By Amanda Crangle
“Why should I work with a local water-treatment company instead of buying online?” I asked OpenAI’s chatbot ChatGPT.
ChatGPT responded, “Expert advice: A local water-treatment company will have trained professionals who can assess your specific water-treatment needs and recommend the best
solution for your home or business.
“Personalized service: A local company can provide personalized service and attention to your specific needs and water concerns, rather than just selling you a generic product.
“Convenience: Working with a local company allows you to easily communicate with them and receive prompt service if any issues arise.
“Trustworthiness: Working with a local company allows you to build trust and establish a relationship with the professionals who are working on your water-treatment needs.
“Support the local economy: Choosing to work with a local company helps to support small businesses and the local economy.
“It is important to do thorough research and consider all options before making a decision about your water-treatment needs. Both online and local companies may have their own pros and cons, and it is important to weigh all options and choose the best solution for your specific needs,” ChatGPT responded.
I sat staring at my computer, slightly stunned. I’d tried other AI content generators in the past, and this was blowing them out of the water.
AI Is Already Here
Artificial intelligence (AI) has been an essential part of my world in digital marketing for a long time. Machine learning, a subset of AI, touches nearly every aspect of the work my team and I provide.
A few years ago, our team opted for a manual approach to bidding on keywords for our clients in Google Ads. However, after split-testing Google’s smart bidding options, we found that, in many cases, Google’s machine-learning algorithms can outperform our manual bidding efforts. The great news is that this time savings allows us to spend more time doing things machines currently cannot do well, such as coming up with creative and innovative new ideas for our clients.
With the bursting forth of ChatGPT on the international stage, it is even more apparent to those inside and outside of the digital marketing space that a tangible shift is happening that no one can avoid. Machines are quickly outpacing us in many aspects. The global AI market is booming. It will reach more than $190 billion by 2025 at a compound annual growth rate of 36.62 percent.
It’s easy to let our imagination get the best of us and wonder if we’ll even be able to survive in a world where machines join together, scheming diabolical plots to destroy all humanity. However, it’s more likely that machines will aid us in becoming better versions of ourselves. As usual, it’s up to us to make the most of this ever-changing world and adjust our own mind-sets to take advantage of what’s right in front of us.
Using AI to Improve Lives
Industries all over the world are using AI to improve people’s lives. In one study, researchers from Stanford University used deep-learning algorithms to analyze medical images of skin lesions and accurately identify melanoma, a type of skin cancer. The algorithm achieved accuracy rates that were on par with or better than those of board-certified dermatologists. AI-powered diagnostic tools like this could help identify melanoma at an earlier stage, potentially saving lives and reducing health care costs.
One language learning app uses AI algorithms to personalize language lessons for users based on the person’s individual learning style and progress. This opens up new opportunities for education and career advancement by helping millions of people around the world easily and effectively learn new languages.
How can we use AI in the water-treatment industry specifically to improve the success of our digital marketing?
- Marketing communication: Because of the many hats most employees wear inside a small business, many people struggle with content creation. AI allows us to quickly and easily outline social media ideas, blog articles, and even email sequences.
- Lead generation: Google and other search engines have leveraged AI for years to show users the right information at the right time. You’ve likely been a part of this process, intentionally or not. How you show up in organic searches, Google Maps, and ads is highly dependent on machine learning. Understanding how to optimize these systems and train them to get more high-quality leads is a science and an art. Ask your marketing team what specifically is being done to ensure the algorithms are reaching your ideal target audience, and use that to drive the best traffic to your website. Be sure to also provide to your marketing team data about what is happening to the leads sent to you so the team can further help the machine-learning algorithms increase your marketing return on investment.
- Customer service: AI-powered chatbots are becoming increasingly popular in customer service and support. Water-treatment dealers can use chatbots to provide instant customer support and answer frequently asked questions, freeing up staff time for more complex tasks. Chatbots can also be used to gather customer data and feedback, which can inform future marketing campaigns.
For example, a water-treatment dealer might use a chatbot on the company website to help customers troubleshoot common problems with their water-treatment systems. The chatbot could also gather customers’ data, such as their location and the types of water-treatment systems they have, which could be used to personalize future marketing messages.
- Email marketing: AI can be used to optimize email marketing campaigns by analyzing open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates. Water-treatment dealers can use AI to improve the effectiveness of their email marketing and increase customer engagement.
For example, a dealer might use AI to analyze email marketing data to identify which subject lines and email content are most effective at driving customer engagement. The business could then adjust its email marketing strategy to focus on these elements.
- Social media: Social media is an important channel for water-treatment dealers to connect with customers and promote their products and services. AI can be used to monitor social media for mentions of a water-treatment dealer or its products. This can help dealers to identify customer feedback and respond in a timely manner, as well as track sentiment and monitor trends.
As the pendulum swings further toward automation, algorithms, and AI, an equal and opposing swing needs to happen to humanize our marketing, operations, and customer service. Ensure you use your humanity to meet people’s emotional needs with your marketing communications. This will help people to connect with you and your team on a deeper level.
At this time, AI for small businesses is not capable of being emotionally intelligent, creating new and innovative ideas, or feeling human emotions. Until this changes, be sure to check how much you’re relying on machines and proactively humanizing your marketing and services.
- MarketsandMarkets. “Artificial Intelligence Market Share, Size, Trends – [2022 – 2027].” MarketsandMarkets, August 9, 2022, www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/artificial-intelligence-market-74851580.html.
- “Deep Learning Algorithm Does As Well As Dermatologists in Identifying Skin Cancer,” Stanford News, Stanford University, January 25, 2017, news.stanford.edu/2017/01/25/artificial-intelligence-used-identify-skin-cancer.
- Peranandam, Cynthya, “AI Helps Duolingo Personalize Language Learning,” Wired online, December 6, 2018, www.wired.com/brandlab/2018/12/ai-helps-duolingo-personalize-language-learning.
About the author
Amanda Crangle and the team at Lamplight Digital Media help residential and commercial water-treatment companies profitably grow their dealerships using digital marketing. They have worked with over 100 water-treatment dealerships spanning North America, managed millions of dollars in ad spend, and performed over 1,000 scientific website split tests. Crangle intimately knows the water industry, having worked in a dealership as a sales rep and as a general manager.