AI — THE MARKETER’S MAGIC WAND.

The word AI for most people is an enigma, a term widely misconstrued and misunderstood by the everyday man. A popular misconceived notion about AI is that it is a mysterious scientific experiment coming to take over the human race, you know, like the famous Arnold Schwarzenegger movie “The Terminator.” It would seem that the movie industry has not been of much help in demystifying what Artificial Intelligence embodies. Defined in simple terms, Artificial Intelligence, otherwise known as AI, is a high performing computer system that can simulate functions that ordinarily require human intelligence. This is achievable through the use of algorithms to perform a set of tasks, including; problem-solving, data collection, virtual assistance, etc. So what then does AI have to do with Marketing? Let’s take a look.

INTO THE MARKETING WORLD

The concept of marketing is as old as time itself. Various Tech and Investment sites typically define the concept using broad terms but, simply put, marketing involves all the methods employed by a company to attract a potential customer to purchase a product. The strategies employed vary depending on the Brand/ Company. It could include making cold calls, sending sales emails, or even going for coffee with a potential client in hopes of convincing them to buy a product or service. One significant thing about marketing is that it evolves with time; we have seen marketing strategy grow from word-of-mouth to technological adaptations like the TV, Radio, Internet and recently social media.

The newest tool on the block for the marketing community now seems to be Artificial Intelligence. AI has proven to be a valuable entry into the marketing world; the CMO Survey: Highlights and Insights Report, February 2019 provides a detailed survey of key industry players and their frequent uses of AI in Marketing. Here, we discuss some advantages of using AI and the popular AI trends marketers are exploiting.

AI & MARKETING; THE MEETUP

Recent surveys have shown that AI is used in particular for certain operations more than others. For Instance, reports from the CMO survey conducted by Marketing Charts shows that AI is primarily used for Predictive Analytics (56.5%), Personalization (56.5%) and making Target Decisions (49.6). There are non-exhaustive additional benefits of implementing AI in marketing, but we took the liberty of studying the six most prevalent ones and talk about them below.

SIX AI BENEFITS MARKETERS ARE HOOKED ON

Marketers seem unable to get enough of the ease of doing business that comes with the use of Artificial Intelligence; these are some of the ways AI recently has been utilized in the marketing industry:

1. Customer Insights:

Imagine being an espionage marketer without having to leave your house, break any laws or sweat in other to find out what exactly your customers desire? Well, you can thank AI for that. One of the numerous things Artificial Intelligence can do is collate large quantities of information from comments, frequently visited sites, posts etc. This information gives the marketer a better understanding of the customer and their preferences. In case you have ever thought a ghost was listening in on your thoughts and conversation on Instagram or Facebook, it is just AI curating your regular interactions and reflecting more of those interactions on your timeline/feed. A win-win feature right? This feature helps marketers identify popular trends, product requirements & gaps and act on information received accordingly. Whereas, the consumer does not have to search so far before finding out exactly what you want.

2. Customer Service:

There is no doubt that the internet made the trade-in business more convenient. Particularly so, is the advantage of a conversation taking place without the need for physical interaction. The consumer can also at leisure, shop for goods without the constraint of time. Essentially, there is unlimited access to products because of the internet. However, this comes with responsibilities, especially for brands serious about scaling their business. The need for 24/7 customer service cannot be over-emphasized, but then, this can lead to burnout in employees or the additional cost of employing more hands to take shifts.

Because of this, marketers are increasingly relying on AI to perform certain self-service functions such as booking systems and customer FAQs interactions. While physical wear-out hinders human productivity, AI being a machine does not suffer this flaw of exhaustion, it can carry on for far longer periods ensuring that no business opportunity is left unattended. It would interest you to know that the stats according to Gartner, state that by the end of 2020, about 85% of customer service inquiries would be handled via AI.

3. Chatbots:

While one of the ways AI helps with customer service interaction is through chatbots, this is not the only benefit or function of using a Chatbot in the marketing industry. Some Chatbots can be designed as Compliance regulators within a messenger app. They prevent spamming and ensure that a messenger app is used for the exact purpose it was created. The chatbot can do this by using a set of commands which it consistently improves on. If you are familiar with the messaging app, Telegram, then you should be able to relate to this AI benefit as Telegram is littered with tons of chatbots that carry out various instructions.

Most companies have gotten comfortable with the idea of chatbots as it reduces workload and improves productivity, and human personnel can focus on other tasks. Because the AI language algorithm is more accurate at collating data and responding accordingly, they have become more preferred to humans. With people and brands getting comfortable with Siri, Alexa and other virtual assistance, AI is not going away anytime soon.

4. Search Engine Optimization:

Okay, we understand what SEO does for your business, the keywords are necessary to drive traffic to your page and hopefully turn users into clients. Marketers, however, need to get ahead of new developments AI is bringing into the SEO space. As an example, Predictive AI is now in prevalent use for search engines such as Google and as if that is not overwhelming enough, search engines typically know when a search is being conducted from a mobile phone, which would infer that the same search is probably for something you need/want to purchase rather than for research. Also, because tabs and mobile phones are in use more than PCs and laptops, most search engines have begun focusing on voice-based searches which are more complex than typed out searches. What marketers are now realizing is the need to adopt AI to navigate the search engines in SEO optimization, to prevent dwelling in obscurity.

5. Ad Optimization:

Social Media platforms utilize AI in Ad optimization, by using algorithm obtained from searches and interactions of the user, sponsored ads can be tailored based on these algorithms. Again, this is why you would see more sponsored ads similar to the one previously clicked flood your timeline on Instagram. From the Marketers perspective, using AI for Ad optimization can help in making smart financial decisions. It analysis the marketing metrics; on how much to budget for ads, who to attract, what days and even hours to post, gender& age demographic including what country the target audience resides.

A Market survey conducted by PWC has revealed that marketers have been catching on with the business advantages of AI, with about 72% of marketing companies projected to spend about $57billion on AI for marketing purposes. Further, 3–4 companies have reported that using AI has boosted their sales by 10%. In summary, ad optimization makes for a higher ROI.

6. Biometrics

Because the internet is not without its disadvantages, companies have taken to employing AI as a protective measure from Cyber-attacks, by using a feature known as Biometric security. However, this Biometric technology can be leveraged, to collate data and simplify customer interaction on a website or app. An example is the fingerprint scanners and face recognition companies are recently including in their sales processes. A typical example is the fingerprint scanner addition for most internet banking platforms. The efficiency in granting instant access to records and assets especially during emergencies makes it an attractive feature and marketers have come to appreciate its importance in customer service and sustenance.

AI AND THE FUTURE OF MARKETING

AI is here to stay — and some even argue, to take over. The efficacy it embodies is hard to ignore, together with the ease of doing business it facilitates, which is its most appealing feature. Imagine meeting all KPIs with relative ease, boosting sales with a reduced marketing budget and ending with a high ROI.

Studies have predicted that using AI should be able to replace human functions in most areas of marketing. A study conducted by Acquia has reported that 53% of customers state that they are “looking forward to a better interaction with brands that AI can provide.” However, the same study has found that 85% of customers have said that a “personal touch” is missing and AI will be unable to replicate that requirement.

While AI might seem like the Wild card, it is lacking in essential human features that are necessary for a business. An AI is devoid of emotions, it functions based on instructions. Sometimes, emotions such as empathy are the key ingredient for optimal customer interaction, AI may improve the work that humans do, it is doubtful that it can replace the need for humans. Whatever the case may be, the marketing industry has been impacted in more ways than one and would continue to feel the beneficial impact of the Artificial Intelligence revolution for years to come.

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