The Rise of the Marketing Machines

Randy Brodeur | June 30, 2017

Experts agree, artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to be the most revolutionary technology since the introduction of the computer—and marketing is first in line for disruption. AI already is gaining marketing traction, integrating seamlessly with marketing automation and customer relationship management (CRM) tools to create custom, relevant interactions with customers. AI is effective in social networks, as it can tap into unstructured data such as tweets, comments, likes and shares to provide sentiment analysis and product recommendations.

It is hard to think of AI without thinking about IBM’s Watson. Now, with Watson Marketing, IBM rapidly is establishing a strong foothold in online marketing. It provides marketers with powerful data-driven tools like campaign automation, marketing insights and real-time personalization. With its Content Hub, AI technology will analyze marketing creative to automatically tag assets and images, and deliver relevant content to users based on their consumption habits. Watson uses a site visitor’s IP address to make an educated guess regarding that person’s location, company, industry or job role, and instantly deliver different messages. Even weather data engages offer-specific campaigns, such as with umbrella offers when it’s raining in your neighborhood. Many projects are in progress for Under Armour, Nike, Shutterfly and more.

To deliver dynamic price optimization, AI uses factors such as competitor pricing, category management and inventory levels dynamically to adjust pricing for multiple products simultaneously. For companies that offer a wide range of products, managing price elasticity with AI is essential.

We’re accustomed to Netflix using predictive analytics to finesse its user-specific recommendations, and now it’s using AI to avoid unwanted re-buffering interruptions. When faced with slow internet speeds, AI analyzes each shot in a video and compresses it without affecting the image quality, thus reducing the amount of data it uses. In many cases, the stream can be reduced by half, with no noticeable difference in the image quality.

Consumers know that they are being marketed to, but prefer it be on their own terms—without feeling like it’s an invasion of privacy. Sophisticated forms of AI can provide a vastly more comfortable and personalized interaction. As customers become comfortable with AI-driven virtual sales reps to help find the best deals on items they are looking to purchase, we anticipate that AI-driven retargeted marketing campaigns ultimately will be welcomed, because they are in line with individuals’ expectations (what they want), engagement on their terms (when they want), and an individualized, human-like experience (how they want it).

The emergence of AI isn’t scary, and won’t lead to all marketers being replaced by computers. AI’s cognitive computing can interpret data, learn and provide recommendations. It relies on strategic marketers to guide its path and act upon its insights. We’ll still need people in the mix.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Marketing Solutions

Here are some AI marketing solutions that are available now:

  • Ceralytics helps you identify your best-performing content.
  • Conversica’s virtual sales assistants intelligently engage leads to learn more about them before using that data to deliver custom recommendations.
  • Demandbase identifies business behavior and relationships by understanding the digital footprint of web activity by businesses, including unstructured data across the web.
  • IBM Watson Commerce uses AI for cognitive learning to deliver personalized experiences in order to give customers what they want, where and when they want it.
  • Salesforce Einstein learns from your data and makes predictions and recommendations for customer engagement.
  • Sentient takes a new approach to the customer journey with AI to create new and exciting ways to reshape every customer interaction.

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