Soon your businesses will harness the power of AI to enhance your marketing
In many ways, Artificial Intelligence and marketing seem to go hand in hand. The multi layered technology is an incredibly useful tool for helping brands to engage with customers, as by analysing data, brands can glean a far deeper understanding of what consumers want. According to research from Demandbase, 80 per cent of marketers believe that AI will revolutionise their industry by 2020. However, only 10 per cent are actually using it today. Although marketers have recognised the importance of embracing AI in campaigns and content, few have put this into practise. As AI advances, so will the opportunities for marketers. . . but only if they take advantage of them. So, how will AI disrupt marketing?
1. Conversational interfaces
Chances are you’ve used a conversational interface, whether it be an automated assistant, a chatbot, or simply Siri. Through Natural Language Processing (NLP), marketers can gather personalised data about individuals over time. Take Amazon’s Alexa, for example, or any quality chatbot. These services note your preferences and offer tailored recommendations – to which you then reply. Even domestic social robots are built with this important function in mind. These relatively new dialogues can be taken advantage of by marketers. In the not so distant future, seamless vocal interactions will characterise how humans communicate with technology. AI powered conversational interfaces are now a key medium for brands to engage with customers.
2. AI generated content
For the most part, current machine learning techniques focus on processing and interpreting data. Eventually, they will evolve beyond this to take on creative work. This doesn’t necessarily mean that AI will take over product design, but rather some of the extra services that build a customer’s connection with a company. Coca Cola, for example, has expressed an interest in automated narratives, which convey key data insights and trends in colloquial human language. In future, this will help to make ads. Working alongside IBM Watson, athletic clothing brand Under Armour has put another content creation concept into practise. Their Record app combines app data with third party metrics to offer training and nutrition advice. If you were training to run a marathon, for example, it would take into account the weather, the time of day and your nutritional intake when offering personalised routes.
3. Targeted ads
Personalising advertisements is nothing new. Social media giants Facebook, Twitter and Facebook all use personal posts and likes to advertise the most relevant products or services. Retail brands rely on customer info to send offers and recommendations that will resonate with their market. Team this with AI’s ability create quality content, and marketing campaigns will automatically adjust themselves to meet individual requirements. Previously, M&C Saatchi demonstrated the extent of future ad targeting with an AI poster campaign based in London. The posters use a camera and a genetic algorithm to measure the emotions of onlookers, evolving to accommodate them. And, if a certain ad doesn’t provoke the intended reaction, it can be dropped and regenerated.
4. Visual AI
M&C Saatchi’s AI posters lead onto another important area of disruption for marketers. Establishing a brand connection with a consumer (especially if you’re a fashion brand, for example) will be entirely transformed by visual technology. Amazon Echo Look is a prime example of this in action, encouraging consumers to share their favourite outfits. This will undoubtedly take personalisation to the next level, and could help to establish higher levels of trust. A consumer who is visible as more than a name is far more useful to companies. For instance, which demographics or body types browse, buy, or reject certain products? Are there any distinguishable trends? Augmented and Virtual Reality are also adding another dimension to visual ad opportunities, and could be key to engaging with the notoriously apathetic millennial generation.
5. AI tracked onboarding
It’s all well and good putting together a fantastic AI enabled campaign, but it’s difficult to know exactly when and why a customer engages with a message. Marketers often attribute customer decisions to the last click they made, cutting out many contact points and limiting how much can be understood about the customer journey, referred to as onboarding in marketing terms. However, Google’s new service Attribution is able to track the results of marketing across personal devices and channels. By compiling and analysing data from different Google services like AdWords and Analytics, Attribution creates a more complete picture of onboarding, right from the initial brand impression to sale.
It goes without saying that AI development is increasingly fast paced, and marketers need to keep up. Unsurprisingly, big resource rich companies appear to be leading the way. But whilst applying new technology is part of a successful strategy, the essence of marketing remains the same – focus on the customer journey. If a marketer can use AI to watch that journey from beginning to end, and then establish a data informed dialogue, then working out what people really want suddenly becomes a whole lot easier. Perhaps artificially intelligent marketing could even solve the ongoing millennial dilemma. The question is, if AI can take on so many marketing tasks, where does it leave marketers themselves?