How are marketing automation platforms using AI? Mike and Hannah address how artificial intelligence will shape the future of marketing automation platforms, and the limitations the systems face with integrations with tools such as ChatGPT.

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Transcript: Marketing Automation Moment Episode Six – How are Marketing Automation Platforms Using AI?

Speakers: Mike Maynard, Hannah Kelly

Hannah: Welcome to the marketing automation moment Podcast. I’m Hannah Kelly.

Mike: And I’m Mike Maynard. This is Napier’s podcast to tell you about the latest news from the world of marketing automation.

Hannah: Welcome to the marketing automation moment Podcast. I’m Hannah:.

Mike: And I might mean out.

Hannah: This week, we talk about marketing automation platforms using AI, MailChimp getting hacked, how many people are replacing marketing automation systems?

Mike: And we give you tips on how to get the most from your marketing automation system.

Hannah: Hi, Mike, it’s great to see you. And it’s good to be back for another episode of The Marketing Automation moment.

Mike: Hi, Hannah. Well, it’s gonna be fun. I think there’s been quite a lot happened in the world of marketing automation. A lot of it around, I guess, AI?

Hannah: Yes, definitely. And I really want to talk about what I think is the buzzword or 2023 so far, and that’s chat. GPT. I mean, this seems to have blown. A lot of marketers minds. It’s all over LinkedIn. It’s all over Twitter. Everywhere you look, you’re looking at reference to chat GPT. So it was really interested to come across that an E commerce focus market automation platform, called bloomreach, had actually made an integration with chat GPT. For me, this is moving quite quickly, you know, chat GPT has only been around a couple of months. And suddenly there’s integrations. What does this mean for the market automation landscape?

Mike: Yeah, well, I think people have seen chat GPT has hit mainstream media and everyone’s got really excited. I’m actually, you know, what you need to do is understand the background and chat GPT is based on this artificial intelligence model. That is actually GPT. Three. Not surprisingly, there’s been previous versions of GPT. This is just the latest one. And so I think, you know, people are getting really excited about this, but it has been somewhat of an evolution to get to this point. And interestingly, you know, bloomreach, talk about integrating chat GPT. I mean, I’m interested in whether it’s actually the chat client that they’re integrating, or whether it’s just the model. It sounds from what they’re saying, like they’ve literally just put chat GPT as part of the product, and then allowing people to type in and say, writer sales email for me, which obviously chat GPT does and does very well. But it’s a little bit formulaic, isn’t it?

Hannah: Yeah, definitely. And I mean, it’s interesting, because the way they’ve looked at the integration, or the way they’re promoting the integration is really around the content aspects of subject lines, headlines, Google Ad headlines within the actual platform itself. But, and I know he won’t mind saying this. But we actually had a chat a couple of weeks ago, didn’t we, Mike, we have one of our directors, Ian, and he was mentioned how excited he’d got about chat GPT. But when he actually looked into it a little bit further, he realised that there was perhaps some issues on just relying on an AI platform like this, to build kind of the emails and the Google ads and the things needed for social media campaigns.

Mike: Yeah, I totally agree. I mean, you know, it’s one of those things. And if you’re older, like me, you will know when I say I’m as excited about chat GPT as I was when I first saw the programme, Eliza, which was an AI programme, or at least a pseudo AI programme written back in the 1960s. So, you know, it’s very exciting, it can do a lot of things, but it’s not a complete solution. We were testing out a tool that was using the same model as chat GPT, to write headlines for Google ads. And actually, you know, within the company, we found a couple of problems. Number one, it didn’t seem very good at writing headlines that fitted within the maximum character limits. So you’d have to go and edit anyway. And secondly, and this gives away, you know how healthy I am. We were testing it by getting it to write ads for Milky Bar, which is a white chocolate bar available in the UK. And I think the American listeners will know about this, one of the greatest fleets in the world, clearly, but contains lots of things that could cause problems with people with allergies. So it’s not gluten free. It’s obviously got milk products in etc, etc. and chat GPT just decided to write all these headlines about how it’s allergen free, which is kind of scary, I think, you know, if you look at what was said. So Sam Altman runs the company open AI that basically created the GPT model and chat GPT. And someone asked him about the errors that chat GPT makes, which, you know, been pretty well documented. And his answer was, we don’t understand we didn’t try and build chat GPT to be right. We’ve tried to build it to repeat what you know, other people have said on the internet. So I think it’s important to understand that whilst it can help and accelerate today, it’s not quite at the stage where it’s going to replace people completely.

