5 Predictions for AI in Marketing in 2019

 


Forbes – This article originally appeared on Forbes.


There’s no denying that artificial intelligence is rapidly moving from fiction to reality. In marketing, especially, interest in AI has intensified as marketers have realized the potential that intelligently harnessing the ever-growing streams of customer data has on transforming customer experiences.

AI has become increasingly important not only to marketers but to organizations as a whole in order to stay ahead in today’s dynamic market landscape. According to a recent MIT global survey of 600 executives, nine out of ten companies already use AI to improve their customer journeys. More importantly, 70% of those companies have seen it directly improve revenue. Netflix has projected that its AI-powered personalized recommendations save it $1B in revenue annually by avoiding canceled subscriptions through engaging customers with relevant content.

Fueling AI’s adoption has been marketers demanding to see — and receiving — proof that AI delivers what it promises. Early adopters have shown how AI in marketing makes them more efficient, productive, and effective by simplifying, accelerating, and scaling marketing initiatives while removing many complexities inherent in marketing today. Similarly, our recent benchmark analysis of 3.8B marketing interactions across channels and verticals found that AI-powered marketing campaigns increase customer engagement by 7x and revenue 3x by helping marketers be more targeted, more relevant in their content, and more effective with how they engage each individual customer.

Now, as we step into 2019, here are five predictions for what the year holds for AI in marketing.

 

1. AI will intelligently orchestrate the full customer journey. Marketers’ first venture into AI was at the top of the funnel for audience expansion and audience targeting. Moving forward, AI will increasingly power the full customer life cycle, from customer acquisition to engagement to retention. Forrester recently predicted that “more than 20% of marketing platforms will use AI to optimize midcycle engagement” for B2B marketing. That number will be far greater for B2C. Furthermore, AI will move from influencing just the edges of the customer experience, such as dynamic content insertion, to orchestrating its core.]

  • What this means for marketers: AI-powered decision engines can solve the increasingly complex customer journey by optimizing, personalizing, and guiding every aspect of customers’ self-guided journeys with your brand. Yet only solutions with AI at their core that can unify all incoming customer data and use its insights to orchestrate decisions in real time can achieve this.

 

2. CMOs will challenge their teams to scale, and it will happen through AI. As marketing organizations’ demands and revenue targets continue to grow, CMOs will place increasing emphasis on leveraging technology to meet those demands. CMOs will challenge their teams to run more campaigns, add more personalization, and diversify their strategies by being smarter with their resources. Marketing organizations will quickly realize the only technology that can effectively streamline and scale how they work is AI.

  • What this means for marketers: AI can be a partner that amplifies and accelerates your marketing strategies by automating and optimizing hyper-targeted, multi-stage, cross-channel marketing programs. Not only will this allow your team to move faster and produce more, but it will also enable you to find incremental opportunities for growth.

 

3. Marketers will get creative with how they use AI. As marketers begin to understand how AI can augment and amplify their efforts, we’ll see them leverage AI in innovative ways and start breaking status quo marketing practices. After the initial AI learning curve and period of laying the groundwork with strategy, processes, and people, marketers will start pushing the boundaries of their programs and experimenting with new strategies, taking a bigger leap every time.

  • What this means for marketers: Beyond offloading mundane marketing tasks to AI, embrace the opportunity to reimagine your customer engagement strategies. With AI, new campaign ideas can go live in no time without significant resources and be readily optimized and pivoted.

 

4. Marketers will fully embrace AI because it stops being black box. Marketers want control of their marketing programs and need to be able to explain their marketing investments. But the first generation of AI marketing asked marketers to take a leap of faith. That’s why the recent Business Insider Intelligence report found that “when asked to choose which trending technology they felt most unprepared for, 34% of global marketing executives chose AI.” The growth in AI in 2019 and beyond will be fueled by “explainable AI” in which marketers can see what factors influence predictions and can control the parameters that guide AI.

  • What this means for marketers: AI adoption will only accelerate, and it’s important to get started implementing AI now or risk falling behind and being leapfrogged in the future. Look for AI solutions that give you the level of control and the visibility into AI algorithms and workflows you need.

 

5. Marketing AI companies providing real ROI will emerge from the noise. Last year, Gartner analysts predicted that “by 2020, AI technologies will be virtually pervasive in almost every new software product and service.” We’re already seeing this prediction play out with a proliferation of marketing software providers — emerging and incumbent — adding AI to their product strategy and pivoting their messaging to claim AI capabilities. Yet not all marketing AI is created equal. This year, we’ll see more emphasis on separating real AI marketing solutions from fringe AI solutions. Gartner has already started helping marketers identify noteworthy AI solutions by introducing the first Cool Vendors report on AI for Marketing.

