May 10, 2017 / By Cynthia Ramsaran
Many think Artificial Intelligence (AI – the intelligence exhibited by machines) is one technology. In fact, it is a group of related technologies already touching many aspects of our lives, as we discussed in our last blog on AI.
This combination of technologies includes natural language processing (improving interactions between computers and humans), machine learning (computer programs that can learn when presented with new data), and expert systems (software programmed to give advice).
Marketers in almost any industry, from sports and financial services to consumer products and healthcare, are leveraging AI to target consumers. Here are four ways AI can help benefit brand marketers:
1. Enhance the consumer experience – Businesses can quickly solve problems when they identify customer issues /dissatisfaction patterns early on. AI programs can recognize a consumer’s voice across a range of touchpoints to predict their emotional state so the company can respond with the most appropriate tone of voice or solution. For example, if a customer is angry, the system can direct the representative to offer additional benefits or discounts and generate a positive experience instead. Also, AI can:
– Reduce consumer “choice clutter”: Shoppers tend to get confused and angry when presented with too many options. By tracking customer browsing patterns and reviewing previous purchase history, AI can target buying options to help the right customer find the right products. It can target even further by analyzing factors like weather, location, age and gender, and make recommendations that are more personalized and relevant.
– Improve customer service: Brands, like client partner Capital One, are employing Chatbots and voice controlled virtual assistants, to deliver easier, faster and more relevant communications to customers. For example, through a partnership with Amazon, Alexa users can enable a Capital One skill that allows them to:
– Ask Alexa for their recent spending history at more than 2,000 merchants, including Starbucks, Whole Foods, and Amazon (“How much did I spend at Amazon last week?” )
– Check the balance on their Capital One bank, credit card and auto or home loan accounts ( “What’s the balance on my credit card?”)
– Pay their bills (“Pay my credit card bill”)
– Find out when their mortgage is due; the amount of their next car payment; the principal on their auto loan, and what their recent transactions were (“How much is my next car payment?”)
2. Content Generation & Content Marketing – Consumers now have access to an endless choice of content, so marketers are more intent on engaging them with content that is relevant and exciting. AI enables marketers to create content at scale and distribute the right content at the right time to the right consumers. In fact, some AI solutions use advanced machine learning to predict which content will perform best for specific audiences, including what content has the potential to convert prospects into consumers.
Machines are already producing content, and Gartner predicts that by 2018, 20 percent of all business content will be authored by machines. Through a software process called Natural Language Generation (NLG), artificial intelligence turns data into relevant, coherent text that’s clear. Unlike humans though, NLG can’t produce prose on its own. People must create a template for the AI tool to follow as well as a structured data set.
But NLG has its benefits. As reported in the online newsletter of the Content Marketing Institute, the Associated Press went from publishing 300 earnings reports per quarter written by humans to 3,000 per quarter written 100 percent by machines using AI.
From a content marketing perspective, AI can enable marketers to understand better what topics resonate best with their audience, what trends are growing in popularity, and what they should write about.
3. Marketing forecasting – Artificial intelligence can provide a new way to look at predictive analytics for marketing forecasting. For example, using business intelligence data such as clicks, views, time-on-page and purchases, a marketer can predict who will be making large, planned purchases such as cars, engagement rings, and new homes, then determine what it is that matters to that person. With this information, marketers can create custom messages to promote their specific brand or product.
Forecasting also will enable marketers to predict the success of a campaign or marketing initiative, as well as how they can continuously improve marketing efforts. While forecasting through machine learning is in its initial stages, this tool holds great promise.
4. Content curation – Marketers know that content curation is an effective way to engage your social media followers and supplement their content. Unfortunately, it takes significant time and energy to sift through and curate content that’s engaging and relevant to your audiences’ needs. Artificial intelligence brings a new dimension to content curation by detecting patterns and determining content that is trending.
Will artificial intelligence displace humans in marketing roles? Perhaps in some areas that already rely on automation. It is more likely for now, artificial intelligence will continue to supplement human knowledge and experience.