Together with ML, AR, and VR, AI has taken the world by storm.
These advanced and innovative concepts have changed the way we live and work, and it’s only logical that they will find its essential role in marketing as a discipline which reflects the interests and needs of the average consumer.
Artificial Intelligence is a powerful technology whose surface has only been scratched so far, and yet it has already brought an array of different implementations that will completely and profoundly change the face of marketing. And we’re not talking merely about a facelift – it’s one of the biggest disruptors that this industry has ever experienced.
Here are some innovative ways AI is being implemented in marketing.
This is by no means a new strategy.
As a matter of fact, it has been one of the most important factors in the growth of the world’s largest retailer, Amazon – the company can thank its recommendations machine for 35% of its revenue.
It all started back in 1998, when a Swedish computational linguist from Columbia University, Jussi Karlgren published a report on “digital bookshelves” which discussed the notion of recommender systems. Around the same time, Amazon started using its collaborative filtering, that is the algorithm which allowed recommendations at an unprecedented scale. It was capable of collecting and processing the data on customer behavior and interests from millions of customers and from a catalog of millions of items.
Recommendations were huge two decades ago, and nowadays, with the power of AI, they allow for even more detailed and precise processing and clustering of customer data. Paired with other information such as demographics, it’s possible for companies to press the right buttons and give their current and potential users the recommendations based on what thousands and millions of other people with the same or similar taste, interests, or customer behavior purchased and downloaded.
Besides the realm of shopping, this advanced technology has been used by Spotify, Netflix, and YouTube, among many others to improve their user experience by offering highly personalized and tailored content to their users.
Smart Search Engines
AI plays an important role in how Google ranks search results and displays them.
In 2015, a true breakthrough occurred when the search engine giant introduced its machine-learning-based algorithm RankBrain. Natural language processing is another intelligent technology responsible for the next best thing to reading searchers’ minds – search intent, and showing them the best and most relevant results for their queries.
This technology is also used to make product searching smarter and easier, identify similar products, autocorrect spelling mistakes thus helping people find products they’re looking for in case they don’t exactly remember their names, or even discover particular products even if they have only a vague idea about what they’re looking for.
We live in an age of where immediacy is greatly valued.
Customers have become impatient and tend to grumble not only if they don’t get the answers they need in a timely manner but also if they have to wait and listen to that silly elevator music until the first available support agent takes their call. To be more precise, 75% of people believe it takes them too long to reach a live agent, which results in poor customer experience.
That’s why many companies introduced live chat, but this approach still required human customer service reps to sit at their computers and talk to customers.
As it’s too expensive to hire people who would be at customers’ disposal 24/7, innovative companies have switched to AI-powered chatbots. These smart algorithms are examples of conversational AI, which means that customers can ask them different questions and talk to them without the restraints of predefined, “canned” answers.
For example, you can ask Google Assistant or Alexa anything you want to know, or even instruct them to do something for you – call or text someone, or order you pizza. But you might want to be careful about how you set these intelligent devices and protect your credit card with a code for purchases because they can really be proactive – a little girl from Dallas, Texas, asked her parents’ new Amazon Echo “can you get me a dollhouse?” and topped off her wish with four pounds of sugar cookies. The device, naturally, obeyed.
The fun doesn’t end here.
A number of people noticed that their Echo devices started placing orders for a dollhouse upon hearing “Alexa ordered me a dollhouse” on the news when the girl’s parents talked about this funny incident.
As you can see, there are numerous benefits of this almost sci-fi technology and they are, among many others, boosting customer engagement and improving user experience.
Smart Social Listening
Social media is an important part of our reality and many people don’t use it only to connect with their friends and families, share vacation photos, and wish happy birthdays.
Just as brands wormed their way into the core of Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, customers inevitably managed to get even – many of them use social media platforms to express their opinion on different topics including voicing their dissatisfaction with how a certain brand dealt with their complaints.
Needless to say, this can lead to different PR incidents and ruin the said brand online reputation.
But AI-powered social media listening tools allow companies to spot such a PR accident before it snowballs into a full-fledged disaster. This means they can monitor their online presence, “eavesdrop” on the conversations around their brand, analyze a general sentiment of their audience towards their company.
The AI part of the equation actually enables these tools to grasp the meaning and understand the predominant attitude towards a brand and its products.
Besides the ability to spot a negative sentiment on social media, these social listening enriched with AI can also be useful for identifying the purchase intent – if a customer is talking about certain products and their need for, say, a smartphone, brands can target the said potential customer with the right campaign and display them smartphone ads or even a nice discount.
With a number of different roles it plays in this field, it’s clear that AI isn’t just an indispensable component of modern marketing but its driving force which will transform the way companies and their customers connect and interact.
Michael Deane is one of the editors of Qeedle, a small business magazine. When not blogging (or working), he can usually be spotted on the track, doing his laps, or with his nose deep in the latest John Grisham.