Hey, big hello from Portland, Oregon. Welcome to another episode of B2B Marketing and More with Pam. Today, I have an exceptional guest, Paul Roetzer, founder of the Marketing AI Institute and the PR 20/20. And he recently launched an exciting product.
Paul is also the author of The Marketing Performance Blueprint and The Marketing Agency Blueprint, also he is a creator of the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Conference (MAICON) and the AI Academy for Marketers. As a speaker, he is focused on making artificial intelligence approachable and actionable, and helping change agents drive transformation through marketing talent, technology and strategy.
In this episode:
- How to apply Artificial Intelligence to marketing
- The new product – AI Academy for Marketers
- What would the future of work look like to marketers?
- Will AI take over the marketer’s jobs? Will some marketing jobs be eliminated because of technology advancement?
- What is the best way to learn about official intelligence and its functions?
- How should marketers implement or even incorporate artificial intelligence into their work?
- Access free and ungated use case assessment tool: AI Score for Marketers
Quotes from the episode:
“In an ideal world, that’s where we’re trying to get to with AI tools in marketing and sales today, we want the artificial intelligence to assist the marketer, the salesperson at doing their job, in those repetitive data-driven tasks.”
“What [marketers] need to do is remove the abstract nature of AI. They need not be afraid of the topic because it isn’t Sci-Fi; it is actually a pretty easy thing to understand what it is and what it does.”
Hey, big hello from Portland, Oregon. Welcome to another episode of B2B Marketing and More with Pam. Today, I have a very special guest, Paul Roetzer, the Marketing AI Institute founder and the PR2020. And he recently launched a very nice product. I want to get into that, and we’ll talk more about our favorite topic, Artificial Intelligence. Let’s get started.
Alright, Paul, so happy to have you on my show. So tell me what’s going on. Yeah, it’s always very, very happy to see you.
Paul Roetzer: Good to see you. What’s going on? We’re all sitting in our houses, in our offices. We’re trying to get human interaction through Zoom. That’s pretty much what’s going on. I mean, it’s, I don’t remember the last time we were together, but it’s been too long in person.
Pam Didner: It’s been a while. It has been.
Paul Roetzer: We’ve been able to connect a couple, a couple of times on Zoom, luckily over the last few months, but yeah, it’s just not the same, is it (laughs).
Pam Didner: Yes. Yes. I can’t wait–I don’t know when this will be over—that we have a chance to see each other at the conferences again, but I noticed that you have been quite busy and you launch a new product. It’s called the AI Academy for Marketers. How is that different from, say, the AI Marketing Institute/PR 2020?
Paul Roetzer: Yeah, so the Marketing AI Institute is the business. So, I spun it off out of PR 2020. So PR 2020 is my marketing agency. Some people may recognize that brand because we were HubSpot’s first partner back in 2007. So my marketing agency is 15 years old next week.
Pam Didner: Oh wow, amazing. Yay! So 15 years, I think that’s a massive and major milestone.
Paul Roetzer: Yeah, we’ll do some social distance drinking. And, um, out of that agency, in 2016, we created a blog called marketing AI Institute, and we just started writing about AI. And the idea was if other people are interested in it; also, we’ll turn it into a business. And so fast forward to 2018, we had about 5,000 subscribers to that blog. Based on that growth and based on some prompting from you. You, I believe we were at, uh, where the Content Tech. I think maybe in like March of that year?
Pam Didner: Yeah, I think it’s 2017.
Paul Roetzer: Right. Okay. And I won’t use the exact language like “Paul, you have an event business”–with a couple of other words. (Pam laughs)
Pam Didner: Yeah, I think I was cursing too (laughs)!
Paul Roetzer: Yeah, so you were prompting me, “you should think about turning this into event business so that we did. So in 2019, we took Marketing AI Institute made it a separate business. And then we launched the Marketing AI conference, which, you know, you’re familiar with, in July of 2019.
And then 2020 would have been year two of that conference, which is the main piece of marketing AI Institute. The plan was to introduce online education on day two. So on my day two keynote, I was going to go up on stage and say “thanks for being here” to these 500 people. You can now learn year-round through our Online Academy.”
Well, when we had to cancel the conference in March of 2020, we realized like, “okay, we should probably go ahead and introduce the online education play anyway.” And so that’s what we did. So we wanted to do our whole mission at the Institute is to make AI approachable and actionable to marketers around the world. By going to online education, we also made it accessible. And so the idea was matter who you are, where you are around the world we wanted it to make it easy for you to learn about AI so you could apply it to your business.
Pam Didner: When I was meeting with you back in 2017, we had that great conversation. I’m pretty sure I was interviewing for my book at that time. Right, I was publishing my second book, Effective Sales Enablement, and it has one specific chapter about technology and artificial intelligence, so thank you so much for your insight.
