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How AI and Machine Learning are Changing the Way We Approach Marketing

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The future is coming and it will revolutionize the marketing industry. Marketers need to prepare for the impact of machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) by allowing themselves to become a part of this smart and interconnected digital world.

While there was a lot of buzz for quite some time regarding the concept of AI, advanced analytics and the next generation of customer service is finally becoming a reality. According to research projections, by 2020, 85% of customer interaction will not involve a human agent.

But we could say that chatbots have already successfully replaced worldwide customer service representatives in 2017, with 34% of consumers so far who prefer this type of customer care. That’s right, chatbots are a part of the AI revolution and they are everywhere nowadays.

In fact, many initial interactions between an organization and a consumer are handled via bots. These programs are designed to respond based on the provided keywords and they do it at a lightning speed and at a cheaper rate than human employees. So it’s a win-win situation for both thriving corporations and inpatient online customers.

However, that’s not the only shift in business practice that will experience a major optimization. As we continue to be amazed by digital assistants and other advanced technological solutions that were once only a part of science fiction, digital evolution takes us a step closer to breaking the limits of marketing.

How? With relevant content, broader marketing reach, new market opportunities, and overall shift in communication with technology, customers, brands, and services.

What Does AI and Machine Learning Truly Stand For?

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are two different terms that are often used interchangeably. While AI is a much wider concept of smart machines, machine learning is just a part or simply one feature of an AI’s capabilities. In other words, artificial intelligence is a machine that can perform what is known as machine learning and use it to solve a variety of complex problems on its own.

Although in early stages of development, ML signifies the learning process a machine performs without explicit previous programming. This special ML technique is called Deep Learning and it involves an artificial network of neurons that mimic the way our brain works. To put it simply, we can give a bunch of data to a machine and watch how it learns by itself.

A Neural Network system is designed to receive and process information the same way the human brain does. Hence, the machine can learn to recognize patterns, make statements, and provide more accurate estimations depending on the data it is given. But that’s not the end of it.

Another important part of AI is also the option for human collaboration with the machines. Thanks to Natural Language Processing (NLP) we can note a seamless communication and interaction between people and electronic devices, such as the one we share with Siri.

Technology is evolving to the point that devices can now learn how to communicate with us on an organic and natural level. After all, the goal is precisely for computers to achieve human-like understanding of languages and text. And once the objective is completed, they will be able not only to understand, but also to draw their own conclusions, summarize, and naturally communicate.

Reshaping the Marketing Field: What Can Marketers Expect?

So how will the AI technology make a difference for marketers? In the years to come, the industry will endure a significant shift at a personalization and relevance at scale. With increasing customer expectations, businesses will need to implement more innovations that will transform current client interactions.

“Meeting customer expectations in the new decade means shifting from being “customer focused” to “customer committed.” This deliberate transformation requires fundamental change in how B-to-B companies think, act, and collaborate.”

When it comes to meeting customers’ expectations, companies will need all the help available. Why? Because by 2020, consumers will become the key brand differentiators. Shoppers’ satisfaction with products and services will be the main drive of their loyalty.

This is where the use of AI will empower marketers by opening doors to lucrative market opportunities and better customer relations. From tailored marketing campaigns and interactive website designs to far-reaching digital ad platforms, AI promises to increase the brand competitiveness by conquering a vast amount of data and expanding marketing strategies to new heights.

Examples of AI and ML Technology in Marketing Today

AI in marketing is already behind the scenes of many marketer’s decisions. In fact, the research from Marketing Automation Insider suggests marketing automation has grown into a $1.65 billion industry in just the past five years.

Interestingly, 63% of people still don’t realize that they are actually using it on a daily basis, but this doesn’t won’t deter businesses from utilizing AI, as 68% of CMOs reported that their companies have incorporated, or plan to incorporate, AI into their business operations. And 55% of companies expect them to have a greater impact on marketing and digital communication than social media networks have.

