Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a trend with serious staying power. Market research firm Tractica expects the global market for AI software to become a $118.6 billion dollar industry in the next five years (as of 2018, AI represented a $9.5 billion market). This market includes a diverse collection of applications, including natural language processing (NLP), robotic process automation and machine learning (ML).
Some of the biggest brands (including Netflix, Starbucks, Forbes and Sephora) are already using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to increase ROI on marketing initiatives and boost customer engagement. Marketing teams are using AI-powered tools to strategize, optimize campaigns, interact with customers at scale and implement true, one-to-one personalization.
According to Forbes, 40% of marketing and sales teams say “data science encompassing AI and machine learning is critical to their success as a department.” Why are these tools important to marketing success? Read on to find out.
In this article you’ll learn:
Machine learning is the most effective way to achieve AI. Marketers can now use ML-based tools to process customer data and ultimately design and deploy highly personalized offers that customers find appealing.
How does ML work? Essentially, these tools leverage algorithms and statistical models to identify patterns; they then perform tasks based on their own automatically-generated predictions (thus eliminating the need to manually program those tasks).
In addition to performing tasks, ML can also process enormous amounts of disparate data and help businesses form actionable insights about customers. Marketers can take these insights to produce 1:1 personalized content and offers. Going beyond even microsegmentation, marketers can deliver at the precise moment what is most likely to create customer engagement at the individual consumer’s level.
All this increases customer engagement and loyalty, and opens up opportunities for marketers to create more high lifetime-value customers (LTV). Such loyalty and engagement initiatives are critical to success, because 76% of consumers expect organizations to adapt offers to their personal requirements and expectations. And 55% of organizations are implementing or considering using AI in their advertising and marketing practices. ML in marketing is fast becoming the only scalable way to provide a truly personalized experience for customers.
Here are a few ways AI is used to better reach customers and improve conversion and retention, and bring in higher revenues.
Think how amazing it is when companies like Starbucks send customized offers based on your past interactions with the brand. Consumers don’t value loyalty programs that offer useless points and coupons irrelevant to their buying habits. That’s what makes personalization a differentiator.
Your journey as a consumer becomes relevant when it is personalized—and that’s just what AI offers. The latest loyalty programs leverage tools like ML and AI to turn disparate customer data into actionable insights for your promotional offers. For example, rather than tossing out a 20% off coupon across your customer base, you send unique offers based on customer motivations, past purchases and incentives that are tailored to that individual.
Many consumers have quickly gotten used to interacting with chatbots, which are basically robots that mimic the way humans have conversations via voice commands, text chats, or some combination.
Chatbots enabled by AI technology (specifically ML and natural language processing, or NLP) can actually deliver information or conduct rudimentary tasks (for example, scheduling a conference call or making a purchase online), which eliminates the need for humans to perform such work. This can help companies save on labor and offers a simpler, easier way to provide efficient customer service.
AI can help content marketers plan and strategize more effectively in all kinds of ways.
Because AI-enabled tools can digest huge amounts of data, content marketers can leverage AI to make strategic decisions, including: which geographic regions to appeal to, the ideal content mix for different audience segments, when to publish content, what kinds of topics and keywords are likely to engage the target audience and much more.
Based on a user’s search history, conversion activity, behavior and intent, AI can recommend content best suited to that user. AI can also help marketing teams boost SEO efficiently by automatically optimizing online content and ensuring brand compliance by standardizing usage across any content assets.
AI is transforming what’s possible in advertising, including ad creation, ad buys and audience targeting. Currently Facebook uses AI to recommend ads you should run and writes copy based on the content on your Facebook page and website. In the future, marketers will use AI to suggest and even automatically create ad content, place ads and optimize bids to maximize results.
Brand reviews are critical to a company’s success. Not only do they make your company more visible in the market, they also have a clear impact on purchase decisions. AI allows marketers to track large numbers of reviews and brand-related social posts. This is especially important for small businesses and franchises, which often rely on local search, and whose reviews are a major part of the buying process. AI provides powerful ways to analyze sentiment (e.g. positive or negative reviews), prioritize reviews and classify or categorize them into topics of concern for reviewers.
