How AI Can Give Global Manufacturers A Digital Marketing Advantage
How AI Can Give Global Manufacturers A Digital Marketing Advantage
The world of digital marketing is constantly evolving, and one hugely important change has exploded onto the scene recently: artificial intelligence (AI). AI is already widely used in B2C industries such as retail and travel, but the technology offers potentially huge benefits for manufacturing companies too.
As the manufacturing industry becomes ever more digitized, the gap between the companies that succeed and thrive versus those that struggle to survive, will increasingly be dictated by which companies embrace new technologies like AI, and which do not. Early adoption can give your business a competitive edge, so do not delay or you could get left behind.
9 areas where AI can support digital marketing in manufacturing
The place where AI really shines is its ability to crunch huge amounts of data in real time to analyze it intelligently, pulling valuable insights out of the noise – faster and better than any human.
With Industry 4.0 bringing together different technologies like AI, cloud computing and the Internet of Things, data from a wide range of sources can be fed directly into AI algorithms in real time.
The algorithms can then analyze this data, identifying patterns, flagging up issues and providing insights into overall performance.
These insights can help humans make smarter, data-driven marketing decisions to ensure the smooth and efficient running of the digital marketing process.
FACT: 61% of marketers have already used AI for some part of their marketing activities. So, are you ready to join this group of forward-thinking marketers?
Let’s take a look at nine areas where AI can support your manufacturing company’s digital marketing efforts.
1. Market insights
AI’s data-crunching skills can be put to good use analyzing huge amounts of market data, giving manufacturers predictive insights into customer behaviors and buying patterns.
This can help manufacturers to make informed marketing decisions regarding market positioning, product development, budgeting, pricing strategies, marketing channels, and resource allocation.
With 60% of companies saying analytics software was a top priority in 2023 research by Deloitte, there is a high demand for AI-powered tools to fulfil this need.
2. Lead generation and lead scoring
AI can be a great tool for manufacturing sales teams when it comes to lead generation and lead scoring. In fact, recent research by Salesforce found that a massive 98% of sales teams who use AI feel that it improves lead prioritization.
So, how exactly can AI help?
AI can help to identify the most promising prospects by analyzing data about their sales history, website interactions, social media interactions, and any other data you have available. Based on your predefined criteria, it can then sort these prospects into categories, such as their stage in the buyer journey, their purchasing power, or their engagement level.
This kind of data analysis can really streamline the lead generation and lead scoring process, allowing sales teams to know who the highest quality prospects are and where they should focus their efforts.
3. Customer segmentation and personalization
AI’s ability to spot patterns in data can also help manufacturing marketers better segment their customers, allowing for the creation of more personalized campaigns to target different types of customers.
With Forbes recently revealing that 52% of customers expect all offers that they receive to be personalized to them, this is vitally important.
All kinds of customer data can be fed into the AI, from job roles and demographics, to past purchases and engagement levels. The AI can then automate the otherwise time-consuming segmentation process, meaning tailored campaigns can be produced at speed and at scale.
You can go as detailed as you want with this – so long as you have the data to feed to the AI. For example, if you know that certain weather conditions (such as hailstorms) mean that your products may need a maintenance check, if you have customers’ location data and the corresponding weather data, the AI can then enable you to contact customers in these locations and offer them your maintenance services, when these adverse weather conditions occur. This amazing real-life example comes from Ingersoll Rand – you can read more about it here!
By incorporating this rich world of AI-powered data analysis into your customer segmentation process, manufacturers can create personalized campaigns that focus on customers’ exact needs and circumstances. This should result in improvements in campaign performance, with better conversion rates, a better customer experience, and ultimately higher rates of customer loyalty.
4. Digital advertising
The same principles apply to digital advertising.
By analyzing large amounts of historical marketing and customer data, AI can identify who are the best people to show your ads to, i.e. those who are most relevant and likely to take the desired action.
By letting the AI take over the targeting and optimization of your ads, you can save time and money, with the insights allowing you to target your ads more effectively, as well as informing you what landing page content you may need to create.
With 57% of American adults saying they are comfortable with AI targeting adverts to shoppers, this suggests that customers too are aware of the benefits AI can bring when it comes to better-targeted ads.
Let’s turn now to the organic side of things. AI can help with a wide variety of SEO tasks.
AI can write meta data, write alt tags for images, create custom imagery, create structured data (schema markup), research and optimize for entities, optimize internal linking, optimize headings, optimize on-site content, fix duplicate content issues, optimize webpages for mobile, and fix orphan pages. AI can also conduct website audits and perform SEO data analysis to determine whether current SEO strategies are working or if they need updating.
These tools help SEO professionals to do SEO at speed and at scale. By automating repetitive tasks with AI, human professionals can improve their own productivity and focus on areas that require more creative thinking.
Let’s look at a case study: here at TransPerfect, we have used AI to help clients with a variety of SEO tasks, including meta data creation, alt tag creation and image creation. We found that using AI for these tasks managed to achieve time and cost reductions of 80%, 90% and 50% respectively, compared to without the use of AI.
For manufacturers, the sheer volume of products to manage, often across multiple markets and languages, can put a strain on resources and lead to delays in updating or optimizing content. Effectively deploying AI can make significant improvements.