Then again, some brands understand precisely the power and benefits of AI systems. Google, one of the AI pioneers used the RankBrain AI algorithm to help find relevance in the enormous sea of search quarries back in 2015. This is the perfect example of how NLP (natural language processing) could navigate marketers throughout big data and toward relevant content.

Furthermore, the Grid in website design is also a part of AI technologies. It’s often used to automate sites with intelligent image recognition, cropping, and algorithms that make a tailored landscape that evolves over time the more content you add to it. Imagine a website that designs itself. Sounds scary and tempting at the same time, right?

However, the AI algorithms can do so much more. They can reach and affect the product pricing as well. By using machine learning, marketers can pinpoint the correct price based on pricing and sales trends, inventory capacity, and other company’s factors. But what’s even better, AI can provide crucial information to entrepreneurs, such as how and why the customer might come into contact with the company.

This predictive AI technique is widely used by USAA and it successfully improved their guessing rate from 50% to 88%. The system can analyze thousands of factors and therefore accurately recognize the patterns of human behavior for each individual consumer. Hence, the customer service is enhanced once the AI knows how the users will contact the center and for what products.

Nevertheless, let’s not forget that deep insights into customer behavior and preferences lead to personalized ad targeting. The deep learning approach benefits marketing via better data analysis that can show how the people reacted to previous and recent digital ads. “Deep learning [is] able to handle more signal for better detection of trends in user behavior.”

In addition, machine learning can help to optimize the product catalogue and improve lead conversion, boost your branding, and increase the likelihood of a user clicking the ad. AI will bring the customers and marketers closer than ever before and the audience wouldn’t mind, because it means that their efforts will be drastically reduced considering that their actions are anticipated.

The Main Fronts on which AI will Impact Marketing

What do we know for sure? AI in marketing is developing and with it the future of marketing. So let’s review all of the branches of marketing that AI will transform, considering the fact that each different application will have significant implications on both marketers and the customer journey.

Building Social Media Reputation    

The most popular strategy for building a positive corporate reputation relies on social media platforms. Using channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are now a common marketers’ practice for raising awareness and monetizing products and services via ads.

However, all of those platforms begun to research how users perceive ads, which lead to AI algorithms fueling news feeds according to consumer preferences. Which is good news for enthusiastic marketers who can use this data to make ads that customers will respond to positively.

AI Content Development & Content Curation

Apart from informing and supporting smart marketing decisions, some AI functions can also generate content for attracting customers to the website. For instance, in 2016, the “WordSmith” program produced more than 1.5 billion pieces of content, up from 300 million in 2013.

The writing system can efficiently track part of the data and language structure for generating human-like articles. Although the content mostly focuses data reports, marketers, especially those in finance, can benefit from market reports the AI program provides.

Nevertheless, the AI content curation is here to help engage customers more. With this technique, brands can better entertain the visitors by presenting them with content that is relevant to them.

Plus, it’s also an excellent strategy for subscription management, as the recommendations gradually become better as the number of users grows. How? Through the use of machine learning algorithms that remember where shoppers left off and analyze the patterns.

Automated Marketing

How can marketing automation assist with sales? AI powered technology can measure the success and rank the sales based on a prospect’s chances of conversion.

Marketers who use machine learning and AI algorithms for sales will have access to customized marketing programs, improved email campaigns, and add a lead scoreboard to the mix. So AI systems will definitely change the current market and marketing efforts in general.

Personalized Web & App Experience   

Online shoppers are constantly seeking transparent and innovative businesses, but beyond a clear message and interesting site design, responsiveness is what matters the most. By applying the predictive AI model, customers can get a good customer service with quality content on all fronts, including both web and app experience.

The loyal customers will have more in-depth information about products or services they have shown interest for in the past, while new visitors will be engaged by informative content that will retain their interest.

