What is AI marketing?

AI marketing is the future of any small businesses outreach strategy. Find out the benefits, drawbacks, and best tools to use here.

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Imagine being able to send out one million unique emails to your customers in just one day, instead of having to manually draft each one, or interpret thousands of customer data points for purchase analysis in minutes.

While this might sound like a marketing dream, the reality is that AI marketing allows you to do this – and more. Through technologies like Bard, ChatGPT, or Midjourney, you can save time and money, as well as yield a much higher ROI than traditional marketing methods.

Research by IONOS found that 79% of small business owners in the UK consider the adoption of new technologies to be critical for future growth, and marketing teams would be justified in echoing their importance. Therefore, knowing the frontiers of AI in marketing are key to positioning your business at the forefront of the marketing game.

In this article, we walk you through the ins and outs of AI marketing, the tools at your disposal, and the pros and cons of integrating the technology into your marketing strategy.

What is AI (Artificial Intelligence) Marketing?

Whether it’s gathering insights into customer behaviour or personalising your marketing content, AI marketing refers to the use of artificial intelligence tools to optimise and design marketing strategies. The aim is to streamline your marketing pipeline so that mundane tasks can be automated and the hefty, creative work is reserved for humans. In practice, these tools look like chatbots, targeted advertising, and content generation.

Although understanding what lies behind the AI black box is pretty complex, in a nutshell, AI collects data, learns customer behaviours, and analyses this information to help marketing teams meet their goals.

We would suggest you check out our review of the best digital marketing agencies in the UK if you are looking for other types of marketing support rather than specifically AI marketing.

Did you know?

There was a 27% reported increase in implementing AI or machine learning into companies’ marketing toolkits.

What can AI marketing practices be used for?

The beauty of AI is that its possibilities are near-endless, which means that when it comes to deploying AI to enhance your marketing campaigns, it can be utilised in many different ways. Below are some beneficial ways small businesses can use AI marketing:

Content personalisation

A huge bug-bear for businesses everywhere, big or small, is the lack of personalisation in their email marketing campaigns. Email is integral to any small business’s outreach strategy, with 64% of small businesses using it to reach customers. In addition to emails, AI can change the customer’s experience depending on their online behaviour. AI analyses this data to bring customers a personalised experience with marketing assets.

AI software, like Movable Ink’s Da Vinci, allows its users to generate over a million unique outreach emails to customers. Such a high level of customisation is a major factor in improving marketing personalisation and, in turn, helps increase click-through-rate, conversions, and revenue. You’ll need to contact their sales team or get a Demo to get your hands on their product.

Data analytics

AI can collect and sift through mountains of data from several marketing campaigns and summarise the findings. This way, you can predict the outcome of marketing campaigns by using historical data, such as consumer engagement metrics, purchases, time-on-page, and email opens. This will help you calibrate your marketing campaigns to maximise the chances of success. AI software like Feefo can help with analysing genuine customer reviews and extract all the insights you need to make customers happy quickly. You can get their Essential plan, which includes all core features, for £99 per month.

Social and paid marketing campaigns

AI can hep predict the most effective ad and media placements for a business in order to reach their target audience and maximise marketing strategy ROI. If you’re unsure of which tool to use for this, you can try Shutterstock. It generates images and uses data-backed predictions to tell you which image will perform best in your ad, before you spend any money. If you go for the image plan, you can get up to 750 credits per month for £119.

Content generation

AI can help develop captions, social media posts, email subject lines, and even blog copy. Keep in mind that AI is nowhere near a full replacement for content writers or creators. Instead, marketers use it to recommend or generate portions of content. You’ll still need to go back and fact-check, edit, and adjust the output so there is a human element to the finished product.

For instance, HubSpot has an AI-powered content assistant that can help generate blog ideas, create outlines, or write blogs. However, you’ll still need to double-check the writing has no grammatical mistakes and that it meets your brief. In essence, generative AI helps you cure creativity dry spells and complete your work faster.

