How to Vet a Marketing AI Vendor: Four Questions You Should Be Asking

Lainey Mebust
November 4, 2019

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become the latest B2B marketing magic solution. AI can be used to analyze pools of data, pinpoint the right content to send to users, and even qualify your website visitors with a chatbot. Incorporating AI into your marketing strategy can even take your targeting to the next level, allowing you to pinpoint traits and predict behaviors far beyond face value. 

Sadly, many tools falsely claim to be powered by AI — using buzzwords in their sales deck and posting complex models on their website. When it comes to true AI, it can be hard to tell what’s real and what’s fake. Ensuring a marketing vendor can deliver on their AI promises is an important distinction before going all-in on a new tool. Luckily we’ve gathered the four questions you should ask an AI vendor before pulling the trigger. 


How Does Your Company Use Artificial Intelligence?

Understandably, it might be hard (and awkward) to ask a vendor outright if they do indeed use AI. Instead, you can ask a vendor to break down how they use artificial intelligence. Does it read? Does it predict? 

Asking for a step-by-step breakdown of their process will help you identify if the company uses AI religiously or sparingly. Ultimately you want to pinpoint a tool that is built around artificial intelligence, not sprinkled in for show. 


What Does It Learn Over Time?

AI gets smarter over time. If you’re investing in AI, it should adapt to your feedback and give you better results the longer you use it. Clarifying what kind of AI capabilities are on the product roadmap will help identify if their AI is truly learning and adapting. While asking your vendor for examples of machine learning in action is a good way to vet whether their AI is valid. 


How Much Data Do You Need From Me?

For AI models to work their magic, they need data. For example, if you’re using an AI marketing vendor to dial in on your targeting, you’ll need to provide your best customers and target parameters to start. Asking how much data you need to provide will help you identify if the data science they bring to the table is real. If they don’t ask you for any historical data, that’s a red flag. 


Can We See a Case Study?

When in doubt, always ask for examples. Have your vendor back up their claims with a case study — one that specifically outlines a common problem and how their AI was used to solve it. You want to see specific examples where their AI benefitted a client in a foolproof form.


Investing in artificial intelligence can help your marketing team level up their operations. Knowing how to cut through the noise and choose a trustworthy partner comes down to asking the right questions. At the end of the day, your AI vendor should be able to prove how they use AI, how it learns over time, and what data they need — all with the proof to show it.




Further Reading

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Lainey Mebust
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