Hannah: That’s such an interesting point, Mike, about what it’s been built for to replicate what’s already been done on the internet, rather than to be this innovation tool for something original. And I think that’s definitely something that marketers need to keep in mind. It’s using data that’s been used before. It’s Not this innovative tool that’s going to provide all these original ideas to make the campaigns more successful, it might save you time. But with regards to actually getting these new outlooks and these new formats, it’s not the tool for that.

Mike: No, for sure, it definitely hasn’t got to the point where it’s got sort of innovation insight in the way that we use it when talking about humans.

Hannah: Definitely. And I think the mention of data really links on well to our next point, and I was actually quite shocked to see this, you might not be as shocked, Mike, but I saw an article recently that the email marketing platform MailChimp has actually been hacked for the second time in six months. To me, that was quite shocking, because I actually had a conversation with a client the other day where they were like, you know, is our data safe? Or market automation platforms? You know, what happens if it fails? What happens if it goes down? And we were sat in this call being like, No, don’t worry, these platforms know how to protect data, like we can do backups, it’s all okay. And then I see this, and I’m like, oh, is data not as safe as we think it is? Yeah, I

Mike: think it’s, it’s a really interesting question. And it’s a problem that probably should be in the discussions for IT people about the cloud, because it’s really hard to, you know, say, yes, you can trust cloud based services. But equally, I think it’s important to look at what happens. So this was an attack that appeared to be targeted around some specific accounts, they accessed 133 accounts, which is not good. But it’s 133, out of what MailChimp claimer millions of customers worldwide. So a very, very small percentage. And obviously, it’s been addressed, I do think it was a little bit of a concern that MailChimp weren’t completely open with this. And actually, one of the customers who was hacked, kind of revealed that this has happened. But at the end of the day, you know, one of the biggest jobs of any marketing automation platform is data security. And you’ve got to figure that, if your target, putting the data with the experts is probably more likely to make the data safe than trying to manage it yourself. I mean, MailChimp has got far more resources to apply to data security around marketing data than probably any customer, don’t you think?

Hannah: Yeah, definitely, I think you make a good point, because we can’t protect our data, as well as perhaps, you know, a platform like MailChimp, which has these massive IT departments can. So there is an aspect of really putting a faith in the system when you sign up with them. And I think, you know, customers are aware of that. And obviously, it’s not ideal that this has happened. But if it is going to happen, as you said, it’s only a small amount of accounts, and it’s not like millions of people have been compromised.

Mike: Yeah, but I totally agree with you. I mean, it’s concerning, you don’t want these breaches to happen. And certainly, you know, as you pointed out, it was the second time in six months, you know, so, so MailChimp, I know you’re working really hard. But guys, you’ve got to step it up.

Hannah: Definitely agreed. So this relates nicely on to how are marketers choosing the right market automation platforms. And we’ve spoken a bit in our last podcast, Mike about demos, and what marketers should be asking in their demos. But I actually came across a report from Martex. It was a Mar tech replacement survey actually revealed that in 2020 to 23% of respondents actually replaced their mark automation solution with a different platform. So they weren’t happy with what they were getting from this platform. And they actually went out and got a new solution. What do you think it could be that Why are marketers making these mistakes and not choosing the right platform from the get go?

