Online Marketers: Welcome to the AI Marketing Revolution

Each day your organization postpones leveraging AI-powered marketing, you’re losing out to companies that are exploring the benefits of this revolutionary new technology.

Artificial intelligence has been powering elements of the marketing models and prediction systems of top brands like Netflix, Google, Amazon, and other consumer brands now for a while. In the last couple years, though, AI has made strides into the e-commerce realm, specifically, helping digital marketing teams augment almost every aspect of their buyers’ digital journey and path to purchase.

The best part? AI systems and the competitive advantages they afford are still a relatively untapped force within the industry. Brands that do explore and invest in AI stand to gain while their counterparts idly do business-as-usual and adhere to the status quo. AI tools which used to be affordable only to enterprise giants are now affordable and effective to small and medium-sized businesses, too.

twitter “AI is still relatively untapped in #marketing. Brands that do explore it stand to gain while the competition stands idle and adheres to the status quo,” says @KarolaKarlson CLICK TO TWEET

To learn more about the role AI can play in digital marketing, I spent time talking with Markus Lippus, chief technology officer at MindTitan. My takeaways included three ways that AI can truly revolutionize the online buying and e-commerce experience for YOUR end consumer.

1. Personalize the online shopping experience and improve CRO

AI systems can’t yet build your website from scratch, but machine learning applications are able to improve your website visitors’ experience in a multitude of personalized ways. Algorithms are able to digest complex customer data and provide relevant content to individuals at the right time. With AI, you can improve:

  • The browsing experience. AI scales the processing of every piece of customer data (location, demographics, device, pages viewed, products browsed, items clicked, time spent on page, etc.) to offer content (products) that are most likely to interest and entice each user
  • Entry/exit intent. Instead of prompting users with run-of-the-mill exit intent overlays, you can personalize your pop-ups to be incredibly relevant per the individual. You can also ensure content within specific web widgets matches what contacts see elsewhere, like in an email

In fact, the October 2017 report by eMarketer and Emarsys “AI for Marketers in 2018: Finding Value Beyond the Hype” reveals that the top four ways that marketing leaders believe AI will impact marketing all affect the website experience:

Marketing Leaders Worldwide 2017

Many successful retail brands are either piloting or using AI-driven web personalization tactics to increase conversion rates, capture more users’ contact information, and keep customers binging on their products and content.

2. Smart and scalable content placement

Chances are good that, at least up until very recently, your team spends a good chunk of time creating and loading campaign-oriented emails to defined segments. As good as most ESPs are, you still probably aren’t delivering on the true promise of marketing — a legitimate, 1:1 communication with each user. But this personalization element is critical — a recent study by Demand Metric found that 4/5 of marketers believe personalized content is more impactful than “unpersonalized” content.

This is where AI shines.

In piggybacking off of the above section, AI-enabled mar-tech can compile and understand all data points via all consumer-facing touchpoints to ultimately present the most relevant content for every single customer.

This sort of knowledge does two things: creates a better end experience for users, and saves your team painstaking amounts of time and energy, freeing them from manual segmentation work.

Personalized, dynamic emails will showcase (and automate the sending of) content suited for the unique tastes and preferences of customers, including:

Long story short: for the first time, you can automate the creation and execution of personally-curated emails to your entire active database. The AI algorithm can analyze every aspect of an individual’s preferences and history with your brand to offer a rather remarkable and hyper-personalized gift — when users are most likely to want it.

twitter “For the first time, you can automate execution of personally-curated #emails to your entire #database, & deliver a remarkable #personalized gift to customers,” says @KarolaKarlson CLICK TO TWEET

3. Automating the gathering and analysis of customer data

How much time and resources are you currently taking to collect, organize, analyze, and draw actionable insights from all your customer data? You probably cringe at the thought of answering that.

Most retail and consumer brands with hundreds of thousands of customer records have at least a person or two if not entire teams dedicated to data management. Unfortunately, these tasks too often fall in the lap of the creators, the copywriters, the artists — the marketers.

Instead, what if you could leverage (and by leverage, I mean trust and rely upon) machine learning systems to read and recognize behavioral patterns to draw marketing insights with the snap of a finger?

With both time and quality data, this kind of automated analysis is possible. You can begin to take a hands-off approach to data analysis, segmentation, and campaign execution, and let the machine devise specific communication plans for individuals based on what it knows about them.

Advanced AI systems can even build customer personas (e.g. “look-alike” audience targeting) based on multiple data points like location, website interaction, referral source, purchase history, and more.

As a result, intelligent algorithms can:

  • Pick and choose, based on detailed logic scenarios, which customers and/or segments should be included or omitted from which content or campaign
  • More effectively serve customers products they’re most likely to want and buy
  • Increase relevance and timeliness of communications

Bottom line: AI can really increase the customer experience and begin to provide marketing that feels less like marketing because it takes into account past behavior — from browsing to purchase — for each individual.

Final Thoughts: Working Together with AI

Let’s think big, for a moment: with the help of AI — and learning to accept its fortunes along with its flaws (AI isn’t perfect and is still in the early stages of its evolution), you’ll be one step closer in cementing your team/brand as an early player in the current, unfolding marketing revolution.

You’ll be able to drive engagement with each member of your database in a highly relevant way that actually builds relationships instead of one-off purchase or one-time conversions.

When thinking about how you can drive personalization for your online store, think about how you can use these three things:

  • Intelligent product recommendations and personalized website elements to drive action
  • Automating email campaigns so that both content and send time is best suited for each recipient
  • Operationalizing the gathering and analysis of customer data for better omnichannel automation

AI is becoming more than simply a tool in your arsenal — it’s slowly but surely becoming the foundation of your entire fleet, and the best way to get a leg up on the competition in 2018. ◾

This article was published by Karola in its original version on Content Marketing Institute’s blog, here, in August 2017, and has been repurposed for the Emarsys blog.

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