Customers these days are fickle. They idolize your brand one moment, then switch to competitors the next. They want their buying experience personalized to a tee, without Big Brother snooping on them. They want your recommendations, but only at the right moment.
This new reality is indeed tricky to navigate even for the most seasoned marketer. Gone are the days when the shotgun approach worked; nowadays, it’s all about relevance and the customer journey. As customers’ attention gets further divided by technology, the need to connect with them through every digital touchpoint has become all the more significant. So marketing specialists have turned to AI as a way to achieve that.
Benefits of AI in Marketing
Big data plays a crucial role in generating marketing and business development insight. With AI thrown into the mix, business leaders have derived even more value from big data. Some of the benefits include:
1. Discovering new opportunities
A survey by Narrative Science revealed that as early as 2016, 61% of business executives were already dependent on AI-driven data analytics to discover trends and opportunities for product and service innovations.
2. Demand forecasting
According to PwC’s “Sizing the Prize” report, a majority of decision-makers said that AI, specifically deep learning, has helped them anticipate customer demand, such as by forecasting customers’ orders ahead of time.
3. Boosting revenue
In a joint survey, EverString and Heinz Marketing found that more than 50% of business-to-business (B2B) marketers believe AI can help them with personalization, spotting trends, and boosting revenue.
AI Marketing: Current Challenges in Deployment
Experts, however, also see people’s lack of confidence in AI as a barrier to its widespread deployment in marketing. Below are some of the issues that need to be addressed.
1. Privacy concern
According to PwC’s “Global AI Study,” privacy is a commonly cited concern when it comes to AI adoption. Consumers don’t want brands to intrude into their personal digital space. Brands thus need to devise better ways to gain consumers’ trust with how they use AI to stay connected.
Full integration may require companies to make a significant investment in new hardware and software. AI is heavily dependent on high-quality data sets in order to self-learn or generate insights. This may pose a hurdle for small businesses without the necessary IT infrastructure and skilled individuals who can develop and run AI-powered marketing solutions.
Use Cases for AI-powered Marketing
From customer acquisition to retention, below are just some ways by which AI supports marketing professionals in mapping their customers’ journey:
1. Predictive analytics
This empowers companies to understand which customers require more attention than others based on their behavior. FedEx and Sprint are two companies that use AI-driven predictive analytics software to identify customers who are at risk of leaving their service. The technology allowed them to lower their churn rate.
2. Product and service recommendations
AI-driven algorithms allow companies like Spotify and Netflix to tailor-fit media recommendations by taking cues from their users’ preferences. These algorithms respond to users’ immediate and future needs by treating their past actions as real-time feedback.
3. Intelligent agents and chatbots
Garner predicted seven years ago that by 2020, human intervention would no longer serve a purpose in 85% of customer interactions. The company has since revised that estimate to 25%, although it still points to the same trajectory. Virtual assistants and chatbots have proven useful in eliminating the waiting time for customers who require assistance with their booking, billing, or purchases.
4. Omnichannel programmatic advertising
A Forrester Consulting study found this an advertising driver. Buyers want to receive customized recommendations regardless of the device or channel they use. AI-based marketing technologies can facilitate the creation and distribution of campaigns without human intervention across Internet of Things (IoT) devices and location-based technologies.
Consumer tastes and habits are hard to pin down, that much is true. But with the right AI-powered marketing software, consultants can design better experiences that can hold their customers’ prized attention longer. AI, so far, has already demonstrated its potential; all that needs to happen is for businesses to pursue AI maturity to reap the technology’s benefits fully.