Forecasting sales

AI can help marketers understand the predicted outcome of their campaigns and marketing assets. Having an insight into how your marketing campaigns could perform will help you better curate your marketing and your product offering. Therefore, making a sales forecast becomes a strictly data-backed exercise rather than relying on a gut feeling, giving you an extra confidence boost when making crucial business decisions.


Everyone wants their pages to rank at the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs), but understanding how to optimise your content to reach that pivotal point can be a tedious and time-consuming task. However, AI algorithms help analyse website traffic, identify keywords, and can also improve search engine rankings. Marketers can also learn about their audience’s preferences and customise their content to match their interests.

There’s plenty of AI plugins that you can use directly on your website builders if optimising SEO with AI is your priority. For instance, SEOPress can be used with WordPress and make use of Google Local Business, Google XML Video Sitemap and Google Structured Data types. All of this will give you a bird’s-eye view of how to optimise your website’s SEO.

Examples of AI in marketing

  • Amazon → The recommended products section uses predictive analytics to determine if a customer is likely to make a purchase. It helps marketing teams at Amazon know what products to place in front of which customers. It also allows them to predict how well a product will sell based on their recommended product campaigns.
  • Netflix → The streaming giant uses AI and insights to understand previous viewing history to determine the artwork for recommended movies or TV shows. The goal is to increase conversion rates and improve customer experience on the platform.
  • Spotify → Taking a similar approach to Netflix, Spotify uses AI to understand a user’s music interests, podcast favourites, purchase history, location, brand interactions, and more. Customised playlists and recommendations are curated for each user.
  • ClickUp → The company used natural language processing to boost blog traffic by 85%. The project management solution used Surfer SEO’s NLP and machine learning technology to identify opportunities for content optimisation, understand which keywords to include in articles, and gain insights into idea article structure. The organisation also produced more efficient content, completing over 130 optimisations and publishing more than 150 blogs. Optimising your SEO using AI is a great way to make your brand more visible, establish authority, and boost revenue.
  • Heinz → The ketchup company launched an entire ad campaign made up of AI-generated images. This idea came about after Rethink Ideas, a marketing agency, noticed that DALL-E 2, an AI image generator, continuously produced Heinz-looking bottles when prompted to create anything with ketchup. The agency then urged consumers to get involved by sharing their own AI prompts, and the best creations were featured on social media and print ads. The obvious conclusion is that the marketing campaign saved a lot of time and money by prompting images through an AI tool. It also boosted engagement by encouraging consumers to send in their own creations.

Benefits of AI marketing for small business owners

  • Increase ROI → The data and analytics that AI provides can be leveraged to produce better marketing assets and improve your campaigns in real time. Since your marketing team will no longer be spending time on mundane tasks, their talents can now be used to strategise creative and ingenious campaigns. This means you’re using your resources efficiently and should see an increase in profits.
  • Improve customer relationships → AI is a mastermind at figuring out ways to enhance your personalisation game. With data and automation, you can give customers product recommendations that are in line with what they’re looking for, nurturing a trustworthy relationship with your target audience. Importantly, AI can also identify customers who are at risk of churning (i.e leaving you) and put them in an automated and personalised marketing campaign to encourage re-engagement.
  • Make better, strategic marketing decisions → With data-backed decisions and forecasting, AI can help scale up your marketing operation. This gives you the certainty to invest in larger strategies that can help you score bigger wins to grow your business.

Cons of AI marketing

  • Varying content quality → AI is far from a replacement for marketing executives, which means anything you generate with the technology will still need to have some degree of human oversight. If you’re generating content without having a human touch, you’re going to see a drop in quality. AI may feed you biassed answers or provide you with sloppy copy. In other words, you can definitely use generative AI as a source of inspiration, but a pair of human eyes will still need to give it the green light.
  • Privacy concerns → If the stories of Italy temporarily banning ChatGPT or the Samsung scandal ring a bell, then you’ll know that cloud-based generative AI platforms are not the safest. There’s no guarantee that your prompts and the output won’t be exposed to prying eyes. Therefore, you need to be careful with the information you feed to the system, especially if it’s commercially sensitive content.