Email AI Marketing

As previously mentioned, AI can help with email marketing optimization. By applying insights generated from AI technology, marketers can discover a subscriber’s tendency to buy certain products and then feature the most relevant products consumers would find intriguing. Once they open a newsletter, the email will display potential deals, product stock, and pricing the company has to offer.

Predictive Analytics

Marketers will finally have accurate insights and predictions to lean on when it comes to productivity. Although the propensity model is only as successful as the data they process, this type of help could help organizations to stay ahead of their competitors.

The predictive AI technology will lead the way to new marketing concepts and shape the design of advertising campaigns. Predicting the prices, lead conversions, repeat purchases, and trends people like, and so much more will become the new marketing norm and the main formula for increasing revenue.

Programmatic Advertising

Programmatic marketing can use machine learning and predicting algorithms to effectively target ads at the most important and returning customers. That being said, not all social platforms are safe for your ads. Ever since Google suffered a safety network scandal due to ads of certain companies appearing on questionable websites, marketers are now a bit careful about posting ads.

But AI can help increase the network safety by recognizing the suspicious sites and removing them from the list of channels. In other words, artificial intelligence in programmatic marketing can show marketers the best options for placing their targeted ads.

AI and Machine Learning Trends for 2018

Although the evolution has just begun, we can expect to see AI results at the beginning of 2018. The next-generation of customer care and marketing will rule the industry while waiting for more marketers to make the jump and join the revolution. Among many AI practices, there are several applications AI will take over in 2018.

Machine-Human Interactions

Machine learning will not stop with bots. Actually, they can only get smarter and aid marketers to win over customers by delivering the right content at the right time. As the machines can predict the topic of the conversation, it will become easier to resolve any complaints or issues the users might experience.

Contrary to traditional chatbot conversations and even voice/text communication, the AI will allow a new form of collaboration. Microsoft is already exploring the potential of so-called “multi-sensory” communication that incorporates the senses such as sight, touch, sound, and gestures.

Social Media Image Recognition

Visual aids are the most important part of any marketing strategy. Did you know that posts with images are 2.3 times more likely to engage Facebook users? Not to mention that tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than text only. Then again, it’s not enough to just have any old image – the trick is to find the most compelling photo, which can be a challenge for marketers.

However, with the help of AI solutions, marketers can find the needle in the hay stack and shape their commercial imagery to fit consumers’ preferences. By looking at the specific characteristics of the picture, AI tools can detect the form that works on viewers, which can help companies inspire trust in their patrons.

Personalization in Customer Care

Marketing software technologies are very popular and advanced tools businesses of all sizes use nowadays to get more personal with clients. However, that might not be enough for 2018 customer service, as things are about to become more personal.

Instead of push notifications and emails, machines will dig deeper and learn what suits and what doesn’t work for the particular buyer. The entire customer journey with the brand will be tailored to fit each and every individual as a way to build tighter relationships with the target audience.

Artificial Content

As AI can handle big data, learn from given information, and generate content, it can guide marketers toward better lead tracking and microtargeting. Likewise, AI will also help with content creation, which can immensely reduce the costs, as well as give brands a competitive advantage.

By understanding and incorporating the human element into the brand’s story, artificial intelligence will seamlessly integrate itself among people. The only difference that can be observed is the company’s creativity and innovations that push the boundaries.

Conclusion

The focus is now on consumers – customers want innovations and better relations with the corporate world. With a more accurate data prognosis than ever before, AI will finally connect businesses with the inpatient audience.

Moreover, AI will automate various marketing technologies and help return relevance to the market. With generated content, in-depth analysis of human behavior and language, and machine learning capabilities, AI will become more than just a tool to support business growth, it will become a part of our culture.

The possibilities are endless, breathtaking, and beyond our imagination. Marketers need to keep a close eye, as AI technology will be used more widely in 2018. Either way, the future is coming fast and we can expect a lot of changes in the upcoming year. So if you want your business to keep up and prosper, be prepared for robot communication and automate your marketing as soon as possible.

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