Artificial intelligence in the marketing world
Artificial Intelligence: a term often associated with humanoid robots intent on world domination. In reality, we’re a fair way from that at the moment, but AI does have a huge role to play in the world of marketing, in ways you may not have realised before. Our guide outlines how AI could help you refine your marketing strategy to achieve even better results over the coming months and years ahead.
What is AI?
AI stands for artificial intelligence and is loosely defined as getting computers to think, act and learn like humans. This doesn’t necessarily mean building humanoid robots, as is often the stereotype; there are lots of different aspects to AI and thousands of applications in most markets and fields. One of the common areas of AI which you may have heard is called ‘machine-learning’, with the learning done from large sets of past data to create predictable patterns, which are then modelled into algorithms. These algorithms can be used to process new data and make predictions.
Implications of AI
AI is extremely powerful; computers can process data thousands of times quicker than humans can, allowing them to create accurate prediction models which would otherwise be impossible to produce. Other AI technologies are also growing, which in the next decade are predicted to outperform humans. If you try and order a beer on holiday, you may well use Google translate; we all know from the translations from other languages back to English that this is currently far from perfect, but this is exactly the kind of application that we can expect to improve considerably over the coming years. It’s also the technology which is likely to put self-driving cars on the roads in the not-too-distant future and make voice recognition a key part of our interaction with technology.
Applications of AI in Marketing
Like other industries, marketing is not going to be exempt from the application of AI. But, rather than worrying about the robots taking over our jobs, it will help us to create ever more targeted, effective campaigns:
- Targeted advertising: Ever been creeped out by the accuracy of some of the ads you’ve been targeted by? You often hear stories of women being shown promotions of pregnancy products before even telling their closest friends or family members they were pregnant. This is a result of clever AI. The system notes your online activity and makes predictions about you based on previous data from other online users and the products you have purchased to second-guess your next buys.
- Recommendations: An exceptionally effective marketing strategy first brought to public attention by Amazon’s “people who bought this also liked” feature. Another example of this is Netflix’s recommendations, which use clustering algorithms to predict what a viewer is likely to enjoy watching based on what they have already watched.
- Customer segmentation: AI can be used to profile customers based on their online activity. For example, customers may be ranked from one to ten on probability of making a purchase; this can then be used to tailor your marketing campaigns. If a potential customer is ranked as a nine, then they are extremely likely to make a purchase; if a customer is ranked as a six, then it might be a good idea to send them a well-designed discount code through the post to try and secure their custom; however, you might opt to put only minimal effort into contacting someone ranked as two, such as generic emails.
- Voice recognition: This technology has just been getting better and better in recent years, and it is likely to have an impact on all online companies. By 2020 its predicted that 50% of all searches will be via voice search and the increased use of this growing technology means that brands will need to address their SEO strategies to keep up to date with the trend.
- Chat bots: Often, company resources are limited, and customers don’t want to have wait for someone to pick up the phone or reply to an email to get an answer. In these cases, chatbots can be an effective way to provide customers with quick answers to their questions. But be careful; the technology is by no means perfect, and in some businesses customers want a personal experience and not to interact with a computer, in which case you may still need to invest in having real people behind your live chat pop-up boxes.
AI is here to stay whether you like it or not, and the technology is improving all the time. Utilising AI into your marketing strategy could be one way to stay ahead of the competition and keep up with the changing technological landscape of the modern world.
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