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Episode 29

How To Personalize Marketing With AI-Generated Language & Content

Amy Heidersbach
Chief Marketing Officer for Persado
Work Smarter, Not Harder

Content plays an important role in generating, nurturing and converting leads. However, many marketers struggle with creating messaging that resonates with people and drives results.

Join us as we explore language personalization using artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions. And rest assured, you don’t need to be a data scientist or have vast automation expertise to learn and gain actionable ideas from this episode.

Topics In This Episode:

  • Machine-generated messaging
  • Rapid language experimentation
  • Customer language preferences
  • Personalization along the customer journey
  • Spectrum of automation solutions

Watch the Live Recording

Full Episode Transcripts

Cheryl Boehm: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Lead(er) Generation podcast. As we all know, content marketing plays an important part in generating, nurturing and converting leads. However, there’s a lot of us that really struggle with consistently creating the right type of content that’s really gonna get the results that we’re looking for.

Cheryl Boehm: So joining us today is Amy Heidersbach. She’s gonna talk with us more about artificial intelligence and the benefits of using AI in content creation and generation. So welcome to the show, Amy.

Amy Heidersbach: Thank you so much for having me, Cheryl. It’s great to be with you and your listeners.

Cheryl Boehm: So before we dive in to the topic of AI driven content, can you just give us a little bit of a background of your experiences and the path that you have taken to your current role as the Chief Marketing Officer of Persado?

Amy Heidersbach: I’d be happy to, although I would much rather talk about you and your viewers than myself, but let me tell you a little bit about my career journey. I often talk about career journeys as jungle gym.

Amy Heidersbach: So I jumped on early because my father was in marketing and advertising. It’s in my blood and worked on the agency side and for privately held, public and private equity backed. Businesses of all kinds, including PayPal, Visa, Capital One, CareerBuilder, Alteryx and now Persado. There were a few other stops on my jungle gym climbs, and I did jump off for a little bit after 9/11 to really think hard about where I wanted to be and what kind of work I wanted to be doing, which led me from the Midwest to the bay area.

Amy Heidersbach: So I’ve done B to B, B to C, B to D, developer and partner marketing. Have run some P and L’s as well, E-commerce P and L’s and M and A and partnership revenue businesses. But my heart and my interests lie in building brands, engaging customers all along the buyer journey.

Amy Heidersbach: And now I think a really important part of what’s happening in marketing is, is building vibrant communities around the solutions that we’re bringing to market. They are our best advocates, and it’s an exciting time to really think about and mobilize our community of users and the ecosystem around so many of these exciting technologies like Persado.

Cheryl Boehm: That’s great, and I just love hearing about different people’s paths. They may end up in the same or a similar role, but the path that they take to get there is always different. It’s so individual and personalized, and I think we can relate that to the path to purchase.

Cheryl Boehm: Everyone’s experience is very different and personalized, and I think that’s why today’s marketers are really starting to add personalization into messaging and content to build trust with their current customers and to help build a new customer base. So how can AI help with personalization and content generation? Like, how can marketers and other people within the organization use that?

Amy Heidersbach: I mean, the promise of personalization has been out there for a long time for marketers and for businesses. But when you think about it, if you’re really not understanding what makes a prospect or a customer tick and what motivates them, and you’re not able to deliver a message that is personalized to them, we’re not yet fulfilling the personalization promise, but now we can.

Amy Heidersbach: And it’s interesting because you and I could end up in let’s say, Chase United Mileage Plus’s portfolio. I don’t know if that’s a card in your wallet, but we could end up in the same segment, but have very different language preferences, and we can achieve personalization. Chase can achieve personalization unless they really understand how you and I in the same segment could actually respond very differently at different times to different messages.

Amy Heidersbach: So AI and machine learning is on a spectrum, able to help us either deliver messages more efficiently and faster than humans alone could. All the way to really delivering massive business impact and being much more effective in the delivery of those machine generated messages. And we need everything on the spectrum, just like we’ve seen in other categories, which I’m sure we’ll talk about, but that’s where we are able to identify language preferences at an individual level. Being able to predict how they will respond to content and be able to truly personalize at either a segment or a personal level, by channel, at scale. I mean, this is the world we live in now as marketers.

Cheryl Boehm: I think that’s really interesting. And I do want to dive more into messaging and AI because I feel like a lot of us, when we talk about messaging and content, we’re thinking traditionally like eBooks or white papers or blog posts. Very much are traditionally thought of as like content and messaging. Is there other applications where AI can benefit that personalization and messaging within an organization?

