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Two-thirds of marketers experimenting with AI

65% of marketers in the UK use AI within their experimentation approach, with almost half (45%) having adopted the technology within the past year.

That’s according to a new report from Optimizely, which reveals how marketers are implementing AI to level up their approach to A/B testing and experimentation.

The Tested to Perfection report, based on a study of 100 marketers and 1,000 consumers in the UK, examines the current state of experimentation practices, and how marketers are using, and planning to use, AI to address rapidly changing business and consumer expectations.

Nearly nine in 10 marketers (87%) believe experimentation is important for achieving their goals in 2024, yet one in five (20%) feel their current web experimentation approach is not effective. Nearly a quarter (23%) would go as far as to describe their current approach as ‘unsophisticated.’

When asked what has been preventing marketers from experimenting effectively, Optimizely’s report identifies several recurring themes.

Lack of budget is a challenge for almost half of marketers (43%), while a lack of resources, time and focus is also a barrier for 39% of respondents. Other challenges include a lack of effective tools or technology (25%), silos between relevant teams (25%), and the small scale of experiments (18%).

However, 89% of marketers believe AI will be the answer to overcoming these barriers.

Almost half (48%) of the marketers surveyed plan to use AI to create more targeted and personalised content in the future. Forty-one percent have their sights set on generating headlines, images and CTAs at scale. Over a third (37%) plan to use AI to dynamically allocate traffic between test variations. And three in 10 (32%) will turn to AI to create hypotheses for experiments.

Over two-thirds (70%) of marketers in the UK believe that AI will help make experimentation faster, and 62% believe AI will make experimentation more accurate.

137% increase in mobile app messages as AI begins to impact conversational brand interactions

Conversational messaging channels are seeing the fastest growth in terms of brand interactions with customers, with Infobip research recording a 137% increase in mobile app messages in 2023 compared to 2022, including a 73% rise in social media messages, and a 63% increase in chat app messages.

Infobip analysed more than 473 billion digital communications interactions on its platform in 2023 between businesses and consumers to identify the latest global business messaging trends, concluding that conversational experiences are increasing throughout the customer journey, whether for marketing, commerce, or support.

Conversational support 

Whether a person is dealing with a human agent, a chatbot, or a combination of the two, conversational support provides an effective, efficient, and positive experience. WhatsApp remains the primary channel brands use for conversational support, where businesses send 90% of support messages over the chat app. However, brands are beginning to diversify their channel mix, leveraging chat apps in specific regions.

For instance, Infobip has recorded increases of 541%, 146%, and 284% in Messenger, Viber, and Line, respectively. Brands are now using conversational AI to provide personalized customer service and support. For instance, Megi Health Platform uses a virtual assistant on WhatsApp to help improve the patient experience. Meanwhile, insurance firm LAQO uses our Azure OpenAI partnership to provide a fast, 24/7 and personal service.

Conversational marketing

The two-way exchange of information is the basis for conversational marketing, and brands are ramping up their efforts to meet customers on the channels they use with their family and friends. Overall, the data shows a 29% increase in mobile app messaging for marketing in 2023 compared to 2022.

WhatsApp remains the top digital channel for conversational marketing in absolute numbers, driven by new features that enable customers to start and complete a purchase in a single WhatsApp chat window.

Infobip is also seeing significant increases in other messaging apps such as Telegram, Line, Viber, and Messenger. More specifically, WhatsApp messages increased by 421% in Asia Pacific in 2023, while mobile app messaging increased by 146% in the Middle East and North Africa and by 18 times in North America. Meanwhile, RCS Business Messaging is an emerging channel for conversational marketing.

Regional difference

With brands adopting conversational experiences globally, there are some regional differences:

  • Africa: conversational channels gain traction with social media messages increasing nearly 2.5 times
  • Asia Pacific: strong growth in mobile app messaging, with WhatsApp increasing by four times
  • Europe: rapid growth for RCS, as interactions increase by 11 times
  • Latin America: strong growth in mobile app messaging, with Viber increasing by more than 2.5 times
  • Middle East North Africa: rapid adoption of conversational channels, as voice and video interactions double
  • North America: exponential growth in rich messaging, with RCS interactions increasing by 50 times

The changing role of SMS

Infobip’s data from 2023 shows that SMS remains an important channel for business communication, but usage is changing where SMS is now being used alongside chat apps. Across all industries, brands most commonly use SMS with WhatsApp, with 25% of businesses choosing this combination. Moreover, where businesses and brands use two channels, SMS is one of the two options in 63% of cases.