1. IBM Watson
IBM Watson is a computing system created to accurately answer all kinds of questions, all on its own (that is, without human assistance). IBM built Watson using NLP, ML and other AI applications. Marketers can now use the evolution of IBM Watson (Watson Marketing) to deliver the kind of experiences consumers love and expect. Watson Marketing helps teams engage customers with tailored, relevant messages that increase customer loyalty and conversions. Watson Real-Time Personalization also offers personalized content and customer offers—with no coding required.
To create popular content, it helps to know what’s already getting lots of buzz. Enter BuzzSumo, which allows anyone to discover the most popular content online by topic, on any website. Marketers use Buzzsumo to create highly engaging content. It has features for monitoring the performance of your content and identifying any influencers you may benefit from. BuzzSumo can provide you with insights on competitors, alert you to content crises, and help you develop a solid content strategy.
Optmyzr lets you perform advanced automation in Google Ads, including bid adjustments, A/B testing and keyword management, with no need for coding or scripts. It provides smart suggestions for choices of keywords and ad copy, based on machine learning analysis. It can even automatically create campaigns by smartly adjusting campaigns you ran in the past.
Stackla is a “visual content engine” that helps marketers discover, manage and display the best content across all marketing touchpoints, including social media. Its AI algorithms identify content your audience is already creating; it also shows which content is likely to engage other members of the same audience. It lets you enjoy the fruits of the most successful social postings performed by members of your audience.
ChatFuel is an AI chatbot for websites and social media pages. It allows companies to automatically greet customers and respond to common questions at scale, and encourages engagement with marketing content and social media channels. The platform provides built-in templates for different business needs and can interact with users intelligently based on a given template.
Ada is a no-code AI chatbot you can use to reduce customer churn, increase revenue and raise customer satisfaction. Marketers use Ada to provide personalized content in more than 100 languages using conversational AI and conditional logic. Ada integrates with Zendesk and Salesforce as well as a variety of communication channels via API.
7. Facebook Messenger bots
Many marketing teams use Facebook Messenger bots to automate customer communications on Facebook, one of the most widely used consumer engagement platforms. You can use these bots to post content, respond to mentions, send reminders or answer questions. Facebook bots can be coded directly, via Messenger’s developer platform, or you can integrate in external bots.
Albert processes big data and helps marketing agencies design campaigns for different media outlets, channels and audiences. It provides different recommendations depending on client data and can be configured to provide results relevant for different industries. It can dramatically reduce the time it takes to research and brainstorm strategies for marketing campaigns.
Sensai analyzes social media posts and helps marketers understand which posts are getting the best response and engagement. This can help guide content programs to create more relevant and engaging content. It works with social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter, and provides an explainable AI interface that shows exactly why a certain post was chosen and what made it successful.
10. Narrative Science
Narrative Science automatically reads data, extracts insights and writes them in a way humans can understand. It can automatically generate “stories” that explain the meaning behind the data and remove complexity. For example, the platform can embed automated stories in company dashboards, adding words instead of just graphs and numbers. It can also translate a report into a news-like story that showcases the essential information hidden in data.
The Formation solution leverages the power of AI applications to offer brands a way to increase customer loyalty, create longer lasting customer relationships and boost engagement through personalization. Formation analyzes huge amounts of customer interactions at scale and to identify each unique customer’s underlying preferences, motivations and desires. It generates offers that are personally tailored to each customer, which optimizes relevance, engagement, conversion and revenue.
Formation gives brands dynamic offerings they can use to increase engagement throughout the customer lifecycle, from initial visit to purchase and retention stages. Formation offers are hyper-personalized, with an endless number of combinations of personalized elements; this ensures each offer is tailor-made to appeal to customers individually.
Formation’s AI and ML engine models customer interests and motivations, which means its customer offers get smarter and more effective with each new customer interaction it analyzes. Based on deep industry and technical expertise, the solution empowers companies to achieve 1:1 personalization at enterprise scale and drive better business results.
What level of personalization does your marketing team offer? Check out our white paper, “Why Personalization Isn’t Always Personal.” You can also contact us to see how Formation can help improve your marketing results.