they’ll offer brands the mechanisms to capitalize even more on customer data for digital marketing initiatives.

4. Add Ease of Doing Business With Chatbots 

Chatbots have grown increasingly more popular with marketers – in fact, they are the fastest growing brand communication channel. That trend will continue in 2023. Chatbots enable a business to be available 24/7 to engage with customers who need assistance outside of standard business hours, which is a huge asset. 

5. Rethink Old Ways

According to a recent Drift survey, the most common frustrations reported by consumers include:

  1. Websites being hard to navigate (34%)
  2. Not being able to get answers to simple questions (31%)
  3. Basic details about a business — like address, hours of operations, and phone number — being hard to find (28%).

Clearly, the online experiences businesses are used to providing may no longer match with evolving customer demand and changing preferences in the ways customers prefer to buy. Customers increasingly want all of the information they seek at the touch of a button. If they have to work to learn about a brand, they will likely look to the competition.

6. Put Attention Into Details

Consumers are inundated with information. It is imperative that marketers put as much thought into their content and creative as they do in choosing the platforms they will run on. Marketers want their content to work to increase clicks and engagement. Pay close attention to creativity, making your brand stand out in the very crowded online market.

7. Be Strategic About Influencer Marketing 

What was once used by only a handful of brands has now become common practice. It is estimated that more than $16 billion will be spent on influencer-marketing programs by 2023. It’s no wonder then that influencer marketing will continue to boom next year and in the coming years. 

A huge word of caution here. Businesses must understand their vertical and know the type of influencer who will help promote their brand. Choosing the proper influencer can generate a great ROI. However, marketers frequently fall short in this area because they’ve chosen the wrong influencer who doesn’t have the relevant audience or reach for their brand. Marketers want to choose an influencer who can create a trust relationship between customers and brands through transparency and authenticity. To aide this process, marketers must have a thorough understanding of their target audience and then design campaigns that resonate with them. 

8. Consider Outsourcing to Digital Marketing Agency 

Outsourcing some or all of your digital marketing remains a great way to get more done, using the expertise and resources of an agency. An experienced digital marketing agency can help businesses get better overall results by developing strategies that leverage current technologies and best practices across all channels. 

Keeping these forecasted digital marketing trends on your radar and implementing those that work for your business will help you successfully grow your business in 2023 and beyond.

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Why is AI So Important for B2B Lead Generation?

No matter the vertical you are in, customer experience is paramount. Today’s B2B consumer cares nearly as much about the service they get from a business as they do about the product or service they are buying. The expectations are set for a fully personalized experience at all online touch points – including your lead generation website.

Artificial intelligence (AI) can help companies create the experience leads and prospects want and expect. More and more marketers are utilizing the power of AI to sell, and the trend is just beginning. According to data from Salesforce, the use of AI in marketing has skyrocketed from just 29% in 2018 to a staggering 84% in 2020. Here’s a look at how AI is being used to drive and close leads:

1. Access Massive Datasets 24/7

We all know that lead scoring is a tedious and time-consuming process, but it is a necessary evil. AI enables marketers to access massive datasets 24/7, looking at the most important factors and every detail that marketers just don’t have time to do on their own. And, AI does a better job, picking up on finer details that an overworked marketing professional cannot. AI scoring is far more accurate, enabling marketers to use the data to target leads much better.

Even better, AI only improves with time due to machine learning that studies computer algorithms and makes improvements automatically through experience and data analysis.

2. Reduce Bounce and Increase Engagement

This is marketers sore spot: bounce rates. All marketers want a low bounce rate because it’s an indication of interest in your content, your products, and your brand. A high bounce rate indicates low interest, which isn’t something anyone in marketing and sales wants to see.

The best way to mitigate a high bounce rate is to take measures to increase engagement. We know that the longer a prospect stays on your website, the more likely they are to convert to a lead and self-nurture. Keep in mind, the average buyer consumes at least 13 pieces of content from a single site before making a decision. Self-nurturing websites let prospects binge relevant content until they’re ready to provide their e-mail address and other information.

We also know that in order to get a lead to provide contact information, takes work, even when the content on our site is compelling. AI uses your content to create an engaging customer experience using multiple algorithms to study the behavior of each prospect that visits your site. AI then provides personalized content recommendations to let prospects do their own research while being guided down the sales funnel – all without having to fill out a form or talk to a salesperson yet. AI streamlines the sales process, encouraging prospects to stay on your site longer and to learn more about the opportunity, consuming more content with each subsequent visit to your site. 

