To the uninformed, the concept of Artificial Intelligence (AI), may still have sci-fi connotations of clunky mechanical robots, serving their human masters with bizarre electronic utterances – think C-3PO in the Star Wars movies. But for those at the forefront of the digital revolution, AI is distinct from the field of robotics – basically it represents computing technology, and specifically the extraordinary technological advances in data processing which promise business growth. AI has a particularly significant place in the new modelling approaches in marketing, which when implemented appropriately are a vital part of any business plan. So what does artificial intelligence in marketing work exactly?
According to Salesforce, only 29 percent of marketing leaders used AI in 2018, but that number had increased to 84 percetn by 2020. By the end of 2021, according to a forecast from IDC, global spending on artificial intelligence hardware, software, and services will have exceeded $340 billion.
The Internet of things (IoT) represents AI at work at its most effective, with networkable devices, everything from a domestic refrigerator to a road traffic camera reporting to data hubs.At its heart this world operates on the collation and distribution of big data analytics (BDA), which is an invaluable marketing tool for any business.
With the AI and big data revolution, organisations no longer have to guess how their customer base will respond to their offerings, or model their futures abstractly. For instance, Persado, a New York-base company that applies AI principles to marketing content, applied machine learning principles to Chase’s ,marketing material, ironically to add some humanity to its copywriting. As an example, and ad written by human copywriters included the phrase “Access cash from the equity in your home.” Persado’s rewrite amended this to “It’s true—You can unlock cash from the equity in your home,” and it was this version that proved to have more appeal to customers.
By harnessing this sort of AI analysis or real time data in regards to those customers, companies can act to cater more directly to their requirements. BDA rising from AI, can inform companies not only of what their customers want, but how they want it, what it should cost and how it should be delivered.
AI is Your Ally
Marketing relies on understanding the behaviour of customers, not only to attract consumers, but most importantly to retain them. AI, through the wizardry of data analytics, can not only detail and define the customer base, but can predict their future actions and expectations which allows business to map their own business futures as well.
Technological advances have come at a lighting speed in recent years, with every individual relying on their digital technology every day, whether that is their personal smartphone or their work laptop. The data trail they leave during their daily interactions is nothing short of gold to the avid marketer – a trail which defines them as specifically as prey to a lion on the Serengeti.
The results can give insights into existing market as well as opening up new ones. For instance ice cream manufacturer Ben & Jerry’s used AI to analyse social media posts, and found multiple references to having ice cream for breakfast. In response the company developed a range of ice creams with breakfast cereal flavours including Froot Loops and Frozen Flakes.
But Ai can over every industrial sector, not just consumer – whether it is education, medicine, manufacturing, law or e-commerce, the IoT is a network that can serve the marketers.
The IoT has resulted from not only the world wide web, but from an interconnected and complex, web of web networks, that create data and algorithms that human sources could never collate.
Take giants like Google or Amazon as an illustration of the role AI now plays in marketing. Not only are these companies dominating the marketplace, but with every transaction made by one of their millions of customers, they can also collate information about their likes and dislikes, and even which products they are most likely to want next.
Amazon was of course a pioneer in using machine learning to offer personalized product recommendations, and in 2019 announced the general availability of Amazon Personalize, which brings Amazon.com’s machine learning technology to Amazon Web Services customers for use in their own applications.
The Amazon team has enhanced its functionality since the initial rollout, to the extent that Personalize can now deliver up to 50% better recommendations across a range of fast-changing product types, including books, movies, music, and news articles.
AI in this way, not only builds markets and can sustain them, but can create markets that the customer is not yet even aware of themselves.
The data created by the algorithms that are harvested are the crystal ball of business, and come with a guarantee of accuracy that ancient soothsayers could not match.
One aspect of this interaction with the customer which works very well in online retailing is the chatbot. According to a State of Conversational Marketing report by Drift, chatbots are seeing faster growth than any other brand communication channel, with usage increasing by 92 percent between 2019 and 2020. Drift gives the example of Sephora, a beauty brand which was an early adopter of AI, using chatbot to dispense beauty advice on Kik from 2017. Sephora’s chatbot talked customers through a quiz on their product preferences in order to help them narrow down choices, and an area which can be difficult for the customer in a saturated market. Saphora’s chatbot not only helped the customer to complete a sale, but also provided valuable consumer data.
Of course, the other advantage of AI in applications such as chatbots, is that a business does not have to employ someone to laboriously collate this data, and no human is tasked with this laborious unfulfilling role. The data will in effect collect itself.
The world wide web is at the heart of AI in business, and its remit is far more wide reaching, particularly when it comes to marketing. Customer experience can be improved from the beginning to the end of the process, online and in house.
High Street gains
AI used to market High Street shops can enhance customer experience on many fronts, giving useful feedback to marketing departments. Supply chains informed by AI, will be more robust and tailor made for the customer base and the in-house shopping experience can be similarly original.
Whether it is the actually composition of the stock on the shelves, or the lay- out of the store, or the design of the colour scheme, AI-collated data can pin-point the best choices to drive the company. Human-driven research polls were the foundation for marketing in the past, but polls are limited in their precision. AI can hone research to such a degree, that provided that the humans are asking the right questions and interpreting them correctly, real vision can be delivered.
In this way, even traditional retail stored become in essence, driven by AI data as clearly as a retail giant like Google. So advanced has AI data collection now become, that beyond psychological profiling, data can now be collated related to the human senses.
One machine is now even able to track the sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste of human beings and log this data to formulate specifically designed products or environments for products to be sold in. With this sort of technology, we start to enter a ‘Big Brother’ landscape, where the customer is not drawn to the store in the hope they will buy something, but drawn to the store by a marketing plan that knows he or she will buy something.
Human senses can therefore enhance product association, brand loyalty and even brand integrity. These sort of insights are invaluable to the marketer.
So valuable has AI analysis become to the market that it is now used even by the American Marketing Association, which uses the AI-driven personalization platform rasa.io to generate individualized subject lines based on member interest data, highlighting the most relevant and interesting content to each recipient of its newsletter.
In conclusion, the incredible marketing advantages of the likes of Amazon, Google and Netflix, through the use of Artificial intelligence, is now within the reach of every entrepreneur and business. Size is no longer the major basis of success, as we all gravitate to distributing our digital data, across our digital devices, on a daily basis.
Personalised messaging therefore, which can be distributed by marketers across a myriad of digital channels, customises experience and boosts revenue and profit margins.
Relevant and targeted marketing on a 24/7 timeline generated from AI sources is at the heart of marketing for the future on whatever scale a business may be. Artificial intelligence in marketing has become an inseparable partnership.
SEE ALSO: Use of Robots to Transform Your Business