Have you ever sat down to think about who manages the emails you received that are advertising products sold and services offered by a business close to you? The emails also usually somehow have an idea of what type of products you might need or be interested in. There definitely isn’t someone sitting behind a desk 24hrs a day collating data on you personally (like location, commonly used products, etc.) and then sending you a personalized email. This is all happening through the use of various types of artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms that are analyzing large sets of data to send you just the right message.
AI is being used in a wide range of marketing use cases including Search Engine Optimization (SEO), email marketing, content curation, and much more. Different tools have been developed that are already being used by different brands not only to make the lives of human marketers easier but to make them a lot better at their jobs.
In situations where processes are optimized and made faster by technology, not only that humans have more time freed up for critical thinking, data analysis, and long-term planning also it makes businesses achieve better outcomes.
Terms like Data mining, Data analytics, Predictive Modelling, Big Data, etc. refer to technologies that are evolving rapidly and have become powerful tools in modern marketing and many other business activities.
Just like in marketing, AI is an increasingly integral part of many industries. AI has been defined as the intelligence exhibited by machines, rather than humans or other animals with natural intelligence. The field of artificial intelligence research defines itself as the study of intelligent agents, any device that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of success at desired goals.
The secret of popular product and services such as Netflix, Amazon, and of course Google is they all have AI systems to some degree routinely working in the background. The integration of this artificial intelligence into the marketing world has been happening for some time and will only increase as more data is collected on target audiences and there is an increasing need for sophistication to sell products.
Artificial Intelligence has been used in the following areas in marketing:
Product Pricing: How does a business determine the optimal price of a product? There is a lot of data about products and their consumers that can be collected and analyzed. As a business, they want to get the best price they can for a product to maximize profit, not just cover costs. AI algorithms can determine price elasticity based on sales, trends, customer opinion and a wide range of other data. Sales forecasting can be added into the mix to allow for expected sales to be determined and then determine the impact on expected sales based on changing price points.
Website Design: We are beginning to see the emergence of AI in web site design. One example is The Grid (https://thegrid.io ). This platform says its AI will build the web site for you. It uses Intelligent image recognition and cropping, an algorithmic palette and typography selection all powered by Artificial Intelligence. The goal is to build a website that designs itself based on marketing and selling input. Adobe and other companies have similar efforts underway. Wix, which is one of the largest DIY web site building platforms, has their Advanced Design Intelligence platform.
Speech Recognition: This AI technology is being used in applications such as Skype, which now supports Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Mandarin, Brazilian Portuguese, and Spanish. Its also used in other applications like the dictation feature of your phone, Microsoft Office and many other applications. It has continuously been improved through better and more advanced AI.
Language Recognition: On step beyond speech recognition sits the challenge of language recognition. It’s not just translating what you’re saying onto the computer. It’s understanding what you’re saying, and what it ideally in the context of the situation in which it’s being said. The goal of major brands is to be able to have machines listen and learn and react to what potential customers are saying.
Image Recognition: This is a powerful aspect of AI applications. You can see it in action for example with Google Images which allows you to search for images based on the content of the image. Another example is the face swap on Snapchat. An interesting example is the DuLight from Baidu (the large Chinese search engine). Designed for the visually impaired, this early prototype recognizes what is in front of the wearer and then describes it back to them. This type of image recognition could be used to decide what products and service will be marketed as the consumer moves through the shopping environment.
Content generation: Content writers might think their jobs are safe from being replaced by AI because of the imaginative and creative level of thinking required, that appears to be mostly true as of now. But tools like Wordsmith and Quill are already being used to create clickable news content. Using AI as the brain, templates, and fill-in-the-blanks to enter relevant data and keywords, these tools can generate uniquely written content that actually reads like it was written by a human. Suitable marketing content can be generated to a specific audience based on the information supplied to the AI. The information can be gathered from interaction with the target audience of consumers.
Bots, PAs, and messengers: This is probably the most well-known example of AI-based marketing – chatbots. You start a chat on the web and your friendly chatbot tries to help you before getting a human involved. While you’re talking, or typing to a chatbot AI algorithms are doing a complex set of analyses of natural language combined with the relevant brand’s datasets to formulate a response.
Chatbots can be used to take orders and general requests and also optimize product and service marketing and advertisements based on the interaction. Some find them annoying but have great potential to save time and costs of human resources.
Artificial Intelligence has enabled marketers to implement strategies previously considered tedious or impossible due to complex data. The opportunity to analyze and personalize the marketing and selling experience is a powerful goal for brands. Brands must be careful and develop a well thought out AI marketing strategy to ensure the level of consumer interaction doesn’t become too narrow and too aggressive. Consumers want to get great ideas from marketing but they do want variety and flexibility and importantly to not be annoyed.