Adoption of any new technology can take time, and this is especially true when the technology is complex. The rapid explosion of artificial intelligence tools has already changed how most marketing teams operate — but there are still some factors that are holding marketers back from fully embracing AI.
In our 2023 State of AI Report, we dove deep to understand how marketers are already using AI, and what barriers are causing hesitation for marketers who have been reticent to adopt this advanced technology.
We’ll review statistics and predictions for the future of AI in the marketing sector.
AI Use Today: By the Numbers
Across all industries, the AI revolution is set to continue expanding and growing, with experts predicting that nearly 100% of all organizations will use AI to some degree by the year 2025 — less than two years away.
Meanwhile, the market impact of AI software is, according to some predictions, on track to reach between $13 and $150 trillion by the same year.
That’s a staggering figure that reveals just how pervasive AI technology will soon become. With far-reaching impacts across every industry, one of the key sectors affected by AI is the field of marketing.
According to our recent survey data, 68% of leaders in the marketing field predict that their business will experience astounding levels of growth once AI and automation tools are completely integrated into their operations.
Over half of marketing leaders (62% of those surveyed), confirm that their company has already invested in AI.
The majority of these cases involve AI tools for marketing employees to use, with 72% of these company leaders reporting that AI makes their employees more efficient and productive, and 71% of these marketing leaders reporting positive returns on their investment in AI tools and technology.
How Marketers are Already Using AI
Since the majority of marketing agencies already rely on AI and automation to varying degrees, let’s investigate the top ways marketers today use artificial intelligence tools and technology.
Of the marketing companies surveyed, 48% report using AI for content creation. This makes content creation one of the most popular AI use cases right now.
Over half of marketers use AI to generate new written content, making small edits by hand before publishing it.
This can include blog articles and website content, but also social media copy, landing page CTAs, or even product descriptions.
Marketers who use AI tools to craft new content can save an average of three hours per piece of content—three hours that can instead be applied to researching, outreach, strategy planning, and creative brainstorming.
AI content creation tools like HubSpot’s content assistant, ChatSpot, or OpenAI’s ChatGPT can respond to prompts, almost instantaneously generating new images and/or written content to answer the marketer’s specific needs, honing results to create the right tone and messaging.
Data Analysis and Reporting
From assessing competitors in the same industry to identifying and analyzing niche target audiences, AI tools provide invaluable data analysis support for marketers, 45% of whom use AI tools for data analysis and reporting.
Since AI has the capacity to process monumental amounts of data extremely quickly, it can identify patterns of customer behavior and analyze trends across the marketplace.
Research can take time, and results are not always easy to acquire. This might be why 45% of marketing professionals utilize AI for research purposes.
AI can sort through the irrelevant results to provide answers to very specific inquiries, thus saving immense amounts of time.
AI tools can also sort responses into categories, emphasizing results that provide the most insight on different facets of a complex issue. This ability can amplify the research process, providing much more in-depth coverage for employees. But AI-powered research extends beyond simply market research.
In addition to utilizing market research capabilities from AI, 32% of marketing employees use AI to learn and develop skills. In fact, AI may be revolutionizing the field of education, prompting students of all ages to engage in a more personalized and responsive form of skills acquisition.
AI can provide customized feedback and help employees track their learning journeys with progress charts and analyses, providing concrete interactive examples to help employees learn skills better and faster.
Why Some Marketers Haven’t Invested in AI Yet
A recent Gartner study showed that 63% of leaders in marketing had either already invested in AI or were planning to do so within the next 24 months. So that leaves just 37% of marketers who have not yet invested in AI.
With so many powerful capabilities for improving communications and increasing efficiency, why have these marketers chosen not to adopt AI tools yet?
According to the same study, the main causes for hesitancy have to do with uncertainty about the accuracy of the results that AI tools provide, potential intrinsic biases exhibited by AI software, and relying too heavily on AI technology.
Even our own survey supports this position, with a whopping 76% of respondents saying that we should use AI/automation in marketing, but not to a point where we’re dependent on it.
Although skepticism is always warranted during the early stages of a new product or service, it’s worth taking a closer look at each of these three reasons why marketers haven’t adopted AI.
1. They fear faulty results and inaccurate information.
The main cause for concern that marketers identify when it comes to AI is that they fear AI tools may come up with inaccurate information.
his concern about accuracy is reasonably well-founded- our data shows that nearly 50% of marketers who already use generative AI tools report having received results from AI tools that have contained information the marketers knew to be inaccurate.
Our further research has shown that only 27% of marketers who are already using AI feel extremely confident that they would be able to identify faulty results produced by AI tools.
Since AI technologies are still evolving, there is a reasonable chance that some of the results AI tools produce will be variable, and developers are working to tighten these outcomes.
2. They worry about the inherent bias of AI tools.
Some of the most attention-grabbing news headlines surrounding early results from the public release of AI tools highlighted the troubling biases these AI tools displayed.
Machine learning or AI bias comes about as a result of the biases that its developers may have, whether they are conscious of them or not.
Since AI developers and engineers are programming the algorithms that power AI tools, they are essentially teaching AI machines what to look for and how to identify different types of data.
When that developer has a bias they are not aware of, the AI may become infused with that slant, assumption, or even prejudice.
A study by the United States Department of Commerce, for example, revealed that facial recognition tools in AI frequently misidentify people of color, which can lead to wrongful arrests and further consequences. And new AI tools, like automated headshot generators, are still riddled with bias.
3. Marketers are concerned about becoming AI-dependent.
Some marketing professionals cite concerns over becoming too reliant on AI and automation tools.
The fear is that the more we come to rely on AI skills for content creation, strategy planning, research, and more, the less capable we will become at completing those tasks ourselves.
Luckily, AI does not fully substitute for the creativity and capability of a human employee. Instead, AI offers tools and abilities to help make routine tasks and content creation more efficient and productive.
Like the ultimate administrative and research assistant, it frees up time for marketers to focus on honing their irreplaceable skills.
Getting Started with AI
If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon, or are still unsure how your content can benefit from these innovations, try these approaches to using generative AI:
Turn to AI for keyword suggestions and demographics analysis, honing the profiles of your target audiences for marketing campaigns.
Use AI to create or repurpose content, with tools such as HubSpot’s Campaign Assistant and Paragraph Rewriter.
Allow AI to help identify competitors in the field and provide actionable insights on how to surpass them.
Let AI find content gaps and faults in your existing content.
These are some simple (and helpful) ways to incorporate AI into your workflow if you’re interested but hesitant to take the plunge.