AI can also be used for predictive SEO, which aims to predict future trends, search engine algorithm updates and user behaviors. By using AI for predictive SEO, marketers can stay ahead of the curve, adapting their SEO strategies in advance of these predicted changes.
6. Content marketing
Content marketers can often feel like there is not enough time to create the volume or quality of content that they (or senior management) want – and this is where AI can help. Indeed, 44% of marketers have already used AI for content production.
While it is essential to keep humans involved in the process to make sure any AI work is done to a high quality and in line with expectations, AI can provide manufacturing content marketers with a remarkable range of assistance.
AI can help with generating new content ideas, creating outlines and even writing the content itself (although this should be considered a first draft and should always be checked by a human and amended as needed). This can be particularly useful in emergency situations where content might need to be created within an extremely short timeframe.
AI can also help with proofreading and editing content, checking spelling and grammar and ensuring a good basic level of quality. After publication, AI can even be used to analyze the content in real time to see how it is performing.
For global manufacturers creating content in multiple languages, translators are increasingly using neural machine translation engines to do the first draft of a translation, before going through it with their human eye and checking and improving the translation to ensure it is accurate and sounds natural. This saves time without compromising quality, as a human expert is still in control and simply using the AI as a tool to assist them.
This time-saving benefit can help human marketers to work more efficiently, as well as freeing them up to focus on their most important tasks.
7. Customer experience and customer care
AI can also provide instant and personalized customer support, in the form of chatbots: 58% of B2B companies have already placed a chatbot on their website.
Chatbots can be available on your website 24/7, enabling customers and prospects to get answers to their questions even when your customer care team is not online and immediately reachable.
AI-powered chatbots nowadays are fast, accurate, cost-effective and personalized. They reply instantly to queries and can help customers to track their orders, update their account, get recommended content, and even complete their orders.
This immediate customer support improves the customer experience, which can boost brand perception and brand loyalty.
By letting chatbots handle the simpler queries, it also frees up humans to work on the more complex tasks and help the customers who have more difficult or sensitive queries.
8. Virtual reality
Virtual reality refers to an immersive virtual environment where the user can see and interact with virtual objects, usually through the use of a VR headset. There are three main benefits of VR for manufacturing brands.
VR offers an engaging way for manufacturers to present and demonstrate their products to customers and prospects. By offering an immersive VR experience of a product, customers can get a more visceral understanding of its benefits and features. This is particularly useful if the physical version of a product is large, difficult to move, or difficult to disassemble to show off important internal features. VR is a cheaper, more convenient, time-efficient, interesting and engaging solution.
VR can be a valuable tool for manufacturers when it comes to training employees. VR offers a hands-on, immersive and memorable educational experience, which can help employees learn, practice and master new skills virtually, before performing them in reality. Not only does this provide a safer training environment, it also eliminates the need for travel and the costs associated with this. It is also incredibly effective as a learning method – a spokesperson from INVISTA, a Koch Industries subsidiary, recently commented that using VR for employee training had reduced time-to-proficiency by 50 to 70%.
VR can be a great option for attracting the attention and engagement of customers at trade shows. Trade shows are often very busy, with many different things competing for attendees’ attention. VR can be an appealing option as people may be naturally curious to don the headset and try it out. This can help manufacturers to stand out from the crowd and be more memorable.
AI can also help manufacturing companies when it comes to recruiting new talent. In fact, 43% of HR professionals are actually already using AI during some stage of the hiring process.
AI can help with candidate sourcing – searching job boards, social media platforms and various databases to find candidates who would be a good match for the job, even if they have not applied yet. By scanning for candidates with the right qualifications, skills and experience, AI can help recruiters to find potential new talent quicker and more easily.
AI can help with candidate screening, quickly sifting through large numbers of applications to find the best candidates for the job. AI automates this otherwise labor-intensive and time-consuming task, scanning through résumés to narrow down to only those people who have the required qualifications, skills and experience. AI can also analyze data from candidates’ social media profiles and online footprints, to identify those who may be a good behavioral and cultural fit for the company (and who may not).
AI interviewing tools can be further used in pre-screening interviews, helping to narrow down the pool of candidates even further, so that human recruiters can focus just on those candidates with the highest potential.
Want to learn more?
The practical applications of AI in digital marketing are limitless. Think of AI as a tool, there to help you solve problems and improve processes.
TransPerfect can support you throughout your AI and marketing journey. We can conduct bespoke research to help you understand how AI can help your company, and help you leverage AI for scale to get you those stellar results. Reach out to us if you want to talk!
You can also hear more about these solutions at the 2024 AD eCommerce & Marketing Summit, where Dana Weber, Global Director of Digital Client Solutions at TPT Digital, will be giving a talk on the topic of AI in digital marketing. She will cover the following points in her session, so come along and do not miss out:
- The speed of generative AI evolution, and what this means for marketers.
- When to consider integrating generative AI into your marketing initiatives – both the benefits and the risks.
- Practical use cases for generative AI in digital marketing.
- How to start using generative AI.
- AI IP – what to consider when starting up a generative AI program at your company, and how to maintain ownership of the content you create.
- Top tools our team uses to do all of the above.