Artificial Intelligence in Marketing
Marketing in the 21st Century
By Yordan Tachev, Anchormen
Without a doubt, the next revolution will be a technological one.
Just as behavioral psychology emerged in the 1950’s and reinvented the marketing field with terms as needs, wants and consumer behavior; technology now is turning it upside down once again in the current era.
Marketers are becoming more and more technical and reliant on tools that bring insights: it has become essential for the survival of companies. Decision making has turned towards a data-driven approach instead of expert-based. With this, it seems unthinkable to attend any marketing-related event without having at least one session about Artificial Intelligence and its applications.
If you are wondering whether you should be excited or not, then read further. Data Science & A.I. seems to be the answer, but what is the actual question?
Even a small amount of research on the topic will show you just how many people are confused about the terminology. So, what are the buzzwords that are currently dominating the field?
There is not one simple definition of A.I., as we are still struggling with defining what intelligence exactly is. But A.I. in its simplest form can be seen as the umbrella term for attempting to make computers perform complex tasks and problems currently solved by humans.
One of the techniques within A.I. is machine learning. The idea here is to not simply program a computer to be ‘smart’ in something, but actually expect it to learn from many examples and improve over time or find patterns in vast pools of data faster than humans are capable.
This is the latest addition to the A.I. family, which is a type of machine learning that uses neural networks for faster learning and processing. Deep learning has solved many complex tasks that weren’t envisioned some time ago.
Natural Language Processing
In layman terms, natural language processing (NLP) is making computers understand natural languages in both written and oral form. It analyses one of our most paramount forms of communication and allows computers to read, write, listen and speak them. The biggest difficulty here is that our languages contain large vocabularies, words with multiple meanings and when you add to that different accents, wordplay, sarcasm, linguistic faux pas, slurring of words and mispronunciation, things become a tad more difficult.
Data Science Is Changing Marketing
One big element that was purposefully omitted from the vocabulary section above is Data Science. Ironically, it’s the one that will affect Marketing the most and it’s thus by definition the focal point of this article. Data Science deals with using statistical methods to find patterns in data; it is also the connection between Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and now – Marketing.
To better explain this connection, let’s take a simple Customer Lifetime Cycle and see how Data Science can improve every step of the way.
Attracting the attention of people you want to reach. Marketers have been hitting their heads against a wall since forever trying to attract the right people.
Even if you have the best product on the market, if nobody knows about it, do you even exist?
Nowadays most inbound marketing strategies revolve around Content Marketing, Social Media, and Advertising with the whole point being the customer ultimately seeing your brand or product. The problem is, with so many touchpoints and every potential customer leaving breadcrumbs everywhere (be it clicking on an ad, visiting your website, receiving a newsletter, etc.) it becomes virtually impossible to combine all this data.
Data Science can help a company excel in the aforementioned in the form of Multi-channel attribution. The whole idea is to break down and combine all the information stored in different silos. Imagine knowing every customer that has ever had a form of interaction with your company and pinpointing exactly where they are in the marketing funnel as well as identifying what the next best move is.
On the other hand, we have Content Marketing. Most people expect that robots will take over mundane jobs, but nobody is really imagining that they can also reach the creative fields, where original ideas are the driving force. Think again. Gartner predicts, that by 2018, 20% of all business content will be authored by machines. This is thanks to NLP. Every new development in Natural Language Processing means a step closer to having your content automated and curated.
Ok. You reached your target group, now what? This is where the power of predictive analytics comes in handy. As already mentioned, Data Science is all about the use of (statistical) algorithms to find patterns, but what it can also do is analyze historical data to predict outcomes. Think of predicting the likelihood of certain customers buying your product and also finding ways to maximize the probability of a conversion.
On the other hand, Machine Learning can be used to improve the performance of your Advertising campaigns without you even knowing it. Which of your Google Ads is performing the best? At what time in the buying process should you send it. Which customers qualify for Remarketing purposes? Or which is the best ad rotation in order to get the most out of my budget? ML allows you to constantly optimize your advertising efforts.
Your inbound marketing strategy is working perfectly. Hundreds of people are visiting your website and looking at the product/service that is being offered. How can we make sure that we get the highest conversions possible?
The more data you can bring to the table the more you can personalise content for each and every customer that visits your website. So, you are using quantity to improve quality. Ironic, isn’t it? In fact, it works really well. Two examples of that are recommendation engines and chatbots.
Amazon has been working with it on a daily basis for years: “Customers who bought this, also bought….”. Facebook and LinkedIn suggest you might know such and such a person. Netflix recommends films and series, even if you think you have already seen them. The point is, recommendation engines work. If you want to learn more about what you can do with it, check out our whitepaper on the topic.
On the other hand, A.I. chatbots can be your most powerful conversion tools on the website, if done right. Developments are rapid and the advantages of a chatbot can’t be ignored. 24/7 support, human language, virtual assistant and adding A.I. to it ensures that every new conversation is a learning opportunity for the chatbot to improve for the next one.
It’s common knowledge that retaining customers is cheaper (and easier) than acquiring new ones. Two effective ways to retain customers are through marketing automation and predictive customer service.
Through A/B testing you can discover many insightful ways to retain existing customers and also make your life easier when trying to acquire new ones. For example, discovering the optimal time to communicate with customers, which words in subject lines are most effective, or what design is most appealing can be a powerful tool for increasing your customer base.
As for predictive customer service, here again, a Chatbot can assist by providing the right answers at the right time or based on click-behavior to pop-up and offer help. This could in turn leave your website visitors satisfied or even reduce churn with existing clients.
Another powerful side of NLP is sentiment analysis. It scours the internet for what people say about a specific topic to determine the general sentiment. This is a fantastic way to discover what people think about your product/brand or discover thought leaders in your industry which can be approached for marketing purposes.
Consumers want personalization. Technology is facilitating this by giving a better understanding of what people want and are looking for. Every online experience that a customer is having (with or without the intention of purchasing something) gives a more complete picture of what that customer is interested in. This in turn means not only more accurate content specifically catered for every person’s needs but also less annoying clutter that could ruin the relationship with the brand.
This is in no way an exhaustive list of all the opportunities that Data Science & A.I. can bring to the Marketing field. The effects of technology and use of big data are still being explored and changes are coming rapidly.
Want to know what A.I. can do for you? We’ll be diving into specific cases where we leverage the power of A.I. for marketing. These cases are non-standard and will surely trigger your interest.
At Anchormen, we strive to offer powerful solutions which aim at helping companies activate their data. Want to know more about our use cases or solutions? Feel free to get in touch to learn more or to see how we can help your company.
We will dig deeper into the subject during our presentation “Artificial Intelligence is a new secret and most powerful weapon for marketers”, given by Paul Verhaar and Jeffrey van der Eijk on the 31st of January at 09:45. See you there!