Paul Roetzer: Thank YOU. Your words always stuck with me.
Pam Didner: So, can I take you back, way back? How did you get interested in AI to start with? There’s got to be a tipping point or a point, “okay. This is something that is going to have a big impact in any field sales or marketing or, you know, even our daily lives.” When did you get started interested in that specific topic?
Paul Roetzer: 2011. The progression was, I mentioned we were HubSpot’s first partner. So we were very, um, front row seat to marketing automation and the whole growth of that industry. So we were big in marketing technology. So 2011, it was late January, IBM Watson wins on Jeopardy. So beats Ken Jennings.
Pam Didner: I remember that yeah.
Paul Roetzer: So, the world is now like, you know, it’s the topic of more interest. That April, I started writing the manuscript for my first book, The Marketing Agency Blueprint. When I came out of writing the book. I started being curious about the AI thing. What was Watson? Could that eventually be applied to marketing? So I shortly after that read a book called Automate This by Christopher Steiner, and he talked about intelligent algorithms and how they disrupted all these industries.
And so once I started comprehending what AI was, I was like, “well, it’s obviously going to change marketing and sales, like it seems inevitable to me,” and yet no one was talking about it.
Pam Didner: 2011? No. Now we’re still talking about marketing automation and CRM. We’re still talking about it, but that was still, you know, a major topic at that time.
Paul Roetzer: Human-powered automation, Human-based rules. So then fast forward to 2014, I’m writing my second book about marketing talent, tech and strategy, and in the tech section, there are about 500 words about what if AI were to get applied to marketing and sales? And if you remembered, back in 2014, HubSpot was IPOing, zero AI in their platform. At the time, Salesforce bought Exact Target for two and a half billion, zero AI. At the time, Exact Target had bought part off or 170 million. So literally like billions of dollars for marketing software, that’s dumb. Meaning, the only way it got smarter was if humans did it.
And so on, I’m looking, thinking, “this makes no sense, like it’s, it has to come to the marketing industry.” And so, once I wrote it in the book, that became everything I did public speaking about. So starting in 2015, I did a talk called Origin of the Marketing Intelligence Engine at South by Southwest. And then that became all I researched and talked about after that.
Pam Didner: So the rest of it is history.
Paul Roetzer: Pretty much.
Pam Didner: With that being said, can you be very specific and share some examples of how AI can apply to marketing?
Paul Roetzer: We guide people to look for narrow use cases. Because AI– So again, what is it if we take even a further step back? What is artificial intelligence? It’s just a collection of tools and technologies that make machines smart.
Pam Didner: Or anticipate I’ll need or answer our questions.
Paul Roetzer: Yes. It gives the machine human-like abilities to see, speak, learn, and understand; the machine can’t do any of that stuff on its own. And to make predictions about what we ask it to predict. So what we always tell people is to look at the things you do every day that are data-driven, repetitive and require you to predict an outcome or behavior.
So if you’re going to send an email, you’re at really the core of that is you’re likely trying to get someone to take any action, whether it’s to buy a product or read an article or whatever it may be. So you’re subconsciously predicting. What subject lines should I use that’s going to get them to open this?
Once they open this, you’re trying to predict what links you should put it have in there and what the copy should be and what the CTA button should be and what the image should be. And you’re like, all of these are a collection of predictions that you’re subconsciously making to drive an outcome.
So we start looking at whether it’s paid media and you’re doing digital ad spend and which creative will work best, to social media–what should I share and when? And what hashtags should I use? To email, to content marketing–what blog posts should I write? And what should I include in the blog post? All of these daily activities for many of us really, you’re trying to predict outcomes that then guys, what you do. That’s the stuff where machines excel. Intelligent machines excel at data-driven repetitive, predictive things.
Pam Didner: You are saying that we should look at our, where, uh, our job and we also, we always have templates and process, right. To do our job, right. If we want to send the email campaigns, we have to select the content. We have to, uh, write a copy. We have images and that we have to select, and we have to put that email together. We send it out.
Because it’s somehow a template, I’m a process being set up. There are certain tasks in the job that AI can take over to do for us. They probably can write a copy. They probably can select the images. They probably can also automatically send it to the people. So that sounds great.
Do you think that AI will take over the marketer’s jobs? Do you think some of the marketing’s jobs will be eliminated because of that technological advancement?
Paul Roetzer: Yes. Um, I think in the short term. I created something called the Marketer-to-machine Scale, and the idea is to do what you do, what happens in the autonomous vehicle industry. So a Tesla today is Level 3. This is an industry-standard rating scale. There’s goes zero to five. It’s Level 3. At Level 3, the machine can drive itself in some conditions, but the Human is there to oversee and correct if needed.
