sales and marketing

Suppose you’ve reached a stage in your marketing journey where you’ve realized artificial intelligence (AI) will be an invaluable asset to what you’re already doing. In that case, there’s a logical next question that follows.

“How do I pick the right AI tools and solutions for my business?”

It’s a fair question, especially since AI is expected to contribute up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030. With numbers like that, it can be tough to sift through what’s available now and what’s coming down the pike.

We’ve come up with a few frameworks to help move forward with AI. We’ll cover understanding your own needs, knowing the market, evaluating what you already have, and using data to make decisions.

Know What You Need


One of the first steps you’ll need to make is to determine what challenges you’re currently experiencing, what gaps there are in your current marketing strategy, and how you anticipate AI will help.

Here are some questions you should be able to answer:

  • “What are my areas of opportunity in marketing?”
  • “What kind of resource limitations do I have that AI can solve?”
  • “Who on my team will be responsible for using this AI tool?”
  • “Which stakeholders need to be involved in the overall decision?”

Keep in mind that understanding your own needs is just one-half of the overall coin. You’ll also want to make sure you’re going back to the questions you asked yourself in this round to see if the solution you’ve implemented is actually giving you the results you’re looking for.  

That means assessing the data regularly to see if the goals you defined here—e.g., minimize time spent churning out content or automate email marketing for improved click-through rates (CTRs)—are lining up with what the numbers say. 

Related: Leveraging Technology: The Role of Automation in Marketing


See What’s Out There


Once you’ve identified your needs, it’s time to explore the options available to you. AI has all sorts of categories, like predictive analytics, natural language processing, and machine learning, and each of them has endless products for you to choose from. 

You can find information about what your peers are using by researching online platforms, blogs, newsletters, industry reports, and case studies, to name a few sources. Third-party analyst reports can be especially useful here for getting an unbiased view of multiple AI vendors, so you can more easily select one that fits your needs.

Another way to quickly sift through the AI products out there is by working with a fractional CMO. Like a full-time CMO, a fractional CMO uses their extensive industry knowledge to identify products or solutions that are more likely to get you the results you want—and they often are already familiar with solutions from previous roles. 


Related: 5 Ways to Integrate AI into Your Existing Marketing Strategy


Evaluate Your Existing Resources and Capacity


Once you’ve narrowed down your options, you’ll want to assess how your AI tool will integrate with the resources you already have—including existing software and the human capacity you have to actually use the new tool.

Depending on the tool you’ve selected, integrating AI with your current databases or software can sometimes be time-consuming and costly. Looking at AI tools that use an open API architecture can be especially helpful here, but keep in mind that AI still requires humans to run it.

That’s why you’ll also want to evaluate the time it’ll take for your team to understand and use the tool. Who will be responsible for its execution? Do you have the time to educate your team on how it works? What kind of education is necessary? What kind of learning curve is there?

Remember that adding AI to your marketing strategy isn’t like putting frosting on a cake. It’s like adding an entirely new ingredient to the recipe, and it should make sense with everything around it. 

Related: Why is There a Lack of Understanding of AI in Marketing?


Crunch the Numbers

You’re coming closer to making a decision, but you still need to ask the all-important question: “How is this AI tool going to factor into my marketing budget?” 

Initially, you’ll want to calculate the total cost of ownership (TCO) for the AI tool(s) you’re considering. You’ll also want to assess the potential return on investment (ROI) for implementing the tool, which might happen during the demo stage with the vendor. And you should also consider the long-term costs—including potential cost-saving opportunities—versus the upfront costs. 

And like we mentioned earlier, picking the right AI tool goes beyond just implementation. You’ll also want to look at the numbers post-implementation to see if they match your predictions from this step.

Take the Next Step With AI


If you’re ready to merge AI with your current marketing approach, make sure to consult The Role of AI in Marketing: Smart Strategies for Maximum Impact first! 

The free eBook will brief you on common AI solutions by category, give you tips on implementing AI into your overall marketing strategy, and help you maximize your AI investment moving forward.


Need guidance knowing how to best use AI to enhance your marketing approach?

Check out The Role of AI in Marketing for practical advice and insights from real-world peers.