Ivan Ostojić, Chief Business Officer at Infobip, said: “Our data shows how conversational experiences are rapidly spreading across the globe as businesses roll out marketing, sales, and support use cases. Where 2022 revealed a spike in omnichannel adoption when brands recognized the importance of connecting with their customers on their preferred channel, 2023 shows how brands are perfecting the end-to-end customer journey. Customers can now seamlessly progress through a journey within a single conversational thread on a chat app or RCS. With the emergence of interactive AI, we expect brands to incorporate a federation of different chatbots and AI algorithms working together to trigger actions at the ideal points during the customer journey. In the next year, we foresee the widespread adoption in customer service, marketing and sale automation, and for operational use cases like scheduling deliveries and managing payments.”

Apple preparing ‘pivotal shift’ in approach towards AI

Apple is strategically advancing its position in the artificial intelligence (AI) domain, signifying a pivotal shift in the company’s approach to integrate AI into its core operations and product ecosystem.

The recent innovations and acquisitions underscore the Cupertino-based tech giant’s focus on bringing AI to its offerings while prioritising user privacy and ethical AI, say GlobalData analysts.

Saurabh Daga, Associate Project Manager of Disruptive Tech at GlobalData, stated: “While Apple till now has appeared slow to join the AI bandwagon in comparison to the likes of Microsoft, Google, and Amazon. The recent acquisition of DarwinAI may as well be the first in a series of initiatives to recalibrate the company’s strategy toward AI. Moreover, with its existing credentials related to in-house development, it is likely looking to build a strong intellectual property (IP) base for future developments. With one of its closest rivals in consumer tech Samsung already launching AI-integrated devices in early 2024, Apple will be looking to offer OnDevice AI features in the coming iterations of its computing devices as soon as possible.”

Darwin AI’s expertise in machine vision and machine learning (ML) aligns with Apple’s aim to enhance AI capabilities. This acquisition reflects Apple’s intent to enhance its AI capabilities with solutions that are not only powerful but also optimized for efficiency, all while maintaining a steadfast commitment to privacy.

The Innovation Explorer database of GlobalData’s Disruptor Intelligence Center highlights Apple’s contributions to the advancement of AI technologies in recent times including developing techniques to run large language models (LLMs) on iPhones, unveiling an open-source multimodal LLM, and offering a generative model for 3D scene generation, signifying a robust leap forward.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics database reveals Apple’s recent patent filings in AI, which incorporate a range of innovations, from delivering audio information via digital assistants to leveraging machine learning for physiological predictions and image forecasting. This concerted effort pinpoints Apple’s commitment to advance AI technologies that prioritize enhancing user experiences.

Daga concluded: “Apple’s stance on AI integration remains shrouded in secrecy, yet its commitment to incorporating more AI into its products is evident. Despite the lack of a fixed timeline, the prospect of integrating AI, especially generative AI raises pertinent concerns regarding data security and privacy, a challenge Apple would like to address proactively, given the inherent sensitivity of its products and user base.”

Image by <a href=”″>Markus Spiske</a> from <a href=”″>Pixabay</a>

87% of marketers worry about technology replacing jobs in ‘red flag’ for CMOs

With evolving organisational dynamics and rapid technology changes, 87% of marketers are concerned about technology, including GenAI, replacing jobs in their industry.

A Gartner survey of 627 marketers between August and September of 2023 found that 89% of marketers are concerned about layoffs at their company. While the majority of marketers are optimistic about their career progression and skill preparedness, 55% report experiencing mismatched job expectations in their current roles.

This is compounded by environmental uncertainty and undue burden from marketing technology: 61% of marketers reveal they have encountered a technology and/or process change in the past 12 months. In addition, marketers also cite instability in leadership as a factor, with 20% having experienced a recent change in senior marketing leadership.