Pam Didner: Yes. So we are not the primary driver anymore. We are kind of like a facilitator. We are helping. Yeah.
Paul Roetzer: In, in an ideal world, that’s where we’re trying to get to with AI tools in marketing and sales today. We want the AI to assist the marketer, the salesperson at doing their job, in those repetitive data-driven tasks. It doesn’t mean that we flip a switch and AI replaces the need for this role, this role. It means those roles become more enjoyable because you don’t have to do repetitive things anymore.
There is no full autonomy in marketing as there is no true full autonomy in cars today. I don’t foresee a near term future where any AI. Any marketing job can be truly automated to a full degree where the Human isn’t even overseeing the AI. I don’t see that happening.
Pam Didner: Yeah. Um, there is no marketing robot that I’m aware of. Are you aware of some start-ups doing it? (laughs)
Paul Roetzer: No, and if a vendor tells you they have it, go find a different vendor because you should not see the words “full autonomy” on any vendor’s site right now because it’s a lie.
Pam Didner: 100% agree with that. Yeah. The way I see it, we have to co-exist with artificial intelligence. For the– in the near future. And with that being said, as a marketer, what is the best way to learn about official intelligence? Why can’t we learn about maybe not necessarily? We want to be coders, but how does it operate? You know, what is supervised learning? What is unsupervised learning? What’s machine learning? What’s, you know, what is the opaque AI?
You know, all that term is kind of important to understand and understand how artificial intelligence works, but not to the point that we become incredibly technical. So how do you suggest that the marketers learn more about AI and how AI functions?
Paul Roetzer: I would argue that most marketers will never know nor care what unsupervised and supervised learning is. Nor will they care about the eight common machine learning models of clustering and linear regression. And like the marketers don’t need to know that generally speaking.
What they need to know is what is AI capable of doing to identify and prioritize use cases internally. And then they need to know who the go-to experts are, who do know what machine learning is and how it works. And the data scientists who can help them prepare the data properly and ensure that there’s no bias built-in.
And like there are technical things. And so I kind of liken this to any other marketing technology you would buy. You don’t have to become a true technologist. There will be those who are marketers by day and, like, technologists because we’re geeks and we like that stuff. And you figure out those other things that you were listing. Still, for many marketers, like a content marketing manager, or maybe even like a VP of Marketing, you may never actually know the machine learning models. You know, though, you’re right team spends a hundred hours a month doing this thing, that you now understand the machine could do 80% of that work. And you’re able to go find the right tool, onboard that tool, upskill your team by getting them a base level understanding of what it is and how it works, and then redistribute those hours to some unique task human.
Pam Didner: More productive and more strategic value add.
Paul Roetzer: Yeah. So look, I think to answer your question real quick, they need to remove the abstract nature of AI. They need not be afraid of the topic because it isn’t Sci-Fi. It is pretty easy to understand what it is and what it does. And once you accept that, you go read your book or take an online course. You’re like, now you embrace the idea that there’s a smarter way to do marketing.
Pam Didner: Yeah. I still feel as a marketer, um, that you need to have a certain understanding of the marketing technology. You know, you need to understand the terminology a little bit. You probably don’t have to do it. You are right. You don’t need to understand how machine learning works, but you need to understand machine learning. For example, you don’t need to understand how AI assists HubSpot or even Salesforce, but you need to understand their methodology approaches to make that happen.
So, um, I think we are talking the same thing, but I always feel that the marketers need to be comfortable and embrace the technology. And a lot of time that the best way to embrace that technology is trying to understand it. Does that make sense? So that’s where I’m coming from. But I understand, like, for example, I’m a marketer, you all might get a, we don’t have to go down to the deep weeds to understand how that’s done, but we need to understand what that is and then maybe the approaches that were taken.
Paul Roetzer: And I’ll give you an example. So I took Andrew Ng’s Intro to Machine Learning class on Coursera a couple of years ago. After the third week, it started going deep into statistical models. And like, I was like, “okay, I’m good.” Like, I now know everything I set out to know: what is machine learning and what does it do? And I get the different models and understand the scenarios with which you would use them in marketing. And I’m done. Like I’m out now. I’m going to go call Chris Penn. If something comes up, I’ll just go find my friend who figured out the rest of it and let him help me. (laughs)
Pam Didner: I love that! That’s, that’s a great point. Uh, you and I are probably on the same page about that, as well. So I took a couple of very technical courses on Coursera about AI, but after like two or three weeks, I say, “I’m done. I got the gist and also the understanding I need in terms of how things work.”
