Artificial Intelligence (AI) is on the cusp of bringing transformation to almost every business and Marketing, in particular, will undergo major upheaval from AI sooner rather than later. At the stratospheric level, it’s all about using AI to influence more direct exchanges between brands and customers, with the push being on faster, smarter responses to their demands and desires. Several marketing initiatives are automated. And automatable processes can be managed by AI technologies with a high degree of certainty, as long as those systems have sizeable information decks from which the technology can draw inferences.
Companies will readily embrace AI-powered marketing tools.
That’s because AI promises to improve the performance of marketing campaigns across all channels, accelerating the enterprise sales cycle and increasing revenue. It will also lead to possibly a decrease in error rate during marketing campaign implementations. The influence of AI will be so profound that in the imminent future “intelligent” marketing will be the default and today’s methods will seem unwieldy and cumbersome.
My take on the marketing areas that will be influenced by AI:
Personalising marketing messages is about categorising who the prospective customer is, the message that will resonate with that person/persona, the timing of presenting the message, and the channel that should be used to present the message. As with any marketing campaign, orchestrating all of this demands a lot of input.
AI will automate these components of marketing personalisation, and quicker decision-making and assist marketers to act faster on the information they have available.
Today’s enterprise-grade marketing platforms already automate outreach, depending on persona, funnel stage, account actions and tasks, and several other triggers. When AI is completely imbued into marketing automation tools, those tools will optimise for each of these triggers in real-time, relentlessly testing and iterating to maximise conversion.
Marketers will have to start looking at the strategic parts of the sales cycle like defining the touchpoints involved in the purchase path and the factors that describe the target customer; AI will then take control of defining various types of personalisation that are appropriate for different customer segments, and then automate outreach completely.
Marketers, Brand Strategists and Agencies spend a lot of time and effort in constructing the tone-of-voice document to ensure that the brand has a consistent and authentic voice across channels. Well, now they have to teach it to the Bots. Early adopters of technology in the Marketing function are seeing a huge opportunity to add flavour to their customer interactions by injecting the characteristics of their brand into the Bots. Narrative designers for video games have been doing this for ages. Marketers can start with a set of characters that could represent their brand and then add rules around how they would act based on the brand traits. However, like any true marketing program, they need to be careful to not incite any controversies while using Bots.
The challenges that brands face with prospective and current customers are well-defined: How can I offer quick, high-quality service, keeping my customers as happy as possible? It’s logical that the brand uses as few as possible assets, such as employees, budget, time, and technology. Gartner says that Customer Service interactions are four times more likely to lead to disloyalty than to loyalty. The fact is that customers would prefer to find solutions to their problems themselves, rather than talk to customer service.
Airlines as an industry is one of the biggest users of customer service via Twitter. Customers will go to direct messenger with most of their queries, except for when service crumbles – then they will quickly switch back to public interaction. Brands like KLM have rolled out messenger bots for accessing customers’ flight data.
Marketing, website analytics, monitoring tools and marketing platforms provide brands with mountains of data points to analyse. That abundance of information can unlock superior decision-making, but the sheer volume of information makes getting insights a challenge.
AI has an endless potential to influence data analysis for the better. It will take control of the process of consuming, cleaning up, and parsing a large amount of information, removing exceptions and aiding quicker, more accurate analyses.
AI tools and platforms will completely take control of the journey planning and analysis, and they will provide inputs and suggestions to optimise the individual customer’s journey through the purchase path and/or the brand life-cycle.
Since it works at scale, AI can provide suggestions almost instantly. Large websites, such as those in e-commerce, can benefit the maximum from this approach of AI-driven decision-making. The protracted process of website optimisation, comprising meticulous page-by-page enhancements, will be significantly augmented since brands will know the changes that will have maximum influence.
AI will also be able to demonstrate to marketers what they don’t know that they don’t know.
Maybe time to put the quote to a rest – Half the money I spend on marketing is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.
The primary challenge for brands in the era of AI will be constructing their AI systems. AI needs feedback to “discover” patterns and enhance processes, and developing relevant input loops demands large information stacks. Still, as artificial intelligence multiplies across the marketing landscape, even small businesses will benefit.
Are you taking steps to adopt AI? And how will you be ready for it?
Watch out for AI in marketing; It’s coming sooner than you think!