Marketing is approaching the point of singularity with innovation triggers like AI transforming it into a tech-driven function. Gartner’s Laura McLellan in her seminal blog predicted that CMOs would be spending more on technology than CIOs by 2017. A recent blog says that tech spend in marketing equals that of CIO’s budget for IT.
The phenomenon of data overload needs higher number-crunching capabilities. AI has the ability to read through terabytes of data, understand un-structured information and analytics modeling to monitor market dynamics in real time. Thanks to AI, marketers can go back to doing what they do best – create powerful ideas that can energize the brand and market.
AI in the driver seat
There has been no dearth of data in marketing, but it existed in siloes preventing marketers to access a single version of truth. Large majority of these tools and platforms crunch numbers in isolation and do not provide a holistic view of the entire market. AI can be instrumental in unifying data driven decision making by integrating platforms, tools, applications, and datasets. This can be a game changer for marketers with unlimited avenues for reach, conversion, and engagement.
55% of CMOs expect AI to have a bigger impact on marketing than social media. Global entertainment giants like Disney are tapping the AI frontier by training artificial neural networks that mimic human brains to understand the story lines that may appeal to their audience. Disney’s decision to move away from mainstream characters to feature counterculture leads were based on their information gleaned from their digital data sets. Recently, according to another blog, Nike’s gamble to feature anthem-kneeling NFL player Colin Kaepernick paid off with online sales surging by 31% in a week. This executive decision was based on sound principles of market data, crunched through Nike’s AI platform that showed its intended audience’s sympathy for social justice causes like BLM.
Marketers are already excited by the emerging AI applications in conversational intelligence, haptics, holographic imagery, and semantic research. Artificial Intelligence is already making its presence felt through machine learning, natural language processing, applied propensity models, and predictive customer service sets.
AI for maximizing your reach
AI generated content and smart content curation capabilities are democratizing digital content access. Writing programs like “Wordsmith” can generate SEO-rich, targeted content that can get maximize conversions. Wordsmith produced over a billion pieces of content in 2017 alone and has been extensively used by retail, e-commerce, financial services, media, and allied industries to achieve scale and reach for their marketing efforts as mentioned by another leading magazine.
Business content may or may not be written by a robot, but smart content curation is heavily dependent on AI. The popular Netflix recommendation system uses sophisticated machine learning algorithms to understand the customer’s innate and expressed needs. So, Netflix customers find value in trusting the recommendation engine to lead them to show they really want to watch. Similarly, Tinder, the world’s trusted matchmaker is employing AI for its “Super Like” and “Top Picks” feature. Of course, it kept the swiping customer closer to their soul mates but also has added over 3 million singles to the dating app till date as revealed by TechCrunch.
Facilitating action – Chatbots, Robo-advisories
AI has a big role in customer management. New age propensity models can map the customer buying journey and personalize the content. Predictive analytics underpinned by AI, understands dissonance and reaches out with more personalized engagements. The best examples are the dynamic emails triggered by analyzing customer digital behaviours. The customer is always presented with email content that is specifically curated to reflect his/her buying journey.
Conversational intelligence is another area that AI is making the biggest wave. Voice is not just an interface, but a personification of devices which is then mirrored on the brand. Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and the most recent Google Duplex are capable of carrying out almost seamless conversations. Conversational intelligence is extensively used in the BFSI sector to help customers navigate the loan management, insurance premium payments, or wealth advisories. With sophisticated algorithms, these Robo-advisors are able to provide the best price for loans, insurance premium calculation, or settle your tax returns. Voice assistants are a mainstay for fashion brands like Levis or hospitality providers like Hilton. These ubiquitous assistants’ help customers find the right jeans, book a getaway, or even personalize the perfume.
Future proofing with AI
AI is slowly but surely emerging as a natural ally for the CMO. Over 85% of customer interactions in 2020 will be powered by Chatbots and Robo-assistants helping customers to understand, engage, buy and invest. Next frontiers are tactile-rich-haptic AI which would bring in multi-sensory interactions to fruition. For the CMO this is a data goldmine where in human creativity partnering with AI-assisted delivery can create unique and personalized experiences for customers. As we go along, we will see greater democratization and adoption of AI-based solutions in the marketing function’s day to day activities.