Amy Heidersbach: Sure, I mean, Persado has been around for several years and working with amazing enterprise brands like Chase, like Tapestry and many others that are really innovating in this space. What they see is similar to what we see, which is it’s any communication you’re sending to a prospect or a customer or a prospective employee or a current employee. So think of just AI being able to help you deliver smarter messages at every point along your target audience’s journey. Yes, marketing is prolific in this space, everything from email, social posts, television, web pages, but customer service is a very important part of that customer journey. So think about service messaging, whether it’s on an IVR or a bot. We can help with that. All the way to, we’re seeing HR pick these practices up in our work for talent. They’re adopting a lot of our marketing funnel and marketing best practices. So reaching out and making that employer brand relevant to new talent, engaging teams worldwide with messages that need a response, that require engagement. We see it at the enterprise level, being effective for all of these types of communications in the marketing and digital suite, but also across the business.

Cheryl Boehm: It’s amazing like how far reaching it is. I don’t think a lot of people understand all of the different applications. I think we tend to be more narrow and focused on just marketing, but to your point, it’s throughout that entire journey and building that affinity and beyond. And so if some of our listeners wanted to start using an AI content messaging platform, what types of data or input would they need to get started and to get the best results?

Amy Heidersbach: The market and the spectrum allows for lots of different entry points. And this category of language generation and AI content generation is shaping up to look like lots of other categories we’ve seen. Marketing automation or email delivery. MailChimp is still a really relevant kind of point solution for a lot of companies. And Adobe is a great platform for some of the same companies that use MailChimp.

Amy Heidersbach: In our space, there are lots of point solutions, easy buttons for subject lines, that just enable efficiency and speed, which teams need more and more. All the way to language generation platforms like Persado that really focus on effectiveness and impact through rapid experimentation plus language generation. And then the insights that combine to really deliver a personalized communication.

Amy Heidersbach: In any point along that spectrum, Cheryl, data is essential. And COVID has actually accelerated a lot of business’ ability to start integrating these types of AI platforms into their technology stacks, in marketing or beyond. Because we really doubled down on our investments and data hygiene, data collection, and in particular customer level data. So the rise of CDPs has really enabled marketers to use that customer profile data, that individual customer data and activate it in new ways like delivering personalized language.

Amy Heidersbach: So definitely data is at the heart of what our partners and customers focus on and need in order to bring a personalized language solution like Persado into their business for massive business impact. But you can start with point solutions as well. And in fact, I know some of those point solutions and language generation and Persado, are inside the same customer organizations, delivering different types of benefit but nonetheless helping them make better connections and more engagement with their customers and prospects.

Cheryl Boehm: So I’m gonna bring this back to marketing a little bit, like, we talked about how there’s a lot of applications within a business, but I know a lot of our audience are marketers, especially B2B marketers and content marketers. And so, selfishly, I’d love to know. So as we begin this transition or evolution to using more automation and technology, are there any skills that marketers should level up on in order to prepare themselves to start transitioning into using AI?

Amy Heidersbach: Sure. I think that just becoming familiar with AI as a capability is important. When I was at the University of Kansas studying to be an advertiser in the J-school, I never thought that I would be buying technology. I never really heard of marketing automation, I’m that old. So when Marketo and new marketing automation solutions started coming into our world as marketers, we kind of had to learn about the practice itself.

Amy Heidersbach: So there are great resources, the Marketing AI Institute, lots of resources for marketers to just bone up on AI and ML. What is it, what isn’t it? How can it help me? How do I think about it? In terms of specific skills, I’ll pose it one kind of hard skill and one soft skill that I think are really important.

Amy Heidersbach: The hard skill is just the ability to consume, analyze, and really evaluate and synthesize data. I spent some time at Alteryx, an amazing data analytics software company, and not just because I was there, but it really helped me think through the fact that we’re all becoming data workers. So everybody in the marketing practice and even in the creative suite, we need to be able to consume data, to be able to analyze and understand what’s meaningful data. And because we have so much of it, maybe what’s not. And to be able to synthesize it into insights that our teams, our agency partners, our business partners can act upon. So be a data worker and get comfortable and pruny with data, even if left brain analytics aren’t your natural tendency. You gotta be whole brained. So work out that left brain muscle.

Amy Heidersbach: The other soft skill is more rooted in what I think automation and AI are really enabling us to do as people. Which is be curious and think deeply and posit questions and ask why five times. Unfortunately, some of early automation kind of put some marketing teams that I’ve been a part of, that I’ve talked with other CMOs about on autopilot. Which one proved best, which test was more effective? Was it A or B? It’s B, let’s go with B. And we kind of got on this autopilot of go with the winner, even if we didn’t understand why.

Amy Heidersbach: So whether you’re starting with a point solution, that’s an easy button, or whether you’re working with Persado to get more into language personalization and our platform does also provide lots of insights as to why, that’s part of a big differentiator for Persado. We, as marketers need to step into this constant space of curiosity and asking, “Why? Do we think that, or do we know that? If we know it, how and what can we know?” What’s the next set of questions that we want to bring into this experimental mindset, bring into our work so that we can get these insights and ask more why’s. So I really believe deep thinking, curiosity, being comfortable in that unknown exploratory space of why is the opportunity that AI gives us from a soft skill perspective.

