Crises have a way of accelerating technology trends that were already well underway. The coronavirus pandemic could end up being the event that adds momentum for the automation of jobs in the digital marketing industry as companies try to survive and bounce back.

The key question to ask is: why are you looking to automate something? The answer generally comes down to improving productivity, cutting costs and increasing profit.

Here are five key marketing areas ripe for innovation now:

Automated media buying

Machine learning is particularly well suited to making predictions when given a large amount of data. Major marketing platform providers like Google and Facebook use machine learning to deliver more relevant ad experiences to consumers and improve the performance of their offerings in an effort to get advertisers to spend more.

Advances in machine learning have given rise to independent software providers building out packaged solutions to save time for media buyers. They help advertisers take advantage of machine learning algorithms to improve their media buying efficiency without the overhead of building and maintaining custom-developed software on their own (an expensive proposition).

These systems can adjust bid strategies to shift budgets around to better performing creatives and different customer segments to make ongoing performance improvements without manual intervention.

Cross-channel marketing orchestration

The next step up from automated media buying involves more complex systems that can work across multiple digital marketing platforms. Orchestration is a key concept in this class of autonomous marketing solutions.

It goes far beyond automated bid management to consider your marketing funnel, customer journey, or life cycle. Systems that orchestrate marketing efforts with a more robust view of the customer journey encompasses a host of benefits driven by AI and automation, particularly in the following areas:

  • Segmenting and targeting customers
  • Predicting behaviors across various channels with a unified view of the customer journey
  • Fine-tuning and perfecting cross-sell and upsell opportunities
  • Identifying the right channel to drive engagement based on reach and frequency modeling
  • Improving attribution accuracy
  • Fraud detection and protection

Virtual marketing assistants

Voice-based interfaces to intelligent assistants like Amazon Alexa represent an area of growth and exploration in the marketing world. While most “assistants” are designed for consumer use or customer service applications, these intuitive voice interfaces hold promise in helping marketers better understand what’s happening in their digital media efforts, uncover trends, adjust, and take advantage of opportunities in new ways that would have been too laborious or complex using traditional user interfaces or reporting dashboards.

Content curation and generation 

The amount of digital content available today is absolutely staggering. On Instagram alone, consumers publish 95 million images per day according to statistics from the company in February 2019. More than 72,000 GB of global internet traffic is moving around every second.

So what kind of content do your customers like? What resonates with your prospective customers? Artificial intelligence can help marketers sift through huge amounts of content to help them find out what their customers are spending their time consuming or engaging with.

This can lead to ideas around what types of media outlets might be fruitful places to advertise. These insights can also fuel your content development, content marketing, and advertising efforts from a creative perspective.

Customer support and service

There are many great benefits of AI-powered customer service for businesses and consumers alike. For consumers, chat-based interfaces are accessible, feel familiar, and provide immediate responses to most common queries.

It saves consumers time compared to wading through support lines, phone trees, and support queues, or waiting for customer support emails to get addressed and answered by a support agent.

The volume, structure, and repetitive nature of routine service requests make automation highly approachable with off-the-shelf solutions that plug into common chat interfaces ranging from text messaging, Facebook Messenger, and beyond.

Automating these five marketing areas during the coronavirus fit nicely into a broader framework of a customer life cycle, which together would significantly impact improving productivity, cutting costs and increasing profit. And for any of these disciplines, AI offers a high enough “risk to reward” ratio to make the potential benefits of time and resources involved worth the cost and distraction factor.

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.


Lomit is a marketing and growth leader with experience scaling hyper-growth startups like Tynker, Roku, TrustedID, Texture, and IMVU. He is also a renowned public speaker, advisor, Forbes and HackerNoon contributor, and author of "Lean AI," part of the bestselling "The Lean Startup" series by Eric Ries.