Mike: That’s a great question. I think there’s a couple of answers to that. I mean, one is changing a platform doesn’t necessarily mean you made a mistake. There could be other reasons, things could have changed, new products could have come online. The other thing is, I think we need to understand, you know a bit more about the audience. And the reality is, is that very large companies are not changing their marketing automation platforms. Frequently, they’re making investments and they’re really betting for 10 years or more, because of the cost of switching from one platform to another. You have companies using marketing automation that might have 10s of 1000s of landing pages or you know, 1000s of forms. When you look at, you know, a large enterprise with multilingual landing pages and forms and lots of products. They’re not the people who are churning very quickly, this is definitely smaller and midsize companies. And I think there’s a lot of reasons behind that. And probably most of the reason, you know might be down to the fact that actually these companies are learning about marketing automation, developing their skills and then realising they need something different once they’ve got more knowledge.

Hannah: That’s a definitely less cynical point of view, then my view might I make you make some really interesting points because we’ve talked about this before as well but there are different levels of the market automation system. So if you are starting out with some think simple like MailChimp, for example, as you mentioned, when you grow your skills, and your company grows, and you realise you need something bigger and better, then you are going to see a switch smart automation platform. So that’s a real fantastic point. And definitely more positive spin of actually the companies are growing. So it’s more of a positive than a negative thing. Yeah,

Mike: and I also think I mean, if you look at the data actually said that the percentage changing in 22 was down a bit versus 2021. So you know, maybe people are actually settling a bit more, obviously, two data points. It’s difficult to draw too much for conclusion. But there was a big jump, for example, in the number of people who’ve changed SEO tools. And historically, that had been quite small now that it’s jumped up. I think a lot of it is just around maturity of the technology, and people internally, but you know, working out what they need, but also the fact that these tools are changing quite quickly. And so I think those two things are driving a need to perhaps change more often than people want.

Hannah: Absolutely, it really is driving the need. That’s a really great point, Mike. So if we have a look at marketing automation platforms, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about the marketing side, we’ve talked about workflows, we’ve talked about content, emails, but what I’d be really interested to talk about is what are the benefits to sales. And I asked this because Active Campaign have recently released a report, and it’s from a direct client called preview me, and actually revealed that sale reps from this company are saving one day per week by automating repetitive tasks. And I think it’s such an obvious and simple thing, but perhaps something that isn’t talked about enough because market automation platforms are meant to support both marketing and sales teams. So what do you think are the real key benefits of a mark automation platform for sales?

Mike: I mean, it’s a great question. And it’s really difficult, because in the past used to have a CRM system, and that was different your marketing. Now the CRM, like Active Campaign is integrated into the marketing automation tool. I mean, it’s really hard, you know, you talk about saving one day a week, saving one day a week compared to what and I know, I’m the cynical guy here. But, you know, were they just really inefficient beforehand? Or do they have some competitive tool and actually active campaign is that much better, I suspect, you know, the story is a bit of both. But it’s an interesting story. And I do believe that, you know, if you look at both marketing activities and sales activities, when they use automation, people can save a lot of time. One of the challenges is, is really building up the right automations. I mean, we have the same problem at Napier, where, you know, I’m sure there’s a lot more we could automate in our marketing automation platform. And it’s just a matter of having time and resources to build the logic to actually make that work automatically.

Hannah: Absolutely. And I think I would debate you on one of your points there, Mike, because you mentioned, you know, are the sales team ineffective? You make a good point, we can’t compare it to any sets of data. But I think that is one of the key points of a system like this for sales reps is that even if they are a little bit inefficient, the platforms are meant to make them as effective as possible to let them do their jobs easier?

