How will AI impact the marketing space?

13 July 2018 / Martin Benson

In recent years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become more prominent in our daily lives. From the Amazon Alexa to self-driving cars, AI is assisting us in all elements of life and is set to hit marketing over the next few years. But what does it really mean for businesses and customers alike? In this blog, Martin Benson explores the impact of AI on marketing.

AI is the key to unlocking more detailed and accurate customer profiles to increase engagement with highly personalised offers and messaging. In addition, AI will also provide a seamless customer experience with chatbots available to answer questions at any time of the day.

Research carried out by Gartner revealed that by 2020, AI will create more jobs than it eliminates and, by 2022, one in five workers engaged in mostly non-routine tasks will rely on AI to do a job (Gartner) AI is therefore set to support teams to deliver a more comprehensive and consistent customer experience.

Not only will more organisations be integrating AI into their marketing strategies, Weber Shandwick found that 55% (Weber Shandwick) of CMOs expect that AI will have a greater impact on marketing and communications than social media ever did.

With these figures in mind, how can we expect the marketing landscape to change with the advent of AI?

1. More accurate customer profiling

With so many different marketing channels available, tracking and collating data from each of them and using it to create an accurate customer profile is a mammoth task and often requires support from data scientists. These specialists identify patterns of behaviour and create content and support functions to ensure maximum engagement.

So, why use AI?

Humans are limited to the amount of data they can process at one time which means that predicting customer journeys is possible but, with AI can rapidly and accurately learn from hundreds and even thousands of data points on millions of customers. This, when coupled with appropriate human oversight can result in smarter decisions, enhanced efficiency, more speed, continuous improvement, a predicted customer journey and an enhanced customer experience. 

2. Increased personalisation

Many marketers (82%) aren't personalising across customer journeys which is largely due to not capturing an individual’s interactions – both online and offline - across channels and devices. Without this, brands have an incomplete picture of their customer journey. With it, they can better personalise communications across online and offline platforms to support the creation of an excellent customer experience which, in turn, can build brand loyalty.

Moreover, customers are spoilt for choice.  This makes any marketing activity super competitive, making personalisation the key to standing out. Customers have so many products and options available to them, and producing highly personalised product recommendations – before the individual starts to shop around for it - can be key to driving deeper engagement. AI can be used to more quickly highlight and predict customers’ next actions by identifying where individuals are in their journeys and how they compare to other customers on similar journeys who have converted. These models can then be used to test scenarios comprising different ‘next best’ marketing interventions and identify which are most likely to lead to a successful outcome.  These ‘decisions’ can be executed via the appropriate channel, optimising utilisation of marketing budgets to ensure its target at the right combination of individual and channel.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning can support marketers with data analysis so that they can deliver the levels of personalisation that customers expect.  Its automation capabilities allow it to watch data and spot trends or positive or negative anomalies, in real time, and alert marketers. It can be used to analyse behavioural and demographic data in order to determine the types of content that each user will enjoy and find the most engaging. AI systems are able to digest this information and learn more about user preferences on an ongoing basis and enable marketers to deliver the content that customers really want to see. This removes the guesswork from marketing and allows you to deliver highly relevant content to the correct audience, every time. 

3. Supporting, not replacing, marketers

There are many articles out there covering the “death of marketing”.  This is simply not true. AI is a tool that can support marketers, and complement rather than replace their abilities.  It should work alongside them and other marketing tools to reduce human error and, by continuously monitoring and optimising processes, allow more time for marketers to spend on strategic and creative questions. In effect, AI should eliminate mundane tasks and act as an endless virtual assistant.

4. Customer experience

AI has the power to analyse huge amounts of data from numerous sources, including human behaviours and emotions. This insight combined with human oversight can then be used to create better customer experiences.

For example, many brands use AI to support chatbots which can provide answers and customer care around the clock. AI bots speak to customers on an individual basis and quickly and personally respond to queries. By using machines to answer the bulk of customer enquiries, individuals get instant answers to simple queries whenever they need them and at a lower cost to service. However, there is the option for an individual to speak to a human agent if their matter is more complex, and with fewer queries to field those agents are freer to provide a higher level of service to these cases.

Overall, AI signals huge changes in the marketing sphere, assisting in driving faster business decisions in order to close the gap from insights to action.

For more information about AI, get in touch: [email protected].