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8 Considerations When Selecting an AI Marketing Vendor Posted on : Feb 13 - 2020

Does a landscape for artificial intelligence (AI) marketing vendors exist? You’d think so, with all the hype for what AI and machine learning can do for marketers. And, after all, half of companies are using some form of AI in marketing initiatives, according to a Deloitte report last month. So where is that formal grouping of such vendors? The Gartner Magic Quadrant? The Forrester Wave? Even Scott Brinker’s Martech Supergraphic has no category for AI vendors.

Of course, there are hundreds, probably thousands, of vendors claiming they can power marketing processes, campaigns and content with some form of AI or machine learning. "Virtually every marketing technology vendor has an AI story," Gartner researchers Andrew Frank, Mike McGuire and Jason McNellis found in their Cool Vendors in AI for Marketing report published last October.

But is AI in marketing at the capability stage, or do vendors provide all-in-one AI marketing suites? You don't see vendors branding themselves as "drag-and-drops," right? They're a Web Content Management (WCM) vendor that has drag-and-drop. It's one of many questions marketers need to ask in their AI marketing vendor selection process.

It's Going to Take Some Work

So, what can marketers do when they're in the market for "smarter" technology for their martech stacks beyond Google Search? They need to work, and it's a lot. For marketers on the hunt for “smarter” technology, nothing will come easy in terms of selection. If you’re a marketer thinking of investing in AI capabilities, experts told CMSWire you’ll need a deep, thoughtful selection process that includes knowing how smart your vendor’s technology actually is, who’s on their team for engineers, what specific uses case you want to improve and knowing the impacts on your marketing organization in the near- and long-term.

“You really have to be able to ask different questions to these vendors,” said Paul Roetzer, founder and CEO of PR 20/20 and creator of the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute. “At the end of the day, is it smarter technology than what you have now? You don't go buy AI technology. You're not trying to find an AI solution. You're trying to find a smarter solution to a problem you have or an activity you're trying to execute.” View More