Mike: Yeah. And I’m not arguing the platform’s don’t work. I mean, you’re absolutely right. The platforms are really good. I think the question is, it’s saving one day versus what, you know, I mean, we’re a marketing agency, we write a lot of press releases. And this is, I think, one of the dirty secrets that we’re probably not allowed to admit, but we’re gonna admit to our listeners, now, writing press releases, where you have a relative comparison, this product is 10%. Better, and then you just move on, actually haven’t compared it to anything 10% better than what? And I think that’s always always a difficulty. You look at this saving one day a week, what was it? How do they do it? Why was that the case? And really, I think, you know, although it made a great press release, and we certainly looked at it and liked it, I’d love to see a much more in depth case study explaining exactly what happened, and what sort of automations are implemented and why they save so much time

Hannah: releasing all of our industry secrets, there might QR but yeah, I definitely agree it would be good to see a bit more of an in depth review and analysis of how is it supporting them and have that little bit more data around how it could be saving them this much time?

Mike: Yeah, unfortunately, went to marketing people like us. And clearly someone just got really excited by the number, I mean, is actually over $10,000 a year, if you look at the average sales rep, you know, compensation. So, you know, it is a really big deal. And it’s just like, it’s really exciting. It’s a great headline, I think, to be really useful to people. I’d love to see more detail.

Hannah: Absolutely. So to end off our podcast, as always, Mike, I want to have a bit of a chat about our insightful Tip of the Week. And this week, I’d like to have a bit of a discussion about really using market automation platforms to its full potential. So often companies sign up to these my automation platforms, but they don’t really have a strategy or have planned what they’re going to use the platform for. So they’ve got, you know, a big suite, such as HubSpot, for example, that’s got everything from workflows, automations, you know, optimizations, SEO, but they’re literally just sending email campaigns out on the platform. So what can companies do to really just make sure that they’ve got a good plan in place before they launch them off automation platform?

Mike: I love this question. I think it’s a great question, it comes to the real hub of some problems where, you know, we have clients who basically have expensive marketing automation systems that predominantly just send out newsletters, I mean, one of the solutions is, don’t spend all that money, if you just want to send newsletters, go use something like MailChimp, or Constant Contact, and that that would solve the problem. But But I think the, you know, the other answer is much more about thinking about and planning campaigns actually spending some time considering how you can use those, those capabilities. And this is something you’ve done quite a lot with Napier’s tools.

Hannah: Yeah, definitely, I think it’s taken a bit of a wider view. And I think this is what we do with clients, you know, I can’t resist the plug, you know, I can’t like it’s part of my job role. But when we take a look at campaigns ever, it’d be in April with our clients, we look at what else we can do around to support that message. So if it’s a product launch, yes, let’s do these PR aspects. But how can we use the mass automation platform to also get that message out to the database, find new contacts to get it out to new prospects? And I think it’s taken a wider look at, okay, we’ve got this platform, what campaigns are we running? How can we utilise this platform to make our campaigns more effective and more successful?

Mike: I mean, again, great point, think of it from the point of view of the campaigns and how you can make them more successful. I think, you know, the other thing is, is there’s a balance, you know, you shouldn’t just use a marketing automation tool as an email distribution tool. I mean, that’s, that’s silly. That’s a waste of money. But equally, I think, you know, and let’s be honest, it probably applies to us as well, I don’t think anyone really uses 100% of the capability. So look at all the features, look at what the platform can do, and make use of as many of those features that are relevant to you as possible, without really killing yourself to try and tick all the boxes, because that can actually be counterproductive. You can spend a lot of time and get, you know, limited benefit.

Hannah: And times and resources. You know, as you mentioned previously, that’s always going to be an issue. So as you said, it’s a fine line, but it’s balancing. What can you implement, that’s going to make the real difference. And also, don’t be scared to ask people around you ask the experts around, you get, you know, a third insight opinion on how can I do these campaigns? How can I use my resources effectively, to basically build the best marketing automation campaigns that I can?

Mike: I think that’s great advice. I mean, it’s really good. And probably the sort of advice we should end the podcast on because that’s a great thing for for listeners to take away.

Hannah: Definitely. Well, thanks so much for joining me again this week, Mike, it’s been a great conversation as always.

Mike: Thanks, Hannah.

Hannah: Thanks for listening to the marketing automation moment podcast.

Mike: Don’t forget to subscribe in your favourite podcast application, and we’ll see you next time.