What‘s Holding AI Adoption Back in Marketing? [New Data]

Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to revolutionize the marketing industry, enabling marketers to work smarter, faster, and more efficiently than ever before. However, despite the many benefits of AI, adoption among marketers remains relatively low. In fact, according to our 2023 State of AI report, only 37% of marketers are currently using AI in their roles.

So, what‘s holding marketers back from fully embracing AI? In this article, we‘ll dive into the latest data and insights from our report to explore the key barriers and challenges marketers face when it comes to AI adoption. We‘ll also discuss potential solutions and strategies for overcoming these obstacles and provide practical advice for marketers looking to get started with AI.

The Current State of AI Adoption in Marketing

Before we dive into the challenges of AI adoption, let‘s take a closer look at the current state of AI in marketing. According to our 2023 State of AI report:

  • 37% of marketers are currently using AI in their roles
  • 47% of marketers plan to use AI in the next 12 months
  • 16% of marketers have no plans to use AI in the foreseeable future

While these numbers suggest that AI adoption in marketing is on the rise, there is still significant room for growth. So, what‘s holding marketers back? Let‘s explore some of the key barriers and challenges identified in our report.

Top Barriers to AI Adoption in Marketing

  1. Lack of Understanding and Skills

One of the biggest barriers to AI adoption in marketing is a lack of understanding and skills. According to our report, 58% of marketers say they don‘t fully understand AI and how it can be applied to their work. Additionally, 49% of marketers say they lack the technical skills needed to implement and use AI tools effectively.

This lack of understanding and skills can make it difficult for marketers to identify potential use cases for AI and to effectively integrate AI tools into their existing workflows. As a result, many marketers may be hesitant to invest time and resources into AI adoption.

To overcome this barrier, marketers need access to education and training resources that can help them build their understanding and skills in AI. This may include online courses, workshops, and certification programs focused on AI in marketing.

  1. Concerns About Accuracy and Transparency

Another significant barrier to AI adoption in marketing is concerns about accuracy and transparency. According to our report, 56% of marketers worry that AI tools may produce inaccurate or biased results, while 47% say they lack transparency into how AI algorithms make decisions.

These concerns are not unfounded. AI algorithms are only as good as the data they are trained on, and if that data is biased or incomplete, the results produced by AI tools may be skewed or inaccurate. Additionally, many AI algorithms operate as "black boxes," making it difficult for marketers to understand how decisions are being made.

To address these concerns, marketers need to work with AI vendors that prioritize transparency and explainability in their tools. They should also invest in data quality and governance initiatives to ensure that the data used to train AI algorithms is accurate, complete, and unbiased.

  1. Integration and Implementation Challenges

Integrating AI tools into existing marketing workflows and systems can also be a significant challenge for marketers. According to our report, 44% of marketers say they struggle with integrating AI tools into their existing tech stack, while 38% say they lack the resources needed to properly implement and maintain AI tools.

These integration and implementation challenges can make it difficult for marketers to realize the full benefits of AI adoption. Without proper integration, AI tools may not be able to access the data they need to generate insights and recommendations. And without adequate resources for implementation and maintenance, AI tools may quickly become outdated or ineffective.

To overcome these challenges, marketers need to work closely with their IT and data teams to ensure that AI tools are properly integrated into existing systems and workflows. They should also allocate sufficient resources for implementation and ongoing maintenance of AI tools.

  1. Cost and ROI Concerns

Finally, cost and ROI concerns can also be a significant barrier to AI adoption in marketing. According to our report, 42% of marketers say they lack the budget needed to invest in AI tools, while 35% say they struggle to demonstrate the ROI of AI investments.

Implementing AI tools can be expensive, particularly for smaller marketing teams with limited budgets. Additionally, the ROI of AI investments may not always be immediately apparent, as it can take time for AI tools to generate meaningful insights and drive business outcomes.

To address these concerns, marketers need to build strong business cases for AI investments that clearly articulate the potential benefits and ROI. They should also start small with pilot projects and proof-of-concepts before scaling up their AI investments.

The Future of AI in Marketing

Despite these challenges, the future of AI in marketing looks bright. As AI tools continue to evolve and become more sophisticated, marketers will have access to even more powerful capabilities for automating tasks, generating insights, and personalizing customer experiences.

Some key areas where we expect to see significant growth and innovation in marketing AI over the next few years include:

  • Natural Language Processing (NLP): AI-powered NLP tools will enable marketers to analyze and generate high-quality content at scale, from social media posts to email subject lines to website copy.

  • Predictive Analytics: AI-powered predictive analytics tools will help marketers anticipate customer needs and preferences, enabling more targeted and effective marketing campaigns.

  • Computer Vision: AI-powered computer vision tools will enable marketers to analyze and optimize visual content, from identifying the most engaging images for social media to personalizing product recommendations based on user-generated photos.

  • Conversational AI: AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants will become increasingly sophisticated, enabling marketers to deliver personalized, real-time customer support and engagement across multiple channels.

To stay ahead of the curve and realize the full potential of AI in marketing, marketers will need to continue to invest in education and skill-building, collaborate closely with IT and data teams, and build strong business cases for AI investments.


AI adoption in marketing is not without its challenges, but the potential benefits are too great to ignore. By understanding the key barriers and challenges to AI adoption, and by implementing strategies to overcome them, marketers can position themselves to take full advantage of the opportunities that AI presents.

Whether you‘re just getting started with AI or looking to take your adoption to the next level, remember to prioritize education and skill-building, work closely with your IT and data teams, and focus on delivering measurable business outcomes. With the right approach and mindset, AI can be a powerful tool for driving growth, efficiency, and innovation in your marketing efforts.