The rise of artificial intelligence allows business leaders to enhance the customer experience by predicting and addressing their needs and wants. To implement AI into your marketing strategies, however, it’s important to understand how to properly analyze data and how AI should be integrated.
Imagine this scenario: It’s the middle of the night, and a customer mentions your brand in a tweet to ask about your store’s holiday hours. All of your employees are home asleep, and the customer assumes he’ll have to wait until morning for an answer. But then, just seconds later, he receives a personalized response answering his question. Another customer asks when a certain product will be back in stock, and, again, she receives an immediate answer.
This is the future of digital marketing. The rise of artificial intelligence allows business leaders to enhance the customer experience by predicting and addressing their needs and wants. To implement AI into your marketing strategies, however, it’s important to understand how to properly analyze data and how AI should be integrated into that data. Gaining momentum at the beginning can be the toughest part, but if it’s done correctly, the rewards outweigh the challenges.
Before getting started, there are a few things to consider:
1. Stop pitting humans and AI against each other
AI technology doesn’t replace humans; it simply makes their jobs easier. For example, Maple, the delivery-only restaurant based in New York, is powered by AI. The technology plans delivery routes and tells chefs what ingredients they’ll need, and it can even forecast which meals will be the most popular depending on the time of day and the weather.
Yet the company still needs chefs to cook the food, drivers to deliver the food and managers to supervise the warehouses of food. AI hasn’t replaced any of these jobs, but it makes key decision-makers’ jobs easier by providing all the information they need quickly and easily.
AI also helps companies stay as efficient and innovative as possible by helping employees work faster and focus on the aspects of their jobs that technology can’t perform. Because there’s no limit to what processes can become “smarter” with AI technology, companies can continue to increase efficiency as employees have more time to focus on big-picture ideas. That means you must stop looking at it as humans vs. AI and begin searching for opportunities where the two can unite.
2. Don’t drown customers (or team members) in AI
As life-changing as technology can be, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. Use AI to limit the number of interactions customers have with a product. You’ll make their lives easier by reducing interactions only to the ones that provide value.
For instance, Twitter users can receive alerts when it’s been a while since they’ve logged in. The alerts show users what they’ve missed, but it doesn’t force them to open the app or log in to interact. Logging in would create a distraction, which often leads to customers abandoning the action altogether. The less invasive the technology, the more seamless the customer experience.
Leaders can also see the effects of “invisible” technology, which can make the marketing process more efficient with better results. The New York Times, for example, posts roughly 300 messages to its social media channels each day. In the past, a human had to post each of those messages manually, but then the publication created a chatbot to handle social postings automatically and to predict which stories will perform well and which ones need to be promoted more. With the bot automating that process, the human team has more time to dedicate to the creative process that AI simply can’t replace.
3. Know when to get in customers’ heads (and on their devices)
While forced interaction – like making Twitter users open the app to read an alert – isn’t helpful, organic engagement between your brand and your customers is.
AI can make every interaction more seamless by gathering data and predicting the customer’s needs. If a customer posts on social media that she’s unhappy with the fit of the clothes she just purchased, use AI to gather all the data you need about the customer so you can send her a new outfit immediately.
Businesses are all about solving problems for their customers, and as technology continues to improve, companies can solve more complex problems that we can’t even imagine right now. Just like how Amazon offers customized suggestions based on your shopping habits, companies can predict what problems customers need solved before those customers even realize they have a problem.
As a company leader, you should be looking for those opportunities. When will interacting with customers provide value without intruding on their own time and space? A general rule of thumb is engaging after they’ve interacted with your brand, be it with a question, a complaint, a compliment or just a long time spent on your website.
The digital marketing world is fast-paced and constantly changing, and it will only continue to grow as more companies take advantage of AI. AI is reshaping the marketing world by making customer experiences more seamless and helping leaders predict what their customers want, thus positioning digital marketing as one of the most effective ways to reach an audience.
Naveen Rajdev is the chief marketing officer for Wipro, a global information technology, consulting, and outsourcing company. Naveen manages the global marketing team, which implements all brand initiatives. He believes that powerful technology brands are built on human principles and has been moving Wipro toward becoming a more digital and people-centric brand, leading the foundation of what he calls the “B2i” (i.e., business to individuals) future. The views expressed in this article are his own.