Posted By Invoca on 09/18/2023

How Marketers Can Implement AI When Budgets Get Cut

How Marketers Can Implement AI When Budgets Get Cut

Between tightening media budgets, dwindling resources, and shrinking teams, marketers are facing an unprecedented uphill battle. It can seem like the only thing that is ramping up as quickly as your growth targets is the demand to do more with less. It’s like battling a forest fire with a squirt gun and one false move can mean the difference between securing your budget or having the whole thing consumed in a cost-cutting blaze. 

There is a way to turn that squirt gun into a firehose to cool down the budget cuts and build a defensive fire line around your marketing resources—and it’s AI.  

How to Secure a Budget for Marketing AI Solutions

Trying to secure a new martech tool while your budget shrinks like a slug on a hot, salted sidewalk may seem like a fool's errand, however, you may have a secret weapon up your sleeve. The growing pressure to “AI or die” fuelled by generative AI’s explosive growth could help you get the AI-driven tools you need to drive more successful campaigns with fewer resources. 

The desire to appear as an AI pioneer is creating new budget line items for AI solutions, even as traditional media budgets shrink. This desire is only matched by the frequent lack of AI strategy and knowledge, so you have to build a data-backed case to get the tools you need to succeed in today’s resource-strapped marketing world. Here’s how you can do it.

1. Become (or befriend) the owner of AI adoption strategy

One of the primary barriers to AI adoption on marketing teams is a lack of ownership of AI initiatives and budgets. According to a recent state of AI report from Drift, 42% of marketers say that one of the main barriers to AI adoption is a lack of strategy, and another 20% cite a lack of ownership of AI. Worse yet, nearly 20% don’t know who owns the budget and strategy for AI tools in their marketing organization.

The best way to clear the AI ownership hurdle is to become the owner yourself. If you own a significant technology budget, make AI-powered tools that have the potential to increase productivity, optimize spend, and automate tasks a priority. 

If your title is not conducive to managing such an initiative or there’s already a clear owner of all things AI, you can easily become the primary advocate for AI on your team. You can be the one who does the research, digs in, and finds the use cases where AI can make the biggest impact. You’re the loud voice of AI that’s shouting about articles and research papers from the Slack rooftops and the source of knowledge when someone has a question about how it all works. When it comes time to make a decision about adopting an AI solution, you’ll be more likely to be seen as a stakeholder and therefore most likely to get the solution that helps you do your job better. 

2. Identify the right AI tools

To maximize ROI, it's crucial to invest in the right AI tools. Start by identifying your marketing pain points and goals. Do you need to automate repetitive tasks? Are you looking to gain deeper insights into your customer behavior? Or maybe you want to optimize your ad campaigns. Once you've defined your needs, research various AI tools and select the ones that align with your objectives. 

3. Make a compelling case with data—and FOMO

With budgets tighter than ever, you need to make a strong case for your AI investment. Show how AI can enhance efficiency, reduce costs over time, and boost ROI. Use hard data to back up your claims. Analyst reports from well-known firms like Forrester, Accenture, Opus, and others are great sources of data you can use to validate your use case. Also, remember to highlight the long-term benefits of AI. While the initial investment might be significant, the potential savings and increased profits can far outweigh the costs. 

Case studies are a great way to see the results other companies like yours see with a particular AI solution. Highlighting those successes—especially if it’s a competitor—not only proves the value of the solution you’re gunning for but also provides that much-needed boost of FOMO that other stakeholders may need to make a decision quickly.

4. Don’t try to do all the AI at once—crawl, walk, then run

No matter where you’re starting with AI, if you want to prove its impact and keep your AI budget, you gotta start small. Think of one process or metric that you can improve, put your horse blinders on, and focus only on that. It’s tempting to get a shiny new AI tool and try to apply it to everything you do, but you will see much more success if you apply it to one goal, reach it, prove its value, and only then do you move on to the next one. We call it the “crawl-walk-run” approach, and our customers always see better results when they follow it. It looks like this:

Crawl: We start by understanding how your Google ad spend is driving calls. And not just any calls, but those that last for a certain duration and are more likely to be higher quality. This is the first step to uncovering the power of your phone channel. Once we have a handle on the volume of calls you’re driving then it’s time to dig deeper into call quality and outcomes.