  • What this means for marketers: As the “AI” label becomes standard, marketers will find it increasingly challenging to identify real AI solutions capable of effectively solving their problems. Marketers will need to be more vigilant with testing vendors’ claims to weed out masked AI solutions.

 

Lastly, one final prediction to add to the mix:

2019 will be a pivotal year in which marketers finally realize the ROI of AI. We’ll see AI’s mounting, tangible benefits move it from hype to mainstream. Will 2019 be the year you embrace AI?

 


Download ROI of AI Marketing: 4 Levers for Cross-Channel Success


 

5 Predictions on How AI Will Reshape Marketing

5 Predictions on How AI Will Reshape Marketing

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.

Download Blueshift's report on the state of AI, Marketing, and Customer Data - lots of marketing stats

over 75% of businesses have seen an increase in revenue tied to their use of AI in their marketing.

Blueshift featured on ZDNet: AI, Marketing, Revenue, and GDPR


The full article, “Survey shows that three-quarters of businesses improve revenue with AI”, can be found here on ZDNet:
https://www.zdnet.com/article/survey-shows-that-three-quarters-of-businesses-improve-revenue-with-ai/


AI-Powered marketing generates more revenue

In this coverage by Eileen Brown (@eileenb) from @ZDNet of our latest research report titled “Activating Customer Data for AI-Powered Marketing” (Download it here), over 75% of businesses have seen an increase in revenue tied to their use of AI in their marketing. In short, brands who aren’t using AI in their marketing are actually leaving money on the table.

Percentage of respondents that exceed revenue goals

Respondents that exceeded revenue goals

The right data is your first-party data

“The ‘right data’ to use is first-party data, gathered from their own customers acquired with the customer’s consent and trust.”

These leading brands have already come to realize that “the ‘right data’ to use is first-party data, gathered from their own customers acquired with the customer’s consent and trust.” They have embraced the seismic shift towards first party data, the explicit consent needed, and the ability to actually collect and using relevant data.

Customer data, GDPR, and AI

As anyone who handles customer data knows, GDPR is here, and companies will be held accountable for maintaining compliance. Having a strong customer data strategy not only helps with GDPR compliance, but will be the key to using AI in your marketing.

The Age of AI-Powered marketing is already here.


Read the full article:
https://www.zdnet.com/article/survey-shows-that-three-quarters-of-businesses-improve-revenue-with-ai/


Download the full report here:
Download Blueshift's report on the state of AI, Marketing, and Customer Data - lots of marketing stats

AI-Powered-Marketing-–-Its-About-the-Data-Cupid

AI-Powered Marketing – It’s About the Data “Cupid!”

Marketing is a fertile petri dish for the use of artificial intelligence (AI).  In fact, a recent study by Forrester Research found that 46% of respondents said that marketing and sales were the leading groups inside their companies evaluating the investment and adoption in AI.  In a recent webinar with analyst Rusty Warner from Forrester Research, Stewart Rogers of VentureBeat and Vijay Chittoor of Blueshift, we discussed these and other developments in the world of AI as they relate to marketing.  This is part 1 of a 3-part series about the topics discussed.

Customer data is exploding and marketers need help

Anyone who’s been in the trenches of online marketing in the last few years has seen the explosion of data first-hand. We’ve gone from having to work with just demographic data to the plethora of online data including online browsing activity tracked through cookies, opens and clicks of emails, mobile app activities, social media engagement, intent to purchase and purchase data and so much more. There is a treasure trove of information in all this data, but marketers are overwhelmed. 85% of them are unable to extract value from their data according to a study by Econsultancy and 59% of those attending our webinar told us that they are using less than 25% of their marketing data.

Not surprising to most marketers, there is a growing rift between the amount of customer data being generated and the capacity for traditional marketing techniques –largely powered by human analysis– to process this data. Rusty Warner refers to this phenomenon as “exceeding the human cognitive capacity” because of the complexity, volume and velocity of information.

Effective use of AI can narrow this human cognitive challenge by processing these large volumes of data quickly and use machine learning to recognize patterns in the data and predict what to do next based on the past behavior of similar audiences. While this sounds pretty logical and straightforward, it’s not as easy as buying a black-box AI system and dropping it in.  

The decision to deploy an AI system to improve marketing performance is a big one that should to be given the same level of planning and preparation that was given to deploying a CRM system (your system of record) or your marketing automation system (your system of engagement). The AI powered system will become your system of intelligence that must work closely with these other systems to improve results.

In the next part of this series, we will outline Forrester’s recommendations for planning, organizing, and deploying AI for your marketing.

webinar ai powered marketing and put your customer data to work with blueshift featuring forrester and venturebeat