👋 Hi, I’m James. Thanks for checking out Building Momentum: a newsletter to help startup founders and marketers accelerate SaaS growth through product marketing.
Think back to 2021 and AI wasn’t really artificial intelligence, and more just a tree of confusing ‘if this, then that’ statements.
Jump forward to today, and AI has evolved leaps and bounds (funded by over $38bn of capital in the first half of 2021 alone).
GPT-3 is the most popular natural language algorithm, taking your text prompts and using its knowledge of almost all internet content to spit out scarily-good content – while DALL-E creates realistic images and art, also from text prompts.
But despite all the funding and hype, does it have any real function for product marketers – and how can product marketers get started?
In this post:
AI tools in product marketing today
Let’s take a look at some of the ways you might already be using artificial intelligence.
To analyse voice of customer at scale
We’re bombarded by (hopefully) useful customer feedback from every angle: customer surveys, NPS and satisfaction scores, support tickets, targeted research, and more. But trying to understand the patterns and themes at scale is difficult without several spreadsheets and a lot of time.
Tools like Chattermill allow you to collect ongoing feedback, uncover themes and sentiment at every stage of the customer lifecycle, and direct the right insights to the right teams – automatically, at scale.
To analyse sales call trends and performance
If your company uses Gong (or the many other alternatives), you’re using two types of AI: one to convert speech to text, and another to identify the common themes that arise in your sales calls.
Gong uses its own, custom training model to identify the keywords, phrases, and sections of your sales calls that relate to topics you want to learn about – whether to highlight sections of calls that talk about pricing, or when a prospect is talking about a competitor.
To write blog posts and content
I don’t know about you, but I have to be in the mood to write… but with AI, you might not need to.
Jasper is an AI content platform that helps marketers and writers to create content faster. Trained on copywriting frameworks, it’s an easy way to create outlines for blog post briefs, generate social media copy, or get inspired with auto-generated ad headlines.
Opportunities for AI in product marketing
In many ways, we’re still at the beginning of the adoption curve for artificial intelligence in product marketing. Here are just a few thoughts on where it might be going:
Helping to generate product names, messaging, and positioning
As AI gets better at understanding the nuances of language, it will be able to generate ever-more realistic product names, marketing copy, and positioning statements – helping product marketers to validate (or invalidate) their ideas, faster.
What if you could feed customer interview transcripts into an AI tool, and automatically generate personas that summarise your target audience’s jobs, pains, gains, and triggers?
What if you could prompt an AI messaging engine with personas and your product features, and create a messaging map that’s ready for use in your sales deck?
Tracking the impact of product marketing effectiveness
Be honest… how often do PMMs use data to make decisions? The tools are there, but is there the will? AI could help save product marketers many hours of analysis to ultimately prove their worth.
Without being responsible for revenue or MQL numbers, could product marketers use AI to understand how many prospects repeated the latest messaging as their own?
Could we generate automatic reports that cite revenue and NPS impacts to customers that engaged with our activation and expansion campaigns?
Can AI spot changes in customer behavior, from bounce rates on webpages with recently updated messaging, to a drop in win-rates in a particular segment, way before a human does – allowing PMMs to prevent decline and make the most of opportunities faster?
Helping to target the right customers
And finally, one of the most difficult challenges for product marketing: how do you reach the right target customers, with the right message, at the right time in their lifecycle?
We often think about our ideal customer profiles as big, broad-brush groups. But could AI identify micro-segments that allow us to create targeted messaging for smaller groups of similar customers that can be easily targeted by ABM or outbound sales based on their demographics, firmographics, techstacks, and more?
And think about the website – one website homepage for every visitor that comes to your site means it’s unlikely going to resonate with everyone. Could AI-based personalization platforms (trained against your on-brand positioning) identify your visitor and have a good stab at crafting a custom message variation?
Your sales cycle could also do with a touch of artificial intelligence. Would you see win rates increase if your sales reps had a personalized AI deal coach that encourages them to share collateral, crafts nurture campaigns, and suggests the right time for a phone outreach?
Fad or future?
As fast as they’re advancing, AI is unlikely going to be a full replacement for product marketers.
AI will definitely help PMMs to be more strategic by automating tasks, increasing creativity, and understanding the real impact of their work on the wider business.
But just how quickly PMMs will be able to outsource tasks to AI algorithms remains to be seen.
For example, this post has been written on Lex: an AI-based writing assistant that helps you to write quickly, better, and with more confidence. (The header image was created on DALL-E too!). It’s provided some inspiration, but the suggested copy has been rather bland and without character, mimicking the millions of other content marketing blog posts out there. Any AI is only as good as what it’s been trained on.
My opinion? There’s still a long way to go before AI is writing the next great sales deck or crafting targeted positioning that’s on brand and resonates with your audience.
But every product marketer should make it a goal to start learning the AI tools that I’m pretty sure will guide more and more of our work over the next few years.
Your turn: what do you think about the role of AI in product marketing?
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