“These findings should be a red flag for CMOs, as high environmental uncertainty, mismatched role expectations and martech burden can lead to burnout as well as increased attrition,” said Iliyana Hadjistoyanova, Director, Advisory in the Gartner Marketing Practice. “CMOs must refocus their talent strategy and prioritize development with a strong focus on upskilling and change management to ensure their function is prepared in the face of ongoing disruption.”

Additional Gartner survey findings that will better equip CMOs to respond to the fast-evolving landscape include:

A Gartner survey of 405 martech leaders between May and June of 2023 found 63% report that marketing lacks the technical skills to successfully integrate and operate some of the technologies in their stack.

“These leaders are seeing integration and skill gaps as driving these issues,” said Hadjistoyanova. “It is crucial that CMOs closely align with their martech leaders to establish talent development plans that not only assess but address these skill gaps. Martech investments have a direct impact on the employee experience, and CMOs must weigh these costs and benefits.”

Despite the acceleration of GenAI, which 47% of marketers are already using, the majority expressed concern about technology replacing jobs in their industry. In fact, a Gartner survey of 822 business executives between September and November of 2023 revealed that 26% of marketing leaders plan headcount reductions as a result of GenAI in 2024.

“When employee fears go unchecked, an environment of increased uncertainty will insufficiently prepare marketers for a successful future,” said Hadjistoyanova. “By developing robust talent plansthat incorporate the use of GenAI and work to increase skill preparedness, CMOs can mitigate its impacts on employees’ wellbeing, leading to overall engagement and retention. These actionable steps must address role transition and fit-for-purpose employee learning, as well as cover technology and process changes related to GenAI adoption.”

Marketers who engage in higher GenAI use are 30% less likely to report high burnout, and 40% less likely to intend to leave their jobs in the next year.

“Marketing’s use of technology is constantly adapting, and the accelerated adoption of GenAI will encourage greater performance and engagement, enhance creativity, as well as free up time and allow marketers to engage in more thought-intensive work,” said Hadjistoyanova. “While CMOs cannot fully insulate their employees from change, they must take early action in change management in a clear and transparent manner to ensure employee buy-in and mitigate any negative impacts of change.”

Photo by Jonathan Kemper on Unsplash

Survey reveals UK AI skills gap and how it could impact marketing

A survey of 2,000 UK workers commissioned by digital marketing agency Add People shows that the majority of people in the UK have never used AI at work.

The poll, conducted by OnePoll, reveals that 70% of UK workers have never used AI tools at work. Given that the UK is aiming to brand itself as a world leader in AI technology, with Rishi Sunak organising an AI summit at the beginning of November, Add People says it’s surprising to discover that the majority of Brits are yet to experiment with tools like ChatGPT in their workflow.

Here, Peter Marshall, chief marketing officer at Add People, discusses some of the other findings of the survey and what they could mean for the UK’s position on AI….

As a digital marketing agency, many of our staff have started to experiment with AI tools to support their daily work tasks. While we can see that they are certainly not in a position to replace the work of actual humans, there are many uses for these tools that would bring great benefits to workers in every industry.

2 in 5 people think they will use AI tools in the future

The study also found that Only 38% of people believe they are likely to use AI tools in the future, with 34% of respondents deeming it unlikely. Despite ChatGPT reaching 100 million users in the second-fastest time for any app, it’s still not properly utilised in the workplace.

This suggests that many workers need to be made aware of how to use them effectively and potentially whether they are allowed to use them for work. Some solutions to this are training sessions, establishing AI champions at work to pioneer processes and establishing guidelines for how and when to use AI tools.

Only a quarter of people trust AI

Trust in AI is a major issue, particularly at work as an issue with generative AI reflects badly on the person using it. Longform results from ChatGPT and Google’s Bard aren’t of the highest quality and some initial experimentation by workers may have led to a loss of interest.

To be good at anything takes practice and the same can be said of AI. Encouraging your staff to experiment with these tools and report back on their results could help them discover new and effective ways of utilising the tools in their day-to-day lives.

