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The Robots Are Coming, And They Will Transform Your Digital Marketing

You may associate artificial intelligence with science fiction, but it's already coming into play

28Nov

Beyond use in robots, AI technology is also emerging as a serious marketing tool. Machine learning, which is at the heart of artificial intelligence, has allowed marketing automation to improve dramatically over the last decade.

Volumes of data impossible to humanly handle, coupled with the ever-more demanding consumer, who expects personal and unique communication, requires a new approach from marketers. Artificial intelligence has the potential to help deliver the level of deep, intuitive personalization that today’s entitled consumers demand.

Seven out of 10 marketing decision-makers are already implementing AI-powered technologies, or at least have concrete plans to do so (KRC Research). Amazingly, 55% of marketers are certain that artificial intelligence will have a more radical transformative effect on the marketing industry than social media. So how will we see AI transforming the digital marketing landscape?

Personal shopping for everyone

Online shopping creates rich data footprints detailing the individual preferences, spending habits, and preferred channels of individual consumers. Feeding these digital breadcrumbs into an AI-engine helps bring curated shopping journeys to mass audiences. It’s like transporting a personal shopper into your own home – or device.

This technology is already being used to great effect. Amazon, for instance, creates more than 35% of its total revenue with personalized shopping recommendations (McKinsey), taking advanced consumer profiling to the next level. This kind of AI also predicts the kinds of purchases that consumers are going to make before they even know it.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if you knew when and why customers might want help in the future? What may sound like a scenario from the film Minority Report is already in beta testing. Intel subsidiary, Saffron, has created an AI that is able to predict with 88% certainty why, on which channel, and for which product, individual customers will seek help next. 'We’ve been expecting your call,' never rang truer.

Bringing chatbots to life

If there is one area of business that continues to miss the expectations of entitled consumers – it’s the customer service department. Worryingly, in a recent survey, we identified that only 35% of companies can identify their customers at the moment they call into a customer service center. Is your contact center infrastructure set-up for these new realities?

It may sound ironic, but automated bots can create lifelike, seamless customer service experiences, addressing the consumer on their purchase history and known preferences. Chatbots are not only cheaper, but allow you to free up your phone lines and human resources for more complex issues - but there’s a catch: bots can only deliver proper personalized service if they have access to universal consumer profiles populated in real-time. Marketers – meet our new best friends in customer services.

A notable example of chatbots is Facebook’s 'M' technology. Embedded in its Messenger app, it delivers personalized product, travel, and restaurant recommendations, while troubleshooting technical problems.

More relevant individual communication

Artificial intelligence has the potential to deliver an extra dash of relevancy to programmatic advertising (the use of software to buy ads) - and that applies to both sides of the equation. On the consumer side, AI helps to create individualized display ads that website visitors want to see. And at the back end, the bots handle invoicing and payment for these ad transactions, giving marketers more time to focus on other things.

Marketers can also tap into rich opportunities to make content relevant to an individual user’s current situation with contextual personalization. But overloading customers with too many messages remains one of the biggest problems – and customer turn-offs – in automated marketing. As an industry, we must continue to use restraint when adding touchpoints into our customer journeys. In the near-future, we can expect AI to analyze a consumer’s purchase history and email habits to choose the best time to hit their inbox with content that’s bound to boost open rates and conversions.

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