How to use AI in marketing for beginners: setting an AI strategy for your small business

Diving into AI can feel like a big technological jump if this is the first time you’ve used it on purpose. You can first start by familiarising yourself with the different types of AI there are out there – as you’ll find from reading our guide, the sci-fi grade type of AI is far detached from what AI actually looks like in reality, so fear not. AI is replete with benefits for marketing teams, so below are a couple of prepping steps you can take to make sure your transition towards artificial intelligence is a smooth one.

  1. Check the AI software/platform you are using meets data privacy standards – This is vitally important, as failure to adhere to data privacy laws can result in hefty fines. If you’re using a cloud-based AI platform like ChatGPT, you’ll need to go into their privacy tab and double-check the description that aligns with your data privacy obligations. Keep in mind that the UK has updated its data privacy laws post-Brexit, so businesses now need to adhere to the new Data Protection Bill.
  2. Complete a data audit – Your data needs to be in tip-top shape before you allow any AI technology to data mine, or produce algorithms and workflows. Also, you need plenty of data to really reap the benefits, so if you don’t have much at your disposal, you might want to save the pennies.
  3. Set goals and KPIs – This is integral for any form of marketing strategy. With the inclusion of AI technology, your ambitions and aims will surely change because you’ll be able to reach larger audiences and interpret data more effectively. Therefore, you’ll want to take a closer look at your sales forecast to understand what new targets you can realistically reach and reallocate your resources accordingly.
  4. If you’re new to AI, pick your top project – Diving straight into AI without prior knowledge can be a bit overwhelming (and even risky for business). Rather than overhauling your whole marketing operation, it is key that you identify the area you want to streamline with AI. For instance, you might want to improve your website landing page, so you might turn to AI website builders. Alternatively, you want to enhance your SEO so that it’s easier for customers to find you. In this case, you might want to go for website builder AI plugins, like SEOPress. We recommend that you first become accustomed to automating bits of your marketing strategy before you make it a normalised feature of your operation.
  5. Hire the right people to support – According to research, only one in 10 global workers have in-demand AI skills. Therefore, you want to find the right talent to ensure that AI has a smooth integration into your marketing strategy. Should you struggle to find talent, you can also consider upskilling your staff, ensuring your marketers are ready for the new technological era. Having people that know the right way of prompting generative AI platforms, or who can easily identify where AI has wrongly automated processes, will be key to staying ahead of the competition.

Verdict: should we put our trust in AI?

Whether it’s getting inspiration from AI website builders to help optimise your website landing page, or automating email campaigns to re-engage customers on the verge of churning, AI marketing is the future. Therefore, if you want your small business to thrive, you need to seriously consider how you can invest in AI to enhance the marketing campaigns of your business..

Although technological changes can be full of question marks over how businesses should adapt, the value of AI is dictated by the way you use it. You can integrate it as much, or as little, as you want. The bottom line is that the technology is ripe with streamlining power to help you make better use of your resources and reach out to more customers.

Written by:
Fernanda is a Mexican-born Startups Writer. Specialising in the Marketing & Finding Customers pillar, she’s always on the lookout for how startups can leverage tools, software, and insights to help solidify their brand, retain clients, and find new areas for growth. Having grown up in Mexico City and Abu Dhabi, Fernanda is passionate about how businesses can adapt to new challenges in different economic environments to grow and find creative ways to engage with new and existing customers. With a background in journalism, politics, and international relations, Fernanda has written for a multitude of online magazines about topics ranging from Latin American politics to how businesses can retain staff during a recession. She is currently strengthening her journalistic muscle by studying for a part-time multimedia journalism degree from the National Council of Training for Journalists (NCTJ).

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