How to Start Using Machine Learning to Improve Marketing

 In Analytics and Insights
Time to read: 1.5 Minutes

Machine learning for marketing is getting more and more attention. Last November, Entrepreneur published the 5 Reasons Machine Learning is the Future of Marketing. And last month, Forbes published 10 Ways Machine Learning is Revolutionizing Marketing.  Both are highly recommended articles, along with our January blog on machine learning.  But it all leads to the next question.  How can we get started? How can marketers start using machine learning to improve marketing?

To answer that question, let’s back up and look at technology options.

Build vs. Deploy vs. Buy

To start using machine learning to improve marketing, there’s the usual options:

  1. Build: Use a machine learning platform to develop your own models
  2. Deploy: Use a machine learning platform specifically for marketing
  3. Buy: Subscribe to a marketing technology, or martech, app built on machine learning

To determine the best course, consider four things.

First, your marketing goal. What are you trying to do? Speed lead qualification? Reduce churn?  Improve content personalization? Maybe you want to understand customer sentiment?

Second, your data sources to reach the goal. Where does data to feed machine learning originate?  Is it machine-generated with a continuous flow of it? How much data do you have? How clean is that data?  Data still needs to be clean because even machine learning is garbage in, garbage out.

Third, analytical skills to shape models and understand results.It’s up to your team to apply them, so make sure you’re up for the job. In some ways, machine learning has straightforward results. But analytical skill is still required to apply them to reap the hoped-for benefits.

Last, availability of a suitable app that can use your data to reach your marketing goal. The technology is still emerging. And while many marketing goals likely have an available app service, some may not. Also, because an app is available certainly does not mean it delivers to quality standards.

Summing Up: How to Start Using Machine Learning to Improve Marketing

Like anything else in technology, and especially in machine learning, the key is to start.  Begin and improve your machine learning models over time.

It’s very likely that your marketing problem is not new. And chances are good that there’s an app standing ready to help. Even if there are still kinks in an app, it’s still worthwhile to pilot a project.

It’s important to get valuable experience. To get exposure to machine learning’s powerful insights.  You’re certain to get new ideas, new ways to apply it, and new ways to benefit.

Finally, you may find better technology options, as well.  Someday, your organization may want to deploy a machine learning for marketing platform.  Or it may be better to build your own.  But it all starts somewhere – with an machine learning for marketing app.

…so that leaves us one question.  What kinds of machine learning apps are available?  Stay tuned for an upcoming blog.

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