Sunday, October 15, 2023

[Research Round-Up] Where AI In Marketing Stands In Mid-2023

(This month's Research Round-Up discusses two recent surveys that examine how marketers are using artificial intelligence in mid-2023. These surveys explore the extent of AI adoption in the marketing industry, the use cases and expected benefits of AI, and marketers' concerns and uncertainties about AI.)

Source:  Marketing AI Institute/Drift
2023 State of Marketing AI Report by the Marketing AI Institute and Drift 

  • 918 survey respondents, 61% of whom were director-level or above
  • 53% of the respondents were affiliated with B2B companies - another 35% said their company is both B2B and B2C
  • Respondents represented over 20 industries - 41% worked in professional services or software
  • 57% of respondents worked in companies with $10 million or less in revenue
  • Survey conducted between April 26 and July 12, 2023
As expected, this survey found that the adoption of AI in marketing is still in its early stages. When asked what "stage of AI transformation" best described their marketing team, most respondents (58%) selected understanding - learning how AI works and exploring its applications and potential value.
Almost two-thirds of the respondents (64%) said that AI will be very important or critically important to the success of their marketing over the next 12 months. That was up from 51% of respondents in the 2022 edition of the survey.
Nearly all of the respondents (98%) said they personally use AI tools in some way.
When asked what their organization is interested in achieving with AI, the top four outcomes selected by respondents were:
  • Reduce time spent on repetitive, data-driven tasks - 77%
  • Unlock greater value from marketing technologies - 62%
  • Generate greater ROI on campaigns - 61%
  • Accelerate revenue growth - 60%
When asked about the barriers they faced when it came to the adoption of AI in marketing, the four most frequently selected barriers were:
  • Lack of education and training - 64%
  • Lack of awareness or understanding - 56%
  • Lack of strategy - 44%
  • Lack of talent with the right skill sets - 38%
It's important to note that this survey does not claim to be based on a representative sample of marketers. The author(s) of the report included the following statement in the description of the survey methodology.
"The survey was primarily promoted via the Marketing AI Institute website, newsletter, podcast, and webinars, so it is possible that respondents, who have shown a predisposition to AI content and information, may have higher awareness and adoption levels of AI than the broader industry."

  • An online survey of marketing and communications professionals
  • 287 respondents
  • 36% of the respondents were vice president-level or above
  • Survey conducted from June 1 to June 23, 2023
As noted above, this survey included both marketers and communications professionals, and the survey report provides separate response data for those two cohorts in some instances. The survey report also provides separate response data for "senior" respondents (VP-level and above) and "mid-level/junior" respondents (all others).
The survey found that most marketers (68%) are using AI in their daily work. Forty-eight percent of the marketer respondents reported using AI in their daily work sometimes, while another 20% said often or all the time.
As might be expected, mid-level and junior marketers were more likely to be using AI than senior marketers. Seventy-two percent of mid-level and junior marketers reported using AI in their daily work, while the percentage for senior marketers was 64%.
Most of the current uses of AI by marketers related to improving productivity, although content personalization was also popular. The five uses of AI most frequently selected by marketer respondents were:
  • Summarize content - 44%
  • Do the legwork/inspire thinking - 41%
  • Personalize customer/user content - 33%
  • Produce content faster - 30%
  • Content research - 30%
When asked about their biggest challenges and/or concerns related to the use of AI, the four challenges/concerns most frequently selected by marketer respondents were:
  • Lack of accuracy/misinformation - 68%
  • Legal uncertainties - 62%
  • Data security and privacy - 57%
  • Reputational risk/erosion of trust - 49%
Lastly, the survey found that informal self-education is the dominant way that marketers learn about AI. Marketer respondents said they have learned about how to use AI by:
  • Reading articles and/or watching videos - 81%
  • Exploring it on their own time - 76%
  • Talking with colleagues, friends, or others with AI knowledge - 73%
  • Exploring it during work time - 65%

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