15th Jan, 2019

CMOs: Get Your Organization to Love AI

There’s been a lot of chatter over the last several years about self-driving cars. The prospect of falling asleep while the car drives itself scares people, and I don’t blame them. We’re not there yet. But marketing teams often have a similar mentality when it comes to AI. The problem is, AI isn’t a million miles away. It’s right here. It’s right now. It’s generating massive results for your competitors.

If, as a CMO, you recently got on board with Artificial Intelligence, you have at least started to overcome the fear and see it as an essential part of your marketing and sales strategies. But getting buy-in from junior members who will be most involved with the technology can require some selling. Their tentativeness and push back can come from the same fear people have over self-driving cars — it’s hard to give up complete control over an audience they’ve engaged with for years — and sometimes they even worry the computer will replace them.

Like you, with the right information and training, they will be able to see the power of AI for the business and even for their careers. These three steps will help you accelerate the acceptance and adoption of AI with your marketing team and company.

Demystify marketing AI

Perhaps you remember the days when we were afraid of selling products online. “People need to see it in the store, touch it, try it on and get peace of mind of by talking it over with a knowledgeable sales rep,” we once thought. That’s long gone. Now, we’re going through this with AI: People can be hesitant to try something they have never used before and have no experience with.

The marketing manager will not be a pro at setting up parameters for a programmatic ad buy right away. Demystify AI by ensuring the team is shown exactly how the software works, and how it would be impossible for a human to be able to make the same data-driven decisions in real time and at scale. You may need to involve your IT, operations and data science teams for some backend work. The MarTech vendor should be able to provide an onboarding team and process to help your team get used to the inner-workings of the AI-powered software. Get references from current clients to ensure the process runs smoothly and effectively.

As you’re going through the process, stress that we already have experience with AI and have used it and benefited it in our everyday lives. If you’ve talked to Alexa or Siri, had products recommended to you by Amazon or asked a question of a chatbot, you are already experienced with it. Drive this home with the team — it makes the new software more relatable, and may make them excited to be able to get their hands on such a valuable piece of technology.


Next, empower your team to own the technology. This is where they’ll see that they are still in charge, but AI is taking what they are doing and making it better. There is no way a marketer can remember the same number of words or variations as a machine or the millions of ads they’ve deployed and every customer who interacted with them. They’ll uncover new insights. For example, your brand may be going after the Millennial market, but your customer base is actually 50-somethings who buy for Millennials. By broadening your parameters, the marketing manager’s KPIs will rise — and they will be a hero within the company. This can help the employee’s career advancement. It’s a win-win.

Sell Up

In addition to praising the employee, it’s important to tout the impressive strides the marketing team has made to executives and the sales team. For example, prove AI was a valuable investment to the CFO by showing the vast growth in sales since signing the contract. It will help ensure executive team buy-in when it comes time for renewal (or upgrading your package). Additionally, it will elevate marketing’s visibility within the company, which in turn will lead to more respect and higher morale.


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