3. Make Better Insights

Most marketers are in the fortunate position of having lots of data on prospects. However, it takes time and know-how to properly sort through that mountain of information. AI gathers and analyzes all of that data and draws better insight than any marketer could working alone.

4. Create Adaptive Content Hubs

Most blogs require visitors to scroll through an organized list of blog posts based on categories you have selected in order to access the content they want. AI enables you to organize your blogs by any vertical or pain point you choose. Once a prospect starts browsing your blog, your algorithms study the prospect’s behavior and provide personalized selections from your blog content.

5. Collect Accurate Data

It takes a good strategy to segment prospects, score leads, and develop content. But all that work can go down the drain if you are not collecting high-quality data. When your data is incomplete or incorrect, it throws a wrench in your marketing efforts. AI is your security that you are collecting accurate, usable data from the get-go, right when the lead enters your system. It does this by scanning public sources to verify company, job title, and other contact information. 

Adding an AI engine to your site puts you in a prime position to benefit from high-level personalization for your lead gen. AI also assists you with the task of nurturing your leads. Implementing tech-driven tools like adaptive content hubs and self-nurturing landing pages help ensure your content is working hard and smart for you.

Technology Trends To Ignite Your Lead Gen in 2022

Quarter four is upon us. The numbers don’t lie. A majority of industry experts reported that weak technology infrastructure was the main reason businesses struggled so hard to survive during the pandemic. How about you? Is your technology where it needs to be? Technology isn’t a trend that is going away. There will be a continued move next year away from sales-centric models and toward working with digital lead resources—website, social media, content marketing, e-mail marketing, and others.

As you begin your allocations for next year’s marketing budget – and your lead generation, to be specific – keep the following information in mind. I’ve outlined the trends we’ll see next year and highlight what they mean for you and your lead generation strategy and budget. 

Digital Channels for Sales and Service

As we continue to try to distance ourselves from the Covid-19 pandemic and the effects it has had on our traditional lead gen activities, such as travel, conferences, tradeshows, lunch meetings, and other offline marketing and sales events, we must admit that some of the changes weren’t so bad. Marketers were forced to turn to automation to drive leads while still providing the best customer experience. Inbound and outbound lead generation saw the continued use of artificial intelligence in sales operations. Increasingly, more and more marketers used digital and online channels like video conferencing and live chat offerings to achieve their lead and sales performance targets. Lead generation activities will still be performed through offline channels, but increased emphasis will be placed on digital channels. 

Value-Based Selling to Secure Customers

An increase in digital business strategies means an increase in data available for your use. 2022 will see a movement toward better use of data to shape a value-based selling approach. This trend has marketers responding to their data in real time as a way to slowly build to a sale, showing prospects over time the value of their product or service. 

Artificial Intelligence to Increase Value

AI is becoming more widely used across a broader platform now. That will continue in 2022 and well beyond. More and more companies are looking to AI to improve lead generation and sales because this technology helps gather valuable data on existing as well as potential customers. This data then helps marketers develop  more effective marketing strategies to increase sales. AI is also an effective way to influence future behavior based on prior transactions or interactions and helps identify hot leads that are more likely to convert.

Also on the rise is the use of chatbots. This is a relatively easy way to enhance communication with prospects and customers and to provide better overall service. Chatbots allow companies to be available 24/7 to answer common questions and respond to typical issues. Customers report they love this option.

Better Customer Experience to Build Customer Loyalty

Nothing makes you value a personalized experience more than a global pandemic. Companies will use 2022 to continue work to enhance and personalize their brand’s customer experience. 

Social Media to Generate Better Leads 

Using social media to generate leads is nothing new. Companies will use 2022 to look for ideas to develop better ways of using social media platforms that make sense for their brand. Content will become more personalized using the data available. Video content marketing will continue to dominate, with experts predicting it will account for 82% of total Internet traffic. E-mail marketing is another hot area for 2022. That is because it is highly effective at influencing prospects. Researchers found that interactive e-mails increase their click-to-open rate by 73% and videos boost it an amazing 300%.

Marketers looking to grow in 2022 will want to capitalize on these trends to maintain a competitive advantage in the market.

The Producers Network is a digital media company specializing in franchise development marketing.  We’ve developed  first-party data, cookie-less advertising products and historical data analytics to deliver results.  Learn more at