Walk: Here’s where it gets good. We use AI to detect whether or not the call is an actual lead and whether or not it converts (with a sale, quote, booked appointment, etc.) We also expand the channels to include FacebookMicrosoft advertisingAdobe, and more so you can get a clear picture of your return on ad spend and significantly more accurate CPA metrics. Once this is in place we can come full circle with even deeper customer insights.

Run: In this stage we can integrate with your CRM and close the loop by attaching revenue from the phone conversion back to the opportunity. Further, we activate promo numbers in offline channels, too like on printed materials, promotions or out-of-home advertising to more deeply measure phone call effectiveness. This stage also opens up a greater level of data granularity by tracking calls by line of business or product or division. The point is by now having the ability to track and optimize your phone channel with the same effectiveness as your digital channels, you finally get true and accurate marketing effectiveness data. 

How Conversation Intelligence AI Helps Marketers Defend Their Spend

Many marketers are unwittingly stuck in the dark funnel where attribution goes to die. It’s caused by a lack of visibility into the customer phone calls their campaigns are driving. You spend a big portion of your marketing budget on ads and campaigns that drive calls, but you have no visibility into the outcome of those calls. That means no visibility into the revenue you’re driving when it converts in the contact center or at business locations. 

Conversation intelligence AI like Invoca gets you full marketing attribution for every call (and conversion) your budget drives. With Invoca, marketers can attribute every phone call conversion to the marketing source that drove it — down to the campaign, ad, and keyword. 

It works whether the lead calls right from the ad or content — like click-to-call, paid search, or social media ads — or visited your website first before calling because Invoca tracks the entire digital journey that drove the call. This means you can accurately prove the ROI of your marketing efforts that drive sales and defend every cent of budget you spend with hard data.

Can you do marketing without using conversation intelligence AI? Yeah, sure. Can you do it right? Not really. To make all of the right optimization decisions and be the best marketer you can be, you need to use all of the data at your disposal, including data from the customer phone calls your marketing budget drives. With Invoca you can:

Get bigger results from your budget

When you know what’s driving conversions over the phone, you can target more cost-effective keywords and ad placements and make sure that your campaigns aren’t driving calls that don’t result in sales. You can also suppress retargeting to customers who already converted on the phone so you can use that budget to drive new customer acquisition. You can even pinpoint leads who called, showed intent, and didn’t convert so you can add them to your nurture stream or retarget them with tempting promotions.

Boost conversion rates without increasing ad spend

By feeding 1st-party conversion data from customer conversations directly to ad platforms like Google Ads, you can accurately target high-value customers and the most effective keywords to increase your conversion rates. Check out our Google Ads Customer Success Stories to see how companies like Rogers Communications increased their conversion rates by 80% or more by using Invoca to optimize Google Ads.

Reduce wasted spend and decrease your CPA

Armed with true attribution, you can account for conversions that come from clicks and calls, accurately measure your acquisition costs, target the most effective keywords, and eliminate ineffective campaigns to reduce your CPA. When you can prove it costs less to acquire customers, you’ll be in the enviable position of being able to drive more conversions and free up budget for other initiatives. 

With conversation intelligence AI, you can do more with the budget you have today and prove the value of your efforts so you can retain your budget tomorrow. 

Check out the Ultimate Guide to Improve Marketing Performance and Reduce Wasted Ad Spend to learn more.


Owen Ray



The original version of this page was published at:  https://www.invoca.com/blog/how-marketers-implement-ai-when-budgets-get-cut


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