Adobe’s survey of 14,000 marketers sends a clear message. Top performing companies are more than twice as likely to be using AI for marketing, pushing 46% of respondents to increase their budget for marketing automation in 2018.
There is an encouraging shift taking place towards more sophisticated marketing methods, and AI clearly provides one of the greatest opportunities for positive change. However, businesses now have to understand where they can use the benefits of AI in very practical, addressable ways, right now.
It’s no longer a technology of the future that simply creates buzz, its far more reachable for businesses than they may think, and has a key role to play in refining marketing automation as it becomes more widespread.
Many currently successful businesses automate their marketing approaches, streamlining their tasks and expediting workflows. However, this only take you and your business so far. Unlike AI, which takes data and analyses it to establish an effective course of action, automation is solely fixed on repetitive, instructive tasks – it performs a job and then moves on.
It’s simplicity means that a lot of organisations risk bombarded their customers and prospects, the wide spread use of automated email a good example. With email, phone, text, messaging apps and social platforms now all at their disposal, the greatest threat to brands is actually over-communication.
Less is more
When considering that each of the channels at a marketer’s disposal could be triggered by a ‘real-time’ moment, think of the implications for the customer. Every time the weather changes, as with the recent ‘Beast from the East’, or when England score a goal, they’re bombarded with irrelevant offers because automation is enabling more and more brands to do so.
As Adobe stresses in its report, “There are ample gains to be had if businesses can elevate themselves above the noise of more traditional, one-size-fits-all marketing. With the ability to reach out so much more, advertisers need to question the how and why of their communications far more than ever before.”
A recent Wiraya report unveiled an overwhelming 86% of customers who left their mobile network, bank or energy provider in the last six months did so because they wanted to the company to reach out to them and convey messages differently.
Two things had the biggest impact here: relevancy and timeliness. Nearly one in five (17%) complained that they never received relevant information. Another fifth (20%) said they received relevant information, just not when they wanted it or were in a position to read or engage with it.
This is why hyper-personalisation and context-relevant content are such big buzz words today. Essentially, marketers want every single message they send to customers to speak directly to that individual and to respond directly to their own needs, wants and desires. This is AI’s promise.
Real AI to help real challenges
The development of true AI solutions is receiving significant funding from the European Commission at the moment, drawing technology leaders in the space to identify and propose AI-based solutions to important industry-specific business problems.
Take telecoms, slow customer service is a massive contributor to customer churn and an ongoing product of contact centre teams struggling to supply enough trained operators to cope with the demand.
Wiraya is a company that is constantly developing AI based solutions, which offer an automated approach to customer communication, yet delivered in a truly personal and tailored way, that inspires action from consumers. This allows individual customer dialogue with large customer groups, revolutionising the customer experience for subscription changes, ordering a new phone, renewing services and support issues.
>See also: The evolution of artificial intelligence
Not only can AI help to enhance the speed and relevance in which you can reach customers, it can help gather intelligence about how best to reach them in other ways. The right time of day, the type of voice used or knowing what time of year is best to contact specific customers, for example, is valuable insight for any marketer.
Using customer insight
Ultimately, whether a business is using basic automation now or considering AI for the future, what makes or breaks the brand is increasingly down to what your existing customers choose to do.
Whether they vote with their feet or with their keyboards, companies need to be proactive in incorporating human insights to create intelligent, intuitive communications – rather than regarding technology as an opportunity to pump out marketing en masse.
With the tightening regulations around data capture, try not to ask customers for their insight too frequently, rather offer them a service and let them know how this will make their lives easier. After all, a new customer is five times more expensive to acquire than it is to keep an existing customer – something all top performing companies are happily aware of.
Sourced by Sam Madden, UK director at Wiraya