14% of businesses have officially implemented AI tools

Though we’re still in the early stages of generative AI, some hesitance to use it at work could be compounded by silence from senior management on when and how to use it. Our survey also found that a third of people who have used AI did so without their boss knowing.

To encourage use of generative AI that is supportive of productivity without affecting the quality of work, some policies or guidelines around what kind of tasks can be completed, what kind of information shouldn’t be shared, etc. can be helpful for your staff.

Given that 60% of people want AI regulation in the workplace, this is a chance for businesses to get ahead of the game and showcase themselves as innovators.

Google’s latest AI reveals let down by ‘vague timelines’

While Google continues to impress with the latest round of ‘Duet AI for Google Workspace’ features unveiled at Google Cloud Next ’23, vague rollout timelines stole some thunder from the announcements.

That’s according to Gregg Willsky, Principal Analyst at GlobalData, who said: “’Duet AI’ was likened to an intelligent collaborator poised at the user’s side, waiting to act based on their commands.”

GlobalData analysis finds the ‘Duet AI’ name is intended to evoke the idea of a union between the user and AI. Since the arrival of ChatGPT, the public has feared that AI will soon substitute hard-earned skills. To offset that concern, the industry (Google included) has been attempting to position AI as a tool that helps users, not hampers them.

Willsky added: “Duet AI paired with the Google CCAI Platform would make for an even more robust AI portfolio. Marrying collaboration and contact center capabilities to help deliver a superior customer experience (CX) has become a top priority among players in the unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) market, especially given the current economic climate. Once Duet AI is fully launched, Google will be well positioned to take advantage of this trend and to do so in a manner fueled by AI.”

Google’s existing innovations and the promise inherent in those forthcoming have borne fruit. More than 300 features have been launched in Google Workspace over the past 12 months alone, and Google Workspace now has more than three billion users and more than 10 million paying customers. Currently, thousands of companies and over one million users are using Duet AI in Google Workspace.

Willsky concluded: “Viewing the event holistically, the announcements make for a nice feather in Aparna Pappu’s cap as she begins her second year as chief of Google Workspace. However, somewhat diluting the excitement was a vague rollout timeline. While some features are currently available, much of what was discussed will launch in the next few weeks, months, and even in 2024. Hopefully, Google will offer more specificity soon.”

Boosting Campaign ROI with Artificial Intelligence: A marketer’s new ally?

Marketing professionals are perpetually seeking innovative ways to maximise their return on investment (ROI). Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged as a potent tool in this quest, offering unparalleled insights and automation capabilities. Here’s how AI is revolutionising campaign ROI in the marketing world…

  1. Predictive Analytics:
    • Function: AI can sift through vast datasets, analysing past marketing campaigns, customer behaviours, and sales trends to predict future outcomes.
    • Benefit: With these insights, marketers can make informed decisions, ensuring their campaigns target the right audience at the right time with content that resonates, leading to higher conversion rates.
  2. Personalisation at Scale:
    • Function: AI algorithms can tailor content, advertisements, and product recommendations for individual users based on their behaviour and preferences.
    • Benefit: Personalised marketing enhances user engagement and boosts conversion rates, driving up ROI.
  3. Chatbots and Virtual Assistants:
    • Function: Using Natural Language Processing (NLP), AI-powered chatbots can interact with customers in real-time, addressing queries, offering product suggestions, and even guiding them through the purchase process.
    • Benefit: This not only improves the user experience but also reduces bounce rates and cart abandonment, further augmenting ROI.
  4. Dynamic Pricing:
    • Function: AI can analyse various factors like demand, competitor pricing, and stock levels to dynamically adjust prices.
    • Benefit: This ensures products are priced optimally, leading to increased sales and maximising profit margins.
  5. Content Creation and Curation:
    • Function: AI tools can auto-generate content or recommend content pieces that are most likely to engage a specific audience segment.
    • Benefit: This reduces the manual effort in content strategies and ensures that content is always relevant, enhancing engagement and conversions.
  6. Ad Spend Optimisation:
    • Function: AI can analyse the performance metrics of ad campaigns in real-time and allocate budgets to the most effective channels or audience segments.
    • Benefit: This ensures that marketing spend is always channelled to the highest-performing avenues, maximising ROI.
  7. A/B Testing Automation:
    • Function: Instead of manually setting up split tests, AI can automatically test multiple campaign variations simultaneously, learning from user interactions and tweaking campaigns in real-time.
    • Benefit: This reduces the time to find the most effective campaign version and increases the overall efficiency of marketing efforts.
  8. Sentiment Analysis:
    • Function: By analysing social media mentions, reviews, and other user-generated content, AI can gauge the sentiment around a brand or campaign.
    • Benefit: This feedback helps marketers tweak their strategies for better resonance and engagement, directly influencing ROI.

