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May 05, 2023

Computer on a desk

At Alloy, we’ve been using machine learning for years – conversion-based ad bidding, smart audience targeting, optimized social scheduling – but in 2023, we’re taking it to the next level with a mission to more transparently test AI solutions and share our learnings with our clients and beyond.

Over the past few months, we’ve been trialing various AI tools, focused initially on content. What we quickly found is that the need for great writers and thought leaders isn’t going away. Our clients rely on us for turning their ideas, vision, and differentiators into compelling narratives, and we found that while AI tools were solid at recapping established ideas and best practices, they failed at taking a new opinion or premise and fleshing it out. Instead, they relied on tried and true (and frequently false) arguments. For example – I asked one AI content generator why Alloy is the best tech marketing agency, providing our URL to be sure it didn’t mix us up with any other brands named Alloy. Here’s a snapshot of what I got:

Customer service is important to Alloy. They know that happy customers are repeat customers. To that end, they’re always looking for ways to improve the customer experience. One way they do this is by having a dedicated customer service team that’s available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have.

Finally, Alloy has a global reach. They have offices in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. This allows them to serve clients in multiple time zones and provides a more personal touch than working with an agency that’s based solely in the United States.

While customer service is indeed important to us, we do not have a 24/7 customer service team and pride ourselves in creating an environment that’s conducive to our crew members’ personal lives. And those Europe and APAC offices? We certainly service clients in those regions, but we have no office footprint there (yet!).

Adding (more) AI Tools to our MarTech Stack

So where did AI content generators excel? How are we incorporating the best AI tools into our workflows? Here’s a glimpse at what Alloy is investing in, and why.

  • Optimizing headlines – Descriptive and to the point? Vague but intriguing? Sensational? Good headlines can run the gamut, and there’s often room for each in marketing. Yet with so many possible directions, this is also where writers can get stuck. AI (via Writer) is allowing us to generate multiple headline options based on a piece of content quickly; then our writers can choose and/or modify the best. When possible, we’re then A/B testing the options via email, ads, and social content to find the best of the best.

  • Streamlining edits – As an agency, sending our clients top-notch content in the first draft is critically important to us, so nothing leaves our team without at least one internal review. AI helps us focus the editing process on key messages, voice, and overall content by eliminating typos and errors and alerting writers to flow and structure issues before it ever hits an editor.

  • Nailing the tone – Every brand has (or should have) its own tone, the personality that drives all content creation. AI-backed tools allow us to create rulesets and style guides to make sure we’re striking the right tone with each piece of content.

  • Adapting to audiences – In addition to making sure content is written in the right brand tone, we have to ensure it’s written in a way that will resonate with our personas – and that can vary from audience to audience, making it a challenge for writers to adapt. In the past, I’ve found myself giving feedback that a piece is too “elementary” or on the flip side, too “academic.” AI takes the subjectivity out of this feedback, with a score that we can compare to each and every audience to make sure we’re writing in the way our audience expects.

  • Removing bias – Inclusion is a virtue that Alloy was built upon from day one, and we strive to continuously evolve to become better citizens for our clients, teams and communities. AI helps us in that endeavor, alerting us to unconscious bias in our language so that we can be more intentional going forward.

What do we plan to tackle next? Visuals! As I was writing this post, Canva just launched new AI-enabled tools that we’re excited to try.

Stay tuned for more ways we’re incorporating AI into our agency, and if you’re a tech brand looking to add AI to your martech stack, we’re happy to help!