Since the earliest days of the commercial Internet and the rapid growth in availability of smartphones, companies have been on a mission to seek opportunity by disrupting the status quo.
One of the best practices to emerge in the last two decades has been the emergence of “growth teams” inside the world’s fastest growing companies.
These teams mandate to run as many experiments as possible to test, learn, and come up with new and improved ideas to continuously acquire new customers and engage existing ones.
Every growth team is racing to discover approaches to marketing that will give them the competitive edge to driving growth and hitting their success metrics.
These days, that means growth teams are leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to help them innovate in ways that would have been impossible just a few years ago.
The only choice now is how quickly businesses will embrace AI at this point in time, or face being left behind if they stay frozen in the current pandemic instead of taking this opportunity to up level their existing tools and approaches to unlock cost-effective growth strategies.
Their time to experiment is now.
Automation is the key to growth during the pandemic
The future of Customer Acquisition 3.0 rests on the shoulders of intelligent machines orchestrating complex campaigns across and among key marketing platforms—dynamically allocating budgets, pruning creatives, surfacing insights, and taking actions autonomously.
These machines hold the potential to drive great performance with a far more efficient, hands-off management approach powered by the unparalleled mathematical fidelity that is otherwise undercut by a dependence on a toxic mix of spreadsheets, human biases, and “gut instincts”.
Companies are not going to win in the new COVID-19 world if they’re dependent on old-school manual processes and bloated teams. The end goal for any growth team is to ensure they successfully scale growth better, faster, and more cost effectively.
Control your levers, focus on creative and strategy, and turn over the fiddly bits to machines. You’ll get data driven results far beyond manual capabilities and much faster than you think.
You’ll create a more responsive framework for growth that can stand headwinds like COVID-19 and lead your company to even greater heights when market dynamics have improved.
Key challenge for growth teams to find the optimum human-machine balance
As more growth teams open up to fully embrace AI, they need to figure out how to find the optimal balance between humans and machines, so they can co-exist together to create a dream team for driving growth.
It’s always better for any team or business to be proactive in disrupting themselves before someone else disrupts them into a footnote — a casualty of once-in-a-lifetime global pandemic.
The focus should be on automating tasks — not jobs — to make lean teams more productive than ever before.
There are huge positive implications for getting laggards to implement AI as the foundation of their growth strategy.
With more companies working to keep the wheels of commerce grinding along, we’ll keep more people employed, and we’ll get the economy on track faster than we might otherwise, if left to our own biases and instincts.
A mix of automated intelligent machines is the way forward
AI isn’t just one specific technology, and adoption can be a daunting task. The future growth team would comprise of essentially a mix of automated intelligent machines that track, measure, and scale growth on customer acquisition campaigns across the entire customer journey.
These tools are excellent for analyzing large data sets, automating systems and workflows, running A/B tests, and optimizing audiences for paid ads.
As a growth marketer, much of what you once did manually can now be done by using a combination of AI and automation. The growth team has always been responsible to acquire, retain, and monetize as many customers as possible while spending the least amount of money.
This isn’t going to change in the future, but the way to go about executing the customer acquisition strategies to achieve those goals will.
AI saves time and money, by being better at executing complex campaigns, uncovering data insights, and getting performance results faster with less human manpower.
Companies that use AI to accelerate the rate of learning will emerge stronger than their peers — so now is no time to sit on the sidelines.
Lomit Patel is the Vice President of Growth at IMVU. Prior to IMVU, Lomit managed growth at early-stage startups including Roku (IPO), TrustedID (acquired by Equifax), Texture (acquired. by Apple) and EarthLink. Lomit is a public speaker, author, advisor, and recognized as a Mobile Hero by Liftoff. Lomit’s new book Lean AI, which is part of Eric Ries’ best-selling “The Lean Startup” series, is now available at Amazon.
This article first appeared on ClickZ.