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Nextdoor's CMO Says Small Businesses Are Underutilizing One Critical Tool That Could Propel Their Marketing Efforts Small businesses that stand to realize major leaps with the advent of this incredible technology, particularly in their marketing strategies

By Heidi Andersen

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Major companies across every sector are rushing to adopt Generative AI (GenAI), but it's small businesses that stand to realize major leaps with the advent of this incredible technology, particularly in their marketing strategies. Despite the technology's pervasive presence in the news, a 2023 McKinsey survey found that only 10% to 14% of companies utilize GenAI in their marketing efforts, a sign that businesses of all sizes are struggling to wrap their heads around how the technology can have an immediate impact on their sales workflow. Yet, GenAI presents a unique opportunity for SMBs to create personalized and impactful campaigns.

The technology holds tremendous potential for creating highly personalized advertisements that create deeper connections with important consumer cohorts while saving time and effort. As the CMO of Nextdoor, we recently rolled out an AI Assistant tool aimed at empowering small businesses to connect with the approximately — 85 million neighbors on the platform. Our team sees this as an important first step in onboarding SMBs, the beating heart of our neighborhoods, to the technology so they can become early adopters of GenAI to future-proof their business, get ahead of marketing trends, and continue serving their communities as best they can.

Related: How Generative AI Will Revolutionize The Future of Your Brand

Unleashing creativity and connection for SMBs with GenAI

GenAI can help advertisers craft messages that engage with the local communities' distinctive wants, needs, and priorities. This approach empowers marketers to effectively reach the consumers most relevant to them without the need for costly market research. The ability to create such targeted content not only increases the relevance of marketing efforts but also significantly enhances customer engagement and loyalty.

The power of GenAI in creating highly personalized campaigns is transforming the advertising landscape and creating new advantages for early adopters. Many platforms, including Nextdoor, are leveraging this technology to enable advertisers to tap into the communities that matter with quality content. A 2023 Optimove survey reflects this shift, indicating that a majority of consumers (55%) view AI-driven marketing positively, appreciating its role in tailoring shopping experiences. This trend highlights the potential for businesses to engage with consumers in new ways.

Enhancing efficiency and reach for small businesses

GenAI is revolutionizing how marketers approach campaign development – a massive asset to SMBs that are dedicating a majority of their resources to other aspects of the business. By automating and optimizing the marketing process, these marketers are positioned to work smarter, not harder. A Harvard Business School study showed that AI assistance led to a 12.2% increase in task completion and a 25.1% faster execution rate. For SMBs, integrating GenAI with hyper-local insights from their community further enhances the impact of these campaigns, allowing for more granular targeting of specific consumer groups.

This shift is particularly beneficial for small businesses, which often lack extensive marketing teams. GenAI tools, when used correctly, can level the playing field, providing the means to create high-impact campaigns that resonate deeply with local audiences. The future of marketing lies in developing hyper-local and tailored campaigns, as consumers are most responsive to messages that align with their surroundings and interests.

Related: How Generative AI Is Fueling the Rise of Fake News and Online Fraud

The responsible future of GenAI in marketing

As we look ahead, it's crucial for small businesses to adopt GenAI responsibly. This means being transparent about its use, safeguarding user privacy, ensuring human oversight, and screening for biases. Nextdoor's approach to integrating GenAI, combined with its deep local insights, exemplifies how businesses can develop granular marketing campaigns that appeal to specific audiences effectively.

For the marketing industry, embracing a community-focused strategy enhanced by GenAI is not just a trend but a necessity. It's about creating campaigns that are not only effective but also enrich the communities they target. The era of marketing powered by GenAI is here, and it's transforming the landscape in ways that particularly benefit SMBs.

Heidi Andersen

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor


Heidi is Nextdoor’s Head of Revenue and Marketing, overseeing the global revenue team, revenue streams and marketing. She joined Nextdoor after serving as LinkedIn’s Vice President of Global Sales, where she built the Global Online Sales Organization under LinkedIn’s Marketing Solutions division.

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