By integrating AI into their strategies, marketing professionals can not only gain deeper insights into their campaigns but also automate various processes, ensuring optimal resource utilisation. The result is a marked improvement in campaign performance and a tangible increase in ROI. As AI technology continues to advance, its role in refining and enhancing marketing campaigns will only become more pivotal.

Learn more about how AI can supercharge your campaigns at the Digital Marketing Solutions Summit.

63% of marketing leaders plan to invest in Generative AI in next two years

Sixty-three percent of marketing leaders are planning to invest in generative AI in the next 24 months, with slightly more than half of respondents (56%) seeing greater reward than risk in using the technology.

A Gartner survey of 405 marketing leaders conducted in May and June 2023 revealed the utilization of their organization’s overall martech stack’s capability dropped to just 33% on average in 2023, marking a second consecutive year of decline (42% in 2022 and 58% in 2020).

“CMOs recognize both the promise and challenges of generative AI,” said Benjamin Bloom, VP Analyst in the Gartner Marketing practice. “There’s a clear tension between investing more in the current tech stack to drive utilization, or reallocating their finite resources towards the coming crop of generative AI applications that may not suffer from the same utilization problems.”

Gartner’s 2023 CMO Spend and Strategy Survey found that organizations are spending 25.4% of their 2023 marketing budget on technology. With the sharp decline of martech utilization, cost optimization pressure will be unavoidable upon recognition that marketers use only a third of technology capabilities that consume a quarter of their entire budget.

By contrast, for the few organizations that use more than 50% of their martech stack, they are significantly less likely to report being asked to cut their martech budget.

Increasing an organization’s martech utilization is difficult: Just 11% of respondents reported increasing their utilization of marketing technology by more than 10% in 2023, compared to 12 months ago. Complexity of the current ecosystem, customer data challenges and inflexible governance were identified by survey respondents as the most common impediments to greater utilization of their martech stack (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Impediments to Increased Marketing Technology Utilization (Percentage of Respondents)

Source: Gartner (August 2023)

“Marketers tend to acquire new technologies without a systematic approach for adopting them,” said Bloom. “Combined with multi-year contracts, under-utilized or abandoned technology can easily result in an unwieldy stack over time.

“CMOs should press martech teams to find opportunities to simplify so the rest of the function can flourish. Cutting underused technology within the current stack can also preserve some ‘dry powder’ for transformative applications that aren’t yet generally available.”

Generative AI leads inflated expectations on the 2023 emerging tech ‘hype cycle’

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) is positioned on the Peak of Inflated Expectations, projected to reach transformational benefit within two to five years.

The Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2023 report encompasses Generative AI within the broader theme of emergent AI, a key trend on this Hype Cycle that is creating new opportunities for innovation.

“The popularity of many new AI techniques will have a profound impact on business and society,” said Arun Chandrasekaran, Distinguished VP Analyst at Gartner. “The massive pretraining and scale of AI foundation models, viral adoption of conversational agents and the proliferation of generative AI applications are heralding a new wave of workforce productivity and machine creativity.”

The Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies is unique among Gartner Hype Cycles because it distills key insights from more than 2,000 technologies and applied frameworks that Gartner profiles each year into a succinct set of “must-know” emerging technologies. These technologies have potential to deliver transformational benefits over the next two to 10 years (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2023

Source: Gartner (August 2023)

“While all eyes are on AI right now, CIOs and CTOs must also turn their attention to other emerging technologies with transformational potential,” said Melissa Davis, VP Analyst at Gartner. “This includes technologies that are enhancing developer experience, driving innovation through the pervasive cloud and delivering human-centric security and privacy.”

