Artificial intelligence is rapidly changing both marketing and business processes. Through machine learning and other creative mechanisms, we can begin to tap into possibilities in creating a personalized and unique customer experience that were unheard of just a few years ago.
Of course, AI also brings with it challenges that are difficult ignore. How will this digital transformation impact your brand, customer experience, and marketing strategy? That’s what this article will explore.
The Data Revolution at the Core of Digital Transformation
Marketing, especially in the digital realm, does not stand still. Seemingly every day, new innovations disrupt the existing space to offer new possibilities of branding your company and reaching your audience. From social media network to new, interactive possibilities, businesses have to content with (and take advantage of) a constantly changing set of rules and environments.
But the core of digital transformation goes beyond innovative marketing channels. In fact, I’d argue that the driving force behind our new environment has been data. As John Roughley, head of strategy at credit services Experian, details:
Today, ‘digital’ and huge amounts of data exist in a symbiotic relationship. The smart use of data is already improving customer experience. Consider online commerce, where digitalisation has changed everything. Personalisation of digital experiences is no longer an extra, but an expectation.
His message is simple: new marketing channels and forms of interaction have enabled us to gather more data about our potential and current customers than ever before. But your audience is aware of that fact, and expects a personalized experience based on that expectation and the conscious sharing of data.
The Role of AI in Digital Transformation
Increasingly, businesses across industries are becoming aware of these rising audience expectations, and are adjusting accordingly. They are becoming increasingly aware of the necessity for digital transformation of business and marketing processes; in fact, one survey found that 73% of c-suite executives expect to increase their digital transformation budget in 2017.
Accomplishing a better symbiosis between business practices and data, of course, can be difficult. After the past few years of emphasizing data collection, many organizations now suffer from data overload, with full databases but little room for systemic analysis and interpretation.
Digital transformation, as CMS Wire points out, requires trusted data above all. You cannot optimize and adjust your entire business or even your marketing efforts based on data you cannot trust. Mechanisms to analyze and learn from that data are crucial. That’s where AI enters the equation.
The thought process behind involving AI with data interpretation and digital transformation is both simple and logical: if machine learning processes can better interpret the data available to most businesses today, these businesses can use the same data to personalize customer and brand experience and improve their marketing strategy.
Personalizing Customer Experiences With Smart Data
Let’s start with a simple truth: your customers don’t care about the processes behind getting them relevant information about your brand, and improving their experience as a result. If I shop on Amazon, I don’t need to know about the algorithm that determines which products I may also be interested in after buying a Bluetooth speaker. And yet, these exact processes are what can transform your marketing strategy into a powerful machine of growth.
A recent study showed that most marketers struggle with even defining artificial intelligence. For many, its meaning is reduced to the obvious: 59% consider predictive analytics as part of the concept, and only 42% include machine learning processes. But in fact, both are part of the same category, and can make a significant impact in personalizing your customer experience.
Consider a marketing automation strategy that dynamically organizes your lead data into patterns, and inserts personalized text and offers into your emails based on these patterns. Or consider automated emails, sent dynamically based on the favored open times of your audience. Especially on a large scale, this degree of mass customization has long been impossible. Thanks to machine learning, it’s only the tip of the iceberg.
If 84% of marketers believe that personalization drives both customer acquisition and retention, providing relevant communication rather than formulaic, promotional message is absolutely crucial to a positive customer experience. A system that can automatically recognize data pattern and improve your marketing as a result is becoming immensely valuable.
Marketing Uses for Artificial Intelligence
Of course, the potential uses of AI go far beyond emails or marketing automation. As Skyword points out, its applications can permeate every aspect of your marketing strategy:
Writing marketing content. No, your computer won’t soon surpass your own abilities to write. It can, however, generate natural language that is both readable and relevant. The benefits include content customized for each member of your target audience, adding to the relevance factor mentioned above.
Recommending content. We already mentioned Amazon’s capabilities above. Based on your previous reading and behavioral patterns, AI systems can recommend additional content you may be interested in. Execute it right, and your brand will both increase its credibility and keep the attention span of customers for longer.
Using chatbots. The technology has yet to fully catch on, operating at the edge of mainstream within social networks like Facebook. But user preferences and behavioral patterns suggest that could soon change; with an intelligent chatbot, your business could be available to user feedback and dialogue every second of the day.
Improving customer targeting. If customer experience is tied to relevance, strategic audience segmentation and targeting has to play a crucial role. Target’s ability to deduce whether a customer was pregnant based on her shopping habits was an early example of this technology, and the possibilities continue to expand.
Forecasting. For the time being, predictive analytics might be the holy grail of digital transformation. Forrester found that businesses who use forecasting technology grow significantly more than those who don’t. Predicting your audience’s NPS, likelihood to buy, and lifetime value can play a crucial role in finding your ideal target audience.
In other words, the potential uses for AI technology within your marketing and personalization efforts range far and wide. If your goal is to create a better customer experience, anything from personalizing your email to building a chatbot for 24/7 access can help in the process.
Building Your Marketing Strategy For an AI-Enabled World
Over the past few years, data-based marketing and decision making has turned from an enticing strategy to fear of data overload. Sorting out quality data, and finding patterns, has become close to impossible considering the number of data points we now collect about each of our current and potential customers. With the help of artificial intelligence, businesses can sort through that data and turn it from an data swamp into streamlined river.
That step is crucial for any type of digital transformation efforts. If you are looking to personalize your branding and customer experience, you better do it based on the data that is most relevant. If you cannot find that data, working with AI technology might help.
Collecting your audience’s data should be an advantage, not a challenge. Your customers have come to expect that if you follow them around the web, you better put that information to good use. Through predictive analytics, machine learning, and other AI processes, you can do just that – building a marketing strategy designed to enhance customer experience.