Marketing has always been a fast-paced industry. Trends and innovations rapidly become commonplace. This is mainly because marketers, by nature, are early adopters. They have to be because competition is fierce both to win clients and work for clients.
The phrase innovate or die is something most marketing teams are all too familiar with. Even something as constant as Google is always changing, forcing marketers to change strategies at a moment’s notice.
Artificial intelligence is one such innovation that marketers are starting to adopt across a variety of platforms. While a far cry from the level of sophistication in other industries, AI is helping marketers to automate data collection and campaign targeting.
The big advantage is the absence of bias. AI can build a customer database or produce a report quickly, efficiently and without and objectively.
This can lead to better campaigns, hitting more of the right kind of customer. And better decisions based on reports that provide insight.
The technology is at a level of maturity that AI can be leveraged in a widening number of marketing activities.
Chatbots are a familiar feature on websites ranging from banking to eCommerce. They are a relatively easy way of answering customer queries without having to actually speak to them.
Similarly, customers get to resolve minor issues without the irritation of long waits on the phone. Followed by a more frustrating conversation with someone with poor customer service skills.
The problem is chatbot functionality has always been severely limited. Anything more than basic questions has to be referred to a human customer service assistant. So for businesses, they’re still having to invest in staff in addition to the technology.
AI is changing chatbots. Traditional chatbots are based on machine learning. They follow set behaviours based on inputs. Your smart speaker at home works in the same way.
Artificial intelligence, however, is able to understand customer questions on a semantic and contextual level. It can then look for the answer based on that understanding.
Significantly if it returns an incorrect answer it can use customer feedback to try again. Each time the algorithm improves so responses get better over time.
Compared to current chatbots who just give a virtual shrug when they get it wrong, it marks a big step forward in customer interactions.
Moreover, chatbots are ‘always online’ so you can deliver a good standard of customer service 24 hours a day. You’re also in a position to reduce your overheads in customer service as you will need less human intervention.
The best and worst thing about digital marketing is the sheer number of tools at your disposal. Aside from the wide range of social media platforms, there’s also the social media scheduling tool.
Then there’s paid advertising, email marketing, website reporting, project management, sales and more.
That’s a lot of different places housing customer data that needs to be consolidated. Putting your data in one place benefits your business in three ways:
- You can produce accurate reports
- You’ll get great customer insights
- It helps you to make better decisions, faster
The Single Customer View is one of the most powerful tools in any marketer’s toolbox but is probably the most often overlooked. Often times because the cost is perceived as greater than the efficiencies it provides.
In reality, pulling all your data into one place saves a lot of time and effort. AI has been handling data for years – notably Google’s search engine is a powerful artificial intelligence.
AI can be used to gather together all your customer’s data, wherever it sits within your online estate and brings it all together.
It can then sort it into customer profile that provides value to the business. This Single Customer View gives you the granular detail you need to deliver next level service to your customers.
AI-powered Marketing Automation
Artificial intelligence-driven marketing automation has the potential to make big changes in the marketing industry.
Email automation has been around for a while and allows organisations to communicate with customers in a more sophisticated, strategic way. As opposed to generic newsletters that offer little value and don’t speak to your customers in a customised way.
However, the level of personalisation achievable has always been directly linked to the information available. Marketing automation, combined with the Single Customer View changes that.
AI can bridge the gap between the two tools and allows you to create highly personalised automated campaigns. Moreover, the AI can either make recommendations based on performance or adjust your campaigns based on customer behaviour.
Where things get really clever is the real-time personalisation of your website. Artificial intelligence will be able to automatically adjust CTAs on your blog depending on the customer.
The AI will know who the customer is and what they are interested in, based on their unified customer profile. Coupled with their behaviour interacting with emails and other communications, the AI can adjust CTAs to increase conversions.
First Party Data Strategy
The impending cookiepocalypse will see the end to the third-party tracking cookie marketers rely on to track and understand their customers.
When it eventually disappears marketers and advertisers will be sent into a tailspin. They will no longer be able to harvest data as freely as they do now, making it harder to sell.
It’s little wonder that consumers are eagerly awaiting this change as they have little or no control over this process.
To mitigate this industry ending change, businesses need to pivot to a first-party data strategy. That is to say – you need to collect data from your customers directly.
You can achieve this by building good relationships with your customers through personalised interaction and adding value.
Artificial intelligence will play an integral role in this process as it can interact with your customers and gather data efficiently.
This is key because your AI solution will also be severely affected when the cookiepocalypse does eventually happen. Data is to AI as food is to a human.
The sooner businesses take charge of their data and adopt a first-person data strategy the better off they will be long-term.
Artificial Intelligence is Still Evolving
AI has a tremendous amount of potential, especially with the recent breakthroughs in quantum computing.
However, as a technology, it is still limited and is only as good as the data you feed it.
This speaks to the wider issues around data management and cybersecurity. AI is something that can help in this regard too. Artificial intelligence can respond to attempted cyberattacks faster than any human.
However fundamentally businesses need to take their customer data seriously and recognise the value in managing it effectively.
If for no other reason than it will help them communicate with their customers more effectively. As a result, they will see a shorter sales cycle and a more profitable sale.
Consolidating data into a single location is a good first step. You’re then in a position to wrap any technology you like around it.
Xtremepush is the world’s leading customer engagement, personalisation and data platform. We work with various top brands within the eCommerce industry. Schedule a personalised demo of our platform to learn more about how we can help your brand drive repeat customers and increase revenue.