“As the technologies in this Hype Cycle are still at an early stage, there is significant uncertainty about how they will evolve,” added Davis. “Such embryonic technologies present greater risks for deployment, but potentially greater benefits for early adopters.”

Four Themes of Emerging Technology Trends

Emergent AI: In addition to generative AI, several other emerging AI techniques offer immense potential for enhancing digital customer experiences, making better business decisions and building sustainable competitive differentiation. These technologies include AI simulation, causal AI, federated machine learning, graph data science, neuro-symbolic AI and reinforcement learning.

Developer experience (DevX): DevX refers to all aspects of interactions between developers and the tools, platforms, processes and people they work with to develop and deliver software products and services. Enhancing DevX is critical for most enterprises’ digital initiative success. It is also vital for attracting and retaining top engineering talent, keeping team morale high and ensuring that work is motivating and rewarding.

Key technologies that are enhancing DevX include AI-augmented software engineering, API-centric SaaS, GitOps, internal developer portals, open-source program office and value stream management platforms.

Pervasive cloud: Over the next 10 years, cloud computing will evolve from a technology innovation platform to become pervasive and an essential driver of business innovation. To enable this pervasive adoption, cloud computing is becoming more distributed and will be focused on vertical industries. Maximizing value from cloud investments will require automated operational scaling, access to cloud-native platform tools and adequate governance.

Key technologies enabling the pervasive cloud include augmented FinOps, cloud development environments, cloud sustainability, cloud-native, cloud-out to edge, industry cloud platforms and WebAssembly (Wasm).

Human-centric security and privacy: Humans remain the chief cause of security incidents and data breaches. Organizations can become resilient by implementing a human-centric securityand privacy program, which weaves a security and privacy fabric into the organization’s digital design. Numerous emerging technologies are enabling enterprises to create a culture of mutual trust and awareness of shared risks in decision making between many teams.

Key technologies supporting the expansion of human-centric security and privacy include AI TRISM, cybersecurity mesh architecture, generative cybersecurity AI, homomorphic encryption and postquantum cryptography.

Generative AI ‘revolutionising’ retail experiences

Generative AI’s ability to fabricate hyper-customised content is turning the tables in retail marketing and communication strategies, also extending its reach into tasks such as inventory planning.

Kiran Raj, Practice Head of Disruptive Tech at GlobalData, said: “In a retail environment where the product-to-experience shift is increasingly significant, genAI can enable the creation of immersive, personalised experiences, integrating virtual and physical retail spaces in a manner that resonates with modern consumers’ expectations. Moreover, it is no longer about a one-size-fits-all engagement; rather, it is about a tailor-made experience catering to individual needs”

Saurabh Daga, Associate Project Manager of Disruptive Tech at GlobalData, added: “By leveraging key data points from customers’ purchase history and preferences, genAI can facilitate building personalized shopping experiences and targeted marketing strategies. The technology can empower retailers to deliver superior service at reduced costs, leading to greater customer satisfaction.”

GlobalData’s latest Innovation Radar report, “Cognitive revolution: genAI meets retail,” offers a view of how the disruptive technology is being deployed across the retail value chain, from inventory management and personalised marketing to customer experience and support.

GenAI can transform retail operations such as inventory planning, product recommendations, and customer service. Promising genAI applications include creating new product designs based on defined criteria and sentiment analysis to predict customer trends.

It cites traditional retailers like Carrefour and IKEA are using genAI to streamline operations and augment customer support. Meanwhile, e-commerce players like Amazon, Shopify, and Instacart are leveraging genAI to improve online shopping experiences and increase cart conversion rates. Big technology companies such as Google and Salesforce are offering genAI solutions to help e-commerce players as well as retailers optimize their online customer engagement.

Daga concluded: “While there are inherent challenges in implementing genAI, particularly in consumer-facing sectors like retail, the potential for substantial progress is undeniable. Challenges such as content quality and privacy must be managed through strong governance. Small and medium retailers can benefit from strategic partnerships to overcome entry barriers required to build the supporting technology, infrastructure, and personnel for genAI implementation.”

Image by Hannes Edinger from Pixabay

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