Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become an integral part of industries, helping position their products, collect consumer data and improve their future products. Marketers harness the power of AI in everyday life for executing successful campaigns.
AI is an area where computer languages and algorithms are used to create intelligent machines that can work and behave like humans. AI-enhanced computers have the powers to:
- Solve problems
- Recognise speech
A machine that has the cognitive capability to perceive, predict, learn and reason, is the fundamental essence of AI. It has broad applications primarily because AI never gets tired and can work for extended hours without a pause.
How does Google know what you are searching for? How does it convert wrong spellings, even grammar, or the words you speak in a voice search, and interpret them to give you optimum results? Google uses a machine learning technology Rankbrain to analyse search queries and process them to provide with the search results for everything you were looking for. Machine Learning is a subset of what AI can do for you.
One can use AI for repetitive tasks that are often mundane and based on a similar loop which reduces the employee efficiency, thereby leading to more errors. AI also helps in eliminating all the non-productive tasks which increase the operational costs of the company. It also provides a strong base to improve the existing offering of products.
AI dramatically improves the functionality of products. Take the case of Facebook, when you had to manually tag your friend to a picture. Now, with the power of AI, it recommends your friend’s name who might be present in the photo.
AI is currently used in various industries, from marketing to supply chain management to the banking sector, it is widely popular and adopted by businesses all around the world. A McKinsey survey points out that AI has maximum usage in the telecommunication and finance sector.
The future looks exceptionally bright for AI. Also, the jobs that require AI skills have an increased demand up by 4.5 X since 2013.
The Importance of Marketing in an AI-Driven World
All companies are competing to gain and retain their market share. In recent years influential companies like Mind Body, Oracle, and Bottomline technologies have dedicated almost 20 per cent of their revenues to marketing, and a few are inching towards 50 per cent.
A well-thought-out marketing plan aids companies in understanding their customers better and produce valuable services that meets their end-users’ demands.
There are plenty of marketing tools available in the market that provide in-depth insights to marketers. Marketing know-how also helps companies to reorganise the internal structure, a competitive edge in their industry.
Digital marketing now dominates over traditional marketing channels, mainly because they allow businesses to interact with their customers in real-time and in an engaging manner.
According to GlobalStats Stats Counter, 52 per cent of users perform searches on mobile devices. Businesses have realised that digital marketing has a better and broader reach and is also highly cost-efficient.
- Mobile ad spending at a global level should be touching USD 7 billion by 2020
- Close to 96 per cent of smartphone search traffic is routed by Google.
- About 85 per cent of consumers want the brands to create content for their products. The same percentage of people will not buy the product if they believe the website to be fake or unsafe.
Marketing is a powerful tool for creating an impact and influencing consumer decision. For the efforts to be successful, every effort has to be backed by powerful information tools that will enrich the consumer experience.
Application of AI in Marketing
We talk a lot about incorporating AI in marketing, but it is also important to know its applications.
1. Filtering of Data
Marketing is now an established data-driven discipline. With the effective use of data, companies are improving customer experience and reaching out to them in a better manner. With all the data available, analysing it becomes a Herculean task for humans. This is where the strength of AI comes into play where complex tasks and analysis are carried out by AI leaving crucial tasks for humans to pursue.
For example, to improve account selection with the help of account-based marketing (ABM) which can filter the target audience for the marketing team to focus their attention on.
2. Improving Search Experience
AI has had a profound impact on the way we search and the quality of the search experience. As mentioned earlier, Google in 2015 had spearheaded the use of AI in its search with the introduction of RankBrain. Companies like Amazon have followed in the footsteps of Google to make searches smarter. AI has helped in innovating and enriching search results with the introduction of natural language processing (NLP) and semantic search that have included smart options like autocorrect, assisting the users in finding products they can’t place and also provide the link between products and similar items for a wide array.
3. Enhancing Visual Search:
Image recognition technology of AI has made it possible to do the impossible. The visual search technology is still at its nascent stage, but gradually image-based searches are replacing text-based search. It has been popularised by the likes of Pinterest and Google lens technology. The user shopping experience can improve manifold because it will personalise their shopping experience. Snapchat, Forever21, eBay, and Wayfair are the brands that have taken full advantage of this technology.
4. Providing Product Recommendations
The collaborative filtering used by Amazon has come a long way in enabling product recommendations for the company. Today, most of the companies are successful because they have provided personalised products to the customer based on content recommendation. With the help of AI-based clustering system, many companies like Amazon, Netflix and Spotify have benefitted immensely from the deductions and connections done by AI’s data pairing system. OTT service provider Sky has also implemented AI in its system that lets the content reach out to the customer depending on their mood.
5. Providing Dynamic Pricing
AI uses dynamic pricing, which is used as a result of the observance of data based on customer behaviour. Indian Railways have switched to dynamic pricing based on demand and season for all its superfast trains. Since the implementation, there was a 20 per cent increase in revenue. Businesses can easily target customers better and offer them discounts based on their expectations. Airbnb too uses AI to help people list their properties at the rate they should be.
6. Predicting Patterns
The practise of extracting data from previous records and predicting the current pattern is a special skill set of AI. It can be used in analysing consumer behaviour and helps determine if the consumer would go for repeat purchase or not. It will be easier for companies to use the data to plan their future.
7. Consumer Segmentation
AI helps in personalising offerings for the target audience by sorting through the acquired data sets and looking for behaviours and purchasing patterns. The acquired data has to be further granulated with the help of AI which helps in the personalisation of the consumer product. Dynamic segmentation with the help of AI allows an organisation to analyse behaviour based on changing preferences of consumers.
8. Sales Forecasting
Economic trends and past data go a long way in forecasting sales outcome. AI helps forecast the resultant sales and helps businesses to make informed decisions and also predict long term performances.
9. Speech Recognition
comScore study predicts that voice search could grow by 50 per cent in 2020. Speech recognition has become an essential mark on the radar of marketing. Advances in speech recognition and NLP have led Google to reach the prestigious 95 per cent threshold limit of speech recognition accuracy. The searches have become superior, and so has the consumer experience.
10. Social Media Data
Social media is perhaps the biggest and most dynamic form of marketing today. NLP helps marketers to analyse the brand presence and conversations around them to determine customer satisfaction. AI can also spot potential business strategy or problems associated with the product. It helps companies to rethink and represent the products accordingly to the target audience.
AI has dramatically reshaped marketing intelligentsia and provides businesses with ideas and data that have improved their profitability and competitiveness in the market. AI can transform the economy if used wisely. With requisite skills, planning and experimentation, AI will surely impact every industry.