To Evolve or Not to Evolve. That Is the Question.
(Especially When It Comes to AI.)
By Nick Pietropinto
Direct-to-consumer (D2C) marketing is an ever-evolving beast that requires an ever-evolving approach to see continued results. With all the hubbub around artificial intelligence (AI), you may be asking yourself, “Should AI have a role in my D2C marketing strategy?” To answer that question, we must look at the both the advantages and the potential pitfalls of using AI.
Marketing professionals appear to be heartily embracing AI as way to be more efficient, effective, and informed. One Salesforce study shows that in 2020, 84 percent of marketing leaders were using AI — up from 29 percent in 2018. Indeed, according to a recent McKinsey report, AI has the potential to unlock up to $2.6 trillion in value for marketing and sales efforts.
How so? For starters, adding AI tools to your D2C marketing arsenal can help you provide the customization your customers crave. By leveraging a wealth of granular data about your target audience, AI offers a powerful tool in creating segmented campaigns and hyper-personalized content that drive engagement and conversion rates. AI tools can also provide an effective way to optimize your content, improve SEO, and create more relevant campaigns that get more clicks. That’s especially important considering that third-party Cookies are going the way of the dodo.
Once your target audience is engaged and converted, AI can help you improve retention of those customers. In a recent survey of American consumers, 48 percent of respondents said they’d be willing to interact with AI more frequently if it made their customer experience more seamless, consistent, and convenient. AI tools like chatbots can do just that, by providing instant responses and information.
Or take AI-enabled self-service portals, which serve up personalized recommendations depending on your customers’ buying histories. Or you can leverage AI-driven data to create super-targeted rewards programs. AI can also support predictive analytics, allowing you to anticipate your customers’ future behaviors and preferences so you can proactively adapt your D2C campaigns accordingly.
AI additionally offers the promise of automated efficiencies, especially when it comes to generating content. A Forrester study shows that while 65 percent of marketing leaders say that they’re confident in their creatives, nearly the same percentage have a hard time scaling their creative approach. AI tools help address the scalability problem by automating a wide range of otherwise time-consuming and labor-intensive tasks — from writing infinite iterations of Google ads to A/B testing email subject lines, to creating weekly blogs and daily social media posts complete with AI-generated graphics, to coding webpages with all the right key words.
But before you rush to replace your human team with AI tools, here come the words of caution. Relying too heavily on AI to create, execute, and manage your D2C marketing campaigns has its risks. To begin with, the quality of your AI-powered campaigns relies on the quality of the data it’s pulling from. Without access to accurate, current, and complete data, the content your AI generates may be false, inconsistent, irrelevant, or even downright off-putting.
For all of AI’s prowess, it’s still “artificial,” meaning it lacks the emotional intelligence and creativity unique to human beings and essential to your brand. This can leave AI-generated content feeling canned, repetitive, and inauthentic when unchecked. Then there’s the risk of running with the same AI-created content that your competitors are using, or worse, that’s plagiarized.
What’s more, consumers are still somewhat wary of AI-produced content. For instance, in a 2023 survey 48 percent of respondents said they don’t think AI-generated people should be used in social media ads. All of which makes a compelling case for approaching AI as a collaborative tool used by empathetic humans.
Back to our original question: To evolve or not to evolve … your marketing with AI. With the right tools and the right team of experts leveraging them, AI can have a potentially game-changing role in D2C marketing — but that role should be a supplemental and collaborative one. Keep in mind that every D2C brand is different: different audiences, different products, different goals. Determining whether to use AI should be decided on an individual basis, with an experienced partner who can help you find and manage the right tools, stay ahead of emerging developments, and maximize results.
If you’re interested in seeing what role AI might have in your evolved D2C marketing strategy, contact the team at Double Diamond VIP. Visit www.TryD2C.com.