Companies are making slow progress in using AI

Experience report identifies challenges and potentials of AI usage.

  • Of 13 use cases identified, only one in two is used productively 
  • Three-quarters of AI applications are used to increase efficiency rather than revenue 
  • Marketing is a trailblazer but there is huge potential for sales and product management as well 
  • Basic prerequisites are a solid base of data as well as specialists and senior management with respective know-how 


Artificial intelligence is a key technology, yet companies are still reluctant to use it. The experience report “Artificial Intelligence: AI Applications in Marketing, Sales and Product Management” by Campana & Schott and the Technical University of Darmstadt, proves that if AI is used correctly, customer needs can be analyzed more precisely, processes can be automated and performance in marketing and sales increased. 

Although the companies surveyed are already intensively involved in the use of AI, so far it has only been used productively in half of the identified use cases. The report presents possible solutions to pave the way for other companies to successfully use AI. 

Understand customer needs and automate processes

Due to the large amount of customer data, the use of AI in marketing, sales and product management offers particularly great potential. 


The application of artificial intelligence in marketing enables deeper insights into customer behavior. This makes it possible to improve the approach to potential customers, for example through an intelligent chatbot. Furthermore, personalized measures such as AI-based recommendation systems can be designed.  


In sales, AI is used to automate processes. For example, machine text and image processing save companies time and resources. In addition, the so-called "demand generation" plays a major role: Particularly interested parties are analyzed regarding their willingness to buy and specifically addressed if a purchase is likely. In this way, sales success can be increased. 


Artificial intelligence proves to be useful in product management, especially for analysis purposes. Automatically collected data from different phases of the product life cycle provide information about customer needs. 

Database, processes, experts – The biggest obstacles to AI use

So far, AI has been more established in test operation than in everyday life – which shows that companies shy away from possible difficulties in use. One of the biggest challenges is sufficient and, above all, high-quality data. Based on the expert survey, the practical report recommends introducing standards of data handling. The same applies to data protection: Companies must know which data they are legally allowed to use for machine learning and which protective measures, such as the anonymization of sensitive customer data, must be taken. 

In addition, companies are well advised to carefully adjust their organizational processes to the use of AI: Technical requirements such as sufficient storage and computing capacities are a decisive factor for successful implementation.

This requires trained personnel. Before companies use AI in practice, executives need a basic understanding of how artificial intelligence works. Only then they can actively support necessary measures and put an end to uncertainties. Furthermore, specialists such as data scientists and software engineers are needed.  However, these are hard to recruit and correspondingly expensive. Therefore, it is essential that companies develop a long-term and at the same time flexible strategy before using artificial intelligence.  

The report

The practical report Artificial Intelligence, created by the Technical University of Darmstadt and Campana & Schott, sheds light on the status of AI applications in marketing, sales and product management. Through qualitative interviews with 20 specialists and executives with relevant expertise, 13 different use cases for the use of artificial intelligence in these three areas of activity were worked out. In addition, the experience report identifies the associated challenges and outlines recommendations for action for companies that want to use artificial intelligence. 

Further results and insights are provided in the full AI practical report 2021, which you can download here.