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  • Writer's pictureThe Orange Bear

Digital Marketing: Embracing Experimentation in the AI Era (2023)


Digital Marketing AI

In today's rapidly advancing tech landscape, companies that stay static risk stagnation. While the potential of a failed experiment can be daunting, an unwillingness to try can prove even more detrimental—especially with the pervasive role of AI in modern industries.


A telling Harvard Business Review survey revealed that advertisers running 15 or more experiments annually experienced a remarkable 30% boost in their ad performance. This striking differential underscores the value of trial, error, and evolution in achieving transformative results, and moreover, diminishes the risks.


Melissa Redman, SEM account director at Saatchi & Saatchi Canada, offers her insights:


Partnering to Power Ahead

Advertising agencies play a pivotal role in ushering brands into the age of AI-powered solutions, ensuring their competitive edge. Saatchi & Saatchi Canada, for instance, assists brands in navigating the intricacies of adopting AI tools, even when faced with challenges.


Such a journey is not without its hurdles. For a particular client without an e-commerce foundation, testing AI tools posed considerable risk. Nonetheless, the trust between the client and the agency enabled inventive solutions. This relationship emphasizes the importance of building trust in business partnerships.


A methodical, phased approach earned the client's confidence. As Redman states, "Nuances abounded during test setups, but we prioritize transparency, ensuring clients are involved every step of the way." Their collaborative endeavor comprised meticulously selected campaigns spanning three months, accumulating enough data to warrant further experimental ventures.


This episode accentuates that a client's receptivity to innovation, coupled with clear performance targets, establishes a secure testing environment. Redman emphasizes, "Clients' proactive involvement during testing enables joint strategizing, ensuring that even if a test falters, the insights derived catalyze the next iteration."


Guiding Clients into the Future

Engendering an experimental mindset is an art, tailored to each client's unique needs and constraints. For smaller clients, restricted budgets necessitate optimizing every penny. Meanwhile, midsize clients might not immediately gravitate towards novel tech, leading to intensive deliberations on the merits of AI experimentation.


The challenge extends beyond mere expenditure. It's about aligning investment with overarching business objectives. Redman elaborates, "Our dialogue with clients revolves around demonstrating the promise of innovations. By elucidating their potential impact, clients typically come onboard."


AI's prowess isn't confined to new tools. Enhancements in existing tools, like broad match, backed by machine learning and large language models, refine marketers' understanding of user intent. Entrusting trained AI with ad placements might unearth hitherto uncharted territories of success.


Crafting a Future-Proof Strategy

No magic formula guarantees enduring business relevance. However, cultivating an experimental mindset serves as an indispensable compass in today's volatile tech arena.


Redman posits three cardinal tenets for this cultural shift:

  1. Mastery Over Technology: Dive deep into understanding the technologies you intend to employ, ensuring you can articulate their potential to clients.

  2. Blueprint for Adoption: Recognize the steps to integrate new tech and establish pertinent objectives or benchmarks. Setting SMART goals can be particularly effective.

  3. Systematic Testing: To gauge the efficacy of experimental endeavors, implement structured tests, providing a performance benchmark for comparison.

Venturing into the world of AI-aided experimentation might appear fraught with risks. Yet, the hazard of lagging behind in a constantly evolving tech space looms larger. Embracing change as it emerges guarantees a front-row seat in the future's unfolding narrative.


Saatchi & Saatchi's ethos, as Redman encapsulates, revolves around "being the strategic linchpin for clients, offering avant-garde solutions that propel their businesses." Their tight-knit collaboration with tech giants like Google facilitates a continual influx of fresh insights and tools.


As AI's ubiquity augments, brands must shed apprehensions, embrace experimentation, and stride confidently into the future. The risk of occasional missteps is dwarfed by the colossal potential of groundbreaking success.

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