Artificial intelligence is on a roll, especially in the marketing domain.
2017 opened with reports of global investments gaining momentum in the “fields of AI, robotics, and IoT technologies”.
The same report indicated a significant shift in investments by Chinese VCs, particularly in the Artificial Intelligence domain. It is believed that in five years’ time, every company should be prepared to compete in the AI domain to survive.
So are you aware that artificial intelligence can actually help marketers thrive?
The power to understand customer needs, emotions, and preferences globally is a big boon of this emerging technology.
Paradoxically enough, AI’s greatest strength may be in creating a more personal experience for your customer.
From visual search to virtual personal shoppers, digital marketing is on the verge of getting a superb makeover.
So let’s discuss how artificial intelligence (and the fruits of its artificial loins) can positively impact your marketing strategy.
1. It helps you know your customers better
Imagine knowing for sure what a customer has in mind when they connect with you or visit your website. Isn’t that at the heart of every marketer’s dream?
Knowing a customer’s needs, desires and expectations in advance enables marketers to plot out resources and personalize high-quality communications. And artificial intelligence is going to make it easy.
Personalization in marketing is obviously nothing new. Many eCommerce stores already use collaborative filtering to provide customers with relevant recommendations. However with the real-time personalization provided by AI, marketers will gain the ability to deliver different experiences to individual customers visiting their site or reading their emails, based on their previous behavior or demographic data.
One such project is already being tested at USAA, incorporating AI technology built by Saffron, now a division of Intel.
This AI technology analyzes thousands of factors and matches them with individual customers. The broad customer behavioral patterns are aligned with individual members, and as per reports, the technology has thus far helped USAA improve their guess rate from 50% to 88% accuracy. The guesswork mainly involves knowing how future contacts will get in touch, and for what products.
Predictive customer service is also going to be a huge side effect of artificial intelligence for marketers across the globe – a very positive one.
Think about the amount of time you spend analyzing the demographics of each customer and making templates sound personal. If you can know when, why and how each of your customers plans to communicate with you, you’ll have the golden opportunity to plan out your nurturing process on a much more advanced level.
2. It takes search engine algorithms to a new level
When Google admitted to using RankBrain in 2015, an AI system, to break down search queries, it was big news. RankBrain uses high-end natural language processing to break down large search queries. It also helps improve user context and voice search.
A simple way to explain it is as follows: a customer who has visited a particular food destination posts a review about his or her experience. Now, a customer typically writes a review in language that is ‘real’ and to some extent rhetorical, too. Let’s say they write, ‘This place has the best breakfast mushrooms that don’t cost a fortune’. With RankBrain, this automatically becomes a solution for someone who is searching for a place to ‘eat mushrooms within budget’.
AI will also introduce new visual search capabilities which allow consumers to upload an image to find similar or complementary products. In our increasingly visually marketed world – think Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook – this is going to be revolutionary. AI platforms which can ‘read’ images for clues will be essential to eCommerce success.
3. It allows related recommendations and suggestions
Once a user subscribes to your page or website, sending out email newsletters is a key part of a good marketing strategy, and they will probably include product recommendations.
Many companies already use artificial intelligence to suggest or recommend new offers based on their subscribers’ activities and other demographics. For instance, Netflix uses predictive analytics to suggest shows or movies that might interest you.
As AI technology gets more and more sophisticated, these suggestions or recommendations grow even more closely aligned to your interest domain. It isn’t magic, but it is the power of AI. Companies like Netflix which already use artificial intelligence to gather information from various datasets will find their predictive analytics only get stronger.
New technology can also help creative marketers fine-tune their decision-making.
Used properly, these technologies can surface the insights you need on command to help you make creative and data-backed decisions about what will perform. And all with minimal time or human resources wasted.
4. It amps up cyber security
Online shopping is at its peak, and enlisting machines to do the heavy lifting in terms of advanced security simply makes sense.
Safe and secure transactions can no longer be assured just through usernames and passwords. The need for AI in the security domain is extreme.
As most marketers know, e-retailers are highly prone to breaches. There is a dire need for advanced solutions that will instantly alert businesses in the case of frauds, breaches and unstructured data. Cyber adversaries have long leveraged machines and automation techniques to streamline their operations and the growth of AI will drastically improve e-retailer’s detection and response capabilities.
AI technology is able to identify threats, assess risks and orchestrate remediation, all while marketers catch up on z’s. You can already use NLP to analyze text used in the transactions, categorizing it as structured or unstructured data.
At the end of the day, all your marketing efforts are designed to drive your customers to make a purchase. And if their data isn’t secure, all your efforts will go to waste. It’s time to admit that society has reached a tipping point where the sheer volume of security data can no longer be handled by humans.
5. It helps with content generation
Marketers are often heard chanting, “Content is king!” And indeed it is. Good high-quality content has the power to change the face of your business.
Why else would marketers chain themselves to a computer to carefully curate original, error-free and compelling content?
But what if that content can be automated?
According to Gartner, a full 20% of business content will be written by machines from 2018. They claim that business content, such as shareholder reports, legal documents, market reports, press releases, articles and white papers, are all prime candidates for automated writing tools.
Wordsmith is a platform that helps in generating automated news articles and there are many more like it on the way. The Associated Press now has machines writing full earnings reports.
However, you will still need to have structured data for the content generators to work off and feed reports into the CSV correctly. Automated narratives may turn out a little clunky and imperfect, and additional editing and tweaking may be required by a human content specialist.
Still, if reasonably high-quality content can be generated with the help of AI, it will undeniably help marketers deal with the increase in competition and writing content at scale.
The impact of AI for marketers (and in general) is definitely worth talking about.
It will facilitate language recognition, analyze inbound emails, and take actions accordingly. It will help marketers better understand the past behaviors of customers and assist in filtering emails based on which leads should be disqualified.
Chatbots are presumed to be the future of user input on mobile. AI in marketing will lead to smarter ads, sentiments and emotions, search results and customer service.
AI is all set to make its presence felt like a major player, whether you are ready for it or not. It’s got a lot to offer, and machine learning definitely has its perks.
Google implemented machine learning in search, advertisements and recommendations on YouTube years ago, and it’s high time for marketers across the globe to take steps toward doing the same.
Guest Author: Chandana is a digital marketer at EasySendy Pro – a hybrid email marketing solution provider for B2B and B2C businesses. She is a passionate blogger and an enthusiastic YouTuber. You can follow her on Twitter and YouTube for her educational videos about email marketing.
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