Cheryl Boehm: I think that was really interesting, like, being on the creative side of the business, I feel like fostering that curiosity is something that is encouraged and is maybe more natural on the creative side. But then marrying that with the data, I feel like a lot of people on the creative side have this perception that it’s all about the curiosity, but data can really help back your decisions and make your creative thinking stronger. It gives you, as you’ve said, like that why, and really gets you into the customer mindset. So I think marrying those two things is just really great advice.

Amy Heidersbach: It’s part of what unlocks the magic of being whole brained. No longer do we have to define ourselves as “I’m a right brain creative.” You might be more comfortable in that space, or “I’m a left brain marketing analysts.” We all need to have permission to be whole brained and leaders should cultivate that in their teams. Expect and provide opportunities for us to bring our whole brain thinking, no matter what our role is to the work.

Cheryl Boehm: So I heard my timer chime that we’re almost out of time. So I have one last question for you before we wrap up. And that’s something that I think a lot of people are curious about and I hear quite often is, is my job in jeopardy because of AI? I had a boss years ago who told me that one day, being a content writer, that job was just gonna be obsolete. It was gonna be gone because the robots are taking over and machines are gonna do it all. Is there any truth to that? Or is AI more of a tool that can then help us be better at our jobs?

Amy Heidersbach: Well, look at you now, you’re still, you know.

Cheryl Boehm: Still here.

Amy Heidersbach: I mean, I think that this is a perennial or at least on some kind of loop story that comes into the media, whether it was marketing automation, let’s go back to auto workers. There are still plenty of people working in the auto industry, but their jobs may have changed. The skillset may change. We don’t need humans to do repetitive tasks. And do we really want to do that anyway? Because machines are better at it. They can do more of it at scale, with less, with more competence and efficiency than humans.

Amy Heidersbach: We don’t see, at Persado, we don’t view AI as a replacement of human talent at all. And neither do any automation businesses that I’ve worked with or that we partner with. We see it as a real complement. And one of the community members in the business I used to work for, said it best, I think, and this is in the context of data analytics. They do the repetitive kind of low interest work, that’s really important to do. So that I have more time to do the fun stuff. The thinking, the curiosity, the why, what do we do next? What does this mean?

Amy Heidersbach: So I do believe that those soft skills become more important in a world where AI is doing repetitive tasks faster and better than humans can. Hopefully the promise is that it frees up our time to do the things that only humans can do. And that’s our point of view. I don’t see it as a replacement at all, it’s a complement. But it does put the onus on us to step into this new world where machines are our team members, and they have superpowers. We need to embrace our superpowers as marketers as well.

Cheryl Boehm: I think that’s great. I think every marketer would love the opportunity to embrace their superpowers and do more of the fun stuff, like you said. I mean, that’s the biggest drag is, all the repetitive tasks that we have to do and if a machine can take over that, so be it.

Amy Heidersbach: I agree, that’s a great kind of new year and opportunistic view. And I’m so glad that we’re talking about it today, Cheryl.

Cheryl Boehm: Yeah, I agree. Well, again, I really appreciate you joining us. So if our listeners would like to learn more about your company or maybe get in touch with you, is there a web address or LinkedIn, anything you’d like to share?

Amy Heidersbach: Oh, we have all the things. My email is [email protected], P-E-R-S-A-D-O. Check out our website, follow us on LinkedIn. You can also reach out to me on LinkedIn, I would love it. Let’s have a dialogue about what this all means for us as marketers. We spend most of our time as marketers because there are buyers and users. So would love to invite more people into this really exciting time where AI is entering into our creative and our communications, helping make our brands more relevant and really connect in a personal way to prospects and customers, employees, and others in our ecosystem. So Amy Heidersbach, reach out. It would be my pleasure, as has the last half hour been with you, Cheryl.

Cheryl Boehm: Great. And we’ll make sure we link to the information that you provided so if anyone wants to utilize that and get in touch, all right. Thanks again. And we appreciate everyone tuning in for this episode.

Amy Heidersbach: Bye, everyone. Have a great day, a great year.

Amy Heidersbach

Chief Marketing Officer for Persado

Amy Heidersbach is Chief Marketing Officer for Persado, where she oversees global marketing efforts. The daughter of an advertising executive, Amy is a lifelong marketer. She’s made a career out of leading transformational B2B and B2C marketing and brand initiatives. With a commitment to “full stack, integrated marketing,” Amy has a 20+ year track record of success building authentic brands, launching innovative products, creating categories, and scaling businesses in a variety of industries.

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