Unless you’ve been marooned on a deserted island as devoid of modern technology as Robinson Crusoe’s, you can’t have failed to notice the arrival of Artificial Intelligence in virtually every aspect of our lives. No longer the stuff of futuristic movies, AI is everywhere today.
In fact, even when we’re not conscious of it, AI has become such a pervading presence in our everyday lives, it’s hard to turn on a computer, TV, phone or even a clothing iron without the strong possibility that “smart” technology is involved.
Giant corporations, such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Netflix, and a plethora of others employ AI in their products and services to simplify the lives of their clients.
One area where AI has particularly made significant inroads in recent years is in the field of marketing.
Enterprises that desperately need improvement and innovation in their marketing strategies and are struggling with key performance indicators are looking to Artificial Intelligence as the way forward.
In the article, we will explain what Artificial Intelligence is, and its applications in marketing throughout the whole customer cycle. You will discover some ways to improve your enterprise business by implementing AI innovations.
WHAT IS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE?
According to the most quoted definition by Russel and Norvig, the term Artificial Intelligence can be applied when technology is able to mimics “cognitive” functions that humans associate with the human mind, , such as learning and problem solving.
The term was coined at The Dartmouth Conference more than 60 years ago by computer scientist John McCarthy. Its meaning has widened since then, and now it is an umbrella term that covers lots of disciplines, from automatization processes to robotics.
In fact, the term is so broadly applied, people don’t always realize they are using AI technology. A Hubspot survey in Q4 2016 showed that, of 1,400 respondents from around the world, 67% were unaware that they were routinely using AI technologies.
The respondents were more than happy to admit they had used Siri, Cortana, or Alexa (voice recognition programs), but they realized these programs are AI-powered.
Growth in the AI sector eventually becomes a priority for most enterprises. A National Business Research Institute (NBRI) survey in 2016 showed that 38% of 235 organizations responding to the survey, were using AI technologies. And 26% more were planning to start using them by 2018.
When it comes to enterprises, growth in AI sector becomes a priority for most of them. National Business Research Institute (NBRI) survey held in 2016 showed that 38% of 235 organizations that have participated in it, were using AI technologies.
That means 62% to that survey were ready to embracing the new world of AI-driven technologies, recognizing their importance and helpfulness in many areas of business, including the marketing sector.
WHAT CAN AI DO FOR MARKETING?
AI has become so integrated into marketing today, we can see applications of it in every stage of customer’s journey. To explain, we will use the so-called RACE funnel developed by SmartInsights in 2010.
RACE covers the full customer lifecycle, which each letter standing for one part of the cycle: Reach – Act – Convert – Engage. Below, we’ll describe the role of each of these steps in building a marketing strategy and discuss how AI can help.
When we speak of how to reach potential customers, we mean content marketing, search engine optimization, and other techniques that help your company attract buyers, so they’ll begin their journey with you.
AI can help in this process. Enterprises mostly use AI to help with creating and curating content, some also do SEO-optimization for their website that considers the importance of voice search.
1) Content Making
Robots can’t exactly create Pulitzer Prize-worthy pieces of journalism, but they’re not bad at combining information and structuring it into nice report articles. They work just fine for putting together something like a Fantasy NFL game report, or presenting financial data.
The newspaper USA Today uses Wibbitz, AI-driven software, to create some of its video content; the Reuters service employs a prediction tool called News Tracer that works with Twitter and helps to determine whether a story is credible based on users’ reactions.
Buzzfeed has a tool called Buzzbot that is able to collect information from on-the-ground sources at news events.
There is also a writing program, WordSmith, that produced 1.5 billion pieces of content in 2016 alone. You can join 400,000 users that are already utilizing WordSmith to, for instance, to see if content created by this program is going to be useful to your brand.
2) Content Curation
When it comes to content curation, the most obvious example of AI’s usefulness is Netflix. After you’ve finished watching a movie or TV series, Netflix’s algorithms help it “learn” your preferences, and it will offer you something similar to the content you’ve just watched.
The same principle can be applied to any subscription-based business. By analyzing a user’s preferences, the algorithm can give recommendations tailored to each user.
Once you link one piece of content to others on any subject, your presence online grows.
3) Voice Search
You are no doubt familiar with Siri (Apple), Alexa (Amazon), Cortana (Microsoft) and probably some others. Some people communicate with voice search systems more often than they do with distant relatives.
Soon more than half of searches online will be made with the help of voice.
Businesses today need to build an SEO strategy that considers the fact voice will prevail over typing in the near future. This is an absolute necessity. Your brand will be able to gain traffic with the carefully designed help of Amazon, Apple and Google AI-driven tools.
Act – You have attracted visitors, now make them aware of your product.
Once you have reliable data, you’ll be more able to predict what will happen in the future — for example, what is the optimal pricing for your product that will bring in customers and encourage future purchases?
Some 58% of enterprises that use AI in the marketing strategies employ it in their predictive analytics, according to the above-mentioned NBRI survey.
AI-driven tools are invaluable in dealing with big data. IBM Predictive Analytics as well as Google Cloud Prediction API are the best known software systems, but a growing number of companies are offering AI tools for this purpose.
Keep in mind that the more precise the data is, the better the predictions are going to be.
According to Technopedia, ad targeting is meant to deliver ads automatically by using specialized software and algorithms that choose where and when to place ads depending on the user’s data.
Facebook is doing pretty well in quarterly revenue, making $9 billion in Q2 2017. The figure grew from $1.5 billion back in 2013, when the company began utilizing Lookalike Audiences, an AI-driven social network editor.
Lookalike Audiences allows advertisers to reach customers who are similar in important ways to current customers in their base. It also provides a way to present those customers with the right ad at the right time. These optimizations can make a huge difference to a company’s cash flow.
Now it’s time to turn visitors into customers.
Online retailers use collected data to determine whether the buying audience is responsive to special offers. AI algorithms can help you with the analysis.
Uber, a business that has struggled at times recently, has been heavily criticized for using dynamic pricing, making it more expensive to get a ride at times of high demand, or in areas where fewer drivers are available.
This may be a profitable practice, but it comes at the price of being accused of gouging customers and increased ill-will.
Chatbots don’t directly increase conversion rates, but they do make for a better overall customer experience and help build relationships between enterprises and their customers.
The bot never sleeps, and it does not make customers wait. It is never rude or impatient. It also saves data collected in communications with customers that could be used in future. Communication with a “smart” chatbot can sometimes be more pleasant than the one with a real human being.
The Messenger Platform from Facebook is perhaps the most famous tool for creating a chatbot there is.
Machine learning is extremely helpful with marketing automation. Data analysis provided by AI will help you reach your customers at the right moment with the help of most effective channel.
Predictive analytics will help you send a dynamic email with the exact category, size, and color of an item your customer will be interested in.
This part of customer’s journey is closely connected with the “Act” part of the customer journey. At least, from the point of view of implementing Artificial Intelligence.
AI can be extremely helpful in achieving your key performance indicators when it comes to marketing. Not innovating in this area can quickly become an issue for marketers, as outdated methods just don’t work the way they once did.
AI is closely connected with marketing and can be very helpful to marketers at its current stage of development. The job of marketing manager is among the least likely to be replaced by Artificial Intelligence, according to Hubspot.
The responsibilities of marketing managers include data interpretation, trend monitoring, and campaign analytics. Al is a long way from being ready to replicate human knowhow in performing these duties.
But AI can be extremely helpful in organizing the work processes of human beings who handle these activities on a daily basis.
Don’t hesitate to share your opinions on these examples of AI in practical use, and please let us know how your company applies Artificial Intelligence in your marketing strategy.