AI-driven marketing initiatives are directly contributing to revenue, according to 9 in 10 executives—but trust and accuracy remain obstacles

by | May 28, 2024 | Public Relations

We’ve seen a lengthy period of generative AI trial-and-error experimentation in marketing and communications over the last 18 months, and while automation and productivity boosts have been affirmed by many, there hasn’t been a lot of data about AI’s actual bottom-line impact. New research from AI-powered conversation automation solutions provider Conversica shows that AI’s revenue-generating power is already in full flight, as 89 percent of marketing leaders reported AI-driven initiatives have directly contributed to an increase in revenue within the last year.

The firm’s new 2024 Marketing Executive AI Sentiment report, based on a survey conducted by SurveyMonkey, explores the advantages marketing leaders believe AI has brought to revenue growth and their brand over the past year, and plans for its use in the next 12 months by CMOs, VPs, and marketing executives—revealing top use cases where marketing leaders are leveraging AI for revenue growth, while highlighting their general AI trust sentiment.

AI-driven marketing

Key findings:

  • 90 percent plan to increase investment in AI by expanding the use of current tools or exploring new AI applications in the next year
  • Marketing leaders believe AI technologies have the greatest potential to impact the middle of the funnel (44 percent), with lead nurture and qualification topping their list of use cases with the greatest impact on conversion rates and revenue (45 percent)
  • 69 percent of respondents reveal their top concern is AI’s ability to deliver trustworthy, brand-accurate information
  • 53 percent of marketing leaders are concerned about losing human oversight in customer interactions with the use of AI

AI adoption in marketing

With fewer than 5 percent of marketing executives reporting no AI usage in the past 12 months, the report confirms AI has been widely adopted for marketing in the last year. Data on respondents’ plans for the future show that AI for marketing use will continue to grow over the next 12 months, with 46 percent planning to increase investment in AI technology they already use and 44 percent planning to experiment with new applications.

AI-driven marketing

“Conversica’s latest report shows businesses have moved past the ChatGPT frenzy and beyond the experimental stage to understand how AI becomes their competitive advantage,” said Jim Kaskade, CEO of Conversica, in a news release. “Savvy marketing leaders who strategically adopt comprehensive AI-powered Conversational Automation solutions for revenue-centric business operations such as lead generation, engagement, and conversions are already experiencing steady growth and concrete revenue-generating results. In fact, I’ll be as bold to say, ‘adopt or die’. For CMOs executing on the status quo, get ready for the unemployment line.”

A key finding identifies a correlation between specific AI use cases and sales conversions that resulted in revenue. Marketing leaders who plan to prioritize AI use for inbound lead engagement and outbound lead generation next year were more likely to have experienced a direct increase in revenue attributed to AI use within the last year.

Looking beyond their own immediate plans, nearly half (45 percent) of marketing leaders rated lead nurture and qualification as the AI use case with the highest potential to impact conversion rates and drive revenue growth.

AI-driven marketing

Over the next 12 months, respondents’ plans for AI use cases to impact the funnel include:

  • Improving real-time engagement and responsiveness to leads (65.5 percent)
  • Scaling outbound marketing for lead generation (59.5 percent)

Inbound follow-up, which the group selected as their top planned use case for the next year, was a distant runner-up when compared to potential conversion rate impact, with less than a quarter placing it at the top of their list.

“As new tools are launched and marketing use cases continue to expand across businesses and industries, we expect to see organizations focus on refining their AI strategies and applications to harness their full potential. In the next year, AI will deliver even more revenue opportunities and impact growth as marketing executives scale their use cases and reap the benefits,” added Kaskade.

AI-driven marketing

Overall trust in AI is high, with brand accuracy a top concern

The report reveals that 89.5 percent of marketing leaders trust AI at least somewhat to act autonomously within their organizations, with 44.5 percent reporting complete trust and 44.5 percent some trust. When asked to highlight their specific concerns for conversational AI use cases, respondents cited AI’s ability to deliver trustworthy, brand-accurate information most (69 percent), followed by losing human oversight in customer interactions (53 percent).

Given these concerns, to ensure a reliable AI integration process within a company, leaders must create a transparent process that allows human oversight, and only acquire solutions from trusted AI providers that have proven track records for success in the specific use cases they’re seeking to deploy. 

Download the full report here.

The research study was conducted online using a random sample of 454 CMOs, VPs, and marketing executives within the United States by SurveyMonkey on behalf of Conversica in February 2024.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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