70% of SMB marketers willing to pay more for tools with AI or automation

Artificial intelligence remains a big draw with SMB martech buyers: 70% say they’d pay more for a marketing platform that gave them access to AI or automation tools, according to a new study.

SMBs (defined by the study as orgs with 250 employees or less) are a target-rich environment for vendors as only 26% have AI and/or automation technology, according to a study of nearly 500 SMBs conducted by digital marketing and automation platform Constant Contact and research firm Ascend2.

Big interest. Around three-quarters (74%) of SMBs are interested in using AI or automation, and 55% said their interest has grown over the last six months. Forty-six percent of SMB marketing leaders admit they only have a beginner’s knowledge about the benefits of the technology.

Top use cases. Here is where SMB marketers are using AI:

  • Social media (52%)
  • Content creation (writing or images) (44%)
  • Email campaigns (41%)
  • Ad targeting (38%)
  • Analytics (35%)
  • Website forms (34%)
  • CRM (30%)
  • SMS/text campaigns (25%)

Dig deeper: How a non-profit farmers market is leveraging AI

Worth the investment. Companies using AI/automation are finding it a big time saver.

  • 60% of SMBs that currently use AI or automation in their marketing say they have saved time and are working more efficiently.
  • 33% of SMBs estimate they have saved more than 40 minutes per week on marketing by using AII or automation.

Some reservations. Top concerns SMBs have about AI and automation are data security, perceived cost and the learning curve in adopting the technology.

Image: Constant Contact.

Why we care. AI and automation in marketing are implemented in order to save time and improve ROI. Over half (58%) of SMBs in the study said they expect to save over $1,000 on their AI investment in the next year; 28% said $5,000 or more; and 5% expect to save upwards of $25,000.

Read more about the survey here.

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