According to the Tata Consultancy research cited in the Harvard Business Review, companies implement AI primarily to increase the effectiveness of information technology, marketing, financial trading, and customer service. Though AI promises many things in the field of Marketing, today’s deployments are far more pedestrian and focused on anticipating customer purchases or improving the efficiency of various marketing activities like monitoring social media.
However, AI’s impact in marketing over the coming years will be wide-ranging and far more significant than it is today. Here are the 5 key changes that we see taking place.
#1 Customer experience becomes more personal, less robotic
AI will make the Customer Experience more personal, and paradoxically less robotic.
This may sound counterintuitive, but customers are quite comfortable with bots. Research by Pega Systems shows that 55% of all customers surveyed were comfortable with a business using AI to interact with them. 19% were uncomfortable and 26% were neutral. Many respondents felt that bots can help improve customer service particularly in retail, healthcare, and telecommunications. Anyone who has had to navigate through a phone tree when calling their local phone provider will empathize with this sentiment.
However, customers would rather not encounter bots that cannot give them a contextual experience. Aftersales support, for example, is an area where customers would rather deal with a human being. They want real conversations.
Recent innovations in AI are aimed at addressing such gaps. The rapid innovation in technologies like Siri and Alexa are harbingers of things to come.
#2 From driver-assist to self-driving marketing campaigns
Just as AI technology in cars is moving from driver-assist to self-driving cars, AI in marketing will evolve from improving tasks like segmentation to helping orchestrate an entire campaign.
Most AI technologies for Marketing are designed to enable marketers to streamline manual and repetitive tasks. In the future, this will change. We will see AI playing an important role in orchestrating entire campaigns. The campaign builder technologies of today will be replaced by AI-powered campaign builders that will use data to personalize messages and offers, choose the best channel mix and the best times to execute those campaigns.
Forward-thinking marketers are already taking advantage of AI to connect customer experience from the top of the funnel down to the bottom. In our recent survey, for example, marketers revealed that they are using AI to overcome their top challenges in orchestrating customer experience at the top of the funnel. More than 40% of surveyed marketers are using AI for audience expansion, while 39% are using it for audience targeting.
#3 More time on strategy, less on manual operations
AI will give marketers more time to spend on strategy and less on manual operations.
Collaborative filtering and offer optimization are just some of the many aspects of marketing that AI can optimize. Any problem that involves the analysis of large amounts of data to see patterns, AI is a good tool to tackle that problem.
This leaves marketers with the not only the time but also convenient access to results from the analysis of large amounts of data. Marketers should interpret these results and factor them into their future strategy.
#4 More creative story-telling with expanded reach
Marketers will once again become creative storytellers, with AI helping them scale their storytelling to millions of users.
According to MarTech Advisor, 95% of content has no impact on engagement and is largely wasted. Marketers should combine the “old school” skill of storytelling with new AI-powered techniques like sentiment analysis to both create and deploy the most engaging content that people will consume.
AI can also be applied to distribute this content in a highly personalized manner based on the preferences and content consumption behavior of the recipient.
#5 Thrive or die based on the use of AI
Brands will either thrive or die based on how well they adopt and use AI in marketing.
Recent research by Deloitte shows that AI has sparked a renaissance in modern retail. An industry that was not so long ago in a “retail apocalypse” has bounced back and grown faster than overall GDP every year since 2009. Brand leaders have invested in AI to better personalize the retail experience for their customers.
Most industries will face a similar challenge and will need to figure out how to adopt AI or be at a competitive disadvantage. Data access and activation will be a key determinant of success. Our research shows that businesses that use more than 75% of their customer data in their marketing and 1.4 times more likely to exceed revenue goals than those who don’t.
Interested in learning more? Download the full report here.