Paul Roetzer: I think that’s a good learning lesson for young professionals is like. You don’t have to start– like if you get into a book and it’s dense, and it’s like, “Okay, I’m not learning”, don’t force yourself to go 500 pages into it. Like get what you need out of it and move on to the next resource. Like just know what your outcome is. I didn’t want to become a machine learning engineer, so I didn’t need to go through Lessons 7-15. (laughs) I was good after.
Pam Didner: Right. But that also come from the perspective that you need to know yourself. Yes. You need to know your skillset. You need to know who you are, and then you can make that decision and say, “okay, you know, this is my job. This is what I do. This amount of knowledge, for the time being, is good enough. And the rest of it, I have to let it go.”
Paul Roetzer: You need a confidence level based on what you’re trying to achieve in your career. I think it is a good way to look at it.
Pam Didner: Awesome. Excellent. Well said. So do you have any suggestions on how marketers should implement or even incorporate artificial intelligence into their work? What are a couple of steps, Like from your perspective? You know, it can be a thinking process. It can be the approach.
Paul Roetzer: Yeah, so in AI Academy for Marketers, I teach a course called Piloting AI, and it’s a common talk I’ll give at conferences when we’re going to conferences. So what I guide people to do is make a spreadsheet. Write down in a column for all the things you do every month and then have a column B; it’s like, how frequently do you, as a daily? Weekly? Monthly? Then a column that says, how many hours did you spend doing it? And then a column that says, what would be your value if you could intelligently automate this? And just do a one to five ratings, five being “it transformed my life.” One being, “yeah, it’s all right.”
Do that, go through it. Take the things that are level fives, and then go search AI for that thing. So like just go find a tool built to do the thing you spend a bunch of time doing, and you know it’d be valuable to you. Use that as your pilot project to prove to yourself and your team that AI can have either an efficiency gain or a performance gain. Cause any AI you use, those would be the two reasons you would do it–you want to reduce it. Reduce costs by increasing efficiency, or you want to accelerate performance or give yourself a greater probability of achieving success. Like otherwise you don’t, you don’t do it. You need a reason to put AI into something.
Pam Didner: So it sounds like the course and co-pilot AI can help you conduct an assessment and give our audience templates to evaluate their workflows. Evaluate the repetitive tasks they do regularly, and then determine the areas they want to allocate or distribute to AI and then source to technology accordingly.
Paul Roetzer: Yeah, and we also have, there’s a free tool. I’ll give you, I’ll send you the link you put in the show notes, but it’s score.marketing.AIinstitute.com. And we built a use case assessment tool. So there are 49 use cases in their common AI use cases. And you can—
Pam Didner: Can you say the name of that course again or the topics?
Paul Roetzer: AI Score for Marketers, but it’s score.marketing.AIinstitute.com. And it’s un-gated. You can give your contact information if you want, but what it’ll do is walk you through the 49 use cases. You rate them on a zero to five scale. And then on the results page shows you all the ones you rated a 3-5 and recommends vendors if we have them in our database to do those things.
Pam Didner: I love that. That’s a great tool. I want to check that one out.
Paul Roetzer: And we’re using it right now to do a state of the industry survey with Drift. So we teamed up with Drift to take the data and turn it into a state of industry report.
Pam Didner: Excellent. So this is great. You are sharing a lot of useful information and the, from your online, um, uh, Marketing AI Institute, that tools and also those templates that people can use. And I’m also very grateful that you launched the online platform AI Academy for Marketers. If you are listening or you are watching the show, please check that out.
Before we wrap this up, I want to ask you one parting question. And so, what is the most useless talent that you have? That contributes nothing, literally nothing to the society?
Paul Roetzer: I have thought about this before. I don’t– to my daughter spinning a basketball on my finger. She thinks it’s like, just like it’s unicorn magic or something. Like, so we’re playing basketball in the backyard (laughs)
Pam Didner: Were you a basketball player before?
Paul Roetzer: Yeah. Like globe Trotter style, just like spin a ball.
Pam Didner: Yes, exactly. So you can do that? That’s amazing!
Paul Roetzer: She thinks it’s amazing. I’ll take it. I would dunk on an eight-foot hoop when she was young, and she thought I was like LeBron James. So I have to find things that still impress her now that she’s getting older. So apparently, spinning a basketball works right now. (Pam laughs)
Pam Didner: Well said, well said. So thank you so much for coming to my show, Paul, and to share a lot of useful information and relevant templates that, um, the audience can use appreciate it.
Paul Roetzer: It was fun. Do it again soon!
Pam Didner: Thanks a lot, Paul. Again, thank you so much for listening to my podcast. Appreciate it. If you want to chat, reach out on any social media channels or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also join my Facebook community, Build Your Marketing Skills to Get Ahead. Love, love, love to hear from you. Take care. Bye.
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