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Episode 1: The Importance of AI in Marketing

This season, we’re looking at advanced marketing techniques. And one of the most advanced ways to market, sell, and service customers involves the use of artificial intelligence.

AI can learn, reason, and act for itself, and make decisions in the same way that humans can. 

We break down how to correct duplicate data and clean up the rest of your data efficiently. While AI might not be our sentient overlords just yet, it can help companies serve the right content, to the right customers, at the right time, right now.


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Episode Transcription

Hi. I’m Anni Kim from HubSpot, and this is Skill Up, the show where you’ll learn how to take your sales, marketing, and service skills to the next level.

Our last two seasons tackled SEO and Sales Enablement. And in case you’re wondering, yes, I am a new voice. Hey, look at you.

This season, we’re looking at a number of advanced marketing techniques. Oh, woah, woah. I know, I know. ‘Advanced.’ Right? Where’s the interweb exit door on this one? 

Trust me. I’m a doctor.

As with every season of Skill Up, we’ll be breaking down all the ways to level up your career skills in short, easily digestible episodes.

And I’ll be your podcast shaman, some say host, Anni. Most days, I’m a professor over on HubSpot Academy. These days, I’m over the whole video thing. Now, I’m stretching into some comfy pants and talking with you for the rest of the season.

We’ll cover multi-touch attribution, A/B testing, customer marketing, even some advertising approaches. Ah, It’s my favorite season. Can I say that? I’m not biased. Ok, let’s change that and get into the first episode.

Ugh, new season. So excited. [inhale deeply] New pod smell.

Today, we’re talking everyone’s favorite invisible sentient overlords -- artificial intelligence. Or as fearful little Haley Joel Osmond calls it: AI.

As lovingly crafted as that forgettable film was, and all the a-coo-tra-monts of films like it, there’s a lot of misinformation about what AI is, what it isn’t, and how exactly this technology can be used.

To unpack this topic, first let’s review a couple of terms. [turn robot] Information segment engage.

Let’s start with artificial intelligence. And we’ll take our cue from Karen Hao, an artificial intelligence reporter for MIT Technology Review. [ahem] “AI refers to machines that can learn, reason, and act for themselves. They can make their own decisions when faced with new situations, in the same way that humans and animals can.” 

That definition, how convenient, brings to mind another term: machine learning. Machine learning is the application of algorithms that use statistics to find patterns in a set of data and make predictions accordingly.

Anything in that definition sound familiar? Besides all the jargon. I know, I know, you’re a home AI hobbyist. Buildin’ your own little baby HAL in the basement on Tuesdays.

The recommendation engines on today’s most popular platforms are all powered with AI. 

Amazon uses it to suggest new products, Netflix to queue up shows or movies you might like, and Spotify to spin new music and podcast playlists. 

Of course Google is there, using machine learning to cater new search suggestions. And voice assistants, like Siri or Alexa, constantly working to better answer our wildest questions.

[Hey Alexa - how many toes does an otter have?]

[Alexa answer.]

[Ah, thanks almighty robot person.]

It’s not just typical search queries that use machine learning. Uber or Lyft match you with the best driver and optimize your route to deliver you to your destination, fast.

These might seem like the passing thoughts of Elon Musk, but they demonstrate an important point. You’re likely already interacting with AI in your day-to-day, even if you don’t know it. And if you’re a marketer, it may be a lot closer than you think.

Features like spam filters, content personalization, security, and email segmentation, allll of that and so so much more, powered, by AI, baby!

For marketers, features like data hygiene -- which, real talk, you’re keeping your data clean, right? A clean database helps lower email bounce rates, results in better personalization, and ultimately allows you to automate your marketing. So suds it up every now and then. Don’t forget behind the ears.

AI can also help with deduplication. Duplicate data is just the worst. Having the same contact logged in your system multiple times means spending more time nurturing them than if you had a single, consolidated record. 

But AI can act like a pseudo Rick Deckard -- deep cut reference, you’re welcome -- and prevent this by automatically deduplicating contacts that are entered into your CRM. With the right software, your marketing can use a machine learning model that clusters contacts based on how similar they are, and selects only the closest pairs.

When you [accept & merge] or [reject & dismiss] a pair as duplicates, you’re providing feedback to this model by giving it more examples to look at. It can then predict, even more accurately, the probability that two records are duplicates. Pretty neat stuff, right?

Artificial intelligence is everywhere. But here’s the thing.

If you look past all the sensational headlines, catchy buzzwords, and actually peek behind the curtain, you’ll find that the newest, shiniest, freshly-iest polished machine learning is a lot like an intern.

An intern that never gets tired or distracted, and always shows up to work on time. It’s not smarter than you, per se, but it is faster and doesn’t make mistakes. It’s able to do repetitive tasks really well, given a large enough data set, and frees you up to focus on more important tasks. 

And when you think about the true potential of using artificial intelligence for your business, that’s what you should focus on: how AI can help you automate certain tasks, at scale, and help you deliver a better customer experience.

We’ll look at some more forms of advanced marketing, some of which use AI, in the rest of this season. Ah, I can’t wait. You feel that too? Ok, see ya there.